Starbucks franchisee 23.5 Degrees hits 80 stores with King’s Lynn launch, plans 300 by 2027: Starbucks’ first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees, will open its 80th store on Friday (26 March) in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The opening is part of an ambitious expansion programme for 23.5 Degrees, which has a strong pipeline of approved stores and plans to reach 300 stores by 2027. Managing director Mark Hepburn said: “The past year has been challenging but opening this Starbucks store demonstrates our commitment to our ambitious growth plans.” 23.5 Degrees opened its first Starbucks store, in Liphook, Hampshire, in February 2013. Despite the pandemic, 23.5 Degrees opened seven drive-thru stores in 2020. The business aims to reach 100 stores by March 2022. 23.5 Degrees is seeking both freehold and leasehold drive-thru opportunities on main arterial routes, close to major retail destinations or on large industrial estates. These opportunities should be able to be designed into three standard sized units – 1,500, 1,800 and 2,200 square foot. They can either be modular or traditionally built. 23.5 Degrees will also consider retail park and drive-to destinations, as well as high street units in prominent high footfall locations with a minimum size of 1,500 square foot. 23.5 Degrees has invested more than £28m in the UK economy to date through building and buying stores. The new store in Hardwick Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, is the first Starbucks drive-thru in the town, which will create 25 jobs.
BrewDog extends crowdfunding campaign for sustainability projects after hitting £20m stretch target, plans South Africa brewery: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has hit the £20m stretch target for its Equity for Punks Tomorrow fundraise. The campaign, which launched in September last year, had been due to close next Wednesday (31 March). It is now being extended until 9 September 2021 and is on track to becoming the company’s biggest fundraise to date. The company said it would fund projects including direct wind power for its breweries, carbon dioxide recovery, electric vehicle fleets and zero-waste bars. The campaign raised £1m in less than 48 hours of launch, passed its initial £7.5m target at the end of October and had raised £15m by the end of January. To date, more than 45,000 people have invested in Equity for Punks Tomorrow – a quarter of all Equity Punks who have invested in BrewDog since it launched in 2009. Meanwhile, BrewDog has revealed it is planning to build a brewery in South Africa. Co-founder James Watt tweeted: “We are looking to build this amazing new BrewDog brewery and taproom in an old railway building in the heart of Cape Town. Watch this space.”
Drake & Morgan seeing high demand for alfresco dining on reopening as it reports full-year turnover of £50.2m: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, has announced it is seeing high demand in bookings for alfresco dining in April as it reported full-year turnover of £50.2m. It also reported adjusted Ebitda at £4.3m and adjusted pre-tax profit at £1.5m for the 52 weeks ended 29 March 2020. A statement explained the business remains closed due to the pandemic and “while the outlook remains uncertain”, it said the government’s roadmap to reopening offers some clarity, which has resulted in “strong demand and a high level of reservations”. Chief financial officer David King said: “2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for hospitality. The run-up to lockdown 1.0 and the subsequent closure of hospitality significantly impacted trading. However, with high demand for our alfresco terraces from 12 April and the further easing of restrictions on 17 May, we are looking forward to rebuilding the business.”
 
Fridays to reopen 28 restaurants for outdoor dining on 12 April: Fridays has announced it will reopen 28 of its restaurants in England for outdoor dining from 12 April. The restaurant group, which used to operate under the name TGI Fridays, will be running a reduced outdoor menu, specifically designed for alfresco dining. Along with its favourites such as ribs, burgers, chicken strips and sharing plates, it will also serve a range of ten cocktail options. Customers are being recommended to book a table in advance through its website but it will cater for those without reservations, however, customers may face a waiting period. Fridays runs 80 UK restaurants with 65 of those in England meaning 37 branches won’t be able to reopen until 17 May. Fridays chief executive Robert B Cook said: “We are beyond excited to welcome guests back to celebrate the easing of lockdown with us.”
Bone Daddies to expand wings-based virtual concept to 12 sites across London:Bone Daddies Group, which comprises the eponymous ramen restaurants, Shack-Fuyu and Flesh & Buns, is to expand its wings-based virtual concept, Wing Daddies, to 12 sites across London. Following a trial in Kentish Town, Wing Daddies will be available as a virtual brand at all Bone Daddies locations from Monday (29 March). Wing Daddies will be available for delivery and click and collect from its sites in Bermondsey, Bond Street, Old Street, Putney, Richmond, Soho and Victoria; and for delivery only in Battersea, Canary Wharf, Chiswick, Kentish Town, Seven Sisters and Streatham. The menu is centred around the twists on the chicken wings for which the group is known – such as Korean fried wings with gochujang and sesame as well as new sticky teriyaki and buffalo fire recipes. Bone Daddies Group operations director Steve Hill said: “We have big ambitions for Wing Daddies and we’re excited to have this pop-up brand expanding operations across our full suite of current Bone Daddies sites for delivery. The first test of the brand in Kentish Town has been a real success and the wings themselves are flying. Watch this space – a more permanent space, be it truck or shop, is around the corner.”
Piano Works launches offer to double customers’ bar tabs as part of reopening plans: Dining, drinking and live music concept The Piano Works is launching an offer to double customers’ bar tabs as part of its reopening plans. The offer will be available when they pre-pay for a drinks voucher on selected dates. The company is taking bookings for its Farringdon and West End sites on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 20 May. Operations director Tristan Moffat told City AM: “The last time you stood on a dance floor was March last year. Now we can all share again the joyous space that our dance floor, stage and our excellent musicians create. Dancing and singing matters, it’s far easier to start dancing than to stop, we all have so much stored energy to release. This year, we’ll make the decade roar as we sing and dance our way through the second summer of love.” From 20 May to 19 June, both venues will be open for dining, drinks or brunch for up to six people from any household or any number if they are only from two households. From 21 June, the company plans to open both bars with no restrictions in place, subject to government guidelines.
MasterChef The Professionals winner Gary Maclean to open debut restaurant as part of line-up at Mac & Wild’s new food hall: MasterChef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean is to open his first solo venture as part of Bonnie & Wild, the new food hall concept from the founders of Scottish restaurant brand Mac & Wild. Maclean, who won the trophy in 2016, is among the first wave of tenants opening at the food hall at the new St James Quarter in Edinburgh. Bonnie & Wild will feature eight food stalls, three speciality retailers, a patisserie, and three bars. Maclean is launching Creel Caught – a casual dining spot that will champion Scottish seafood paired with seasonal ingredients. Joining Maclean will be Edinburgh-based East Pizzas and artisanal gelato concept Joelato, run by husband and wife team Joe and Lucie Sykes. When it opens later this summer, Bonnie & Wild will be able to accommodate 700 guests. Alongside the food offering, the venue will also contain a private dining area, flexible events spaces, children’s play area and a demonstration kitchen complete with broadcast capability.
 
Stem & Glory to move to larger Cambridge site in May: Vegan restaurant concept Stem & Glory is moving to a new larger site in Cambridge. The restaurant will take up the ground floor in one of the city’s largest office buildings at 60 Station Road, as part of the CB1 business and cultural quarter, and also feature a large outdoor terrace. Supported by a “generous” landlord package and a capital grant from Cambridge & Peterborough combined authority, the site will open at the end of May. The site will offer Stem & Glory’s new vegan pizza concept currently piloting on its online store, alongside its vegan menu. The site is built to service both dining and off-site sales, which is a rapidly growing part of the business. As well as the restaurant, Stem & Glory will provide a cafe within the office building at 60 Station Road, which is also home to WeWork. Stem & Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton said: “We have been looking for the perfect site in Cambridge for quite a while after outgrowing our existing site soon after opening. We survived and thrived during 2020 and we are looking forward to resuming our expansion plans in 2021 and beyond. With more and more people opting for healthier lifestyles post-covid, we see our expansion as a fantastic opportunity to help people live healthier and more compassionate lives.” Stem & Glory also operates a restaurant at the Barts Square development in central London.
Puttshack signs lease for site in Nashville: Indoor mini golf experience Puttshack has taken a new site in The Gulch, Nashville. It has signed a lease for the 28,000 square foot premises, which will house four tech-driven, mini golf courses, powered by Trackaball technology, plus a globally inspired dining menu and cocktail bar. Due to open in the second half of 2023, the elevated entertainment space will “authentically draw from and celebrate the music history and energy of the city of Nashville to create a one-of-a-kind mini golf experience”. Chicago-headquartered Puttshack operates three sites in London at White City, Intu Lakeside and Bank, and has secured sites in Miami and Chicago.
Sukho Group to open its fifth Zaap Thai restaurant in April: Sukho Group has announced it will open a fifth Zaap Thai street food restaurant, in Headingley, Leeds. The Headingley site will open in St Anne’s Road, on the site currently occupied by Sukhothai, which is also owned by Sukho Group. Sukhothai will close on 11 April, with Zaap Thai opening for outdoor dining and takeaway the day after, followed by indoor dining on 17 May. Zaap Thai founder and executive chef Ban Kaewkraikhot said: “Zaap is a unique, fun and exciting dining experience that truly captures the vibrancy of Thailand and the amazing taste sensations of Thai Cuisine. Zaap will be a great addition to the existing diversity that already resides in Headingley.” The outdoor area will be able to seat about 30 customers and will feature the restaurant’s tuk tuk seating booths.
Taco Bell unveils development plan as it prioritises digital elements: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has said it will “prioritise digital elements” as it continues to expand its portfolio, including kiosk-only stores and “bellhop” concierge to speed up drive-thru times. The plans also include a national rollout of its previously announced Go Mobile store concept. With Taco Bell on track to reach 10,000 stores this decade, the Yum! Brands company said it wants to adapt to changing customer needs with new store prototypes offering dual drive-thru lanes, tablet ordering, kerbside pick-up and smaller stores. Its new Cantina drive-thru, which is now open in California, features a more social experience-driven layout, with an outdoor fire pit and game area, and a full bar for dine-in customers. Taco Bell president and global chief operating officer Mike Grams said: “Our restaurant portfolio continues to rapidly evolve, striking a crucial balance between being technology-forward and social-oriented. Even amid the challenging pandemic we are continuing to grow due, in large part, to the strength in our franchise partnerships as well as the flexible formats we offer.” Another upcoming store concept will be a kiosk-only store opening soon in Manhattan. The new Go Mobile concierge team of “bellhops” is meant to improve drive-thru efficiency by navigating tablet ordering and kerbside pick-ups.
Joro operators to launch Japan-inspired restaurant in Liverpool in May: Chef Luke French and wife and business partner, Stacey Sherwood-French, who are behind Krynkl restaurant, Joro, will launch Nama in Liverpool in May. Nama will be a Tokyo izakaya-inspired dining and drinking concept located in the new GPO Food Hall at the MetQuarter, which is operated by The Milestone Group. Nama (meaning raw) will use sashimi grade fish and its changing menu will include sashimi and nigiri such as Cornish seabass with truffle, yuzu and soy; and temaki (open hand rolls) with Sicilian red prawn, katsuo furikake & soy. A cocktail list will include Shiso & Mandarin Soda and Yuzu Negroni, and sake imported from Japan. French and Sherwood-French opened Joro in Sheffield in 2016, street food concept Konjo in 2019 and are due to open a site at The Milestone Group-operated Cambridge Street Collection, also in Sheffield.
Pub Invest Group safeguards future of Liverpool music venue: Liverpool-based Pub Invest Group has safeguarded the future of a Liverpool music venue. Based in Seel Street, Zanzibar was established in 1990 by the late Tony Butler and has hosted acts such as Noel Gallagher, The Coral, The Zutons and The Libertines. The venue closed its doors in March 2020, with covid-19 making it “financially impossible to reopen”. Pub Invest Group has now taken on the operation and is working on opening in June, adhering to government guidelines. The Zanzibar will continue as a live music venue with supporting club nights. Head of marketing Phil Gillespie said: “Zanzibar was known for its links to the city’s grassroots music scene. Pub Invest Group is looking forward to carrying on that legacy giving a space for local bands to share the same space as some exceptional touring acts too.”
Brighton-based rotisserie and roast dinner food experience RoastHost heads to London for second site: Brighton-based rotisserie and roast dinner food experience RoastHost is heading to London for its second site. Having launched on the south coast, founders Glen Halsey and Mike Matthews are taking the concept to the Wenlock & Essex Pub in Islington. RoastHost is available from Thursday to Sunday serving chicken, beef and pork roast dinners as well as vegan and vegetarian dishes. Halsey said: “Earlier this year, we had bad luck when we first opened because the UK entered a nationwide lockdown but we persevered. Our offer, which combines the comfort of a delicious roast dinner with convenience, was a hit. After the runaway success of our branch in Brighton, we wanted to bring it to a central part of London and its many lovers of a good roast dinner.” RoastHost is available for click and collect and delivery and will also offer dine-in when restrictions allow.
Ray leaves Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company: Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) vice-president corporate affairs Bruce Ray is to leave the company after nine years working in the UK and globally. The departure follows a restructure of CMBC’s management team and the decision to make the UK vice-president corporate affairs role redundant. Ray joined the brewer in 2012 as corporate affairs director and has been a member of the UK board throughout his tenure. He assumed the role of vice-president corporate affairs and global government relations in 2016 with responsibility for supporting key Carlsberg markets globally on public affairs matters. In the UK, Ray played a pivotal role in the recent deal to create CMBC in November 2020. In addition, Ray has held a number of leadership roles across the beer and pubs industry in the UK and globally, including chair of the Future Beer Group within the British Beer and Pub Association, the executive committee of Brewers of Europe, the board of International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, the Drinkaware Industry Leadership Group and Court of the Worshipful Company of Brewers. He leaves the business in mid-April with current head of corporate affairs, Andrew Roache, leading the function, reporting to vice-president HR, Greg Morris. CMBC chief executive Paul Davies said: “On behalf of the CMBC management team, I would like to thank Bruce for his leadership, expert counsel and passion for our business, and the broader beer and pubs industry, and we wish him every success in the future.”
Business club Pavilion to launch debut private members’ club: Pavilion, the business members’ clubs with locations across London, is to open its first private members’ club. The new venture will launch in Knightsbridge in May. Set over six floors, the 16,942 square foot property was acquired by Pavilion in 1996 and was run as luxury serviced offices. Since its closure in 2019, the venue has undertaken an extensive refurbishment, which will see it reopen as Pavilion’s first ever multifaceted co-working space, private members’ club, serviced private offices, terrace and bar and dining concept with an all-day dining menu. Pavilion director Harry Hunt said: “We are excited to be able to deliver a new breed of members’ club for people who are looking to enjoy both a casual, yet sophisticated, environment nestled in the heart of London. With the evolution of remote working and working from home, Pavilion Knightsbridge will provide people with the perfect space to enjoy from day to night.”