Cote appoints Lisa Buckley as new managing director: Cote, the circa 90-strong French brasserie chain backed by the Partners Group, has appointed Lisa Buckley, formerly of Wagamama, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Buckley joins the Jane Holbrook-chaired business, after almost five years at Wagamama, where she was most recently UK operations director. Previous to that she spent nine years at the Casual Dining Group (now The Big Table Group), including a stint as operations director for Bella Italia. Buckley is reunited with former Wagamama chief executive Holbrook, who took over as Cote’s executive chairman in September, replacing ex-The Restaurant Group chief executive Andrew Page. Holbrook’s appointment coincided with global private markets investment manager Partners Group acquiring the French brasserie chain via a pre-pack administration. Alex Scrimgreour, who stepped down as Cote chief executive in October after 12 years of leading the business, took up the role of chief executive at cinema operator Everyman this week.
Papa John’s introduces new flexible franchising formats in UK: Papa John’s is introducing new flexible franchising formats in the UK. Following the continued success of its franchised high street stores, Papa John’s is now aiming to expand its reach by providing even more convenience for customers, by opening in new locations such as holiday parks, stadiums, leisure attractions and other “non-traditional” venues. Justin Gilbert, director of business development Papa John’s UK, said: “As Papa John’s grows in popularity, we want to ensure our customers can relax and enjoy their favourite treat in even more locations that suit them. Therefore, we are adding further flexible franchise options relevant for a variety of operators who align with our brand values. They will already have a complementary business with an existing customer base and will be looking to add a quality hot food option through an established, proven global brand. Papa John’s has been able to provide a year-round revenue stream at successful franchised outlets already located on holiday parks in the UK for example. Non-traditional franchised outlets generally have a slightly different business model compared with our high-street retail stores. Just like our pizza, we aim to ensure we have the right ingredients for everyone and so now, we can offer flexible franchise options to suit a bespoke development plan.”
Bao to take over from Andina in Shoreditch: London-based operator Bao, which was founded by Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, is to open a further site in the capital, after securing the former Andina site in Shoreditch. The business, which is backed by JKS Restaurants, will open what will be its sixth site overall, later this year at 65-66 Shoreditch High Street, on the corner of Redchurch Street. Andina in Shoreditch, which was part of the three-strong business acquired out of administration by Rosa’s Thai Cafe founders Alex and Saiphin Moore in 2019, was closed for good in July last year, after the new owners were unable to come to an agreement with the site’s landlord. The Moores, which sold a majority stake in Rosa’s to private equity firm TriSpan, acquired the original Ceviche site in Frith Street in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch and Casita Andina in Great Windmill Street, also in Soho, in November 2019. The company is currently seeking a new Shoreditch location for Andina. Bao opened its first restaurant in Soho in April 2015, following a successful period trading at Netil Market in Hackney. Its second restaurant opened in Fitzrovia in July 2016. A third restaurant, Bao Borough, opened in May 2019, while the company opened its latest site, Cafe Bao, in King’s Cross at the start of December last year. Rob Meadows, at Davis Coffer Lyons, was marketing the Andina Shoreditch site.
Black Sheep Brewery secures £3.1m CBILS, trading in current financial year ‘exceeding expectations’: Yorkshire-based Black Sheep Brewery has obtained £3.1m through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to secure its long-term future while trading in its current financial year has “exceeded expectations”. The company, based in Masham, brewed its first beer in 1992 after being built up by Paul Theakston, whose family had operated in the area for six generations. It also runs four pubs, following the purchase of York Brewery’s assets in 2018, and a visitor centre at the brewery. During the pandemic, Black Sheep Brewery achieved 35% growth in supermarket sales, and was boosted by its mail order, food delivery service and home beer and trade delivery services. The development of the brewery’s packaging line, led by Rob Theakston, continued throughout lockdown. The production of mini kegs has now begun in Masham, with further assets being progressively brought into use. The company provided the update as it reported turnover of £19.5m for the year ending 31 March 2020, up from £19.4m the previous year. However, a pre-tax loss of £1.8m was recorded, compared with a £14,000 profit the year before. The loss was put down to exceptional costs of £600,000, including those related to an aborted acquisition, and depreciation of £500,000, as well as the loss of about £200,000 of gross margin due to the pandemic in March. The business would have made an adjusted operating profit of £400,000 without the impact of covid-19. Writing in the accounts, chief executive Charlene Lyons said: “The pub and brewing industry has been equally affected but disproportionately supported by the government throughout the pandemic, but we have remained agile, innovative and developed new services and products that have proven to be popular. When it is safe, we are optimistic 2021 will see the lifting of restrictions alongside the roll out of the vaccines, which will lead to the reopening of pubs, benefiting communities.”
Rose Thirteen plans ramen restaurant opening: Leeds-based operator Rose Thirteen plans to open a ramen restaurant and bar concept called House of Fu later this year in the city. The company, which is behind Leeds’ Belgrave Music Hall, Headrow House and Ox Club, plans to launch the new concept in the city’s Briggate area. After beginning life in 2014 as a pop-up at Belgrave Music Hall, House of Fu was awarded the title “Best of the Best” at that year’s British Street Food awards. The concept’s first permanent site will comprise a 50-cover, ground-floor restaurant, five first-floor karaoke rooms and a second-floor cocktail and listening bar. The restaurant will focus on traditional ramen, poké bowls and home-made dumplings, including an extensive plant-based range, all paired with specially selected cocktails, sake and wine. The company, which is led by Ash Kollakowski and Simon Stevens, also own the Beck & Call, a former Mitchells & Butlers pub, in the city’s Meanwood area.
EG Group appoints Lord Rose as new chairman: The EG Group, owner of Euro Garages, the forecourt and roadside operator, has appointed Lord Stuart Rose, the former chief executive of Marks & Spencer, as its new chairman, with immediate effect. The company, which is backed by TDR Capital and run by the billionaire Issa brothers, who last year made a bid for Caffe Nero, said the appointment of Lord Rose would “help provide insight and support” as the company looks to move forward with its development plans. Lord Rose, who was previously an investor in and chairman of Coco di Mama, said: “I am delighted to chair the board of EG Group and I look forward to working with the board and management, including fellow non-executive John Carey, in the next stage of the development of a world-class, global scale retail business. The Issa brothers are great British entrepreneurs of enormous drive, vision and ambition. EG’s board has asked me to develop appropriate governance structures for a business of this scale. The business has exciting development plans and exceptional prospects in the years to come.” Lord Rose was named chief executive of Marks & Spencer in May 2004 and became chairman in 2008, standing down in January 2011. He was chairman of The British Fashion Council from 2004 to 2008, chairman of Business in the Community between 2008 and 2010, a non-executive director of Land Securities from 2003 to 2013 and chairman of Fat Face between 2013 and-2020. He currently serves as chairman of Ocado, a role he will stand down from in May 2021.
Essex-based cafe concept Toast to double up with Chelmsford launch: Essex-based cafe concept Toast is to double up, with an opening in Chelmsford. Founders Rob Ely, Louis McNamee and Dan Pearson are launching the venue in the former Thomas Cook premises in Moulsham Street, reports Essex Live. The cafe offers customers toast alongside more than 100 different spreads and toppings. Hot and cold drinks and milkshakes are also available. The trio launched Toast in Braintree in February last year. Ely also owns the Chophouse restaurant in the town.
Cheltenham-based gourmet burger concept launches virtual vegan restaurant:Cheltenham-based gourmet burger concept Holee Cow has launched a virtual vegan restaurant, Holee Cowless. Burgers on the menu include its namesake Holee Cowless, with a plant-based patty, dairy free cheese, burger sauce and relish; Veege in the Middle, with a plant-based patty, barbecue jackfruit and dairy-free cheese; and the Falafel Burger, with a spinach and chickpea patty, crispy courgette, roasted red pepper hummus and tahini dressing. Vegan sides include crispy cauliflower “wings”, cheesy chipotle fries and Thai nuggets, reports So Glos. The menu is only available to order and collect from the restaurant in Winchcombe Street.
Inn Collection Group to expand flagship site, 20 jobs to be created: Alnwick-based pub company The Inn Collection Group will expand its flagship Bamburgh Castle Inn site in Seahouses after acquiring adjoining properties. The move will also create 20 jobs. The Northumberland business has taken a self-catering property plus other buildings, and outlined plans to develop 18 additional bedrooms. The scheme envisages rooms with multiple configuration options, with bedrooms and linked rooms to accommodate multi-generational families in response to demand for support bubble groups looking to holiday together. The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “This investment will generate much-needed jobs and valuable trading opportunities in these difficult times. Expanding our offering will be a real boost in terms of job creation but also through increased trading for partners including food and drink producers and suppliers, to tourism operators and local retailers – not just in the busy summer months but, critically, out of season.” The Inn Collection Group made a number of acquisitions last year, ending 2020 by adding The Angel Inn in Bowness in the Lake District, bringing the business’ estate of freehold sites to 19.
Talash Hotels puts Mercure Birmingham Barons Court hotel on sale for £2.85m:Talash Hotels has placed the Mercure Birmingham Barons Court on the market with a guide price of £2.85m. The “stylish and contemporary mid-range hotel”, which is located in Walsall Wood, to the north of Birmingham, dates to 1901 and comprises 98 modern en-suite bedrooms, an in-house bar and restaurant, and conference and event space for up to 700 guests. Under the management of the Talash Hotels, as part of its portfolio of 12 hotels, the group is looking to sell the business to pursue other property interests. Talash Hotels said: “We have deployed a significant amount of capital expenditure in recent years to bring the hotel up to brand standards. As such, very little additional investment is required so it’s a great opportunity for a new owner to take on the business and build on its existing success.” Charles Jones, associate director in property agent Christie & Co’s hospitality team who is handling the sale, added: “Branded hotel opportunities remain very much in high demand, with our team achieving in excess of 360 offers accepted. We’ve seen similar demand levels in the first few weeks of 2021.”
Starwood Capital Group’s £200m plans for newly acquired Renaissance Manchester hotel: Starwood Capital Group, which launched hotel groups such as Starwood Hotels and Treehouse Hotels, will convert the newly acquired Renaissance Manchester hotel into a £200m mixed-use development including a new hotel, offices, a car park and residential units. Starwood Capital Group, with developer Property Alliance Group, purchased the hotel for an undisclosed sum from Urban & Civic. Located in Deansgate and next to Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Manchester Cathedral, the prime city centre site currently includes a 206-bedroom hotel, car park and office building. The joint venture is now drawing up plans to redevelop the site. Timothy Abram, vice-president at private investment firm Starwood Capital, said: “We have made several major investments in Manchester over the past decade and, following on from these successes, we are excited to have another opportunity to invest in the city. The redevelopment of this prime site has the potential to generate many economic benefits for Manchester.” CBRE acted for Starwood Capital and Alliance on the acquisition. JLL and Savills advised Urban & Civic on the sale. Alliance was advised on legal matters by Shoosmiths and law firm Paul Hastings acted for Starwood.
QHotels announces £16m investment to renovate Leeds city centre hotel:QHotels Group has announced a £16m investment will be made to renovate The Queens Hotel in Leeds city centre. The group, which has a 21-strong nationwide portfolio, has already started building work with the official unveiling set for summer this year although the hotel will be open for business in March. The work will include adding 16 bedrooms to bring the hotel up to a total of 232 bedrooms, a complete renovation of the ground floor and a transformation of the retail food and beverage offer, which will be explained nearer to the time of opening. However, “guests can expect what is set to be the best cocktail and dining experience in Leeds, with a vibrant wine bar, outdoor terrace, coffee space and central restaurant”. QHotels Group chief executive Richard Moore said: “We’re very fortunate to have supportive shareholders who, despite the current economic conditions, remain passionate and continue to share our vision for the hotel.”
World of Zing sells more than 650,000 cocktails in five months after pivoting business: Bottled cocktail company World of Zing has reported it sold more than 650,000 cocktails in five months after pivoting its business following the closure of the on-trade. The company changed direction after seeing sales take a massive hit at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with 85% of its revenue attributed to pubs, bars and restaurants. From April until July, sales were “negligible” with fewer than 50,000 cocktails bought. After pivoting their business to offer handcrafted cocktails directly to consumers and support restaurants with delivery cocktails, the company sold more than 650,000 by the year end. The company said it also saw strong sales with more innovative flavour combinations, such as the Yuzu Whiskey Sour.