The Zetter Group set for expansion after takeover: London-based hotel and restaurant operator The Zetter Group is set for further expansion, after being acquired by hospitality investor Orca Holding for an undisclosed sum. The Zetter Group was founded by owners Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan 18 years ago, and comprises The Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell and The Zetter Townhouses in Clerkenwell and Marylebone. Orca Holding said it now intends to retain and grow The Zetter Townhouse brand and is “actively looking” to open more properties in London and other key cities across the UK and Europe, such as Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam. Benyan said: “We are extremely proud of the culture of The Zetter Group, the hospitality brands we created and the impact they had on London’s vibrant hotel, restaurant and cocktail scene. The fact Orca Holding is passionate about The Zetter brand and has such exciting plans for its future, is great news for all involved and we wish it every success.” Laith Pharaon, chief executive of Orca Holding, said: “We see huge growth and development potential in The Zetter Group. This has been a difficult year for most hotels but the properties were previously achieving great success in their respective segments. This acquisition presents an opportunity for more strategic expansion of The Zetter brand and will benefit from Orca Holding’s global hotel development experience.” The Zetter Hotel launched in Clerkenwell in 2004, with the nearby 13-bedroom The Zetter Townhouse following in 2011. The 24-bedroom Marylebone Zetter Townhouse opened in 2015.
Marston’s seeks bondholder waivers again amid lockdown: Marston’s has again asked its bondholders for a number of waivers of its financial covenants to reflect the coronavirus lockdown. The company said it has formally asked holders of its secured class A notes for a “limited number of further technical waivers of its financial covenant” for the second half of 2021 and until January 2022. It is also seeking an extension of certain other technical waivers and amendments that were agreed to by the holders of its secured class A notes in May last year. Marston’s said the waivers/amendments being requested are “required solely as a consequence of the enforced temporary reclosure of its pubs in England, Scotland and Wales by the UK government and the devolved administrations, as a result of the covid–19 pandemic measures”. Noteholders have been asked to respond by 24 March and a meeting is scheduled for 26 March. Marston’s said the overall financial and liquidity position of the company and its subsidiaries remains sound – the group had £176m of headroom under its bank facilities as at 2 January 2021. Marston’s stated: “Marston’s is confident that demand in its pubs will be strong once allowed to fully reopen (albeit with restrictions). As previously reported, the pubs performed well last summer after the first lockdown, outperforming the market in the 13 weeks to 3 October 2020 with like-for-like sales at the group’s managed and franchised pubs 90% of the previous financial year during the corresponding period.” The group said it has previously received “overwhelming” support from its bondholders for certain waivers and amendments for 2020 within its secured estate, due to the government’s mandate to temporarily close pubs and restaurants across the UK.
Jamie Oliver’s brother-in-law is let go as CEO of chef’s business empire: Jamie Oliver has let his brother-in-law, Paul Hunt, go as chief executive of his business empire. Hunt had been considered a surprise choice to take over at the Jamie Oliver Group in 2014. It was during his tenure the chef’s Jamie’s Italian chain fell into administration, after expanding from its debut site in Oxford in 2008 to 43 restaurants by 2016. The chain finally collapsed in the spring of 2019, putting 1,000 staff out of work. According to an internal company memo, former City trader Hunt, who has been married to Oliver’s sister Anna-Marie for more than 20 years – agreed to leave his role this week. In a message to staff regarding Hunt’s departure seen by the Daily Mail, Oliver wrote he had been brought into the group to “stabilise and reposition it”. The note said: “We’ve done that and as we looked ahead at the future of the business, we both thought it made sense to transition to a chief executive with global brand and technology expertise to lead the business into the next phase of its evolution. Massive thanks to Paul for his hard work and dedication.” Three years ago, Oliver had to respond to accusations Hunt was destroying his business, branding them “nonsense”. Insiders told The Times at the time they were “desperate to leave” the company after Hunt introduced a series of tough cost-cutting measures. However, Oliver wrote on Facebook: “There has been some negative press coverage with so-called friends of mine saying nasty, untrue things about Paul Hunt, who is the chief executive of my business. First, let me say the story is nonsense and I absolutely refute the picture they paint of Paul and my business. I’ve known Paul for years both as a loyal brother-in-law and loving father as well as a strong and capable chief executive who I charged with reshaping the business. He has radically transformed our business for the better.”
Rosa Thai’s Cafe brings plant-based sister concept back as virtual brand: Rosa’s Thai Veggie – the plant-based sister brand to restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe – is to open as a delivery and takeaway-only kitchen, in London Fields, The launch on Wednesday (10 March) marks a return for the concept, which launched as a pop-up in 2018. Rosa’s Thai Veggie began as a three month-long vegetarian-only pop-up at its restaurant in Dean Street, Soho, and the decision to bring it back is a response to the “increased demand for vegetarian and vegan dishes witnessed across the group”. Initially launching in London Fields, Rosa’s Thai Veggie has ambitions to expand to further cloud kitchens and explore bricks and mortar opportunities down the line. The menu will combine reworked Rosa’s Thai Cafe classics, including founder Saiphin Moore’s signature stir-fried aubergine dish and tofu pad Thai, alongside new dishes including Chu Chi tempeh, a thick and creamy Panang curry with kaffir lime leaves and fresh chillies. Rosa’s Thai Cafe chief executive Gavin Adair said: “Our Rosa’s Thai Veggie pop up inspired a step change in our vegetarian and vegan dishes across the business several years ago. Saiphin continually pushes our food boundaries and it’s great to be able to give some of her most recent recipes a unique ‘home’ alongside existing Rosa’s classics.” Rosa’s Thai Cafe, which is backed by TriSpan, operates 22 sites across London, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.
Better burger brand Fat Hippo secures eighth site, in Liverpool: Better burger brand Fat Hippo has secured a new site in Liverpool, for an opening later this summer. The company, which was founded in 2010 by Michael Phillips, is understood to have secured the former STA Travel site in the city’s Bold Street. Phillips said: “The last year has been difficult for all businesses, especially the hospitality sector, but we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring Fat Hippo to Liverpool city centre. The building in Bold Street is the perfect location for our restaurant, and we’re excited to be able to welcome everyone for a taste of ‘the good kind of gluttony’.” Last month, the business opened a site in Headingley, Leeds. The company also operates sites in Newcastle, Jesmond, Durham and Nottingham and two outlets in Sheffield.
Danish espresso bar concept Hagen secures South Kensington site: Hagen, the Danish espresso bar concept, is set to open its third site in London, after securing a site in South Kensington. The company, which operates sites in Chelsea and Mayfair, has taken the former Flight Centre in Old Brompton Road, on a new ten-year lease. Taking inspiration from Copenhagen, the brand focuses on creating hygge spaces and serving premium speciality coffee. Tim Schroeder, founder of Hagen, said: “We’re excited to add such a historic part of London to our venues. We are looking forward to serving our Danish snacks, premium speciality coffee with a dash of hygge – al banco meets alfresco – to locals and commuters. For locals, by locals, as we like to say. Having the Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and the V&A as our neighbours is a real bonus, as they are all incredible historic buildings. Even though Hagen South Kensington will be new, we have taken a more sustainable approach by reusing materials and adding state-of-the-art operational systems to reduce our footprint. The past needs better connection with the future.” George Collison in the London restaurants team at Colliers acted on the South Kensington deal.
Tossed appoints Ann Elliott as non-executive director, plans to start reopening this month: Tossed, the healthy-eating brand owned and led by Neil Sebba and Angelina Harrisson, has appointed Ann Elliott to its board as a non-executive director – and plans to start reopening sites this month, including two new stores. It is the first major appointment by Sebba and Harrisson since concluding a deal to acquire the brand about six months ago. Elliott will work with the executive team on strategy and growth, and provide the voice of the consumer at board level. Sebba said: “We first worked with Ann on the NHS Feed our Frontline initiative during the first lockdown, and were so impressed with her positive outlook, knowledge and experience in the industry. Her primary role will be to help shape and deliver our communication strategy over what is an uncertain trading period to come. Ann was our first choice for non-executive and we are excited to be working with her. We can’t wait to take this wonderful brand to the next level and beyond.” Elliott, who also sits on the boards of Hall & Woodhouse and Wireless Social, said: “Tossed is a great brand with lots of potential for the future and is perfectly placed in the dynamic and exciting fast-casual market. Neil and Angelina lead a great team.” Tossed will begin to reopen its locations in March, including new stores at Sun Street in Broadgate and New Providence Wharf, near Canary Wharf. Its seven other stores are located across the capital, at Baker Street, Bankside, Clerkenwell, Coleman Street (City), Gresham Street (City), Sheldon Square (Paddington), and St Martin’s Lane.
Mark Greenaway to launch takeaway pie and mash concept, in London: Chef Mark Greenaway is to launch takeaway concept, Greenaway’s Pie & Mash, in London. Greenaway will open the outlet in Villiers Street in Westminster on Monday, 12 April. With the number of pie shops in London dwindling – there used to be more than 110 and now there are barely 20 – Greenaway, who is opening a fine-dining restaurant in central London this summer, said he saw an opportunity to “bring back a classic to the capital”. Along with classic pies such as chicken, mushroom and tarragon; and beef short rib and pearl onion, the menu will also include new combinations that change with the seasons such as confit duck, lentil and orange; and braised lamb shank, pea and mint. As well as takeaway, pies will also be available via Deliveroo along with an at-home ready to cook range. Greenaway said: “Opening a pie and mash shop is not something I would have thought about doing a year ago. However, living and learning the culture here in London during lockdown has pivoted my thinking and almost excited me to look for other opportunities ahead of my signature restaurant opening In the summer.” Greenaway currently runs Grazing by Mark Greenaway at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh hotel.
Deliveroo to take advantage of ‘dual-class shares’ in London launch: Deliveroo founder Will Shu will take advantage of new dual-class shares when the company lists in London. Deliveroo said the share structure, which was touted by Lord Hill in his review of London’s listing criteria and endorsed this week by chancellor Rishi Sunak, would give Shu the “stability” to take decisions that would allow the company to fulfil its long-term vision. Lord Hill recommended the UK should introduce the shares, which give founders more control over the decision-making of their company. Deliveroo said the dual-class shares would be limited to three years, after which point the company will move to a “traditional single-class structure”. Shu said: “We want to be the definitive food company, bringing consumers the best choice of food, giving restaurants new opportunities to grow their businesses, and providing riders with great work. We are always focused on developing the best proposition for consumers, restaurants and riders and look forward to bringing our service to new parts of the UK as we continue to grow.” Lord Hill said: “One of the whole points of our listing review was to encourage more of the growth companies of the future to list in London. The changes we recommended would make it easier for more companies to follow Deliveroo’s lead, sending out a message that London is open for business.” Sunak said the reforms made were to demonstrate why the UK is one of the “best places in the world” to grow a business and added: “It’s fantastic Deliveroo has taken this decision to list on the London Stock Exchange. Deliveroo has created thousands of jobs and is a true British tech success story.” Deliveroo reported six months of consecutive profits throughout 2020 and continues its Editions delivery-only kitchens expansion, as well as its on-demand grocery offerings.
Harts Group confirms plans to open an El Pastor in Soho: Harts Group, which owns Quo Vadis, Casa Pastor and Barrafina in London, has confirmed it will open an El Pastor site in Soho. As revealed by Propel last month, the company has taken on the former Hix site in Brewer Street with plans to relaunch it as El Pastor Soho in June. Sam Hart said: “Soho is our spiritual home in many ways. It’s where Fino launched, it’s where we have Barrafina and Quo Vadis. We plan to do justice to the legacy of this special, magnetic site with El Pastor Soho and create wonderful experiences for 2021 and beyond.” In December 2019, Mark Hix closed his flagship restaurant Hix Soho after a decade in business blaming increasing rent costs. Sam and James Hart and Crispin Somerville launched the original El Pastor in Stoney Street, just off Borough Market, in December 2016. Taqueria and production site Tortilleria El Pastor opened in Bermondsey in April 2018 followed by Casa Pastor and Plaza Pastor in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, in October the same year. El Pastor Soho will comprise an 86-cover ground floor and 60-cover basement.