Black and White Hospitality appoints former Tesco head of restaurants as managing director: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to seven restaurant brands belonging to chef Marco Pierre White, has appointed Brandie Deignan as managing director to head its franchising division. Deignan will oversee growth of the company’s franchising business while ensuring venues deliver a “consistent and high-end service”. Deignan joins Black and White Hospitality from British Airways, where she led the business transformation team focusing on the airline’s food, lounge and in-flight elements. Before that she was head of operations for Tesco’s hospitality brands, covering the UK and Ireland with responsibility for the Giraffe and Harris + Hoole brand conversions as well as Tesco’s cafe offering. Her CV also includes extensive experience at Whitbread, Travelodge and the Hilton Group. The number of Black and White Hospitality franchises will pass 50 by the end of 2018. Deignan said: “Black and White Hospitality is a young, dynamic business that is expanding rapidly. It has a very strong portfolio of brands and the business model of aligning the restaurant brands with hotels has proved very successful. With 50 sites, I’ll be looking to ensure consistency is maintained across all venues, which is imperative as we evolve and grow.” Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin added: “We’ve got some really exciting plans and Brandie’s expertise means we can push ahead.”
Shake Shack’s UK operation sees turnover double to £21m but losses hit £7.7m: Shake Shack’s UK operation has seen turnover double to £21m but losses increase to £7.7m. Accounts for Diverse Dining filed at Companies House showed revenue was up 99% to £21,367,650 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £10,759,385 the previous year. However, pre-tax losses climbed to £7,748,120, compared with a loss of £4,545,106 the year before. The company paid royalties of £1,274,929, compared with £645,118 the previous year. Gross profit percentage fell from 63.9% to 62.9%. In his report accompanying the accounts, director Bassam Assaad said he was satisfied with the results as they were “within expectations”. He added: “The business continues to expand in sites as well as product range. The company is well placed to continue its expansion with the ongoing support of its immediate parent. The directors continue to seek opportunities for investment and development that fit with the company’s strategic objectives.” The number of employees increased during the period from 241 to 486. Diverse Dining is overseen by parent company Assaad Food and Beverage, based in Lebanon. There are currently nine Shake Shack sites operating in the UK – eight of them in London.
Cambscuisine restructures business as it gears up for next stage of growth: Pub and restaurant operator Cambscuisine, led by Oliver Thain and Max Freeman, has restructured the business as it gears up for its next stage of growth. The company, which operates nine sites in the Cambridge area, worked with financial services firm BKL on the reorganisation, which has also seen it refinance its borrowings. BKL business services partner Dominic Anthony told Business Weekly: “A key strategy to help the next phase for Cambscuisine was to reorganise what was several different companies into a single, less complex group structure. This has allowed the directors and owners to refinance its borrowings with a single lender on improved terms, providing additional cash flow for investment in the expanding estate.” Thain said: “Dominic Anthony really understands our business and ambitions. He held our hand through a complicated and costly corporate structure into something more efficient from which we can grow.” The restructure comes after Cambscuisine raised £750,000 on online investing website SyndicateRoom in the summer to open two pub restaurants. Cambscuisine’s portfolio consists of two Smokeworks, two Chop Houses, modern brasserie Millworks and four country pub restaurants.
Douglas Jack – ‘considerable doubts’ over TRG/Wagamama deal, real chance shareholders will vote it down: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has “considerable doubts” over the £559m acquisition of Wagamama by The Restaurant Group (TRG), while he believes there is a real chance shareholders will vote it down. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on TRG’s shares with a target price of 250p, Jack said: “At 13.2 times Ebitda, TRG is paying a very full price for a 100% short-leasehold business. Although Wagamama’s like-for-like sales have been strong its group adjusted Ebitda per site fell 5%, with Ebitda margins down 200 basis points, resulting in flat adjusted profit before tax last year. We estimate a pro-forma price-to-earnings ratio of 11 times in 2019E. This assumes Wagamama’s Ebitda per site returns to growth before synergies. It is a concern Wagamama (which would be run autonomously) has a group labour to sales ratio of 39% in a fast-rising labour cost environment (one of the risks to our pro-forma forecasts is the assumption pay differentials are not maintained). Wagamama’s like-for-like sales must inevitably slow (unless current sites are enlarged) and TRG needs almost 5% like-for-sales in November and December, having achieved just 0.7% in the past eight weeks, to meet full-year like-for-like expectations of minus 1%. To the extent there is a miss, TRG and Wagamama both have gross profits that are 11 times profit before tax by our estimates. Pre-deal, TRG has the lowest fixed charge cover and the highest labour to sales ratio (35%) in the quoted sector, yet Wagamama should worsen the latter (to more than 36%) in addition to the deal adding £250m-plus of debt. Despite this, the dividend cut leaves a pro-forma yield of 4.4%, only in line with the all share and arguably too low for most income funds given all the associated risks. No need to own; there is better value elsewhere.”
Three Cheers Pub Co to launch ninth site and second with Ei Group as it reopens The Bedford: Three Cheers Pub Co, led by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, will open its ninth site – The Bedford in Balham, south London, this month. The venue is the second for Six Cheers, its managed expert partnership with Ei Group. The 22,000 square foot pub, music venue and comedy club will reopen on Thursday, 29 November following a multimillion-pound investment including an £80,000 sound system. Renovations will also extend to the venue’s five bars, four private rooms, ballroom and 250-capacity live music club as well as 15 en-suite bedrooms. The menu will focus on seasonal and sustainably sourced British produce, while the drinks list will feature craft beer, premium spirits and wine. The Bedford has hosted musicians and comedians such as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Eddie Izzard, Michael McIntyre and Frank Skinner and will continue to champion up-and-coming talent. Peake said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to restore The Bedford to its former glory. With its rich grassroots music history and renowned reputation in the comedy world, it’s great to be giving the venue a new lease of life.” Ei Managed Investments operations director Nathan Wall added: “Six Cheers continues to be an exciting partnership for us and the relaunch of The Bedford is a landmark moment as it will represent our largest site. We’re happy to welcome this unique venture to our Ei Managed Investments portfolio.” Three Cheers Pub Co’s other site with Ei Group is The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush.
Caprice Holdings to open Brasserie of Light in Selfridges this month: Brasserie of Light, a new restaurant and bar from Caprice Holdings, will open on Thursday, 22 November as part of the final chapter of Selfridges’ £300m investment in its London store. The brasserie and bar will serve a mix of British and international dishes throughout the day in an art deco setting. The 130-cover venue will also offer a private dining room with space for 16 guests seated and 30 standing, while the restaurant’s centrepiece will be Damien Hirst’s crystal-encrusted statue Pegasus, with a 30-foot wingspan. Caprice Holdings owner Richard Caring said: “When you think of the capital city of the world you think of London. When you think of London you think of Selfridges. In the future when you think of London restaurants I hope you will think of Brasserie of Light, a combination of extreme talent, extreme experience, extreme desire and extreme passion.” Selfridges managing director Anne Pitcher added: “It has been an exciting journey working with Richard and his team on this project for what promises to be a spectacular addition to the Selfridges restaurant portfolio.” Last month, Caprice Holdings opened Harry’s Bar at the St Christopher’s Place development in James Street, central London. The 150-cover venue is a sister site to Harry’s Dolce Vita.
JD Wetherspoon sells leasehold of Mitcham pub: JD Wetherspoon has sold the leasehold of The White Lion Of Mortimer in Mitcham, south London, to an undisclosed operator. As a result, Wetherspoon will close the pub in London Road on Sunday (4 November). The pub was one of 33 put on the market in May 2016. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Wimbledon Guardian: “There will be no job losses – all staff will be transferred to other Wetherspoon pubs. The pub has been let to another pub operator.” When asked by Propel who the new operator was, Wetherspoon said it did not wish to disclose further details.
Steamin’ Billy boss to launch crazy golf venture in Leicester next week: Billy Allingham, managing director of Leicestershire-based Steamin’ Billy Brewing, will launch his crazy golf venue in Leicester city centre next week. Allingham will open Caddyshackers Crazy Golf in the former Dunelm Store in East Street on Friday, 9 November in the first of a two-part development of the 33,475 square foot site. Caddyshackers will be joined by East Street Lanes, which will open in April as the first bowling alley in Leicester city centre for decades. The crazy golf concept will be aimed at over-18s and comprise two, nine-hole courses with a “quirky” layout accompanied by street food, reports Leicestershire Live. The unit is below a multi-storey car park close to the train station. Allingham is listed as the only director of East Street Lanes, which had its plans for the venture approved by the city council in July. Founded in 1998 by Allingham and Barry Lount, Steamin’ Billy has established a presence in Leicestershire, Rutland and Derbyshire and recently expanded into Warwickshire. In May, the company secured £1.5m from HSBC to support expansion plans.
Manchester-based Seven Brothers Brewery secures second beerhouse:Manchester-based Seven Brothers Brewery, which is running a £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, has secured its second beerhouse. The company, founded three-and-a-half years ago by brothers Keith, Kit, Guy, Luke, Daniel, Nathan and Greg McAvoy, has agreed heads of terms for a site at the Middlewood Locks development in Manchester. The company stated: “This development mirrors the strategy of our first beerhouse in Ancoats, where a whole community was built around us. This ethos is core to everything we strive for, which is to be the central part of a bustling and vibrant hub. We aim to be open at the end of the first quarter of 2019 if all contracts are signed in a timely manner.” Seven Brothers is raising funds on Crowdcube to open four beerhouses and expand production. It is offering 5.88% equity in return for the £500,000 investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £8m. So far, 206 investors have pledged £117,160 with 27 days of the campaign remaining.
Peel Hunt – Just Eat facing triple threat on earnings: Peel Hunt leisure analyst James Lockyer has argued online food delivery business Just Eat faces a triple threat on its earnings. Lockyer argues the decline of Chinese and Indian restaurants, the threat of Uber and the proposed UK digital services tax will all have an impact. Issuing a ‘Sell’ note on the shares with a target price of 520p following the company’s third-quarter results, Lockyer said: “Chinese and Indian are the two most popular cuisines on Just Eat making up 38% of orders. However over the past three years, according to CGA, the number of those type of restaurants in the UK has declined 9% (Chinese down 15%; Indian down 6%), which if it continues could have an impact on Just Eat’s core business. While Just Eat technically operates a market place with commissions from online transactions, this new tax could still have an impact. We currently expect Just Eat to generate global revenues of £1.1bn in 2020, of which £0.5bn would be from the UK, which could see £10m tax bring its 2020 earnings down 6%. The company will highlight the fact consumers and small independent businesses may shoulder the burden. There would be plenty of ways for Just Eat to make the tax back over the next few years through price rises and charging for things it currently gives away free. Both would either see the restaurants’ margins squeezed further or the restaurants having to raise prices, which would have an impact on customers. Year-to-date (at month-end) UberEats has been ahead of Just Eat in the general UK app store rankings (Apple and Google) and in the food/drink app rankings. This is where users go to discover new apps and also guides us towards download performance. With more than 57% of Just Eat’s orders coming via the app (varying by market), this is a key driver of growth. Uber, with its taxi app, has a huge distribution tool that Just Eat doesn’t. Just Eat couldn’t target a user in a taxi ride home with a suggestion of a takeaway, while Uber could.”
Greene King receives royal recognition for training and development programmes: Brewer and retailer Greene King has been commended for its training and development programmes at this year’s Princess Royal Training Awards. The company was recognised for developing its apprenticeship programme, investing in training support, retaining and developing staff, and introducing e-learning platforms. Greene King group HR director Andrew Bush received the award from Princess Anne at St James’ Palace on behalf of the company. Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We are really proud of the learning opportunities we are able to give our people, from our apprenticeship scheme to our Get Into Hospitality programme with The Prince’s Trust and the new e-learning platform, which is available to all 39,000 employees. We have seen great results in retention through our investment in their training. We are continuously looking at ways we can improve the learning offer for our people and will strive to build on our successful apprenticeship programme, which has now seen 11,000 people take part.”
Michelin-starred chef Thomas Carr closes Seafood & Grill nine months after opening: Michelin-starred chef Thomas Carr has closed his restaurant Seafood & Grill in Ilfracombe, Devon, just nine months after opening. Carr raised £18,000 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to launch the 30-cover venue in February in the former Lamb Hotel in High Street. However, despite receiving a Michelin recommendation last month he has decided to shut the site. Carr’s Michelin-starred restaurant Thomas Carr At The Olive Room, which is also in the town, remains open for business. He said: “This is really bitter-sweet for us. We’re immensely proud of the recognition Seafood & Grill gained in such a short time and the fantastic team that worked so hard but the reality is that in a tough economic climate, it is extremely hard to maintain such a high standard of food and service in a restaurant the size of Seafood & Grill while still being able to run a profitable business. We know how quickly news of this nature spreads and people will naturally assume The Olive Room is meeting the same fate, but it isn’t. We’re still going strong.” Early in his career Carr was appointed head chef of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, which earned two Michelin stars under his leadership within a year of opening. Having launched Thomas Carr At The Olive Room in 2014, Carr gained Ilfracombe’s first Michelin star two years later and has retained it since.
Healthy eating restaurant concept Stacks opens second site, plans further expansion: Healthy eating restaurant Stacks has opened its second venue – in Belfast – and is planning further expansion. James Deery has opened Stacks Healthy Kitchen, a £300,000, 60-seat venue that joins Caffe Nero and Italian restaurant Gustoé in the Soloist Building. Deery said the new restaurant offered skinny beer and cocktails as well as a food menu that has the calories broken down with each meal. He told the Belfast Telegraph: “This restaurant has been two years in the making and it’s wonderful to see everything come together. We are confident Stacks will be well received by the people of Belfast and we already have plans in place to bring the restaurant to other locations in Northern Ireland.” Deery also operates Stacks Bistro in Newtownabbey and an app-led meal plan service.
Bolton-based Bank Top Brewery acquires third pub: Bolton-based Bank Top Brewery has acquired its third pub. The company has bought The Old England Forever in Clayton-le-Moors. The pub, which shut last month, will undergo a full refurbishment before reopening in February. Bank Top Brewery owner David Sweeney told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We plan to keep the same name because pubs are one of the last bastions British people have and we think the name is very fitting. We plan to keep it as a traditional drinking pub – there won’t be loud music or Sky Sports.” Bank Top Brewery also owns the Bank Top Tap in Bolton and the Ale House in Horwich.
Sager + Wilde team to launch canteen, bar and restaurant concept in Old Street this month: Marcis Dzelzainis and Michael Sager, of London-based bar restaurant group Sager + Wilde, are to launch an all-day dining bar and canteen concept in Old Street, east London, this month. Fare Bar + Canteen will open in the Morelands building on Monday, 12 November as a multifunctional space split across two floors. The venue will offer a grab-and-go coffee area, cocktail and wine bar, and a restaurant offering modern seasonal small plates with larger sharing dishes from a robata grill. The ground-floor bar and canteen will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, a horseshoe marble dining counter, and an open-plan kitchen while offering natural wine and cocktails on tap. The coffee space on the ground floor will be overseen by Assembly, which is creating bespoke house roasts. Downstairs, the bar and dining area will feature a skylight, parquet floors and white pillars. The bar menu will include a 250-strong Sager + Wilde wine list alongside cocktails. Head chef Thomas Raymond, formerly of Ellory, will create a menu inspired by his British roots and travels around the Mediterranean. In June, Dzelzainis and Sager took over the Bassoon Bar at the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall, while Sager + Wilde also operates restaurant Paradise Row and wine bar Hackney Road, both named after the streets they are located in.
TGI Friday’s plans opening at York Community Stadium complex: TGI Friday’s is set to open at York Community Stadium complex, targeting a branch at the site in 2020. The company has applied to City of York Council for a licence to serve alcohol from 10am to midnight daily. The application said the restaurant would open from 10am until 12.30am. A TGI Friday’s spokesman said the company plans to take over a unit adjoined to the new stadium. The leisure complex will also feature a 14-screen IMAX cinema, gym, swimming pool, indoor climbing area, outdoor pitches, shops and restaurants. The 8,000-seat stadium is due to open next summer and will be shared by York City Football Club and York City Knights Rugby League Club, reports York Mix.
Japanese restaurant Robatayaki to make debut in Soho: Japanese restaurant concept Robatayaki is to launch in Soho. The brand has secured a 1,162 square foot unit in Old Compton Street in Soho. The restaurant, which is expected to open in February, will offer izakaya-style dining with a bar and open plan kitchen towards the rear, where chefs will barbecue skewers on a robata grill. Small plates and tapas will also be on the menu with signature dishes including sushi, torched oysters, honey soy fillet and yuzu clams, while the bar will focus on cocktails and sake. A Robatayaki spokesman said: “Old Compton Street was the only choice when it came to a decision on where Robatayaki should be situated in the West End. The eclectic mix of dining and nightlife makes this the perfect venue to create a collaboration of Japanese food, sake and music.” Emma Cousins and Tom Crosthwaite, of CDG Leisure, who brokered the deal on behalf of the previous tenant, said: “Robatayaki will be a brilliant addition to the wonderful eating and dining offer Soho is known for. It meets the growing demand for premium casual restaurants that deliver authentic food in a fun, attractive setting.”
Douglas Jack – Shepherd Neame’s latest estate evaluation following £107.5m debt refinancing implies net asset value in excess of £15 per share: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has argued Shepherd Neame’s latest estate evaluation following its £107.5m debt refinancing implies a net asset value in excess of £15 per share. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 1,325p, Jack said: “The new financing structure gives the company £107.5m of committed long-term facilities at a lower rate of interest than the debt being replaced. It also extends the debt maturity profile through a £50m revolving credit facility, expiring in 2023; and a £35m private placement (3.99% coupon), expiring in 2038. The £35m loan notes replace part of the current-term loan that was due to expire in 2026. As a result, £37.5m of this term loan has been cancelled and repaid with £35m of associated swap contracts terminated (cash cost: £9.4m; £7.6m net of tax). This leaves £22.5m of term loan (at circa 6% coupon). The term loan facility is used first, followed by the private placement and the revolving credit facility last. Overall, we are not adjusting our adjusted profit before tax forecasts due to the drop in the cost of debt (we previously forecast 5.7%), offset by the interest on the cost of terminating the swaps. Our forecasts allow for underutilisation charges and amortisation fees, the cost of which might be lower than we have allowed for. The estate valuation resulted in a surplus over current book value of £24m. Although this positive outcome will not be added to the balance sheet, it implies a true net asset value in excess of £15.15 per share, a 42% premium to the current share price.”
Former 45 Jermyn Street head chef leads kitchen of new Blackfriars restaurant: Lee Streeton, former head chef of 45 Jermyn Street restaurant in Fortnum & Mason, is heading up the kitchen at new Blackfriars venue Art Yard Bar & Kitchen. The 80-cover, open-plan restaurant has opened in Bankside Hotel in Blackfriars Road featuring modern art and serving “fresh seasonal food, reflective and rejuvenating cocktails, and local beer and wine from off the beaten track”. The menu is split into snacks, sandwiches, small plates, salads, wood-fired pizzettes and large plates such as fillet of hake with courgettes, tomatoes and preserved lemon. Streeton has also worked at Brown’s Hotel, Daphne’s and Le Caprice.
Nottingham-based coffee shop and dessert restaurant secures second site:Nottingham-based coffee shop and dessert restaurant The Pudding Pantry has secured its second site. Owner Anthony Quinn has agreed a ten-year lease for the former Firth and Scott Insurance Brokers premises in Mansfield Road through agents NG Chartered Surveyors. The Pudding Pantry specialises in homemade cakes, puddings, pancakes and brunch and currently operates a site in Trinity Square. The new venue will have more than double the seating of its city centre venue. Quinn told The Business Desk: “We have long held ambitions to expand and the time and location are right. We set ourselves apart from the rest by making most of our menu from scratch including our homemade beans, ketchup and marshmallows.”