Corbin and King boss – ‘15% of EU employees have resigned following Brexit vote’: Corbin and King managing director Zuleika Fennell has said 15% of its EU employees have left the company since the referendum result last June. She said the employees had not only quit the company but “left the UK altogether” and with 75% of its workforce from the EU, Corbin and King would need to “shift to home-grown talent”. Fennell told Hotel Owner: “We have lost (about) 15% of our employees as a result of the Brexit announcement but the real number could be far greater as people may have declined to give us their real reason for relocating. We have also seen a decline in new applications from EU candidates, making vacancies harder than ever to fill. It is not our position to set government policy but there needs to be awareness this decision is likely to increase immigration levels dramatically not decrease them. Those in the health industry, public sector, retail and hospitality, to name but a few, will have to recruit from further afield just to keep operating. This will require the government and Border and Immigration Agency to remove the restrictions from allowing us to do so.” Earlier this month, private equity firm Graphite Capital announced it is selling its 45% stake in Corbin & King, which operates seven restaurants in central London. The sale is taking place because Graphite Capital’s five-year investment time-frame has come to an end.
Just Eat hits 300 million orders milestone: Online food ordering firm Just Eat has said it has hit the milestone of 300 million orders only 12 months after breaking through the 200 million mark. Just Eat launched in the UK in 2006 and has grown to 27,600 restaurant partners nationwide covering more than 100 cuisine styles. The company said it took eight years for it to reach 100 million orders, while today it receives three orders per second from nine million customers. Britons made a total of 88.1 million takeaway orders through Just Eat last year. To celebrate the milestone, Just Eat has launched The Great May Giveaway, offering meals, discounts and offers until the end of the month. Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield said: “Historically, independent restaurants have had neither the resources nor technology to digitalise their businesses. Providing the platform for them to move online and reach a significantly broader customer base has helped to grow their businesses. We are proud of the job Just Eat has done in helping to grow the sector and the technological developments we have implemented to help make food discovery more exciting.” Just Eat said its technology innovation during the past year included delivering the world’s first takeaway by robot and creating a chatbot to help customers find their flavour. It said collaborations with “leaders in social media, augmented reality, gaming and virtual reality”, would see Just Eat continue to “push boundaries”.
Burning Night Group raises almost £6m in peer-to-peer loan campaign and extends for further month: Burning Night Group has raised almost £6m on peer-to-peer lending platform Crowdstacker to fund its next stage of growth. The company, which was initially looking to raise £3.5m, secured £5,916,836 and has now extended the campaign by a month – for a second time – until Friday, 23 June. The company is offering a mini-bond paying 7% per annum interest and is looking to raise £7m to continue the roll-out of its Bierkeller, Shooters and Around the World three-venues-in-one concept. Burning Night Group, which employs more than 500 staff and has generated turnover in excess of £17m in 2016, already operates the concept in some of the country’s busiest city centres including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Cardiff. The pitch states: “Burning Night plans to use the funds to continue its already successful roll-out programme of multi-branded concept bars in further key cities around the UK and with the plan to create up to 140 jobs. Your capital is secured over the assets and business of Burning Night Group with a first ranking debenture. These assets include freehold and leasehold UK properties.” The Crowdstacker peer-to-peer loan was identified as a way to involve customers in the business’ future growth. The fund offers perks packages for those putting in £2,500 or more. Loans are over three years and money can be invested via the Innovative Finance ISA or Personal Savings Allowance, allowing up to £1,000 in interest to be earned tax-free. Earlier this week, Burning Night Group announced it would start expansion of its FirePit Smokehouse & Sports Bar concept by opening a second site, in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
Freehold of Stoke Newington property let to Whole Foods Market sells at Allsop auction for £2.6m: The freehold of a site in Stoke Newington, north London, let to Whole Foods Market has sold at an Allsop auction for £2.6m, which means the buyer earns a 5% initial yield on its investment. Whole Foods Market holds the lease of the shop, near Stamford Hill, let at £138,200 a year, rising to £151,950 per year in 2020, guaranteed by Whole Foods Market until 2030 without break. The auction at The Berkeley Hotel in London raised a total of £94.6m, Allsop’s second-largest May sale since 2007. The average lot size was £765,000, while 31 lots sold for in excess of £1m. Allsop auctioneer George Walker said: “The buyers were focusing on the strongest tenants and best-let investments to give solid returns for them over the next ten years or more. Investor appetite for the best stock was as strong as ever, with some hesitancy clearly shown where either length of lease or quality of tenant was in doubt.”
Redchurch secures £1m-plus contract with Beavertown, extends £400,000 crowdfunding campaign: Redchurch Brewery, which is undertaking a £400,000 fund-raise on Crowdcube to accelerate expansion plans, has secured a £1m-plus contract with Beavertown Brewery. The two companies are going to be working together to brew Beavertown’s signature Neck Oil beer over the next 18 months with five new 60-barrel fermenters being installed at Redchurch’s brewery in Harlow. Redchurch, which was founded by lawyer turned brewer Gary Ward and television producer Tracey Cleland stated: “The arrangement will help our friends at Beavertown out by giving them some much-needed extra capacity and will generate revenue for Redchurch in excess of £1m. At the end of 18 months we will own the five new vessels outright, thereby giving us much-needed extra capacity.” Meanwhile, Redchurch has extended its crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube by two weeks due to ongoing discussions with investors. The company is offering a 7.41% equity stake in return for the £400,000 investment and has so far raised £170,980 from 388 investors with 17 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £20,000. The pitch states: “With the investment we raise during this round we intend to add further fermentation vessels to increase our production capacity to more than 1.3 million litres annually; invest in our packaging line to improve speed and efficiency, employ more brewers, delivery drivers and expand our stretched sales and logistics team; transform our warehouse space by adding a racking system; and add to our fleet of delivery vehicles.”
Smashburger opens in Bath, fourth and largest UK site: Better burger brand Smashburger has opened its fourth and largest UK site, in Bath city centre. The 150-cover restaurant in Southgate Street features exposed brick walls, cast-iron beams, curved banquette seating and lantern lighting inspired by New York’s meat-packing district. Smashburger offers 100% British Red Tractor Assured beef hand-formed into a meatball and smashed on to a hot buttered grill alongside salads and sides. Each venue features an exclusive burger, with Bath offering the Stilton Stack. It will also offer a craft beer from local brewer Electric Bear Brewing Co. Smashburger’s other UK restaurants are in Milton Keynes, Brighton and Newcastle, with openings in the pipeline at Glasgow, Dunfermline, Wednesbury and Inverness. The group plans to open ten restaurants in the UK during the next 12 months and reach 35 restaurants by the end of 2020. Smashburger was founded by Tom Ryan in Denver in 2007. The brand now operates more than 370 sites in ten countries.
Stonegate Pub Company reopens Peterborough nightclub featuring new pizza concept: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened multi-room nightclub Edwards in Peterborough featuring a new street-food concept – Nosh – which offers pizza to eat in or take away. A £240,000 refurbishment has seen a retro touch added to the Broadway venue’s three bars – Edwards, Flares and Red Room – with new furnishings, bar furniture and light and sound systems. The drinks offer features a wide range of premium spirits, champagne and cocktails including “G is for Gin”, a mix of Tanqueray, elderflower cordial and prosecco. Events include salsa classes, karaoke, student nights and post-work escape The Clocking Off Club. At weekends, the venue will host club nights Mixology, Vanity, So Dope and Throwback on a monthly rotation. Edwards general manager Cem Ozkan said: “The majority of the work has gone towards improving customer satisfaction and speed of service but most of all towards creating three unique atmospheres under one roof.”
Cheshire site housing PizzaExpress and Bistrot Pierre acquired for £9.5m: Asset management group Columbia Threadneedle Investments has acquired the freehold interest in Victoria Buildings in Stockton Heath, Cheshire, which houses PizzaExpress, Bistrot Pierre and Individual Restaurants brand Piccolino. Columbia Threadneedle Investments acquired the site from unnamed clients of LRE Capital for £9.5m, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.44%. The building provides about 31,333 square feet of leisure, retail and ancillary accommodation arranged across ten units with additional external terraces. The current net rental income is £653,147 per year. John Burnside, of Hartnell Taylor Cook, which advised LRE Capital on the deal alongside Capita Real Estate, told Insider Media: “We were delighted to act on behalf of the vendor on this property, which is in the affluent Cheshire suburb of Stockton Heath and offers an excellent tenant line-up with a weighted average unexpired lease term in excess of 14 years.” Columbia Threadneedle Investments was advised by KLM Retail.
Redcomb Pubs reopens Chislehurst site with new steakhouse focus: Redcomb Pubs, led by Dan Shotton has reopened The Bickley in Chislehurst, Kent, as The Bickley Pub & Steakhouse. The pub in Chislehurst Road has undergone a major refurbishment, introducing a contemporary new look to the dining room, bar areas and garden. The menu has also been redefined to offer a steakhouse focus, with 28-day aged premium cuts of beef. The new menu also features a range of other pub favourites on and off the grill section, including rack of ribs, creamy fish pie and a selection of hand-pressed, short-rib burgers each served with a range of toppings. Redcomb Pubs executive director Mark Draper said: “The Bickley has long been a popular focal point of Chislehurst, with the site dating to the 1870s. Since taking over the running of the pub in 2013, we’ve worked hard to continue this legacy and have consistently redefined our offering to reflect the needs and aspirations of our local customer base. We pride ourselves on creating pubs that suit the community to which they belong, and through analysing our own restaurant sales data and examining current dining trends, the new steakhouse venture was born. We’re not shying away from any of our proper pub credentials but instead feel we are embellishing and adding to them with a new menu that concentrates on great steaks and classic dishes that are good value and cooked to perfection.”
Dylan’s opens third site, in Llandudno: Anglesey-based restaurant group Dylan’s has opened its third site, this time in Llandudno, creating 40 jobs. Dylan’s has opened the venue in a grade II-listed seafront building that formerly housed the Washington nightclub, which closed in 2012. Dylan’s has invested £1.5m to refurbish the building in East Parade into the seafood restaurant and bar that can accommodate up to 250 covers. It includes a downstairs brasserie, with a restaurant, cocktail lounge and balcony upstairs. Dylan’s director David Evans told the Daily Post: “We wanted to respect the character and personality of the original building. Our personality is sensitively imposed on the venue but we really wanted to bring out the full character of this stunning building.” Dylan’s launched its first restaurant in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, in 2012 and opened its second site, at Portmeirion architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ Morannedd building in Criccieth, last year. It has also opened a prep kitchen for its restaurants in Llangefni. Its venues focus on locally and sustainably caught fish and seafood sourced directly from fishermen in the region.
Premier Inn launches free online booking tool for businesses: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn has launched a free online booking tool designed to save companies time by enabling them to book rooms using only a few clicks of the mouse. The company said the tool – Business Booker – offered solutions to a “range of travel needs from booking to payments in one place” and gave users access to more than 750 Premier Inn hotels across the UK. It said key Business Booker benefits included preferential Business Flex rates for regular bookers, speedier booking, spend limits on employee allowances such as food, drink, Ultimate Wi-Fi and car parking, and downloadable spend reports on past reservations. Premier Inn director of demand and distribution Karen Plumb told PR Newswire: “Saving time and money are key priorities for all businesses and our new online booking tool can offer both. Business Booker simplifies the process of booking your business hotel stays, meaning our customers can spend more time running their businesses. Additionally, our exclusive Business Flex rates can save them money, where booking early offers the greatest value.”
Soho Coffee Co opens 38th site, in London’s Baker Street, starts roll-out of hot food range: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has opened its third London venue and 38th store in total. The new venue in Baker Street is only the second Soho Coffee Co store to offer the brand’s full hot food range, including tacos, hasselback jacket potatoes, sweet potatoes and hot grain pots – concepts trialled at the company’s Cheltenham Brewery Quarter site. The Baker street store is the third of 11 planned openings this year, following the launch of the Cheltenham venue in January and another in Debenhams in Birmingham a fortnight ago. Soho Coffee Co’s other London outlets are in St Paul’s and The Strand, both of which opened in November.
M&B submits plans for All Bar One site in Aberdeen: Mitchells & Butlers has submitted plans to bring its All Bar One brand to Aberdeen. The company has applied to the city council to open the site at the £107m Marischal Square development in the city centre. It would be the company’s fifth All Bar One site in Scotland. All Bar One would occupy a 6,000 square foot site at the development with Mitchells & Butlers investing £530,000 to fit-out the unit, reports the Evening Express. All Bar One operates more than 50 venues across the UK, including three sites in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow.
Dame Kelly Holmes to start expansion of active cafe concept with second Kent site: Double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes is to start expansion of her Café 1809 Active concept by opening a second site in Kent. The new venue will open at the outdoor multi-sport centre in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, on Tuesday, 6 June. Holmes, who launched Café 1809 in her home village Hildenborough, near Tonbridge, said the concept involved a healthy menu featuring Kent produce alongside activities such as yoga classes. A spokesman for Holmes told Kent Online: “Café 1809 Active is the first lifestyle cafe in the area and is set to become a social hub for local people who want to be part of a like-minded, active community and feel good about themselves. There is a strong emphasis on having an active lifestyle to enjoy a healthy mind and body. Kelly hopes to take the concept further with her new Active brand, getting more people to enjoy social interaction as part of their healthy, active lifestyle.”
North London-based gourmet pie company Piebury Corner starts expansion with King’s Cross site: Gourmet pie company Piebury Corner, which operates a venue in Holloway Road, has started expansion by opening a sister site in King’s Cross. The pie shop and deli has opened at a former post office in Caledonian Road. The venue, larger than the 30-cover Holloway Road site, features booths and banquette seating and offers hand-made pies, mash, crushed peas, roast potatoes, gravy and craft beer. The pie range includes jerk chicken marinated in porter, and lentil with sweet potato and Thai curry paste. Piebury Corner began in 2011 as a food stall in Paul and Nicky Campbell’s front garden in Highbury, selling 15 hand-made gourmet pies to Arsenal fans en route to the Emirates Stadium. In 2012, the company opened the licensed cafe and deli in Holloway at a former pie and mash shop. The Campbells, who still operate a stall near Arsenal’s stadium as well as at festivals across the country, told Hot Dinners: “We’re very proud to be part of the King’s Cross revolution.”
Crepeaffaire launches gluten-free galette range: Crepeaffaire, the UK’s leading crepe concept, has launched a range of gluten-free galettes – a type of crepe made with 100% buckwheat flour. Crepeaffaire managing director Daniel Spinath said: “Gluten-free has been one of the key requests by consumers. Not only are our galettes 100% certificated gluten-free and organic, they are also suitable for vegans as they are egg and dairy-free. The nutty buckwheat taste gives them that special galette taste, known and loved by our French neighbours.” Initially available at Crepeaffaire’s Old Spitalfields, Westfield London and Islington sites, the range will be rolled out across all the company’s 14 UK stores in the coming months.
Boojum founder to start expansion of slow-cooked, barbecued meat concept Bubbacue with second Belfast site: John Blisard, founder of burrito brand Boojum, is to start expansion of his slow-cooked, barbecued meat concept Bubbacue by opening a second site in Belfast. Blisard will open the venue in Botanic Avenue on the former site of Cafe Renoir, creating 15 jobs. The restaurant, which is set to open in mid-June, is based only metres from his former venture Boojum, which he sold to brothers David and Andrew Maxwell in July 2015. Blisard told the Belfast Telegraph: “The building became available and Botanic is a great spot, as we knew with Boojum. We are returning home and it’s a bit full-circle. We thought our offering, our product and brand would be a good match for the students and young professionals.” Blisard said the company had further plans for growth, including looking at different locations across Northern Ireland and the Republic. However, he added: “The main focus is maintaining the quality service and quality food. We aren’t going to sacrifice that for expansion.” The original Bubbacue in Callender Street employs about 20 staff and recently underwent an extensive refurbishment.
PepsiCo to sell 4.5% minority stake in Britvic: PepsiCo is planning to sell its 4.5% minority stake in Britvic. The sale of up to 11.8 million ordinary shares held through PepsiCo subsidiary Tropicana United Kingdom is expected to be executed through an accelerated book-build placement with institutional investors. Britvic serves as PepsiCo’s bottler and distributor in the UK and Ireland and also manufactures and distributes its own portfolio of brands. PepsiCo said the decision was made as part of a routine review of its asset portfolio and had no impact on PepsiCo’s long-standing bottling relationship with Britvic. Citigroup Global Markets is acting as sole book-runner in connection with the placing. The placing price and number of shares to be sold will be agreed by Citigroup and PepsiCo at the close of the book-build process. Britvic chief executive Simon Litherland said: “The relationship between Britvic and PepsiCo is long-standing and has been mutually beneficial to both parties. We have been the sole bottling partner for PepsiCo in Great Britain for the past 30 years and, in that time, we have delivered significant growth for PepsiCo, led by Pepsi Max, and successfully expanded our bottling agreement into new categories. Britvic and PepsiCo are both committed to continuing to build on the success we have achieved to date into the future.”
Superbowl UK signs deal to open ninth site, in St Helens: Tenpin bowling operator Superbowl UK has agreed a deal to open its ninth site, in St Helens, Merseyside. The company has signed a 25-year lease to open the 24,000 square foot venue at the West Point development in spring 2018, creating 35 jobs. Superbowl UK will invest more than £1.8m on the fit-out of the site, which will feature 12 tenpin bowling lanes, a Crazy Club soft play centre, a trampoline assault course, amusement arcade, diner, and boutique lounge sports bar. Superbowl UK director Kate Quaintance-Blackford told the St Helens Star: “Superbowl UK St Helens presents us with an opportunity to bring our distinctive brand of family entertainment into Merseyside, where we believe it will prove extremely popular. We are one of few companies in the UK offering all these facilities under one roof and, because of that, we’re confident the new site in St Helens will be a success.” West Point will also house The Restaurant Group’s Tex-Mex brand Chiquito, which will open opposite Cineworld later this year.
Ampersand opens new dining experience at Kew Gardens: Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s events and catering business, has opened a new dining experience at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, south west London. The new table-service restaurant, The Botanical, is in the heart of the gardens with views of the Palm House and lake. Ampersand is working with horticultural experts at Kew, including head of arboretum, gardens and horticultural services Tony Kirkham, to forage for herbs, plants and flowers within the garden walls to include in the seasonal menu. Meanwhile, the curation of the space acknowledges the building’s former role as a museum, with artefacts on display in glass cases. The Botanical offers modern British dishes and twists on classic favourites, with the menu changing regularly throughout the year. Ampersand operations manager Rob Santos said: “The Botanical is so much more than a restaurant – it’s part of the Kew Gardens experience. The beauty of The Botanical is that through foraging for some ingredients and forging close relationships with local suppliers, we have scope to develop the offer throughout the year. Ampersand was appointed caterer at Kew Gardens in September 2016 and provides all catering services at the attraction, its other venues being White Peaks cafe, Victoria Plaza cafe, Orangery restaurant and Pavilion restaurant.
Offers of £3m-plus sought for Lake District hotel and restaurant made famous by TV chef John Tovey: Offers of more than £3m are being sought for Lake District country house hotel and restaurant Miller Howe, which was launched by John Tovey, one of the original celebrity chefs. Agent Colliers International is selling the property overlooking Lake Windermere on behalf of the Ainscough family. Tovey launched Miller Howe in 1971 with an investment of £53,000, with the venue soaring in value boosted by the popularity of Tovey’s best-selling cookery books and television series. He sold the property in 1998. The three-star hotel sits in four acres of landscaped grounds with 15 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant with two AA rosettes, residents’ bar, conservatory, and a letting cottage. Planning permission has been granted for two additional en-suite letting bedrooms. Julian Troup, head of UK hotels at Colliers, told the Cumbria Crack: “Due in part to the fall in the value of the pound against the euro and the dollar, about 15% of our UK hotel sales in the past 12 months have been to overseas buyers and there’s every indication this trend will continue and strengthen.”
Carlisle-based operator eyes city centre site for cafe and wine bar: Paul McAleenan, who owns Gallagher’s Irish pub in Botchergate, Carlisle, has submitted plans to open a French-style cafe and wine bar in the city centre as he looks to expand his operations. McAleenan wants to convert a former newsagents in a grade II-listed building in Warwick Road. The ground-floor venue would feature timber and stained glass in a design by architects Abacus Building Design. The venue would be a cafe on weekdays and a wine bar on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.