Costa Coffee franchisee Sim Trava slips to pre-tax loss despite turnover increase: Costa Coffee franchisee Sim Trava has slipped to a pre-tax loss despite seeing an increase in turnover. The Altrincham-based company, which operates 30 Costa Coffee sites and two Pita Pit venues, saw turnover rise to £11,525,431 for the year ending 1 January 2017 compared with £10,114,376 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Sim Trava reported a pre-tax loss of £234,210 compared with a profit of £76,445 the previous year, due to “significant increases” in labour and administrative costs. The company opened four new Costa Coffee stores during the period – in Houghton Le Spring, Openshaw, Neston, and Stretford – while gross margin increased 1% to 65%. The company stated: “Turnover for the business in the next financial year is expected to grow again due to further store openings with there being a further four stores opening in 2017. However there has been a significant increase in labour and administrative costs resulting in the group generating a loss of £230,827 compared with a profit in the previous year of £59,165. The main reason for the increased cost base in the business is the investment in the expansion of the group with significant investment in central costs and labour. Investments have been made in the senior management team with a new operations director being appointed in September 2015 and new area managers appointed in the year. Administrative costs have increased with the expansion of the group and the new stores that have been opened. The investment is aimed at both improving the performance of the group and growth of the group and the benefits of these appointments will be seen in the future periods. The directors view the underlying Costa Coffee franchises with confidence and expect performance to improve in 2017 and beyond. The performance of the new stores that have opened has been disappointing but the directors expect the performance to improve in 2017 as the stores mature and expect the group to return to profitability in 2017 and beyond. The performance of Sim Trava Pita has been disappointing and the directors are now looking at all options for the company, which could include continuing to operate, a sale or ceasing to trade but no decision has yet been taken as of the dates of these accounts being signed.”

Street food restaurant The Good Egg passes 50% mark in £500,000 crowdfunding campaign to open second site: Street food restaurant The Good Egg has passed the 50% mark in its £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it seeks to open a second site, in Soho. Founder Joel Abraham opened his first venue in 2015 in Stoke Newington after raising £182,000 from investors via Crowdcube. The restaurant serves more than 1,200 customers a week. Now he has returned to the crowdfunding platform to raise £500,000 in return for an 18.18% equity stake as he aims to bring the all-day neighbourhood “Montreal deli meets Israeli street food offer” to Soho’s Kingly Court. So far, 151 investors have pledged £251,660 with 19 days remaining. The pitch states: “We serve up colourful Jewish deli and Israeli-inspired brunches, bagels, pitas and small plates, with a dinner menu designed to get guests sharing, all alongside a drinks menu of classic American cocktails, craft beer and natural wine. We’ve now secured a 100-plus-seater site in the West End to feature a bakery and retail area that serves Israeli-inspired baked goods and extended brunch and dinner menus for eat-in, takeaway and delivery. Funds raised will be used for capex and pre-opening costs for our second restaurant site. This represents the realisation of a dream, fulfilling many aspects of the business we have had on hold in site one, such as our extended bakery offer. Commercial finance facilities are also in place. We know the industry has recently attracted, and is capable of attracting, exits and our own exit-strategy modelling is based on medium-to-long-term opportunities accordingly. We plan an exit in three years when the group has three restaurants.”

Be At One completes £20m refinancing with Santander: Cocktail bar specialist Be At One has completed a £20m refinancing, which it will use to increase its number of venues. The company, which is backed by the private equity firm Piper, plans to increase the number of bars it owns from 33 to 70. The new finance was provided by Santander. Last year, the company’s Ebitda was £5.5m on turnover of £39m. Toby Rolph, chief financial officer at Be At One, said: “After a very thorough process during the summer months – exploring how we best fund the next stage of our growth – we are delighted to have successfully concluded this exercise with a very competitive refinancing package from Santander. That we were able to secure this deal at a time when some other leisure businesses are reporting a challenging debt market and experiencing difficult trading conditions, speaks to the exceptional quality of our business and its continued strong performance.” Andrew Stones, of Be At One, added: “Our focus on delivering the exceptional Be At One guest experience is clearly paying off, and the conclusion of this process marks the start of the next chapter in our growth. With a strong pipeline and an ambitious growth programme, we look forward to delivering the unique Be At One experience – of high-quality cocktails and excellent service in a great atmosphere – to all of our guests across the UK.” The conclusion of the refinancing process comes amid continued strong trading for the Be At One business, with like-for-like sales growth of 6.5% for the six months to the end of August 2017, versus the same period last year. Be At One was advised by AlixPartners, with Addleshaw Goddard providing legal support.

Cafe Grounded to open 12th site, in Thornbury: Bristol-based independent coffee shop chain Cafe Grounded is to open a venue in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, for its 12th site. The new venue is set to launch in High Street early next year at former dry-cleaning store Hard Pressed For Time. Cafe Grounded was founded by property developer Tobie Holbrook in Bristol in 2008 and as well as venues in the city it operates sites in Bradford-on-Avon, Chippenham, Corsham and Melksham, all in Wiltshire, and Keynsham in Somerset. The company was founded on “community” and “inclusivity”, with a focus on environmentally sound business practices. Cafe Grounded marketing manager Katie Taylor told the Gazette: “We’ve had our eye on Thornbury for a long time and we’re thrilled to have secured a prime spot on the high street. Construction work on the site will start in the next couple of weeks and, if all goes according to plan, we hope to open early in the new year.” The Cafe Grounded website states: “Community is the driving force behind everything we do. We provide a relaxing environment for local residents to meet for coffee and a chat or a spot of lunch or dinner.”

Prezzo owner begins ‘informal marketing’ of business: The Sunday Times has reported TPG Capital has begun an “informal marketing” process for its Prezzo business, three years after it was taken private in a £300m deal. The 270-strong business made a loss of £16.3m last year, according to holding company accounts. The Sunday Times noted: “Casual dining chains have struggled in recent months.”

Black Country brewer and retailer Bathams opens 11th pub: Black Country brewer and retailer Bathams has opened its 11th pub, this time in the village of Hagley, Worcestershire. The family-run company has launched the King Arthur in Worcester Road in tribute to Arthur Batham – father of co-directors Tim and Matt – who steered the Brierley Hill brewery through difficult times in the 1950s and developed its flagship Bathams Bitter. The pub is a conversion of two four-storey offices and is the first “new-build” pub in Bathams’ history – the company is in its 140th anniversary year. The Victorian building, formerly known as Palladium House, now features a largely open plan interior but with many original features retained including decorative plasterwork, windows, floor tiles and the main fireplace, which has been restored to house a wood-burner. A pub cellar has been created as well a “community room” that can be used for meetings. Matt Batham told the Express & Star: “Suitable sites are becoming hard to find so we found it better to create a pub rather than use existing licensed premises. The King Arthur will be a traditional pub with an emphasis on high-quality beer and wine, cobs and snacks.” The King Arthur is the company’s second pub in Worcestershire, while its other sites are in the West Midlands.

Hobbs House Bakery returns to Bristol after 20-year break with two new sites: Cotswolds-based Hobbs House Bakery, which is run by the family featured on Channel 4 show The Fabulous Baker Brothers, has returned to Bristol after a 20-year break. The company, which produces its handmade bread and cakes on site and is led by brothers Henry and Tom Herbert, has bought two sites in the city. It has opened a store in Gloucester Road and is currently refurbishing a second venue, which is opening shortly in North Street, Southville. The new sites mark a return to Bristol for the business, which had more than 20 stores in the city in the 1960s. Henry Herbert told Insider Media: “To return to the centre of Bristol with two new stores both opening within a month of each other is like a dream come true. Our family have always had close links to the city and at one stage most of the population could easily access at least one of our bakeries and enjoy the products we provide. We will now have two stores and hope the new generation of Bristol will enjoy and embrace our traditional bakery and our good tasty food in modern contemporary surroundings.” Hobbs House Bakery other sites are in Chipping Sodbury, Malmesbury, Nailsworth and Tetbury.

Sales dip for Stringfellow’s after closure of Soho site: Sales have dipped at Peter Stringfellow’s business after the sale of his Soho site – he recently closed the Peter Stringfellow’s Angels Soho nightclub because the block was being redeveloped. Accounts just filed for Stringfellow Restaurants reported the terrorist threat in London has deterred some visitors, though this was offset by the weakness of the pound, which has attracted foreign tourists to London. Sales dipped from £7.4m to £6.5m in the 12 months to December 31, 2016, producing an operating loss of £1,041,005, compared with an operating loss of £516,933 the year before. There was profit of £2.666,253 from the sale of the Angels lease to produce an overall pre-tax profit of £1,635,109 compared with a loss of £507,458 the year before. It paid £680,000 to Revenue & Customs to settle a dispute over the tax treatment of bonus payments to directors. Stringfellow owns just 1% of the company now, with the rest owned by his finance director Clifford Silver. However, as the highest-paid director Stringfellow received £104,000 for the year. A report stated the directors believe profitability will improve this year after the consolidation of operations. They report the closure of the Soho club had already resulted in a movement of customers to the Covent Garden venue.

Wagamama appeals to students with Freshers’ Week campaign: Wagamama has launched a campaign called Katsumama, with London-based creative agency Mox. Mox created a student-strong, social campaign to coincide with National Katsu Curry Day and Freshers’ Week. The campaign aims to engage students throughout the week with a “bold and playful” video featuring Wagamama’s new figurehead “Katsumama”. Katsumama is offering students who have hit freedom too hard her Ultimate Hangover Cure giveaway. Joss Bynoe, head of brand at Wagamama, believed the campaign would help to strengthen its existing relationship with the youth audience and Mox was the right agency to guide them. She said: “Wagamama is a popular choice with students, strengthening our relationship with this audience through engaging social content and creating memorable experiences in our restaurants is more important than ever insight suggested students value our wholesome fresh food and generous portion sizes. Working with the bright new agency Mox, we created a fun social video celebrating National Katsu Curry Day, right in the middle of fresher season. It’s vital we selected an agency that really understands students and youth trends. The unique video features a quirky new character called ‘Katsumama’ that really resonates with this group.”

FSK Group reinvents Fleet Street Kitchen site in Sutton Coldfield to launch prosecco bar and steakhouse concept: FSK Group, led by Alan Rees and Benjamin Smith, has reinvented its Fleet Street Kitchen site in Sutton Coldfield reopening it as a prosecco bar and steakhouse. FSK closed the Mere Green restaurant in April citing the arrival of new competition in the town from private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre and cafe bar brand Loungers. FSK Steakhouse & Prosecco Bar promises a “taste of modern Italy and old-fashioned England”, offering 16 proseccos and afternoon tea, with pastries, sandwiches and chocolates hand-made on-site. The concept is aimed at mothers and daughters, and businesswomen, while the 250-capacity venue also features a patio and has a 4am licence. Rees told the Birmingham Mail: “We want to offer high-quality afternoon tea and be a place where mums and daughters can take each other out. We think there is great potential.” FSK Group is led by Arron Smith and Alan Rees, who acquired the Mere Green venue and another Fleet Street Kitchen site in Birmingham when they bought Town and Country Inns out of administration in November last year. The deal also included Birmingham sites Apres, a sports bar that reopened as The Loft, and nightclub Mechu, which was company relaunched as M Live Lounge & Club aimed at over-30s. The Apres venue in Cheltenham, the only Town and Country Inns site outside the Midlands, closed following the buyout.

Coyote Ugly to open second UK site, in Liverpool: Coyote Ugly, the Western-themed bar that inspired a Hollywood movie, is opening its second UK site – in Liverpool. The film was based on the original bar in New York City and Cardiff welcomed the first Coyote Ugly in the UK in December. After a public vote, Liverpool beat a number of other UK cities, including London, to be the venue for the second site. The exact location has yet to be revealed although it will be in the city centre and the bar has started hiring staff, the Liverpool Echo reports. Coyote Ugly replicates the bar seen in the movie with a wild atmosphere including barmaids dancing on the bar. Cardiff’s Coyote Ugly is operated by Steve Lewis, who runs two bars in Swansea and signed a franchise agreement with Coyote Ugly last year. The venue offers 24 draught craft beers and American barbecue food. It has a VIP section and booths, while a television screen covers the entire back wall showing live sport. There is also a live music stage and bucking bronco. Coyote Ugly, founded by Liliana “Lil” Lovell, currently has 21 sites in four countries – the US, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.

Marco Pierre White hotel site in Birmingham shuts following change of ownership: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, has closed one of its Birmingham sites. The company, which has four restaurants in the city, has shut Mr White’s English Chophouse at Hotel La Tour after less than two years. The hotel has been acquired by Ireland’s largest hotel operator Dalata and it has introduced its own restaurant brand Grill in its place. Mr White’s English Chophouse was the second Pierre White restaurant in Birmingham when it opened in November 2015 after his Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill launched on the 25th floor of The Cube in 2011. Black and White Hospitality has since opened Bardolino at The Cube, plus a New York Italian at Birmingham Airport. At the Chophouse, the emphasis was on “high quality meat cuts” with four cuts of steak plus English classics such as lamb chops and chicken and leek pie. Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin told the Birmingham Mail: “We would like to thank all our Chophouse customers in Birmingham for dining with us, and look forward to welcoming them at our other venues soon.” Black and White Hospitality has 39 restaurants across the UK and plans to open its 50th restaurant in 2018.

Tim Hortons set to add to Scottish estate with site in Falkirk: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, is set to add to its Scottish estate with a site in Falkirk. SK Group, which is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons, is set to open a site at Falkirk Central Retail Park. Its owner Grantchester Developments has submitted plans to Falkirk Council for a 210 square metre coffee shop and drive-thru on the northern side of the complex that would be operated by Tim Hortons, reports the Falkirk Herald. The first UK Tim Hortons restaurant opened in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in early June with a second due to open at the city’s Silverburn shopping centre. The company has further sites in Scotland lined up – at a retail park on the outskirts of Ayr; a drive-thru in Stenhousemuir; and an outlet in Linwood, Renfrewshire. Tim Hortons has also revealed the second phase of its UK roll-out plans as it prepares to open sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this year. The company will be opening in Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast during the coming months, with plans for a minimum of 100 sites in total. Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.

George’s Great British Kitchen launches fourth site, in Liverpool: Fish and chip restaurant George’s Great British Kitchen has opened its fourth site, this time in Liverpool city centre. The family-run business, which operates restaurants in Nottingham, Newcastle and Leeds, has opened its latest venue in Paradise Street offering dishes such as chicken schnitzel burger and a cod version of a classic hotdog, alongside traditional fish and chips, pies and charcoal-grilled steak. Desserts include ice cream and freshly made doughnuts. George’s Gin Bar offers cocktails and signature serves with a focus on British gin and vodka. Co-founder Andrew Constantinou told the Liverpool Echo: “Classic fish and chips are just a small part of our menu. It offers buckets of variety, with many dishes fusing flavours from various corners of Britain, including our ham hock and mushy pea fritters covered in crunchy seaweed batter and served with wasabi mayonnaise. Our cauliflower and mushroom jalfrezi pie pays homage to some of Britain’s favourite cuisines. It goes without saying only the best ingredients make it to our kitchen. We cook all of our food using carefully sourced ingredients with no additives.”

Bingo cafe concept Luda to start expansion with Somerset site: Bingo cafe concept Luda, which launched in Walsall, West Midlands, is to start expansion by opening a second site, this time in Somerset. The venue will open on Monday, 30 October at the new £45m Dolphin Square leisure complex in Weston-super-Mare, offering bingo, retro arcade games, free Wi-Fi, drinks, sandwiches and cakes. Luda managing director Alan Morgan told Somerset Live: “We’re thrilled to be opening our second Luda venue in Weston-Super-Mare following the initial launch in Walsall. The new venue will offer a convenient place to pop in and play, and is perfect for groups of friends on a night out looking for a fun time or those seeking to take time out to recharge their batteries. The new site within the leisure complex will offer those living locally a sociable place to meet, play, try new games, have a bite to eat and relax.” Last week, Nando’s announced it would open a site at Dolphin Square, joining a number of restaurants to sign up for the development including buffet brand Mimosa, PizzaExpress, Prezzo and Brazilian grill-house Preto. The complex will be anchored by an eight-screen Cineworld cinema.

Ball-pit bar concept Ballie Ballerson to open debut bricks and mortar site in Shoreditch this week: Ball-pit bar concept Ballie Ballerson is to open its first permanent site, in Shoreditch, east London. The new venue will open in Curtain Road on Tuesday (3 October) following a successful pop-up in Dalston. The “bigger Ballie” will feature one million signature clear balls inside a 4,000 square foot space, eight times larger than the pop-up, with walls covered by a 60-metre UV mural. The venue will also feature a large mirrored cage complete with waterfall, and two bookable private ball pits, one with dual-aspect floor-to-ceiling windows looking on to Curtain Road. Balls will be cleaned regularly by a machine that services about 18,000 an hour. Ballie Ballerson’s bar will offer theatrical cocktails in the form of retro sweets such as Dibbie Dabberson, Skittle Sour and the liquid nitrogen-smothered Neptune, which comes with a floating balloon. DJs will pump out a variety of deep house and disco tunes. Entrance to the bar is free, with customers able to book two-hour tickets for the main ball-pit. The concept is the brainchild of brother-and-sister team George and Wenny Armstrong, who said the pop-up Ballie video had received more than 100 million views worldwide. The Armstrongs added they are set to open another ball-pit bar in New York in early 2018, with plans for other sites in Sydney, Cape Town and Tokyo later in the year.

East London-based multi-site operator launches Middle Eastern small plates concept Torshi at Seven Sisters venue: East London-based multi-site operator Deano Jo has launched Middle Eastern small plates concept Torshi at his Five Miles warehouse venue in Seven Sisters. Dishes by head chef Ed Jones include halloumi fries with pomegranate ketchup, fried chicken with pickled watermelon rind and zhoug relish, and grilled hispi cabbage with mint adjika, Hot Dinners reports. Torshi pickles, homemade hummus and baba ghanoush accompany dishes, while there are 18 taps of craft beer curated by bar manager Mark Hislop, formerly of BrewDog and Redchurch Brewery, alongside draught cocktails. Jo, who also operates Pamela bar in Dalston and the now closed bar and restaurant Rita’s, opened combined bar, club and brewery Five Miles in Markfield Road in May.

Greene King gets go-ahead to build Farmhouse Inn as part of new Altrincham community hub: Brewer and retailer Greene King has got the go-ahead to build a Farmhouse Inn near Altrincham, Greater Manchester. The pub restaurant will anchor a development that will include a nursery and community centre in Broadheath in partnership with Trafford Council, construction company McGoff & Byrne and developer Villafont. The “community hub”, originally approved by the council in December 2014, will now be built on an unused greenfield site on the corner of Sinderland Road and Turnbull Road. Delays have related to planning legal documents and an issue with the National Trust over a covenant. Council leader Sean Anstee told Altrincham Today: “It’s something we’ve really had to fight for. It’s a no-brainer and I couldn’t be happier – the community has wanted it for ages.” In August, Greene King had its plans to build a Farmhouse Inn site at a housing development in Gloucester approved. Greene King originally proposed a Hungry Horse restaurant at the site but changed its application.

EasyCoffee opens largest site to date, in Burnley: Budget airline EasyJet has opened the largest site to date for its low-cost coffee concept EasyCoffee, in Burnley as it continues its expansion in the north west. The company has opened the 75-seater outlet in St James’s Street in the former Rhode Island unit. It offers coffee from £1 as well as tea, Thornton’s hot chocolate, food and fresh pastries. EasyCoffee chief executive Nathan Lowry told the Burnley Express: “I am delighted we have opened our latest shop in Burnley. It is our largest to date with 75 seats. It follows hard on the heels of our shop in Blackburn, which opened only three months ago and has been so well received by the people of the north west.”

Manchester hotel launches standalone craft beer bar: The Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Manchester has opened a standalone craft beer bar. Store Street Craft Bar has opened on the ground floor of the hotel taking inspiration from its location near Piccadilly Station. The station was originally named Store Street when it opened in 1842, before it became London Road Station and finally Manchester Piccadilly. Store Street Craft Bar has its own entrance and separate outdoor seating and focuses on craft beer and cocktails alongside “warm, welcoming, fuss-free” service. The hotel has also launched the Store Street Exchange restaurant, which offers rotisserie and grill dishes specialising in locally sourced chicken and steak, as well as simple salads, fresh bread, quick bites and puddings. Accessed via its own entrance, it includes an outdoor terrace, semi-private dining options and mini-meeting spaces. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Manchester general manager Robert Ford told the Manchester Evening News: “Our concept is about bringing something special but uncomplicated to the city – fabulous food and a cracking collection of drinks in a relaxed space.”

Holiday accommodation provider adds listed Derbyshire hotel to portfolio: Holiday accommodation provider Paul Staley, who owns a number of properties in the Peak District, has acquired the grade II-listed Temple Hotel and Coach House in Derbyshire for an undisclosed sum. The detached building in Matlock Bath, which has historically operated as a bed and breakfast, offers 15 en-suite bedrooms, a function room, dining room and two ground-floor bars. Staley told Insider Media: “We are delighted to acquire the Temple Hotel as part of our growing portfolio and look forward to improving the property and providing quality accommodation for visitors to Matlock Bath.” Martin Davis, director of the hotel and leisure team at agents GVA, which brokered the deal, told Insider Media: “This historic and well-located property provides a fantastic opportunity for the new owners to enhance the property and develop trade.”