Former Salt Yard Group chef director joins City of London hotel with view to launching restaurant projects: Former Salt Yard Group chef director Ben Tish has joined The Stafford London hotel as culinary director with a view to launching new restaurant projects. Tish will oversee the entire food offering at the five-star hotel in St James’s, including The Game Bird restaurant, American Bar, Wine Cellar, private dining, suites and in-room dining. Tish and the hotel will also look to launch restaurant projects in the “near future” that will focus on Tish’s signature style and love of European cuisine. Tish said: “I am delighted to join the team at The Stafford. They had such a great year in 2017 with the launch of The Game Bird.” The Stafford London general manager Stuart Procter added: “We are thrilled to welcome Ben to the hotel. He is an incredible chef and together we look forward to evolving the offering at The Game Bird and across the hotel along with launching exciting projects.” Tish spent his formative years working with Michelin-starred chefs such as Jason Atherton and Stephen Terry. He left Salt Yard Group, where he launched Soho sites Dehesa, Ember Yard and Opera Read More
Investors back call to spin off Costa from Whitbread: Major investors have thrown their weight behind calls to break up Whitbread and spin off Costa Coffee. A top 20 shareholder in the company told the Sunday Telegraph they were supportive of US hedge fund Sachem Head’s proposal to split Whitbread in two. The move would represent Costa and Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants arm going their separate ways and becoming independent businesses. Chief executive Alison Brittain said on Friday (19 January) it did not make sense to sell Costa as it was half way through a reinvigoration plan but confirmed the board regularly reviewed the company’s structure. However, one top investor said: “We think now is the time to consider a de-merger of the Costa business. For many years we’ve seen Whitbread as a good owner of these businesses and resisted calls to break it up. But clearly Costa has not had it as good since. No shareholder would stick with this status quo of keeping these two businesses together forever.” Another leading shareholder said the current share price “doesn’t represent the full value of the assets”. A meeting with new Whitbread chairman Adam Crozier is expected to take place in Read More
UK’s first vegan pizzeria Purezza seeks investment for further expansion after securing Camden Town site for second restaurant: Brighton-based Purezza, the UK’s first vegan pizzeria, is seeking investment for further expansion after securing its second site, in Camden Town, north London. Stefania Evangelisti and Tim Barclay launched the concept in St James’s Street, Brighton, in 2015. Now it will open its second site next month in Camden Town having acquired the former Market restaurant in Parkway in a deal brokered by agents Fleurets. Purezza has signed a new 20-year lease. Evangelisti said: “A London-based Purezza has always been an ambition of ours. We are delighted to have acquired the Camden site, bringing our pioneering food into the capital.” With aggressive expansion plans, Purezza is seeking investment to grow into further cities around the UK. Fleurets divisional director Andy Frisby said: “This acquisition will not only see the operation expand into the capital but also be of huge benefit to growing the Purezza brand due to the substantial footfall and profile of the area. The restaurant will cater for up to 100 covers across two floors.” The menu will largely mirror the Brighton site’s offering, which provides plant-based versions of classic Read More
Delhi street food concept Hankies to launch upmarket restaurant format in Marble Arch: Delhi street food concept Hankies, which operates a cafe in Shaftesbury Avenue, is to launch an upmarket restaurant format this month, in Marble Arch. Hankies offers Indian tapas and specialises in roti – flatbread that is hand-spun until thin enough to read through, cooked on a roomali tawa, which resembles an upside down wok, and folded into “hankies” in front of customers. The concept is the brainchild of Anirudh Arora, whose dishes include bhindi bhel (crispy rice puffs with okra, sweet chutney, onions and fresh coriander). The flagship restaurant will be located in Montcalm Hotel in Berkeley Street and will be much larger than Hankies’ debut site, featuring glassware and china sourced from Indian markets and antique stores. It will also feature the addition of a tandoor oven, producing offerings such as skewers of prawns with chives and garlic, and chilli lamb chops marinated in Kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard. The drinks list will feature cocktails and lassi. Bea Vo to start expansion of Butterscotch bakery concept with second London site: Bea Vo, who founded the Beas of Bloomsbury chain, is to start expansion of her Butterscotch Read More
McDonald’s to offer recycling in all restaurants: McDonald’s has said it is responding to customers’ number-one request by setting goals for switching to environmentally friendly packaging and offering recycling in all its restaurants by 2025. Currently, the company offers recycling in about 10% of its restaurants and has committed to eliminating foam packaging from its global supply chain by the end of 2018. McDonald’s said it would work with industry experts, local governments and environmental groups to improve packaging designs, create new recycling programmes, set progress benchmarks, and educate its employees and customers. Tom Murray, vice-president of corporate partnerships at the Environmental Defense Fund, one of McDonald’s partners on the waste reduction and recycling initiative, told Reuters: “These goals have the potential to be transformational because no other restaurant has the scope and global supply chain of McDonald’s. When McDonald’s began its waste reduction efforts nearly 30 years ago, the business and environmental benefits were immediate – the company saved an estimated $6m a year.” Nando’s opens music studio at Soho restaurant: Nando’s has launched a music studio at its restaurant in Frith Street, Soho. The move follows the company’s launch of Nando’s Music Exchange, a programme that inspires the Read More
Des Gunewardena – D&D London remains focused on expansion with number of ‘good opportunities’ being looked at for second half of 2018 and beyond: D&D London chairman Des Gunewardena has told Propel the company remains focused on expansion with a number of “good opportunities” being looked at for the second half of 2018 and beyond. The company, which saw UK like-for-like sales increase 4% for the four weeks to 31 December 2017, currently has three sites set to open this year – Bluebird restaurants in New York and London’s White City development, and 20 Stories, a 300-cover venue at the top of the newly built 1 Spinningfields in Manchester. Further launches are planned in 2019, including a new modern brasserie concept at Hudson Yards in New York. Gunewardena said the company was working on further deals. He said: “Our strategy is to continue to grow the business. We are looking at a number of good potential opportunities for the second half of this year. Our business is 90% UK-based and 80% of that is in London. With the openings we’ve got coming up in New York we will do more overseas but our focus will remain on the UK.” Gunewardena Read More
Charles Wells to open 14th French pub next month: Charles Wells is to open its 14th pub in France next month. The latest opening will be the Queen Victoria in Lille (population: 228,000), the company’s first pub in the city. Charles Wells is also understood to be in negotiations to open a site in the French seaside city of La Rochelle (population: 80,000). The French expansion is part of Charles Wells’ development of its pub estate in the wake of the sale of its Bedford brewery to Marston’s last year. The company told Propel its French portfolio of pubs were €147,000 up on budget in December, while its four-strong Pizza, Pots and Pints managed estate beat budget by £86,000. The company plans to invest £2.5m in its 186-strong tenanted division in the current year. It will also open its fourth Apostrophe premium pub next month, The Bull In Olney. The company is also expected to unveil plans for a new micro-brewery in Bedford in the coming weeks. Chef director Yogesh Datta to convert Chelsea restaurant into new sustainability concept: Indian chef Yogesh Datta is putting sustainability at the heart of a new concept he is launching at the former site Read More
The Alchemist aims to open five or six sites in the next year following £16m finance deal, Christmas like-for-likes up 5%: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, is aiming to open five or six sites in the next year having secured a £16m finance package from existing debt-funders Santander. Finance director Victoria Stewart told Propel the company, which currently operates 12 venues, was looking at a “bit of a bumper year”. It will open a site in Nottingham next month – its first in the East Midlands – followed by venues in Cardiff and Bristol and the company is now looking at further acquisitions. Stewart said: “A lot of our sites are new or have been recently refurbished so we are focused on using the additional capital for expansion. The rental market seems to be softening a bit so we think there will be some good opportunities. I’m expecting we will open five or six sites in the next year, focusing particularly on London. There are a number of cities where we have dual sites that work really well. Our site just off Liverpool Street is performing brilliantly so we are really keen to add to that Read More
Loungers looking at 40 sites as it continues to build pipeline for 2018 and beyond: Loungers chief executive Nick Collins has told Propel the company is currently looking at about 40 sites as it continues to build its pipeline for 2018 and beyond. Collins said he also believed there would be further opportunities for the Lion Capital-backed group, which operates the Lounges and Cosy Club brands, as other operators looked to dispose of sites. The company, which currently operates 114 venues, is looking to add 25 further outlets this year as its roll-out intentions remain unchanged. A further seven or eight openings are scheduled for the final quarter of its financial year, including a Cosy Club in Lincoln and Lounge sites in Solihull, Ormskirk and recently acquired sites from Wildwood and Prezzo in Abingdon and Moseley respectively. Collins said: “We are in various stages of negotiations on about 40 sites that will take us into 2019. Of course, some of them will fall by the wayside because we have always been very strict with our rent parameters. On the property side, it’s important to be fleet of foot and I think further opportunities are likely to arise with a number Read More
Amber Taverns planning up to 12 openings in 2018: Community pub operator Amber Taverns is planning to open between ten and 12 sites this year. Operations director Gary Roberts told Propel: “Six of these have already been identified and are in various stages of legal and planning. Hopefully another couple of Hogarths Gin Palaces will also be added to the estate.” Amber Taverns has acquired its first two sites of 2018 – the Thre3 bar in Ripley, Derbyshire, and has taken on the Commercial Hotel in the village of Rainhill in Merseyside from Greene King. Roberts said the company planned to invest about £450,000 to transform the Thre3 bar into a community pub with a “premium sports offer”. He added: “We will start work in the next few months once licensing and planning has been received. We will be recruiting a local operator and envisage we will create about 12 full and part-time positions.” Mudman to bring Greyhound Cafe brand to UK this week with Fitzrovia opening: Mudman, the master franchise operator of Au Bon Pain, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand, is to bring its Bangkok-style Greyhound Cafe concept to the UK. The company will open the site in Read More
India-based fine-dining restaurant Chokhi Dhani to make UK debut next month, in Battersea: India-based fine-dining restaurant Chokhi Dhani is to make its UK debut next month, in London. The restaurant in Riverside Walk, Battersea, is the brainchild of chef, hotelier and entrepreneur Kriti Vaswani who is following in the footsteps of her father, Gul Vaswani, who launched the first Chokhi Dhani venue in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in 1990. As well as highlighting dishes from the state, Chokhi Dhani London will feature dishes from across the subcontinent. Overseeing this menu will be Vishnu Natarajan, former executive head chef at Carom in Soho, who will work alongside Bhagwan Singh, an expert on Rajasthani cuisine, senior sous chef Mohammed Naseem Qureshi and pastry chef Rakesh Sharma. The venue will feature a street food concept on the ground floor with a luxury dining room upstairs. Among the handmade bespoke artwork will be a life-size bronze elephant. Polpo closes Bristol site: London-based restaurant company Polpo has closed its Bristol site. The company has shut the venue in Whiteladies Road fewer than 18 months after it opened. Since the Bristol launch in August 2016 an Exeter site opened last year, although a planned Oxford opening has been Read More
Molson Coors acquires Aspall: Molson Coors has acquired Suffolk-based cider-maker Aspall for an undisclosed sum. The deal comes after a year of what Aspall chairman Barry Chevallier Guild described as “close discussions”. Other bidders had expressed interest in the company, according to previous reports. “Molson Coors is known for respecting the provenance of local brands it has acquired in the past, and has the scale and expertise to accelerate our growth in the premium cider category in the UK and beyond,” he said. Molson Coors bought Cornwall brewery Sharps, maker of cask ale Doombar, in a deal worth £20m in 2011. Molson Coors UK and Ireland managing director Phil Whitehead said: “Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence. The Chevalliers have been producing cider for almost 300 years and their range of brands enhances our existing portfolio. We’re now looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cider in the UK and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of a need to premiumise our portfolio.” Aspall’s cider and its range of vinegars will continue to be made in Suffolk where Read More
Oakman Inns on track to have raised almost £12m through Downing bonds: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has now raised almost £12m through a series of five bonds issued through Downing Crowd, the Crowd platform managed by investment firm Downing LLP. Steve Kenee, of Downing, stated: “The latest bond officially went live on 2 January and has already raised £1.7m out of the £1.8m target. This has come from 184 investors who have, on average, been investing £9,000 each. Once this bond closes we will have raised almost £12m for pubs managed by Oakman, which is testament to both the faith our investor base has in the way we present and manage risk and the strength of Oakman as an operator of high-quality pub restaurants.” The current bond offers investors a 7% fixed-rate return over 23-month terms for a minimum investment of £100, secured against the freehold of the White Hart in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Peter Borg-Neal, founder and chief executive of Oakman Inns, said: “Crowdfunding investors have provided invaluable debt funding support for a number of our freehold pubs. We’re delighted to be working with Downing Crowd again on this latest project. The White Hart is a superb property that boasts Read More
Pret A Manger launches new range of vegan options: Pret A Manger is to launch a new range of vegan options today (4 January) – to meet growing customer demand. A company spokesperson said: “Customers have been asking for more vegan options and Pret chefs have been experimenting with plant-based ingredients and flavours to meet the challenge. The new dishes will sit alongside existing vegan favourites in regular Pret shops.” These options will be available until 5 March. The new vegan dishes include Cauli & Sweet Potato Dhal Tip-Top Hot Pot, Apple & Almond Butter Snack Bowl, and Falafel, Avo & Chipotle Flat Bread. The hot pot (£6.25) is described as a “warming, mildly spicy, coconut dhal with chunks of roasted sweet potato, roasted turmeric cauliflower and baby plum tomatoes”. The Apple & Almond Butter Bowl, which costs £1.99, features “green apple wedges with a generous dollop of almond butter”, while the Falafel, Avo & Chipotle Flat Bread (£3.99) includes sweet potato falafel and sliced avocado with chipotle ketchup. It is topped with pickled onions, crunchy red peppers, fresh coriander and charred corn and black bean salsa. Pret A Manger started offering more vegetarian and vegan options when it opened Read More
Iqbal Wahhab plans Atticus opening in February: Cinnamon Club founder plans new opening on February: Iqbal Wahhab, founder of the Cinnamon Club and Roast, is to open a Southern US-style eatery called Atticus in February, which he hopes to expand into a nationwide chain. Atticus will specialise in “soul food”, Southern US staples such as barbecued meats, fried chicken, pork ribs, stews and macaroni. The food will be sourced from sustainable British farms. It is thought that customers on average will spend £10 for breakfast, £25 for lunch and £35 for dinner. Wahhab and his backers expect to spend £1.5 million on the development and opening Atticus. The bar and restaurant, which is named after Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird, will be based in Angel, north London. Wahhab said that if it proves to be successful, he will look to expand Atticus into a chain of restaurants. Wahhab added that he wants the restaurant to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people such as ex-offenders. To that end, he has partnered with Bounce Back, which helps ex-offenders with training and finding work. The charity supplied people to paint and decorate the new restaurant. Michelin-starred chef scraps Salford Read More
3Sixty Restaurants reports 32% turnover rise for Ego brand as group revenue nears £19m, secures £2.5m banking facility for further growth: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has reported turnover within its Ego division increased 32% to £14.4m in a “transitional and transformational” year for the group. Since the period end, the company has secured a banking facility of £2.5m to continue its growth. It also revealed it took the decision to sell its three Rocket venues in London in January this year to Novus because of the “likely increase in rental values and business rates” at the sites. 3Sixty saw group turnover increase 8.6% to £18,895,687 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £17,398,572 the year before. It saw a pre-tax loss of £1,857,004 compared with a profit of £327,388 the previous year following the disposal of Rocket Restaurants and Rocket (Canary Wharf). The company invested £2.8m in the opening of five new Ego sites during the period, taking the number to 14. The company stated: “The year to 31 March 2017 was a transitional and transformational year for the group. The directors decided to exit the London sites that traded as Read More
Subway to have 200-plus stores at Euro Garages sites by end of 2018 as it strengthens partnership with Bristol launch: Subway has revealed it is set to have more than 200 stores at Euro Garages sites by the end of next year having further strengthened its partnership with the forecourt and roadside operator. Subway has opened its 161st UK and Ireland outlet with Euro Garages, at Eastville Park in Bristol. It is the first non-traditional site in the UK to carry the new Subway Fresh Forward branding, which was launched in August. The new-look store design features digital menu boards, free charging points, and special displays for the brand’s freshly prepared salads, veggies and subs. It has seating for 24 customers. Two more Subway stores are scheduled to open at Euro Garages sites by the end of the year, with the forecourt operator planning a further 40 Subways by the end of 2018. Euro Garages has also opened two Subway franchises in the Netherlands and is working on a plan to roll out additional stores across the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Justin Goes, Subway International regional director Europe, said: “Non-traditional development has been an area of growth for Subway in Read More
Veeno to launch ten franchise sites in 2018 before eyeing international openings: Italian wine cafe Veeno is to open ten sites under franchise next year as the company steps up expansion. The company, founded by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino in 2013, will open its fourth franchised site on Thursday (14 December) in Eccelesall Road, Sheffield. Caruso told Propel the company, which now operates 18 sites in total, would accelerate expansion of the franchise business in 2018 and then consider a move abroad if it can find the right partners. It will open a site in Brighton in the first quarter of 2018, with the pipeline including Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle. The company has just opened its first two London sites – in Kingston and St Paul’s – and Caruso said the company was keen to add further sites in the capital as well in the regions. He added: “We are now looking to develop the business in London as well as cities smaller than where we’ve opened previously. We don’t know some of these areas as well as franchise partners. We have come a long way since we opened our first site in 2013 and have a platform in Read More
PizzaExpress makes motorway services debut via Welcome Break partnership: PizzaExpress has opened its first motorway services site via a partnership with Welcome Break. The restaurant has launched in Oxford Services at Junction 8A of the M40, creating 40 jobs. The 88-seater venue offers table service to hotel guests and motorway service visitors. PizzaExpress chief executive JinLong Wang said: “This new opening represents a key part of the company’s expansion, extending our brand footprint into new locations and formats. We are delighted to work with Welcome Break and bring PizzaExpress to Oxford Services. Excellence in everything we do is what we aspire to and Welcome Break is the ideal partner to ensure we continue to deliver exactly what our customers expect and love while making our brand even more accessible.” Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie added: “We are confident our customers will welcome the addition of one of the UK’s most popular and much-loved restaurant brands. In recent years we have seen a growing trend of customers wanting to spend more time at our service stations across the UK and enjoy a dining experience comparable to the high street. I am delighted PizzaExpress will allow us to offer that experience. Read More
Pret A Manger to double reusable cup discount and launch own version, rejects idea of charging customers for paper cups: Pret A Manger is doubling the discount from 25p to 50p to encourage more customers to bring reusable coffee cups into its stores. The company said it had also considered charging customers for using paper cups but felt the move would go “against its instincts”. It also plans to explore offering more china cups in its sit-down stores and launching its own reusable cup next year. The move follows chief executive Clive Schlee’s tweet last week that the company was considering increasing the reusable cup discount and asking customers for their thoughts. Writing in his blog, he said: “I was inundated with suggestions, ideas and feedback. Here are five highlights – 96% of the 5,000 respondents to an Instagram Stories poll voted ‘yes’ to the 50p idea. A great many customers recommended we sell a branded reusable cup as well as launching the new discount. Lots suggested we turn the discount on its head and charge for cups instead. The economic theory of loss aversion was mentioned – this says people respond to loss or fear of a penalty much Read More
Luke Johnson – we’ve been looking at mini-golf segment for well over a year: Brighton Pier Group executive chairman Luke Johnson has told Propel it has had its eye on the mini-golf segment for “well over a year”. The company has agreed to buy Lethington Leisure, which operates Paradise Island Adventure Golf, for a consideration of £10.5m. Paradise Island Adventure Golf has six sites with two more set to open, while it is in talks over another. Johnson said Brighton Pier Group plans to take the concept nationwide and would look to open at least one site a year. He added Paradise Island Adventure Golf would retain its family focus but the company could consider opening licensed sites that were more suited to adults. Johnson said: “We think there’s plenty of growth in the mini-golf sector – it’s highly fragmented. We’ve been looking at mini-golf for well over a year. There are about 700 mini-golf sites on the whole but about 650 of those are traditional and mostly outdoor. This business operates indoor sites that are family focused and it’s going to stay that way. We would like to go national. We are going to be opportunistic when it comes Read More
Brunning & Price acquires former New Moon Pub Company site in Cheshire: Brunning & Price, the Restaurant Group’s gastro-pub arm, has acquired former New Moon Pub Company site the Lord Binning in Kelsall, Cheshire. Brunning & Price plans to reopen the Chester Road site next summer under its former name of the Morris Dancer, creating 40 jobs. It plans to transform the building to create a traditionally furnished pub with open fires and wooden floors, a bar serving malt, gin and local ale and a kitchen offering classic British dishes. There will also be an outside dining area. Brunning & Price managing director Mary Willcock said: “We are thrilled we finally have the keys. It sits within Brunning & Price’s Cheshire heartland, close to what will be its sister pub, the Dysart in Bunbury. Luckily we got wind it was becoming available early on and since then many Brunning & Price customers have been in touch to let us know it’s on the market, which reassures us that our first instincts were indeed correct. We think this will make a super Brunning & Price pub.” New Moon Pub Company, founded by Dave Mooney and Paul Newman, opened the site in Read More
Cubitt House launches fifth London gastro-pub, in Marylebone: London-based gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include The Grazing Goat and The Thomas Cubitt, has launched The Coach Makers Arms in Marylebone for its fifth site in the capital. The three-story venue in Marylebone Lane had been closed since September but has now opened following a major refurbishment and features a ground-floor bar, first-floor restaurant and an underground cocktail bar. The gastro-pub offers seasonal food alongside beer on tap and in bottles, an “eclectic wine list” and cocktails. Executive chef Leigh Hartnett has created an all-day menu with an emphasis on daily specials, while the venue can be booked for private functions. Last month, Cubitt House reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December 2016. Pre-tax profit was £476,252, compared with a loss of £1,642,678 the year before when the company had exceptional administrative costs of £2,089,117. The most recent year saw the exceptional administrative expense drop to £122,413. Cubitt House’s other gastro-pubs are The Orange and The Alfred Tennyson. Julian Metcalfe – rising fast food prices can help Itsu crack US market: Julian Metcalfe has said the rising costs that are forcing Read More
Marston’s boss reveals co-located lodges add £250,000 per annum to pub sales: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay has told Propel the company’s 20 lodges, typically offering 40 to 60 bedrooms, add circa £250,000 per annum in sales to the pubs they are co-located with. Findlay said the company would open its biggest lodge so far in Ebbsfleet, Kent, in January or February, offering 105 bedrooms. Marston’s will open 15 new-build pubs and six lodges in the current financial year, an opening plan Findlay described as “modest trim” on previous annual opening schedules, while the company stressed the increasing importance of accommodation. Accommodation like-for-likes rose 4.5% and revpar was 4.4% to £38 – occupancy rate rose 0.8% to 74%, with new lodges enhancing metrics with a revpar of £47, for example. Between five and ten lodges will be opened per annum, while the company is working on a new design that will integrate a pub and lodge. It stated: “Accommodation acts as a highly complementary income stream to an existing pub. Organic room income has been consistently strong with growth in both sales and revpar for each of the past four years and we anticipate similar trends in the future with Read More
Tokyo Industries to open ‘gentlemen’s club’ in Leeds this weekend: Tokyo Industries, led by Aaron Mellor, is to open a “gentlemen’s club” in Leeds this weekend. Leeds licensing panel has approved a name change and signage for new venue Whiskey Down, which will open this weekend in the former Townhouse building near the Corn Exchange. Mellor told the panel the firm had decided to change the name from Black Orchid to Whiskey Down to reflect a “higher-end” club with a “gentleman’s whiskey club” vibe. However, the panel vetoed the inclusion of the words “superluxe playground” on the building’s branding, with councillor Mary Harland saying she had “concerns” over implications of the phrase. A plan to offer free taxis for performers and clientele was also dropped. Leeds City Council’s licensing sub committee gave the green light for Liberte and Purple Door, both based in York Place, to carry on trading for another year, despite objections from a charity that supports women affected by sexual violence. The decision-making panel was told neither application had received any complaints or objections from the police or public and the objection from the charity was “lodged every year against every application of the kind”. Burning Night Read More
London-based Indian street wrap concept Pilau aims to raise £350,000 as it looks to build nine-strong estate by 2019: London-based Indian street wrap concept Pilau is aiming to raise £350,000 from angel investors as it plans a nine-strong estate by the end of 2019. The company currently has two sites in the capital – in Fitzrovia and Soho – which are both independently profitable. Each outlet was opened for less than £50,000. Pilau is aiming to raise the funds through the Angel Investment Network platform, which connects startups with angel investors, to help spearhead its growth across the capital. A total of £100,000 has already been committed. Founded by George Pitkeathley in 2015, Pilau opened its first site in Fitzrovia in November last year followed by the Soho restaurant a month later. Its non-executive directors include Polpo founders Russell Norman and Richard Beatty and Pod founder Oliver Rudland. Customers choose from a wrap, rice bowl or salad bowl then add butter chicken, lamb and bone marrow or paneer, and toppings. The menu also includes items such as the butter chicken burger and the cardamom custard tart. The company stated: “Due to the ready availability of A1 high-street sites we believe Read More
East London Pub Company buys Clapham freehold as start of roll-out of new concept, targets 20 sites: The owner of well-known Spitalfields pub The Ten Bells has secured a site in Clapham as part of a London-wide roll-out of its new concept. East London Pub Company has bought the freehold for 50 Clapham High Street. The company has submitted a planning application to extensively refurbish the lower-ground, ground and upper floors to create a night-time venue during the week, with all-day dining at the weekend. The acquisition is the first in a wider expansion strategy led by East London Pub Company owner Patrick Frawley – who also has a string of restaurants in Ireland – and his operations director Bradley Lomas. Frawley said: “We are also looking for up to 20 units in core high street London locations. We were attracted to Clapham because of the prime south London location – there is an opportunity to create something more interesting required on the bar front to match the current restaurant offering in the area. We want to do something that will still be steeped in old-fashioned values in terms of it being a good boozer, like The Ten Bells, but Read More
Fuller’s to make multimillion-pound investment in first new-build stand-alone hotel: Fuller’s is to make a multimillion-pound investment in its first stand-alone hotel, subject to planning permission, at a waterfront venue, offering 40 to 50 bedrooms, in Portsmouth – the site will also offer a Fuller’s pub. The new site signals Fuller’s growing ambitions to develop its bedroom stock – it has 724 bedrooms and plans to ramp up expansion with as many as 100 new bedrooms in the next two years. Accommodation was described as being its “star performer” in the first six months of its financial year, growing at 8.2% on a like-for-like basis. The company stated: “Our accommodation offer continues to develop and take advantage of the opportunities provided through staycations and inbound tourism. We have launched an overarching marketing programme for our hotels and pubs with bedrooms under the banner Beautiful Bedrooms by Fuller’s and added four bedrooms to the estate during the half-year at The Swan in Staines. Since the period end, we have acquired The Manor, an outstanding freehold site just outside Christchurch on the edge of the New Forest, with ten bedrooms, and added four more bedrooms to The White Buck in Burley. We Read More
TD4 receives £4m from BGF to roll out The Shake Lab: Leisure company TD4 Brands is embarking on a rapid and strategic nationwide store roll-out programme, which is creating about 100 jobs. TD4 will open another six stores during the next four months as it expands its milkshake concept The Shake Lab – it also operates Boost Juice. The company is led by experienced food and beverage operators Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan and backed by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), a long-term investor in growing businesses. To support the roll-out, BGF has invested more than £4m in the Cheshire-headquartered business since its initial investment in 2013. Banking partner Barclays has provided £650,000 of funding to support the expansion. Co-founder and chief executive Richard O’Sullivan said: “Over the past ten years our team has worked tirelessly to deliver a fantastic product and brilliant service to our customers, who we never take for granted and who have made our brands Boost and The Shake Lab what they are today. It’s tremendously exciting to be rolling out The Shake Lab into so many new locations. We operate in a really competitive market sector and are proud The Shake Lab has been so well Read More
Krispy Kreme UK chief executive to step down: Krispy Kreme UK chief executive Mike Dowell is to step down after four-and-a half years in the post. Dowell will be succeeded by Richard Cheshire, who is the company’s managing director. Dowell joined Krispy Kreme in June 2013 and presided over revenue and profit growth leading up to a proposed initial public offering before the company was bought by the franchisor, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, in October last year. Prior to joining Krispy Kreme, Dowell ran the Pitcher & Piano brand for a number of years at Marston’s and was managing director of Costa Coffee. In its latest accounts, Krispy Kreme reported sales in the UK rose to £66,689,000 in the 11 months to 1 January 2017, up 8% on 12 months ago. Adjusted Ebitda was £14,620,000 (21.9% of sales), compared with £13,688,000 (22.2% of sales) the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £10,292,000, compared with £11,759,000 the year before. Cubitt House reports turnover dip as roadworks hamper Motcomb Street site: Four-strong London gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include the Grazing Goat and Thomas Cubitt, has reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December Read More
Tower Bridge site ‘one of a number’ Temakinho is looking at in London as it rolls out expansion plans: The unit Brazilian-Japanese fusion chain Temakinho has secured at One Tower Bridge is “one of a number” the brand is looking at across London as it looks to roll-out international expansion plans. The company has taken a 2,777 square foot unit on a 20-year lease for its second site in the capital, with the restaurant due to open in mid-2018. Temakinho made its UK debut in Soho last year and specialises in fresh, sustainable seafood, temakis and caipirinhas. The company was founded in 2012 by the Maroli family and operates six restaurants in Italy and one in Ibiza. Sammy Weinbaum, head of acquisitions at CDG Leisure, which brokered the deal, said: “Diners at the One Tower Bridge branch will enjoy a meal against a spectacular backdrop of some of London’s most iconic sites. This expansion is the first in a number of sites the restaurant is looking at in the city.” Temakinho will join other restaurant brands at the One Tower Bridge scheme, including Gunpowder, Ivy Cafe and Rosa’s Thai Cafe. Prosecco House, London’s first bar dedicated to prosecco, will also Read More
Grillstock goes into administration: American-style barbecue restaurant Grillstock has gone into administration. Administrators Gareth Roberts and Paul Ellison, of KRE Corporate Recovery, are looking to sell the business and its assets as a going concern. Grillstock has been trading for seven years and has restaurants in Bristol, Bath, Leicester and Walthamstow in east London, plus a market stall in Bristol. All the restaurants remain open and there have so far been no redundancies, according to reports. The administrators said they were looking to complete a sale in the next two to three weeks. Last month, co-founders Jonathan Finch and Ben Merrington stepped down from the business as directors while Turtle Bay founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema also resigned as a director. Warrens Bakery targets 1,000 stores in next ten years, Greggs bids for first Cornish site: Cornwall-based baker Warrens Bakery has targeted a total of 1,000 shops in the next ten years. Mark Sullivan, chief executive of owner Provenance Brands, said openings would focus on the “Great British Bake Off end of the market” rather than taking on rival baker Greggs head to head. Sullivan said Cornwall’s oldest pasty company had become “lacklustre” until Provenance Brands acquired it a few years ago. Read More
Soho House eyes San Francisco outpost: Soho House is set to take over the San Francisco Armory, a roughly 200,000 square foot building in the Mission. The historic property was built as an arsenal for the United States National Guard in 1912, later becoming a sports venue in the 1940s. It later provided interior shots in The Empire Strikes Back. The building was registered as a historical landmark in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. “The Moorish castle-inspired building is zoned for urban mixed-use, which is a perfect fit for Soho House's typical potpourri of restaurants, workspaces, spas and bedrooms,” reports the San Francisco Business Times. ”If approved, San Francisco would be Soho's eighth North American outpost.” Bridgepoint delays Pret A Manger New York float: Private equity firm Bridgepoint looks to be waiting for an improvement to market conditions before floating Pret A Manger on the New York stock market. Bridgepoint, which bought Pret in 2008, hired advisers back in May to explore a listing this year. It was suggested the sandwich chain’s valuation could hit £1.5bn on Wall Street. But it now looks unlikely that it will list before the new year. A spokesman for Bridgepoint however Read More
Patrick Dardis – Young’s has ‘no intention’ of rolling-out Smiths of Smithfield, will ‘invest up to £800,000 in site’: Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis has told Propel the company’s new acquisition, Smiths of Smithfield, will “slot in its estate perfectly” as a high-quality standalone site with “no intention of rolling the brand out”. He said: “It’s like our Guinea of Mayfair site on steroids.” Dardis added that wet sales made up 50% of sales at the flagship site and the company had experience of selling high-quality steak. The company stated: “Smiths of Smithfield is a perfect fit with our premium food and drink offering and will immediately become our largest venue with an average weekly take of more than £100,000. Smiths of Smithfield and the Cannon Street site are both leasehold properties, with 32 years and 24 years tenure remaining respectively, and we are confident their focus on world-class steak, breakfast and craft beer will perfectly complement our existing estate.” Smiths of Smithfield opened 17 years ago and Dardis, who reported the sites were acquired in an off-market deal, said the site was ready for investment over its five floors with up to £800,000 earmarked for the work. Dardis said Read More
MeatLiquor to convert chicken-focused Brixton restaurant into main brand: MeatLiquor has started to convert its chicken-focused site in Brixton into its main brand. ChickenLiquor, which is located in Brixton Market, will reopen on Thursday, 23 November following a refurbishment to convert it into a MeatLiquor venue offering the brand’s full menu. MeatLiquor co-founder and managing director Scott Collins said: “We are constantly updating our venues and offering to make sure they never get tired – now it’s ChickenLiquor’s turn. With art created by I Love Dust and shiny new grills, the venue will be given a loving facelift. Once reopened, the venue will be a fully functioning MeatLiquor.” Collins founded MeatLiquor with Yianni Papoutsis in 2011, initially operating from a burger van. It opened its first permanent site shortly after and there are now 14 sites across the UK, including two Deliveroo-only venues, in Canary Wharf and Battersea. Pergola team reopens west London pub as 800-capacity venue with bar, ‘woodland garden’ and four restaurants: Incipio Group, the company behind street food pop-up Pergola, has launched an 800-capacity venture in West Brompton, west London, which features two bars, four restaurants and a “woodland garden”. The Prince, formerly Victorian pub The Prince Read More
Moody Burgers to launch £250,000 crowdfunding campaign as it looks to expand across UK: Burger restaurant and delivery concept Moody Burgers is set to launch a £250,000 crowdfunding campaign as it seeks to expand across the UK. The company, which currently operates two sites – in Swindon and Worcester – is preparing to raise the funds on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and will offer 25% equity in return for the investment. Moody Burgers was launched last year after spotting a gap in the market to deliver Californian-inspired burgers. The funds will be used to build sites and invest in marketing activity to help grow its brand and sales a “lot quicker”. The company opened its first site in Swindon in September 2016, followed by the Worcester outlet in March this year. It quickly outgrew its Swindon site and moved to a new 80-cover venue in the Wiltshire town in September that also offers a range of almost 50 cocktails and craft beers. Moody Burgers said that since relocating, deliveries had risen 20%. Moody Burgers has generated sales to date through its website of £200,000 and delivered more than 25,000 burgers. Operations manager Rich Leftwich said: “Our new, larger site in Swindon Read More
Pret signs US and Europe transport hub deal with Autogrill Autogrill has signed an agreement with Pret A Manger that will Pret sites opened in major airports in North America and in airports and railway stations in Europe, including The Netherlands and Denmark. Under the agreement, Autogrill Group will manage the new North American openings through its subsidiary HMSHost, while operations in Europe will be run by HMSHost International. The first two Pret shops will be opened in the Copenhagen Airport at the beginning of 2018, followed by the opening of another in The Netherlands. “This agreement with Pret enables us to bring one of the world’s most successful brands into more airports and train stations. This will contribute to enriching our portfolio of over 300 brands with a one-of-a kind offering,” said Autogrill chief marketing officer Ezio Balarini. “We’re happy with this important, new partnership with Pret, a brand which shares our vision of the business in terms of sustainable approach, food quality, freshness and innovation.” Pret partnership director Michael Haley added: “Pret’s menu of freshly-made nutritious food to go is perfect for busy travellers. We’re already present in numerous transport hubs in the UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai Read More
Loungers to take over Prezzo site in Moseley: Cafe brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, is set to take over a Prezzo site in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley. Prezzo is leaving the site in Alcester Road only 16 months after arriving due to competition from PizzaExpress, which opened next door but one in September 2016. Prezzo, which launched two months beforehand following the conversion of a former Halfords Autocentre, is scheduled to close early in the new year. The site is set to be taken over by Loungers, which has submitted a licensing application to Birmingham City Council. A Prezzo source told the Birmingham Mail the site had been sold and it was likely it would close in February with staff dispersed to other sites, including Harborne and Shirley, where the company is also in direct competition with PizzaExpress. Loungers, which operates the Lounges and Cosy Club brands, has a number of sites in the area, in Mere Green, Harborne, Kings Heath, Shirley and Wylde Green. Graffiti Spirits Group outlines expansion plans outside Liverpool as it reveals further details of new city food market: Graffiti Spirits Group has outlined plans for further expansion outside its Liverpool heartland Read More
Wok&Go to open 25th site next week as it adds third Liverpool outlet: UK noodle bar brand Wok&Go, which is undertaking a £500,000 crowdfunding campaign, will open its 25th site next week as it adds to its Liverpool footprint. The company will open the outlet on Wednesday (15 November) at the Liverpool ONE complex – its third venue in the city. Its other two sites in the city, which Wok&Go said were among its busiest branches, are in Bold Street and next to Liverpool Central station. Wok&Go is aiming to raise £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a flagship store in London and plans to open another 13 sites in the next year. The company, founded by Des Pheby, is offering a 5.26% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Since opening in Chester in 2008, we have grown into a distinct brand-led fusion food chain, blending the best from Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. We are now raising funds to open a London flagship store, which will not only provide a new source of revenue but support expansion of the concept locally and internationally by increasing brand awareness. Revenue in FY17 was £7.4m, Read More
Hard Rock Cafe UK reports turnover and profit, plans new Piccadilly Circus site: Hard Rock Cafe UK has reported a dip in turnover and profit but plans to open a new London cafe, in Piccadilly Circus, next year. The company, which operates three sites – in London, Manchester and Glasgow – saw turnover fall to £21,776,000 for the year ending 25 December 2016 compared with £22,325,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit dropped to £3,461,000, compared with £4,779,000 the year before. Food and beverage sales were down to £13,764,000, compared with £14,059,000 the previous year, while merchandise revenue fell to £8,012,000 compared with £8,266,000 the year before. Restaurant average spend increased to £25.56 from £24.51, while retail average spend rose to £31.10 from £29.05. Restaurant transactions fell to 548,286 from 594,211 and retail transactions were down to 266,226 from 293,848, which the company said was mainly driven by a drop in the number of visitors following the Paris (November 2015) and Brussels (March 2016) terrorist attacks. The company declared and paid a dividend during the year to its immediate parent, Hard Rock International, of £14,000,000 on 29 April 2016 (£5.60 per share). The company Read More
Liberation Group buys eight SA Brain pubs in England: Liberation Group, the owner of Butcombe Brewery, has bought eight English pubs owned and operated by Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain to add to the Butcombe estate for an undisclosed sum. The pubs make up most of the pubs that SA Brain has owned and operated in England. The eight pubs are six managed sites – consisting of the Smoking Dog in Malmesbury, Bear in Cirencester, Bowl in Almondsbury (includes 11 bedrooms), Ostrich in Bristol, Jubilee in Flax Bourton and White Horse in Buckover – and two tenanted pubs – Langford in Lower Langford and Old Station in Hallatrow. Seven are freehold and one is leasehold. Butcombe has more than doubled its pub estate over the last year and Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther told Propel the company was keen to make further group acquisitions. He added Butcombe would be adding three more managed pubs to its portfolio, which were all individual acquisitions, which would take the total number of pubs to 46. Butcombe is also investing in the Butcombe Brewery, expanding its range of beers, and upgrading infrastructure with a new distribution depot and kegging & bottling line. Read More
Refurbishment of Corney & Barrow sites has led to 25% sales uplift, says Bowmark Capital boss: Ron Pearson, partner at Bowmark Capital, which backs premium bar and restaurant operator Drake & Morgan, has said there has been a 25% uplift in sales since refurbishment of the Corney & Barrow Wine Bars estate began. Drake & Morgan bought out the 11-strong company last year, disposing of two sites and rebranding as C&B Bars. Pearson told the Propel Multi Club Conference the acquisition had “transformed” the Drake & Morgan estate. He said: “The thing that attracted us to C&B was the sites were very well located and well invested, it’s just C&B had dropped behind the competition. Some of the sites we didn’t consider highly attractive so we are still in the process of transforming them and so far we’re in excess of 25% uplift in sales following those refurbishments.” Asked what the future held for the combined estate, Pearson said: “We have further to go in the redevelopment of the C&B Bars estate, we’ve currently done five, there are a couple that are going to be invested in, in early 2018, and we’re continuing the roll-out – focusing certainly in the Read More
Yum! Brands reports strong sales growth for KFC and Pizza Hut in the UK: Yum! Brands has reported strong sales growth for its KFC and Pizza Hut brands in the UK for the third quarter to 30 September 2017. Pizza Hut system sales in the UK grew 14% in the quarter and have increased 7% so far this year. The UK accounts for 5% of Pizza Hut’s system sales globally. Meanwhile, KFC system sales in the UK grew 9% in the quarter and have grown 7% so far this year. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales increased 4%, with US like-for-like sales flat – system sales worldwide increased 7%. Operating profit increased 14% to $260m, driven by refranchising and like-for-like sales growth. KFC opened 291 international restaurants in 51 countries, including 249 units in emerging markets during the period. Pizza Hut sales were up 3% globally, with like-for-likes increasing 1%. US system sales, which account for 48% of global sales, were down 1%. Pizza Hut opened 192 international restaurants in 47 countries during the period, including 144 units in emerging markets. Operating margin increased 7.2% driven by refranchising, partially offset by higher Read More
Roger Payne enters private members’ market with acquisition of Blacks Club in Soho: Restaurateur Roger Payne, the man behind celebrity hangouts Gilgamesh and Shaka Zulu, has entered the private members’ market by acquiring Blacks Club in Soho from a private investor. The purchase comprises the long leasehold of 25-year-old Blacks, which includes two restaurants, bars and an art gallery. Payne is understood to have paid about £500,000 for the club and will plough a further £500,000 into refurbishing the bars and revamping menus. Membership at the Dean Street venue costs £500 a year. Payne told the Evening Standard: “There are challenges in the dining sector but I believe customers are still willing to spend on individuality. There is a queue for membership.” Jonathan Moradoff, of agent Davis Coffer Lyons, which advised Payne on the deal, added: “There is still enormous demand for leisure sites in Dean Street because of the critical mass of trendy restaurants and bars.” In July, Payne acquired authentic American barbecue restaurant chain Chicago Rib Shack in a pre-pack administration for a consideration of £210,500 plus 50% of the rent deposits for the company’s five sites. C2 Investment increases shareholding in Lancaster Brewery, reports drop in pre-tax Read More
Charles Wells boss – Little Gem JV gives us scale and expertise needed to accelerate Apostrophe: Charles Wells chief executive Justin Phillimore has told Propel its joint venture with Little Gem Country Dining will give it the scale and expertise it needs as it steps up acceleration of its Apostrophe Pubs division. Phillimore said the deal, which has also seen Charles Wells take a stake in Little Gem, would also allow the team behind Pizza, Pots and Pints to concentrate solely on developing that part of the business. Phillimore also said he expected the three current Little Gem sites to continue to be run under that format. “We've been looking to develop a few more Apostrophe sites but what we had was relatively sub-scale,” said Phillimore. “We’ve been looking at ways we can get some scale and food-led expertise into the business. Steve Wilkins (who runs Little Gem with Rachel Slater) fitted that bill from that perspective and we’ve got two of our pubs with him. It made every sense to team up so that’s what we’ve done. While Apostrophe has been going well, we didn’t feel we had quite the right team for Apostrophe. With Steve now leading that Read More
All Star Lanes to open first new-generation concept within Westfield’s £600m development, plans several more sites by 2020: Bowling alley business All Star Lanes will open its first new-generation concept at Westfield London. The new 16,910 square foot boutique bowling venue will feature two art deco-inspired cocktail lounges, ten state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a private event room, and a heated outdoor terrace. The design will set a benchmark for several more new-generation sites for the brand that are due to open across the UK by 2020. The new concept will feature large speakeasy-style cocktail bars, luxurious leather booths, private karaoke rooms, and restaurants serving homemade American comfort food. The new site, which is due to open in March, is part of Westfield London’s £600m expansion, making it the largest retail, dining and leisure destination in Europe just ten years after it launched. The venue will be directly beneath the 230,000 square foot flagship John Lewis store and overlook a newly created outdoor entertainment space. All Star Lanes managing director Christian Rose said: “The stunning Westfield London venue represents a new chapter for All Star Lanes and will act as the benchmark for several more across the UK before 2020. With the Read More
Bistrot Pierre reports 32% increase in turnover, all new sites meeting expectations: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre has reported turnover increase 32% to £25,760,000 in the year to 30 June 2017. Gross profit increased 32% to £9,530,000, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Bistrot Pierre, led by Robert Beacham, stated: “Despite the significant increase in overheads during the year, earnings before pre-opening costs, depreciation and amortisation has been maintained at £1,809,581 (2016: £1,885,141).” The company opened five new sites – in Weston-super-Mare, Birmingham, Altrincham, Mumbles and Mere Green – during the year and another in Kidderminster on 30 June. “All new sites opened during the year have traded in-line with, or ahead of, the directors’ expectations while customer feedback remained overwhelmingly positive,” the company stated. On 17 August this year the company secured another £3m of funding that will be used to open new restaurants in line with the strategic plan. Since the year-end, a site has opened in Middlesbrough and new sites in Southport and Preston have been secured. The company made a pre-tax loss of £897,327 in the year compared with profit of £33,972 the year before. The number of employees during the period increased to Read More
Steve Easterbrook – McDonald’s in the UK having ‘great success’ with pub-style burger, delivery very promising: McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook has hailed the success of the company’s Signature range of burgers in the UK. He said: “The UK is having great success in their modernised restaurants with their version of Signature beef, inspired by the English pub burgers with thick, juicy beef and beechwood-smoked bacon, piled high with freshly-prepared toppings on a brioche-style bun.” Of delivery progress, he stated: “We made significant progress with expanding delivery of scale throughout our markets. Over the course of the past nine months, we’ve introduced delivery in more than 5,000 restaurants across 20 countries. Along with the 3,500 restaurants in existing delivery markets across Asia and the Middle East, we now offer delivery in more than 20% of McDonald’s restaurants around the world. We continue to improve the model as we scale, remaining on track to offer delivery in 10,000 total restaurants by the end of the year. We’re taking learnings from our top-performing delivery markets and spreading the best approaches around the world. We remain confident delivery will be a powerful accelerator for our business as we look at markets where it’s Read More
Stevie Parle to open Carnaby pasta restaurant next week for fifth site: Stevie Parle, who operates London restaurants Dock Kitchen, Rotorino, Craft London and Sardine, is to open a pasta restaurant in Carnaby next week for his fifth site in the capital. Pastaio will open on the site of the former Asian fusion noodle bar Cha Cha Moon in Ganton Street on Monday, 30 October. Pastaio is Italian for someone who makes pasta by hand and the venue will be dedicated to the ingredient made freshly on-site. Dishes will include grouse, rabbit and pork agnoli alongside small bites such as a fried mozzarella sandwich and anchovy-stuffed pepperoncini. The 70-cover restaurant will also offer three communal terrazzo tables and feature colourful murals designed to make diners “feel like you’re on holiday in Bologna”. It is being designed by Tom Dixon Studios, which has been involved in all Parle’s restaurants. Lasan chef-director to step down: Birmingham-based restaurant group Lasan has announced chef-director Aktar Islam is stepping down to pursue other opportunities in the industry. Business partner Jabbar Khan launched Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter in 2002 with £11,000 in his pocket. Since then, the group has expanded into an £8m business, which Read More
Bistrot Pierre confirms next two openings: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre has confirmed its next two sites as it continues its UK expansion. The company has secured a site in Coventry while it will open in Southport next month. The new Coventry bistrot is due to open in summer 2018, located at Cathedral Lanes shopping centre, and will have space for 124 diners. Meanwhile, Bistrot Pierre will open its Southport restaurant on Friday, 17 November. The venue in Lord Street will have capacity for 140 customers. Rob Beacham, who founded the group with school friend John Whitehead in 1994, said: “We’ve had Coventry and Southport on our radar for quite some time. Both have seen considerable investment recently and we’re delighted to be supporting their growth and bringing our offering to the food and drink sectors there.” Shearer Property Group, the developer for Cathedral Lanes, worked with Bistrot Pierre to secure the deal for the unit in Coventry while Southport’s Jenics secured the premises in Lord Street. Bistrot Pierre, which currently operates 21 sites, received £9.8m from private equity firm Livingbridge in 2015 to support its expansion plans. Sites in the pipeline include Preston and Worthing. Be At One Read More
Carluccio’s launches apprenticeship programme: Carluccio’s has teamed up with HIT Training to launch an apprenticeship programme across its restaurants in England. The training programme, which will support more than 80 apprentices each year, will develop and train staff to equip them with the skills to carve out a long-standing career in hospitality. The course consists of 80% learning on the job and 20% online work and participation in specialist masterclasses. The training has been designed to fit the culture, demands and requirements of being a Carluccio’s team member. With the support of HIT, the restaurant chain is offering staff the choice of three, year-long apprenticeships covering hospitality team member food production (level 2); hospitality team member food and beverage service (level 2) and hospitality supervisor (level 3). Carluccio’s training consultant Suzie Brown said: “We understand that to get the best from our team we need to support them to develop the skills they need to build a career that is right for them. By launching our apprenticeship programme with HIT Training, we want to create as many opportunities as possible to keep our talented team with us and in the hospitality sector as a whole.” HIT Training managing director Jill Read More
Comptoir Group sells central processing unit for £2.69m: Comptoir Group has sold its central processing unit for £2.69m. The company said the sale, which was made at a property auction, is expected to complete before the end of the year. The sale price was before costs associated with the transaction. The company stated: “The sale of the central processing unit was highlighted to shareholders in the placing announcement released by the company on 28 September. The company will notify shareholders when the sale completes. The company will use funds raised from the sale for general working capital purposes and to assess further new restaurant opportunities.” Comptoir Group raised £4m via the share placing, which will fund four new sites. Last month, Comptoir Group reported trading had “stabilised”. It reported revenue increased 36.1% to £13.1m in the half year to 30 June, compared with £9.6m the year before. Gross profit was up 36.4% to £9.5m, compared with £7m the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was down 81% to £0.2m, compared with £1m the year before. Sharp’s Brewery reports turnover and profit boost as ‘sales to large pub and restaurant chains increase’: Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported Read More
Darwin & Wallace secures sixth site, in Wimbledon: Bar group Darwin & Wallace, which is backed by Imbiba, has secured its sixth site, in Wimbledon, south west London. The company will open the venue in The Broadway, adjacent to the tube and railway station, in the spring. The new site will feature an all-day casual bar dining experience with a menu of cocktails and drinks plus locally sourced food. The site’s design will celebrate its locality and residential neighbourhood and feature a terrace for year-round alfresco dining. The space will take inspiration from the Danish “hygge” phenomenon. Managing director Mel Marriott said: “After a long hunt for the perfect spot for Darwin & Wallace in Wimbledon, I am delighted to have finally found this wonderful space, centrally located and adjacent to the station in the midst of Wimbledon’s vibrant town centre. The large external terrace will be an excellent year-round feature and we are extremely excited to bring our passion for great food and drink and unique interiors to this gorgeous leafy London village.” In its sixth year, the group first opened No 11 Pimlico Road in 2012, followed by No 32 The Old Town in 2014, No 1a Duke Read More
Comptoir Libanais opens first international site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its first overseas site, in the Netherlands. The company has partnered with HMSHost to open the franchise operation in the city of Utrecht. The restaurant is based in the Stadskamer building in Stationsplein. Comptoir Libanais founder Tony Kitous said: “This is one of my proudest moments since I landed in London 29 years ago. I never imagined one day we would go international. It is an honour for us to be working with HMSHost, our partner in Holland, and serving the shoppers Lebanese and Middle Eastern food as well as spreading the love of our generous culture.” Comptoir Libanais operates 20 sites and is due to open a restaurant at the new Westgate development in Oxford. Shoryu Ramen to open 11th site, next week in Shoreditch: Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, will open its 11th site next week, in Shoreditch, east London. The company will open the 40-cover venue on Monday, 23 October in Great Eastern Street offering its signature hakata tonkotsu ramen, shoryu buns, cocktails and Gekkeikan Royal Warrant Read More
Burning Night Group to turn Southport pub into £1m combined Potting Shed and FirePit venue: Bar company Burning Night Group is to turn The Sandgrounder pub in Southport into a joint Potting Shed bar and FirePit smokehouse following a £1m investment. The 14,000 square foot pub in Lord Street will be transformed into a Potting Shed bar and garden on the ground floor and FirePit Smokehouse and Sports Bar on the upper level, including an outdoor terrace. The venture will be the first time Burning Night Group has combined the two brands. Potting Shed features an outdoors-to-indoors garden theme and specialises in craft beers, cocktails, artisan spirits and homemade food. FirePit features US food and decor and a custom-built Airstream-style aluminium caravan for private dining. Director Allan Harper told the Liverpool Echo: “Lord Street is a great destination for shopping and leisure so when we were looking for somewhere to house our newest Potting Shed and FirePit it was the obvious choice. This building has so much potential and being able to add a roof terrace is a bonus. We invest heavily in our bars because we enjoy creating something different.” Burning Night Group operates five Potting Shed sites and Read More
Pret A Manger trials hydroponic fridge and filtered water stations as it opens third Veggie Pret: Pret A Manger has launched its third Veggie Pret, in Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, which features a hydroponic fridge and a filtered water station with reusable glass bottles. The store offers two sizes of reusable glass bottles for £3.99 (250ml) and £4.99 (500ml), displayed next to the bottled water, giving customers the choice to refill a bottle free rather than buying a new plastic one each time. The system will also be available in Pret’s Manchester stores from Tuesday, 31 October as part of a trial to see if they encourage customers to switch from single-use plastic water bottles. Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee said in his blog: “Pret has always tried to lead on food waste and we are making inroads on the problem of packaging waste by reducing where we can and making more of it recyclable. Plastic bottles present a real challenge and there are two schools of thought within Pret – the passionate environmentalists say stop selling them altogether while the pragmatists say make it as easy as you can for customers to use fewer plastic bottles. We are Read More
Bella Italia launches leadership programme to encourage internal career progression: Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia has launched a “leadership academia programme” with the aim of filling 70% of its restaurant managerial positions internally. The scheme will enable a clear career path from team member to general manager. The programme is divided into three tiered stages – Stepping Up, for staff looking to become managers and chefs to sous chefs; Emerging Leaders for sous chefs and supervisors looking to step up to head chef and assistant manager; and Future Leaders for assistant managers and head chefs looking to become general managers. Each stage has bespoke learning modules with participants required to attend external workshops away from the restaurant, with the onus on individuals driving their own learning. Bella Italia HR director Wayne Morgan said: “Attracting and retaining quality people in an ever-shrinking pool of talent is a challenge all operators currently face. We want to promote a career in hospitality and show it’s possible to work your way up from floor to management.” Bella Italia already has more than 170 employees training in the programme. Hakassan Group closes Michelin-starred HKK to focus on global expansion: UK-based nightclub and restaurant company Hakkasan Read More
Gusto eyes three new sites in southern England in next 18 months following Chislehurst opening: Premium casual dining restaurant brand Gusto, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has revealed it aims to open three new sites in the south of England in the next 18 months. Having established itself across the north west, Yorkshire, Midlands and Scotland, Gusto opened its first London-based restaurant in Chislehurst this summer – its 18th site in total. The company has now started a search for further sites inside the M25 and surrounding south east region. Managing director Sue Crimes said: “2017 has been incredibly exciting year for Gusto and we are thrilled to be moving into new areas. We see real opportunity to grow our brand in the London area and south east and aim to open three further Gusto restaurants in the region in the next 18 months. We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response to our Chislehurst venue. It’s a great location for our clientele and at the heart of a growing food and drink scene in the area. We have always intended to grow our presence in the region and, over the past few months, have visited a number of Read More
Gail’s parent company appoints advisors to consider options: Gail’s Bakery’s parent company Bread Holdings has appointed KPMG to advise on options for the company. A sale of the group, which also comprises Bread Factory, is not thought to be imminent, but sources in the private equity industry expect an auction to get underway next year. Some industry-watchers said Bread Holdings could command a price tag as high as £200m, reports Sky News If a sale occurs it would be the latest in a long line of paydays for sector investor Luke Johnson from hospitality businesses. He made a fortune from the expansion of PizzaExpress, and has owned casual dining chains such as Strada and Patisserie Valerie, which he floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2014. Risk Capital Partners, Johnson’s private equity vehicle, holds a big stake in Bread Holdings, alongside the bakery group’s management, including chief executive Tom Molnar. Molnar founded the business with Ran Avidan, naming it after Gail Mejia, who was a supplier of premium bread to restaurants. Its first site opened in Hampstead, north London, in 2005. The company, which now trades from nearly 40 Gail’s-branded outlets, has grown significantly since Johnson invested in 2011. Its Read More
Benugo sales move through £100m barrier: 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 13% to £100,100,000 in the year to 31 December 2016 thanks to the full-year benefit of contracts won in 2015 and new sites opened in 2016. The company saw profit before tax drop slightly to £5,482,000 from £5,924,000 the year before. The company reported a total of £20,118,000 in tax borne or collected by Benugo, compared with £18,063,000 the year before. It 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.” The company staff count grew to 1,030 from 1,004 the year before. Benugo’s immediate parent company is Westbury Street but the ultimate controlling party is Alastair Storey, who controls the ultimate parent company Cheadle Developments. London restaurant operator Balans reports turnover boost: London-based restaurant operator Balans, led by David Taylor, has reported growth in turnover for the year to 31 December 2016. Turnover rose 19% to £10,413,518 from £8,420,643 as the company added Read More
Bird reports like-for-likes up 24%, fourth consecutive quarter of £1m-plus turnover: London-based fried chicken restaurant group Bird has reported like-for-likes were up 24% in the three months ending 2 October with turnover of more than £1m for the fourth consecutive quarter. Continuing the trend in the first half of 2017, the company said the growth continued to be spread evenly across its four London sites, with the group seeing like-for-like sales increase 18% for 2017 to date. Bird’s three-year-old Shoreditch site posted like-for-likes of more than 8% in the third quarter, while its Islington site benefited from a strong summer with like-for-likes for the three months up 24%. The company’s Camden venue saw the biggest increase, with like-for-likes up 30%. Meanwhile, the group’s Westfield Stratford site passed its one-year anniversary last month, moving into positive like-for-likes of more than 20%. Managing director and co-founder Paul Hemings told Propel he saw the group’s performance as “incredibly positive” and “pay-off for our team’s hard work to get to this point”. Hemings said the group’s in-store sales had continued to significantly outpace the growth of delivery sales, with deliveries falling as an overall percentage for the third consecutive quarter. Hemings added he believed Read More
Pret A Manger reveals location of third Veggie Pret, first ‘new’ site: Pret A Manger is to launch its third Veggie Pret, in Exmouth Market next week. The venue will open on Wednesday, 11 October and will be the first “new” Veggie Pret rather than the conversion of an existing Pret A Manger store. Ahead of the opening, the company has launched a new menu at its other Veggie Prets, in Soho and Shoreditch. Additions include a vegan beans and avocado power pot; a sweet potato, coconut and cashew flatbread; and a halloumi, red pepper and basil toastie. There is also an Italian Veggie Baguette that includes slices of mozzarella, red pepper, Kalamata olives, fresh whole-leaf basil, and a vegetable and lentil sauce. The Veggie Pret concept began life as a poll on Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee’s blog in 2015 after he spotted the growth of vegetarian products at the company’s stores. A pop-up site launched in Soho in June 2016, which became permanent a few months later with sales at the store in Broadwick Street jumping 70% year-on-year. A second Veggie Pret opened in Shoreditch in April this year. Earlier this summer, Pret A Manger launched Read More
Costa Coffee franchisee Sim Trava slips to pre-tax loss despite turnover increase: Costa Coffee franchisee Sim Trava has slipped to a pre-tax loss despite seeing an increase in turnover. The Altrincham-based company, which operates 30 Costa Coffee sites and two Pita Pit venues, saw turnover rise to £11,525,431 for the year ending 1 January 2017 compared with £10,114,376 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Sim Trava reported a pre-tax loss of £234,210 compared with a profit of £76,445 the previous year, due to “significant increases” in labour and administrative costs. The company opened four new Costa Coffee stores during the period – in Houghton Le Spring, Openshaw, Neston, and Stretford – while gross margin increased 1% to 65%. The company stated: “Turnover for the business in the next financial year is expected to grow again due to further store openings with there being a further four stores opening in 2017. However there has been a significant increase in labour and administrative costs resulting in the group generating a loss of £230,827 compared with a profit in the previous year of £59,165. The main reason for the increased cost base in the business is the investment in Read More
Comptoir Group raises £4m through share placing to fund four new sites: Comptoir Group reports it has raised £4m via a placing of 26,666,667 new shares at a price of 15p per share to fund four new sites. The company said the shares had been conditionally placed by Cenkos Securities, as agent for Comptoir Group, with the board, institutional and other investors. The placing will fund the opening of two new restaurants before the end of the current financial year and a further two sites in 2018. Non-executive chairman Richard Kleiner said: “The company announced within its interim results on 15 September it required further funds to meet its financing needs associated with the opening of two new sites before the end of the current financial year. I am pleased to be able to report the company has raised the minimum of £2m financing and, in addition, a further £2m to target further openings in 2018. I am pleased to report the company has continued to see during September the stronger trading the group experienced in July and August and the board retains its confidence of achieving expectations for the full 2017 financial year.” Black Sheep Brewery restructures business in Read More
Bodean’s signs with Feed It Back: American barbecue diner-deli brand Bodean’s has signed up with Feed It Back, the EPOS-linked guest feedback service. Feed It Back is the only guest feedback system that integrates in real time with Comtrex EPOS system, among others, enabling feedback questions to be personalised to the guest’s visit. Bodean’s operations manager Bjorn Berkemeijer told Propel: “We are always working to refine our offering to make it more relevant to our guests and we want to understand guest preferences by age, gender, spend, group size and other factors. We also want to ask guests for their opinions on our new menu ideas and Feed It Back is perfect for this. We will invite guests to access Feed It Back via our website, invite our loyal customers to access Feed It Back via social channels and make use of Feed It Back’s tablet app with guests at menu launches and other events.” Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia added: “Bodean’s wants to make the best possible use of data to optimise the guest experience and make its brand stand out in a crowded market. Our job is to put that data at their fingertips and our Read More
Carluccio’s chief financial officer to step down, Stephen Critoph appointed on interim basis: Carluccio’s chief financial officer Jonathan Blanchard is to step down at the end of the month. Blanchard joined the company in September last year from cycle retailer Evans. Stephen Critoph, formerly of The Restaurant Group, has joined Carluccio’s as interim chief financial officer while a replacement is found. Carluccio’s chief executive Neil Wickers said: “Jonathan Blanchard is leaving Carluccio’s at the end of September to pursue a new opportunity outside the sector. Jonathan has been a valued member of the team and has made significant improvements to the business. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contribution and wish him all the very best for the future. Stephen Critoph has joined Carluccio’s as interim chief financial officer until a permanent replacement is found. Stephen is a skilled finance professional with extensive experience in the hospitality sector, most recently as chief financial officer of The Restaurant Group, where he saw the business grow from 200 to more than 500 restaurants.” Oliver to launch Jamie’s Deli in Asia with Hong Kong opening: Jamie Oliver will bring his Jamie’s Deli brand to Asia with the Read More
Piri Piri Express to quadruple number of sites in 12 months following Know Collection investment: Merseyside-based Piri Piri Express is to quadruple its number of sites in the next 12 months following investment from Liverpool-based operator Know Collection. Piri Piri Express, which focuses on chicken with Portuguese spices alongside ribs, burgers, starters and desserts, has takeaway and delivery stores in Aintree, Magull and Southport and has mapped out expansion into towns and cities across the UK. Steven Hesketh, chief executive of Liverpool-based Know Collection, said: “Convenience, speed and great taste are at the core of what every millennial wants – and Piri Piri Express epitomises what is great about this type of offering. It’s a period of exponential growth for Know Collection and Piri Piri Express was a natural choice when it came to taking a burgeoning business and helping it flourish.” Piri Piri Express was founded three years ago by Paulo Alves. He said: “If you were to take the trajectory of what we’ve done in the past three years and fast-forward, that would not be misleading in terms of what we want to do in the next five years. It’s a line of good, consistent growth.” Know Collection Read More
SSP Group to roll-out Paul Hollywood’s Knead concept as ‘opportunities arise’: UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP will roll-out its bakery concept Knead, launched in partnership with celebrity baker Paul Hollywood, as and when “opportunities arise”. Speaking at the launch of the debut Knead at London’s Euston station, SSP UK chief executive Simon Smith said: “Knead has taken a couple of years to put together and we will look at more opening opportunities as they arise – but we want to learn how this concept sits with customers first. Obviously we want to do more after all the work we’ve put in but we’ve got to get it right before we roll it out.” Smith added there was no reason why Knead wouldn’t work at SSP’s airport sites. Euston Knead will officially open at the end of September, offering hand-crafted barista coffee and Hollywood’s personal breakfast favourites such as bacon butties. The lunch menu will focus on British classics such as hand-made pies with mash and gravy, sausage rolls (sold by the inch), deli sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries and cakes. Hollywood said: “The offer features food I grew up with and ingredients I like. All the recipes are my Read More
Bistrot Pierre to open site at former Baptist church in Preston: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is to open a site in Preston in the spring. In a first for the group, Bistrot Pierre will open the bistrot in a 19th century Baptist church in Fishergate, which has stood in the town centre for almost 160 years. It will be the company’s fourth site in the north west. Rob Beacham, who co-founded the company with John Whitehead in 1994, said: “We’re very excited to be opening in such an incredible space. No two bistrots in France are the same and this is an ethos we endeavour to encapsulate when designing our own bistrots. We ensure each of our restaurants has its own local character and reflects its surroundings. We’ve never opened a bistrot in a church before so I look forward to supporting its restoration and breathing a new lease of life into such a fabulous old building.” The Fishergate bistrot, which will create 50 jobs, will seat more than 200 diners – with space for 164 customers inside and 50 outside. Jenics acted for Bistrot Pierre, which currently operates 22 sites, on the deal. Bistrot Pierre received £9.8m Read More
Pret A Manger to ‘push ahead with float plans’ despite Jollibee interest: Pret A Manger intends to push ahead with its plans for a possible float on the New York Stock Exchange despite the prospect of a multibillion-dollar takeover by Filipino fast food business Jollibee. On Monday (18 September) it was reported Jollibee, known as the “McDonald’s of the Philippines”, had been in talks with advisors about a possible Pret deal. However, City AM reports that Jollibee and Pret have not been in contact with each other. Any offer would value Pret at more than $1bn based on 2016 core earnings of more than £93m. However, it is thought the company’s value would be higher if it floated successfully on the New York Stock Exchange. Jollibee, with a market value of $5.2bn, operates the largest foodservice network in the Philippines with 2,700 restaurant outlets, including its eponymous chain of fast-food stores. In May, Pret A Manger owner Bridgepoint hired JP Morgan and Jefferies to explore a possible flotation in the US. Bridgepoint told City AM it does not comment on market speculation, while Jollibee could not be reached for comment. Earlier this week, Propel learned Pret A Manger will open Read More
Eclectic to start expansion of Smash concept with Wimbledon site: Eclectic Bars, a subsidiary of the Brighton Pier Group, is to launch a second site for its experiential concept Smash, this time in Wimbledon, south west London. Eclectic launched the table tennis, bar and restaurant concept in Reading in May 2016. The new venue will open on the site of the company’s Po Na Na nightclub in The Broadway on Saturday, 30 September offering more than 60 craft beers and ciders, hand-made Italian pizza and four Olympic-standard ping pong tables. The venue will be open daily from midday until late, with 12-inch sharing pizzas made on-site alongside salad, garlic bread and fries. Music will be a mix of retro, indie and non-commercial tracks, while live sports will also be shown. Eclectic Group managing director Lee Nicolson said: “Our first Smash in Reading is proving a huge success, which has given us the confidence to further develop this radically different take on an immersive product. Table tennis is a social sporting activity and we’re taking it back to its roots by bringing it into the entertainment arena. We’ve added great food and drink and a cool, exciting environment to the mix.” Read More
Pret A Manger to open third Veggie site: Pret A Manger is to open its third Veggie site, Propel has learned. The company will open the venue at an undisclosed location in London next month. A spokeswoman said: “We’re pleased to confirm our third Veggie Pret will be opening in London next month. More information will be provided in the next couple of weeks.” Pret launched the concept in Soho in June last year. It was originally meant to operate as a month-long pop-up but was made permanent following huge demand, with sales at the store in Broadwick Street jumping 70% year-on-year. The company opened its second site in Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, in April, with an additional 20 items on the menu including vegan macaroni cheese. This summer, Pret launched a “green fridge” trial at stores across the UK, with fridges containing vegan and vegetarian food only. Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee said at the time: “This approach does carry some risk and we are treading carefully. I’m curious if our veggie menu will appeal more or less to customers when highlighted in a single fridge. Will it attract or deter our regular meat-eaters? We’ll be monitoring Read More
Liberation Group spends £4.3m to acquire four pubs for Butcombe estate: Channel Islands brewer and retailer Liberation Group has acquired four pubs in the West Country for its Butcombe brand. The new acquisitions – The Quarryman’s Arms in Box; The Royal Oak in Prestbury, near Cheltenham; The Horse and Groom in Malmesbury; and The Tavern in Melksham – take the Butcombe estate to 34 pubs. A total of £4.3m was paid for the four pubs, with a combined Ebitda multiple of 6.9 times. The Liberation Group has acquired ten pubs for its Butcombe estate so far in 2017 – a 42% increase in the size of the portfolio in nine months – as the company looks to become the leading brewery and pub estate in the south west. Liberation Group said the new acquisitions meant the Butcombe estate would take on a greater role within its entire 106-strong portfolio of pubs and inns. The Royal Oak is a 16th century free house in the village of Prestbury. The pub, which features in the Michelin Guide and National Geographic’s Top Ten English Pubs, offers log fires, a snug bar and dining room. The Quarryman’s Arms is a 300-year-old former miner’s pub Read More
Tak Tokumine opens flagship Japan Centre: Shoryu Ramen founder Tak Tokumine has opened his flagship Japanese food hall in London’s Panton Street. The 6,000 square foot Japan Centre features a main food hall, three specialist rooms focusing on tea, sake and miso, a 100-cover central courtyard eating area, and demonstration kitchens. The main food hall offers a wide range of fresh, dry and packed goods with a large selection of daily ingredients such as soy sauce, seaweed and freshly milled rice. There is also a Japanese bakery, fruit and vegetable stalls, fresh fish and meat counters, and a homeware section. The demo kitchen offers live demonstrations and a traditional yatai stall, while there are dishes to take away from the main sozai deli counter. Tokumine launched the original Japan Centre near Piccadilly Circus in 1976. He said: “This central location off Leicester Square will be the new home for all things Japanese in London, with our Japanese take on the shop, dine and experience concept. I’m very excited.” Launched in 2012, Shoryu Ramen has seven sites in London and another in Manchester, plus dedicated tonkotsu ramen take-out bar Shoryu Go in Soho and an international site in Japan. Stevie Parle Read More
Zizzi unveils new packaging as it looks to grow out-of-restaurant sales: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi has unveiled new packaging as it looks to grow its share of the out-of-restaurant channel. The packaging suite includes a box for classic and skinny pizzas as well as a deep box for delivery of Zizzi’s signature Rustica pizza. The new suite also contains a versatile small box for starters, sharers and desserts, a bread bag, nibbles pot and a pasta/salad bowl that replicates the restaurant’s own crockery as well as having an insert that can separate hot menu items from cold. Zizzi said the suite enabled “restaurant-quality dining without compromising on taste and appearance” and enabled the company to offer almost all its dine-in menu for takeaway and delivery. Zizzi marketing director Jo Fawcett said: “We recognised the need to invest in all elements of our out-of-restaurant proposition to ensure we are providing the best possible dining experience for our customers. We are now well placed to grow our share of the growing out-of-restaurant channel.” Abbot Grange secured creditor faces £500,000 shortfall despite £2m hotel sales: Coutts, secured creditor of East Midlands-based hotel group Abbot Grange, is facing a shortfall of more than £500,000 in Read More
Rick Stein reports turnover and profit rise: Rick Stein’s restaurant and hotel business has reported a 29% rise in sales to £26.1 million in the year to the end of December, with underlying earnings up 57% to £2.93 million, The Times has reported. Like-for-like sales grew by 5% The company reported outlets opened in Marlborough, Wiltshire and Barnes, southwest London early this year were “proving very popular with customers”. The board said the company had traded strongly in the first half of 2017 with sales up 20% A spokesman told The Times the company had two more restaurants planned for next year and hinted a second London restaurant may open. Soho Coffee Co launches 40th store, targets double-digit openings a year: Soho Coffee Co has opened its 40th store, this time in Gresham Street in the City of London. It is the company’s ninth opening this year during a period of rapid expansion, with Soho Coffee Co stating it is targeting a double-digit number of openings a year. The company has already launched outlets in Cheltenham and Birmingham this year, alongside Baker Street, O2 Centre, Austin Friars, Kingsway, Grosvenor Street and Aldwych in London. Soho Coffee Co managing director Penny Read More
Greene King boss – pub spending hit by rising cost of foreign holidays: A rise in the cost of overseas holidays is likely to constrain consumer spending in pubs, Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand has argued. He said discussions the company had undertaken directly with customers as well as its managers suggested consumers were feeling the pinch after their summer breaks. The fall in sterling has meant spending money doesn’t go as far in euros as it has done in previous years and Anand said he thought this had been a key factor behind soft recent trading, as well as poor weather during the summer. “The types of things customers are saying is it has cost them more to go on holiday and they had taken out more euros than they thought they would have to,” Anand told the Daily Telegraph. Alongside the return to school, which inevitably throws up things such as uniform costs, Anand said consumers were increasingly reluctant to put more money on their credit cards. The chief executive added that while he was not drawing direct parallels with the run-up to the financial crisis in 2008/09, similar patterns were currently playing out. Anand said the Read More
Freshii to open six more restaurants in Ireland by Christmas: Canadian-based health brand Freshii is to open six more restaurants in Ireland before Christmas. The sites include Dame Street, The Point Village, Sandyford and Smithfield in Dublin. The location of two further outlets, which are currently going through planning procedures, will be announced at a later date. Speaking at Ireland’s Convenience Retailer Summit, Freshii founder and chief executive Matthew Corrin said the openings would create 60 jobs. He said: “I’m delighted Freshii has grown so quickly in Ireland. By Christmas we will have close to 20 Freshii outlets across the country, which is a significant achievement by our Irish master franchise owners Dave O’Donoghue and Cormac Manning in just over two years.” O’Donoghue added: “We have a unique and widespread offering for anyone focused on health and wellness. Our extensive menu means anyone can come to Freshii and find something tasty, healthy and energising.” In July, the company extended its partnership in Ireland with forecourt retailer Applegreen and opened its second M1 outlet at Applegreen’s motorway services on the M1 southbound at Lusk on Tuesday (5 September). Freshii offers tossed salads, hot bowls, burritos, poké bowls, healthy wraps, soup, fresh-pressed Read More
Punch commercial and marketing director Neil Macgeorge to step down: Punch Taverns marketing and commercial director Neil Macgeorge is to step down at the end of this week. He joined the company in March 2016 tasked with “leading the drive to put the consumer at the heart of (Punch’s) 3,300 pubs”. His departure follows news that chief executive Duncan Garrood is also stepping down following the sale of Punch to Patron. Macgeorge said: “The scope and scale of what I was brought in to do has obviously changed dramatically so it is the right decision, and timing, to leave.” Macgeorge brought extensive digital, brand, customer relationship management, multichannel and commercial experience to Punch, having worked in leadership roles at a range of blue-chip businesses. He started his career as a graduate management trainee at Unilever. In addition to three years in the strategy discipline of an international management consultancy, he has worked at companies such as KP Foods, Allied Domecq and EE (formerly Orange), where he ran the consumer pay-monthly business for a number of years and was responsible for launching the EE brand and the UK’s first mobile 4G service. McDonald’s to sell bottled McCafé drinks in US supermarkets, Read More
Five Guys signs for Derby site: Better burger brand Five Guys has signed to open a site at Intu’s shopping centre in Derby. The company will open a 2,612 square foot space in December, close to Hollywood Bowl and Paradise Island Adventure Golf. Five Guys head of property Neville Maling said: “Securing a prominent space alongside the city’s best new leisure extension is an important part of our expansion plans. With this exciting leisure offer, 23 million visits each year and 2.2 million catchment population, Intu Derby is the perfect fit for Five Guys.” Intu regional managing director Nick Round added: “We’ve been well placed to support Five Guys’ UK expansion in recent years, with new openings across our national portfolio of shopping centres. The restaurant will perfectly complement the centre’s rapidly growing leisure offer.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, has 72 sites in the UK. It opened its first in Covent Garden in 2013, while last month the company secured a site in Cheltenham that is due to open in October. Showcase Cinemas operator reports lower attendances leading to £3m pre-tax loss: The company that operates Showcase Cinemas Read More
Tim Hortons to open sites in Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast as it accelerates UK expansion: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, has revealed the second phase of its UK roll-out plans as it prepares to open sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this year. The company, which has an outlet in Glasgow, will be opening in Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast over the coming months. The Cardiff site will be at the Queens Arcade shopping centre with Tim Hortons having taken a ten-year lease on a 2,500 square foot unit. The new outlets will offer Tim Hortons’ signature coffee, espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, French vanilla and classic frozen Iced Capp, as well as baked goods and breakfast and lunch offerings. Tim Hortons’ UK roll-out is being led by SK Group, an experienced franchise operator that has already played a major role in the UK expansion of Domino’s Pizza. Kevin Hydes, chief finance and commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in Great Britain, said: “We were blown away by the reception we received in Glasgow, and are delighted to announce the opening of restaurants in Cardiff, Belfast and Manchester. We know there’s a great Read More
Filmore & Union receives £3.5m investment from Business Growth Fund: Filmore & Union, based in the north of England, has received a £3.5m investment from the Business Growth Fund. The company, founded in York five years ago by former recruitment consultant Adele Ashley, will use the cash to expand beyond its 14 sites, which are mainly in Yorkshire. Filmore & Union raised £865,000 through the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube two years ago and made revenue of £3.9m in the 12 months to March. The restaurant chain specialises in selling local produce and gluten-free desserts. The money will be used to expand into the north east and Midlands. As part of the investment, Kevin Bacon, the former managing director of Frankie & Benny’s and Jamie’s Italian, will become chairman. Ashley set up Filmore & Union with £250,000 from savings and the sale of her house. Analysts pour cold water on Whole Foods Market 43% discount: Analysts have claimed prices at Whole Foods Market have ben reduced by less than the 43% headline figure claimed by its new owner Amazon. The price cuts were applied in stores as of last Monday (28 August), following the finalisation of the brand’s acquisition by Amazon. While Read More
Pret A Manger assessing sites for first branch in central Dubai: Pret A Manger is assessing locations for its first branch in central Dubai. The company said it was looking for new, central locations based on the positive reaction it has received to its branch at Dubai International’s Terminal 1. A Pret spokesman told Gulf News: “We’ve received a really fantastic customer response to our first UAE shop at Dubai International and as a result are actually now looking at other more centrally-located sites in Dubai.” The company declined to provide any additional details. Last week, Pret signed its first franchise agreement in the US to open its debut university sites in the country. East Coast Concepts boss predicts buyers’ market: East Coast Concepts chief executive James Hitchen has said he believes a softening of the market will be the key to its future expansion. The company, which owns Neighbourhood and Victor’s, is creating 60 jobs in Leeds with the opening of its third Neighbourhood site. Hitchen said one of the main challenges for growing brands like his is finding prime city centre sites but added that is about to change. He told the Yorkshire Post: “The market is tough Read More
Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee commits to hiring at least 250 new apprentices by end of 2017: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee has launched a major apprentice recruitment drive across the UK, as part of its commitment to offering careers and skill development in hospitality. Costa has committed to hiring at least 250 new apprentices by the end of 2017, all of which will receive the National Living Wage. There are 800 apprentices already in apprenticeships across Whitbread, with many more graduates working throughout the company. The fully-funded apprenticeship scheme, which is run in-house, offers nationally recognised qualifications focusing on wider business management, customer service and communication skills, as well as training in traditional barista skills. Costa said this ensures apprentices are able to progress within the company and the industry more widely, all while learning. Costa apprentice programme manager Russ Hartland-Shaw said: “As a leading UK hospitality business, we want to lead the way in training the next generation of leaders for the hospitality industry. We know our business can only be successful if the communities in which we operate thrive, which is why we are committed to providing a scheme that offers apprentices the right level of support and responsibility, as well Read More
Cinnamon Collection to debut outside of London in Oxford: The Cinnamon Collection, which is owned by Boparan Restaurants, is to open its first restaurant outside of London. The company, which operates The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Bazaar, will open in the new Westgate Centre in Oxford this October. Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford has been designed by DesignLSM. The 110-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant includes a large destination bar on the ground floor, an open-plan kitchen, chef’s table and a semi-private “Pagoda” room. A rooftop terrace seats an additional 40 diners with views of the Oxford spires. Cinnamon Collection chief executive Vivek Singh said: “We are delighted to be opening our first Cinnamon Kitchen in Oxford, the first restaurant for us outside of London. The Westgate Centre is a breathtaking development and Oxford is a beautiful city, rich in culture. I look forward to sharing our unique Cinnamon ethos with residents and visitors alike.” Emma Mees, senior portfolio manager at the Westgate Oxford Alliance, added: “We are thrilled Cinnamon Kitchen has chosen Westgate Oxford as a key location to expand its presence in the UK. We look forward to opening our doors on 24 October and bringing 2017’s Read More
Castle Rock Brewery to open 23rd site next month: Castle Rock Brewery, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub company, will open its 23rd site next month. The company is relaunching the Peggers Inn as the Fox and Grapes on Thursday, 7 September – the original name of the Southwell pub when it opened in 1833. Landlord Danylo Semak said: “We’ll have a varied selection of drinks on offer with cask and craft beers along with spirits, soft drinks, coffees and teas. Our food choices will concentrate on pizza, jacket potatoes and simple fare with an emphasis on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free ingredients.” Meanwhile, Castle Rock Brewery has been chosen to supply the beer and real ale at the newly revamped Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall. The venue closed in July for a £3.3m transformation, which included the remodelling of the theatre’s ground-floor cafe bar and upper floor roof terrace. The bar will reopen under its new name Yarn at the end of September. Earlier this month, Castle Rock Brewery reported a turnover boost despite “patchy sales” at its pubs. The company saw turnover increase 0.9% to £9,570,631 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £9,480,610 the previous year. Read More
Arc Inspirations acquires Wildwood venue in Ilkley for seventh Banyan site: Arc Inspirations has acquired the lease of a site that formerly housed Tasty brand Wildwood in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, for its rapidly expanding flagship brand Banyan Bar & Kitchen. The company said the deal followed a record-breaking three-day exchange. Arc Inspirations plans to reopen the 5,000 square foot site in late October to feature a new bar and restaurant over two floors, creating 35 jobs. The venue will be the seventh Banyan Bar & Kitchen in the north of England. Arc Inspirations chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “I’m proud to have exchanged on this venue in fewer than three days – that’s a record for us. The results we’ve seen in the past 12 months truly demonstrate our vision of ‘nobody does it better’ and I’m looking forward to an even more successful 2018 for Arc Inspirations with more openings planned.” Last month, Arc Inspirations reported record financial results as Ebitda increased 88% to £2.6m and total sales rose 18% to £22.5m. The company also appointed new managing director Anni Opong. Founded in 1999, the company operates 16 bars and restaurants across seven brands grouped into five core markets Read More
Crussh strengthens retail partnerships with Holland & Barrett concession: Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has continued to strengthen its retail partnerships by opening a concession with health food company Holland & Barrett. Crussh has launched the Fit Food & Juice Bar concession within one of Holland & Barrett’s largest stores, in London’s Oxford Street. The vegetarian bar, which is in the front area of the store, provides a range of “fit food”, freshly made raw juices and smoothies, as well as a full smart coffee menu including turmeric lattes and Bulletproof coffee. The store was opened earlier this year and carried the “Holland & Barrett More” branding, indicating its extended offering. Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “We are delighted to open a Crussh Fit Food & Juice Bar in Holland & Barrett in the heart of London. With health and well-being at the core of both businesses, there is a natural synergy between the two brands.” Holland & Barrett head of food Ian Mackie added: “Healthy food to go is a growth area for us across the entire business. When you combine this demand with a high footfall area such as Oxford Street and great products Read More
Iconic West End restaurant Joe Allen reopens at new home: Iconic West End restaurant Joe Allen has reopened at its new home after its original premises was acquired by Hollywood star Robert De Niro, who plans to open a boutique hotel in its place. Much of the original site, which is just off The Strand, has moved to its new location on the corner of Exeter and Burleigh Street, from wood panelling and film posters to the bar and “even the walls and floor”. The menu remains the same – American-style classics such as burgers, pulled pork, steak and salads. Tim Healy and Lawrence Hartley bought Joe Allen, a late-night haunt for West End stars and an exact copy of the original in New York’s 46th Street, in 2012. De Niro will build an 83-bedroom boutique hotel after teaming up with BD Hotels and UK property firm Capco. He will be joint operator of the venue, which will feature a spa, members’ club and two restaurants. De Niro and BD Hotels run the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan. Joe Allen’s sister site, Italian restaurant Orso, closed in July to make way for the development. In the same month, Healy and Hartley Read More
Evans & Peel starts expansion with Chiswick ‘secret bar’: Evans & Peel has started expansion by opening a 1920s prohibition-style bar and restaurant, which is disguised as an old pharmacy in Chiswick, west London. Evans & Peel Pharmacy has opened in Devonshire Road five years after the company launched its Detective Agency bar in Earls Court Road. The “hidden bar” has been styled with vintage furniture, giving guests the feeling they have walked into a 1920s pharmacy, and offers cocktails and 1920s American-style small plates. Guests who ring the doorbell are greeted by “the pharmacist”, with customers who know the secret password escorted into the bar. The low-lit venue features antique surgical equipment and secret drawers offering guests “something new every time”. The cocktail list includes pharmacy-inspired creations from the in-house bar team. Vintage Japanese whiskey and spirits are also on offer alongside wine and champagne. The food menu features grilled cheese sandwiches that arrive in a cigar box with “smoke” seeping from the sides. Online market place BrewBroker looks to ‘disrupt’ brewing industry: BrewBroker, which describes itself as an online market place for the global brewing industry, has said it is looking to “disrupt” the sector as it prepares Read More
Charles Wells opens first Pizza, Pots and Pints city centre site, in Peterborough: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has opened its third Pizza, Pots and Pints site, this time in Peterborough, and its first in a city centre. The company has launched the venue in Queen Street on the former site of Clarkes fine-dining restaurant. Prior to 2013, it had been the brewer’s Grapevine pub. The concept offers artisan pizza and “one-pot comfort food” such as mac and cheese, and cheesy squash casserole ham hock fricassee, alongside Charles Wells beer. The new venue features a cobblestone effect on the ground floor leading through large bi-fold doors to the garden. The opening team consists of Sam Adams and Craig Billington, who have worked with Charles Wells from the launch of the Pizza, Pots and Pints concept. Director Craig Mayes said: “We’re really excited to share our passion of Pizza, Pots and Pints with the people of Peterborough. Sam and Craig have made our pioneering Cambridge and Baldock venues a firm favourite with locals there. We’re sure Peterborough’s foodies and beer fans alike will also delight in what they are bringing to the city.” No1 Lounges to triple number of UK Read More
Novus Leisure begins expansion of Tank & Paddle concept with second City site, third venue set for October launch: London bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has started expansion of its Tank & Paddle concept by opening a second site in the City, in Bishopsgate, following the launch of a debut site in Mincing Lane in November. The concept focuses on hand-stretched pizza and craft tank beer. The new 120-cover restaurant and bar spans 3,500 square feet following the £250,000 refurbishment of a former Rocket Restaurant site. Sales at the Mincing Lane site have risen more than 30% leading Novus to start building an extension to accommodate a further 90 covers and an additional bar. The company said it was already looking to launch a third Tank & Paddle site, in the West End in October. Novus Leisure chief executive Toby Smith said: “We have successfully spread our love of craft beer and everything it stands for, with 3,000 Instagram followers now talking our ‘tanktastic’ language. We therefore look forward to amplifying this triumph by extending our craft culture to Bishopsgate and beyond.” Novus Leisure was founded in 1999 and operates 43 venues including ten Balls Brothers sites. It employs Read More
Seafood Pub Company reports turnover and Ebitda boost: The opening of three new sites has helped boost turnover by 37% at Seafood Pub Company in the year it secured a private equity investment. Seafood Pub Company Holdings posted turnover of £8,025.817 for the 2016 calendar year compared with £5,844,326 the year before. Ebitda increased by 104% to £863,732 from £422,594 the previous year. Pre-tax losses narrowed by 77% to £70,175 over the same period. It made an operating profit of £133,365 compared with an operating loss of £101,348 the year prior. During the year the company opened Roosters Bistro in Higham, the Alma Inn in Laneshawbridge, and Forest in the village of Fence, near Burnley. It also launched The Fleece in Addingham in May and is on the verge of opening the doors to The Inn in the village of South Stainley as part of its expansion into Yorkshire. Penta Capital, which has helped grow La Tasca and EAT, bought a majority stake in Seafood Pub Company in July 2016. The private equity firm arranged an £18m funding package to acquire a majority stake in the business and provide funds for expansion. In their report accompanying the accounts, signed by Read More
Pho opening three new sites in next two months: Vietnamese street food restaurant group is opening three new sites in the next two months. The company has opened a restaurant in Reading at the Atlantis Village development in King’s Street. The venue, which has about 100 covers, is the third Pho restaurant to open this year. The company has now confirmed it will open at the Highcross shopping centre in Leicester in mid-September followed by a site at the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford in October. Pho, founded by Stephen and Juliette Wall in 2005, has 23 sites across the UK having opened its first restaurant in Clerkenwell, London. Cottons secures Vauxhall site: Cottons Caribbean, led by Chris Singam, has secured a site at St George Wharf in Vauxhall, previously trading as Souk, through agent CDG Leisure. The brand currently operates in Camden, Notting Hill and Shoreditch. Salvatore Di Natale of CDG Leisure previously sold the lease for the Shoreditch space earlier this year. David Kornbluth, who advised the landlord on the new letting, said: “Cottons is an exciting brand to work with, well recognised for its array of rums and its ability to provide a great time. We have Read More
Jamie Oliver opens second Gatwick site as he evolves pop-up American diner concept: Jamie Oliver has evolved his pop-up American diner concept in London into his second restaurant at Gatwick airport. Oliver has launched Jamie Oliver’s Diner in the airport’s South Terminal. The restaurant’s website states: “Our little pop-up diner in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue was the first of its kind to open, back in 2013. Designed to be a relaxed, vibrant space that would stick around for just a year, its menu took inspiration from Jamie’s trip to the States, as documented in Jamie’s America. In 2009, Jamie travelled the length and breadth of the country hunting out the best of the best – getting to the heart of great American food. We took some of the bits we knew you’d love and, low and behold, our little pop-up restaurant is still going strong four years later. Now it’s evolved into something bigger and better still with the launch of Jamie Oliver’s Diner in Gatwick’s South Terminal. A hub for excited travellers to come and tuck into some feel-good food before their flight.” The venue, which features comfy booths and stools at the bar, is located in the departures lounge Read More
Dirty Martini reports 3.9% increase in like-for-likes in first half of year: Cocktail bar group Dirty Martini, which is owned by CG Restaurants & Bars, has reported like-for-like sales increased 3.9% in the first six months of 2017. Sales in June were up 6.3%, while the company said Christmas bookings were already up 157% on the same time last year. It accredited the rise to already having secured a number of high-value exclusive hires across the venues. Dirty Martini recently revealed plans for £3.25m of further regional investment. It is preparing for further growth and expansion in 2017, with new acquisitions in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham – bringing the Dirty Martini estate to 11. It reported the Cardiff site had exceeded expectations and generated more than 40,000 pre-booked covers since opening in late October. Dirty Martini chief executive Scott Matthews said: “We are encouraged to see such a strong sales uplift for the first half across all sites. The performance across the existing portfolio is a clear signal of the strength of our brand and the commitment of our team.” The bar group currently operates eight sites across the UK in Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument, St Paul’s, Read More
Winery-owed pub group Hush Heath eyes expansion to 12 sites: Laurence Bowes, operations director of Hush Heath, has told Propel the company is looking to grow its portfolio to about a dozen sites as it taps into the popularity of wine and its unique position as a winery-owned pub group. The company offers a core range of seven wines, plus premium cider brand Jake’s Orchard, from its winery in Kent. It also owns two London pubs, The Bull And The Hide in Devonshire Road and St Bart’s Brewery in Smithfield, and two in Kent, The Goudhurst Inn and The Tickled Trout. Bowes said: “The pubs tap into the popularity of wine. It’s a selling point compared with our competitors that we’re a winery-owned pub group. In London, where there is so much choice, it’s a USP and in Kent the pubs and winery can play off each other’s strengths. As well as selling wine for £10 to £12 a bottle in our shop, we’re selling it for £30 in our pubs so our mark-up is happening on two different levels, and (we own) both those routes to market.” Hush Heath’s hospitality segment turned over £5m in its last financial year, Read More
McDonald’s to add 2,000 restaurants in China in five-year period: McDonald’s will increase its number of stores in China and Hong Kong to 4,500 by the end of 2022, up from 2,500 currently, as part of a strategic partnership with Citic, Citic Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group. Following the 31 July completion of the deal, a new venture set up by Citic, Citic Capital Partners, Carlyle and McDonald’s has become the US restaurant company’s main franchisee on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong for the next 20 years. The new partnership has announced a series of development initiatives for mainland China. Termed “Vision 2022”, the strategy aims to drive double-digit sales growth in each of the next five years by increasing the number of restaurants from 2,500 to 4,500, including delivery hub coverage of more than 75% of restaurants, by the end of 2022, bringing “unparalleled convenience” to Chinese customers. The opening pace of new McDonald’s restaurants in mainland China is expected to progressively ramp up from about 250 per year in 2017 to 500 per year in 2022 under the new partnership. In addition, “Vision 2022” includes plans to increase significantly McDonald’s restaurant portfolio mix in tier Read More
Hands pumps in additional £13.25m at Hand Picked Hotels: Sector investor Guy Hands pumped in another £13.25m into his Hand Picked Hotels business during its most recent financial year. Companies House documents showed turnover decreased by 0.9% to £61.9m for the year to 24 November 2016, down from £62.4m the year before, due to the disposal of Priest House hotel in Derby in February 2016. Ebitda decreased to £10m from £10.5m the previous year. Pre-tax losses rose from £2.3m to £3.5m. The firm also owes Guy Hands £11.2m and Julia Hands £14m. Julia Hands said: “On a like-for-like basis turnover rose by 1.8% or £1.1m, with growth in occupancy and average room rates. We continue to invest heavily in improving quality, and 2016 saw the reopening of our spa and health club at St Pierre Park Hotel in Guernsey as well as extensive room refurbishments at Hotel L’Horizon in Jersey and Rhinefield House Hotel in Hampshire, continuing to drive our market-leading customer satisfaction scores.” The company sold its Seiont Manor Hotel site for £1.4m in December 2016. Manchester multi-site operator MAD secures multimillion-pound funding deal to support expansion: Manchester-based multi-site operator Mark Andrew Developments (MAD) has secured a multimillion-pound funding Read More
Pret A Manger to retain ‘green fridges’ for summer: Pret A Manger has said it will continue its in-store “green fridge” trial for the rest of the summer. The fridges, which contain vegan and vegetarian food only, was initially intended to last for one month only. However, since the trial began in mid-June at Pret stores around the UK it has proved popular and the trial will now continue. A post on Pret A Manger’s Facebook page stated: “Noticed our green veggie fridges? We’ve been trialling them for (more than) a month and they’ve proven to be quite popular, so they’re here to stay for the rest of the summer.” At the time of the launch, Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee wrote: “The bold green fridges will be accompanied by monthly veggie and vegan chef’s specials and a new campaign that aims to encourage more meat-eaters to try our veggie options. This approach does carry some risk and we are treading carefully. I’m curious if our veggie menu will appeal more or less to customers when highlighted in a single fridge. Will it attract or deter our regular meat-eaters? We’ll be monitoring your feedback and the sales very Read More