Company News:

Five Guys appoints Rob Murray as new finance director: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, has appointed Rob Murray, formerly of MOD Pizza and Carphone Warehouse, as its new finance director, Propel understands. Murray previously spent five years as finance director of MOD Pizza UK, which went into liquidation last year and was also backed by Dunstone. Murray was also previously head of finance at Carphone Warehouse. Propel revealed last month Holly Elliott had stepped down as group finance director of Five Guys. The better burger brand has strengthened its 2021 UK openings pipeline, with the recent addition of a number of leisure park-based sites. The circa 100-strong brand has secured the former Frankie & Benny’s sites in Crest Road, High Wycombe, and at the Gate Leisure Park, Chichester, for openings later this year. The company has also taken on the ex-Pizza Hut site at Stevenage Leisure Park, Hertfordshire. It is also believed to have taken the former Chiquito site at Teesside Park, Stockton-on-Tees. Last month, Propel revealed Five Guys had secured a site in London’s Brixton. It has also secured a site at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, which is due to open in the first quarter of this year, alongside Starbucks and Wagamama. As previously reported, it will also open in the Edinburgh St James development this summer.
Ex-TRG chief executive joins Camile Thai board as chairman: Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai has appointed former chief executive of The Restaurant Group (TRG), Andy McCue, as non-executive chairman. It has also added serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and angel investor Brian Caulfield as non-executive director. The company also plans to make more hires as it opens up further locations in Ireland and abroad, which will be announced in the next few weeks. McCue previously launched a new growth strategy, which led to record revenues and profits as chief executive of Paddy Power. McCue was also key to the Irish bookmaker’s merger with betting exchange Betfair. He then joined TRG as chief executive where he was responsible for purchasing Wagamama. McCue said: “Camile provides a very exciting tech-focused hospitality business model and I look forward to being given the opportunity to help Camile grow further.” Camile chief executive Brody Sweeney said: “We are really pleased to have attracted directors of the calibre of Brian and Andy to our board. It shows our serious ambitions for Camile and its future growth. [In 2020], we were very fortunate to see a 59% increase in systems sales in the UK and a 40% increase in Ireland. We owe this to our largely suburban, delivery-focused business model.” Camile operates 36 outlets with six of those in London. The company’s strategy is tech-centric with investments in drone delivery, kitchen robotics and cloud kitchens and is creating a new convenience dining sector based on health, sustainability and speed.
Dowling overseeing former Harcourt Inns sites, The KPH brought to market:Frank Dowling, the entrepreneur who previously operated a number of venues at the O2 arena and across the country under the banner of the Inc Group, is operating the London-based pubs sites that formerly came under the Harcourt Inns umbrella. The six sites, which include the Hero of Maida in Maida Vale; The Three Cranes in the City of London; the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell; and The Crown in Chiswick; are each held in individual entities, with Dowling assisting the existing management teams for their respective shareholders. Propel also understands the freehold of The KPH in Notting Hill, which was the last site to open under the Harcourt Inns umbrella in 2019, has been placed on the market through property advisory firm Fleurets, with a guide price thought to be about £5.5m. Henry Harris stepped down as chef-director of Harcourt Inns last year. Dowling, who was brought up in New York, started his working life in construction then went on to London working on the property development project at Canary Wharf. His first bar was opened in Greenwich in 2003 and he became the first restaurateur to sign a lease for a venue at the O2 Arena and subsequently built up a portfolio of venues under the banner of the Inc Group, which grew to 23 restaurants, pubs and bars across the capital, Leeds and Bristol.
Hummingbird Bakery files intention to appoint administrators: US-style cupcake concept Hummingbird Bakery, founded in London in 2004, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. According to The Telegraph, insolvency firm BM Advisory is understood to have been lined up as administrators to Hummingbird. Sources close to the company said BM Advisory was working with a number of potential suitors, with a view to rescuing the business. The company was founded in Notting Hill by Tarek Malouf and currently operates five sites across London and two franchise sites in Dubai.
Shake Shack to make Cambridge debut as it expands delivery-only kitchen portfolio: Shake Shack is to make its debut in Cambridge as it expands its portfolio of delivery-only kitchens. The Cambridge kitchen will open on Tuesday (9 February) and operate daily between noon and 10.45pm, with customers placing orders directly through Deliveroo. The American burger brand’s offering includes the signature ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries and classic drinks. Shake Shack launched its debut Deliveroo Editions site, in Battersea, in May last year, followed by further London sites in Swiss Cottage and Bermondsey. It also operates delivery-only sites in Brighton and Reading. Meanwhile, Shake Shack will offer its workers a total of six hours of paid time off to get covid-19 vaccinations when they become available. The company said the paid-time policy – three hours per vaccination – will be for all team members, hourly and salaried.
Greene King supported more than 1,000 apprentices in 2020: Brewer and retailer Greene King said it supported more than 1,000 apprentices on its award-winning programme since March 2020, either through starting or completing an apprenticeship, despite the challenges of a pandemic. Announcing the achievement ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, Greene King also confirmed it maintained more than 2,300 learners on its programmes, highlighting many of those furloughed made the most of the opportunity to learn when not being able to work. Andrew Bush, chief people officer at Greene King, said: “Despite the heavy restrictions placed on the hospitality industry and the constant closing and opening of our pubs, our team members have remained really engaged, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to our apprenticeship programme. We worked hard to keep delivering our programmes during lockdowns and kept the apprenticeship opportunities open for our furloughed teams so we’re really pleased so many have started or achieved their apprenticeship during 2020.” The company said it was also set to expand its programme to offer 30 different apprenticeships to support its 40,000 team members. Alongside its Level 2 to 7 retail and management career pathways, it will now introduce new apprenticeships including associate project manager, coaching professional and accountancy/taxation professional.
Chapati Man eyes further expansion, launches first ghost kitchen site: London-based street food Indian wraps concept Chapati Man is to launch its first ghost kitchen site later this month and has begun working with US franchise expert Brett Larrabee on further expansion plans. Founded by husband-and-wife Chris and Andrea Rai in 2007, the concept will launch the new ghost kitchen site in Camden, north London in mid-February. It said the site would be the first of many new sites launching in London and the UK, working in partnership with Jacuna kitchens. It said that to drive its expansion plans forward, it has begun working with Larrabee to assist with the development of the Chapati Man brand and franchise model. Larrabee has a 35-year-track record in the franchise industry working with a number of leading food brands, including Five Guys and more recently Little Caesars Pizza. Andrea Rai said “We’ve had an incredible year with lots of franchise interest from all over the world. With Brett’s help, we hope to push to the next level with a streamlined and very attractive franchise offer.”
Experienced operator sells former Michelin Pub of the Year in off-market deal: Experienced operator Ian MacKenzie has sold The Fox, which was named Michelin Pub of the Year in 2004 under his guidance, in an off-market deal. The 16th century venue in the Cotswolds has been purchased by a private buyer through property agent Colliers. MacKenzie’s background includes managing The Hunters Lodge Restaurant, in Broadway, Worcestershire; general manager of The Dormy House hotel and restaurant in Broadway; owner of the Lambs Restaurant in Moreton in Marsh; head of operations at the Slug and Lettuce group; owner of The Ricochet Restaurant in Warwick; and owner of the food-led Ladbroke Arms in Notting Hill. The Fox comprises a bar and restaurant with a menu featuring seasonal British produce, a private dining room, plus accommodation in three bedrooms.
Rick Stein Group bolsters shellfish stock as it rides to rescue of Welsh supplier:Rick Stein Group has rode to the rescue of a Welsh shellfish supplier, who risked losing £48,000 worth of shellfish stuck at Portsmouth due to Brexit. Chef Jack Stein has pledged to purchase a large portion of stock from Nerys Edwards, to bolster Cornish supplies. It followed Edwards’ plea on BBC News, following a lorry-load of live shellfish being stalled for 24 hours in Portsmouth due to new Brexit border rules. The lobsters – 100kg a week in the first instance – will be used for the “Stein’s at Home” boxes. This is in addition to 400kg to 500kg a week purchased from Cornish suppliers. Stein said the team has struggled to source enough Cornish lobster to cater for demand of online orders, and saw an opportunity to help the restaurant group; Edwards’ fourth-generation fish wholesale company Syren Shellfish; and Welsh fishermen, whose fish and seafood may otherwise be going to waste. Stein said: “We are in need of more lobsters in Cornwall, so this was an opportunity to help keep some of Nerys’ suppliers in business while she struggles to ship to Europe. The Stein’s at Home menus have been going really well, and we are doing it to keep revenue flowing, retain our staff while our restaurants are shut, and importantly to make sure we keep using our long-standing Cornish suppliers.”
Caffe Nero launches at-home range at Sainsbury’s and Amazon for first time, free coffee giveaway: Caffe Nero is launching its at-home coffee range at Sainsbury’s and Amazon after seeing a 218% sales increase via its own channels since the second lockdown in November last year. It is also targeting home-school parents with a free giveaway of 1,000 bags of Caffe Nero whole or ground coffee beans. The move to launch at Sainsbury’s – in-store and on its website – and Amazon is the first time its coffee has been available outside its stores and its own online channels. The premium at-home range, which includes Caffe Nero’s Classico Original Blend, will launch in March at Sainsbury’s but is available now on Amazon. Caffe Nero UK chief executive Will Stratton-Morris said: “We know how challenging the situation is for families at the. We wanted to lend our support in the best way we know how, with free coffee, to help recognise and energise parents and homeworkers through this tricky period. We’ve seen a surge in sales of our ‘Coffee at Home’ range through our own website, and huge growth in our in-store click and collect service and our at-home delivery service via UberEats since they launched last summer. We’re delighted to be extending the availability of our popular at-home range even further with the rollout to Sainsbury’s and Amazon.”