3Sixty Restaurants reports 32% turnover rise for Ego brand as group revenue nears £19m, secures £2.5m banking facility for further growth: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has reported turnover within its Ego division increased 32% to £14.4m in a “transitional and transformational” year for the group. Since the period end, the company has secured a banking facility of £2.5m to continue its growth. It also revealed it took the decision to sell its three Rocket venues in London in January this year to Novus because of the “likely increase in rental values and business rates” at the sites. 3Sixty saw group turnover increase 8.6% to £18,895,687 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £17,398,572 the year before. It saw a pre-tax loss of £1,857,004 compared with a profit of £327,388 the previous year following the disposal of Rocket Restaurants and Rocket (Canary Wharf). The company invested £2.8m in the opening of five new Ego sites during the period, taking the number to 14. The company stated: “The year to 31 March 2017 was a transitional and transformational year for the group. The directors decided to exit the London sites that traded as Rocket due to the significant likely increases in both rental levels (through open market reviews) and business rates due to the business rates revaluation. The sale of the shares in Rocket Restaurants was successfully completed in January 2017. The Rocket site in Nottingham was assigned to Ego Restaurants in December 2016. Turnover within Ego Restaurants rose 32% to £14.4m. The outlook for the forthcoming year is very positive as the new sites improve their performance and contribute significant Ebitda. One new site in Little Hoole opened early in the new financial year and we are actively seeking new pub opportunities for expansion. During the year overall group turnover has increased 8.6% as a result of new sites, focus on customer offering and delivery, and a confidence in the business model. Overall gross profit of 70.3% has remained broadly stable, as has labour percentage. Our employees within Ego increased to 512, an increase of 57%. With a strong balance sheet and a clear focus on opening more Ego sites, we are in a very strong position going forward and remain cautiously optimistic about the future. The remaining element of the group has had another improved year with more positive like-for-like sales and improved Ebitda. The focus in 2017/18 will be to increase sales further throughout the group and expand with the introduction of a further six new pub sites. The remaining element of the group’s net position and continued operational cash generation is expected to provide the platform for the group to achieve its goals in the coming year.”

Four Winters’ new chairman – there’s scope for growth in UK beyond initial ten-site target: Omar Alkhawaja, the new global chairman of liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour brand Four Winters, has told Propel there is scope for growth in the UK beyond its immediate ten-site target. London-based investor Alkhawaja has acquired a majority stake in Four Winters in a management takeover by current co-founder and chief executive Zeid Zabian. Four Winters, which currently has three sites in London with an outlet opening at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent in January, plans to grow to a ten-strong UK estate in the next three years as part of $10m global expansion plans to open 50 sites. Alkhawaja, who purchased the shares from retail Saudi conglomerate Fawaz Al Hokair for an undisclosed amount, said areas of London had been identified for two more sites but the company was still looking at exact locations. He added the group hoped to have secured all six planned UK sites by the third quarter of 2018. He added: “The main priority for 2018 is expansion in the US for which our first location has been secured – in Los Angeles – and our expansion in Egypt where we are looking to open three parlours in the first part of 2018. The performance of our current London outlets has been great so if all ten sites perform at that rate we see no reason why there wouldn’t be scope for further growth in the UK. There is also potential for further growth with franchise partners. We had a record-breaking 2017 summer in sales. Winter performance has also seen a significant jump this year due to our enhanced product range, offering hot products and working with delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and UberEats. We are very fortunate for the success we have encountered to date and are working very hard to harness this success.” Asked what attracted him to invest in Four Winters, Alkhawaja said: “The fantastic quality and taste of the products, the strength of the brand and immaculate execution, the growth potential from a business-to-consumer and business-to-business perspective, and finally the fantastic management led by Zeid Zabian.” Alkhawaja said the company would look to add to the executive team to support its growth plans but pointed out some management had been promoted to take on bigger responsibilities. He added: “It is part of our principles to grow from within and provide opportunities to the capable Four Winters family.”

Creative Leisure acquires tenth site as it takes on Liverpool city centre pub: North west-based pub operator Creative Leisure has acquired its tenth site, the James Monro in Liverpool city centre. The company plans to work with owner NewRiver Retail to turn around the Tithebarn Street pub’s fortunes with a back-to-tradition revival. Long-term plans include a large investment in March that will coincide with a name change – to the Brunswick Vaults – and the introduction of food. Creative Leisure managing director Stephen Cowell said: “We hope to get the James Monro back to what it was – a good traditional pub in the heart of Liverpool city centre. We need to show the pub a bit of care and raise the standards to woo people back. In Liverpool, there’s a big bar culture but really good city centre pubs are few and far between. London’s traditional pub business is booming – by 6pm they’re heaving and people use it as an excuse not to commute at the busiest times. We’d love to see that happening in Liverpool too and what helps us is the resurgence of the cask and craft ale market because selling those products gives two of our customer bases – business and students – a common ground. We’ve got the gin culture as well, and prosecco, so a lot of different drinks have affected what people look for in a venue.” Cowell set up Creative Leisure six years ago and it has pubs across the north west and Midlands.

Sele Istanbul Restaurant Group to launch Anatolian concept in Mayfair for first UK site: Turkey-based Sele Istanbul Restaurant Group, led by Umut Özkanca, is to open its first UK site when it launches Anatolian concept Ruya in Mayfair. The restaurant will open in Grosvenor Street in the spring offering “sophisticated, contemporary dishes from the various Anatolian regions of Turkey”. Colin Clague, who has worked at Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma and for Richard Caring-owned Caprice Holdings, will head the kitchen, while the restaurant’s interiors will be designed by Conran and Partners. Sele Istanbul Restaurant Group operates more than ten brands in Turkey including Borsa Restaurants, Masa Restaurants, Parle, Darphane Restaurants and Sele Homemade Meals.

Whelan launches Leatherhead gastro-pub for eighth site: Whelans Pub Company, led by Austin Whelan, has launched a gastro-pub in Leatherhead, Surrey, for its eighth site. The Dukes Head in High Street closed in August and has now reopened following a £600,000 refurbishment with an emphasis on fine food. Whelan told Get Surrey: “There hadn’t been investment in the pub for 20 years and it’s time to take it to another level. In Ireland, working behind the bar is a four-year apprenticeship. You don’t get to pull a pint for your first 12 months. This level of professionalism and high standards will be core to our offer. It is an outlook the UK hospitality industry needs to embrace to attract good staff and customers.” Last month, Whelan took on his fourth site with Star Pubs & Bars – The Crown & Sceptre in Uxbridge – that has been converted into his burgeoning Irish brand Whelans. His other pubs include the Six Bells in West Drayton, the Black Bull in Ruislip, The Elm Tree in Beckenham, and Foundry in Chichester, as well as another Whelans site in Cricklewood. He plans to open further sites next year in central London, Manchester and the Home Counties.

Scott Hallsworth launches crowdfunding campaign to open permanent site for pan-Asian concept: Former Nobu head chef Scott Hallsworth has launched a crowdfunding campaign as he bids to open a permanent site for his pan-Asian pop-up Freak Scene. Hallsworth opened the pop-up in Farringdon in the City of London in July. Having found a suitable permanent site, he has now launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise £22,000 to fund the move with hopes of it being the “first of several Freak Scene diners around the globe”. The pitch states: “Freak Scene is currently a 28-seat, oriental pop-up restaurant opposite Smithfield’s market. We kicked off in July and initially planned to operate until mid-October but things went really well and we extended our short-term rental agreement until 30 December. The idea behind doing a pop-up is simple. We wanted to test the water with our concept – an approachable oriental diner of sorts that serves creative oriental tapas-sized plates alongside fun cocktails, killer sake, a couple of great beers and a small but well thought-out wine selection. We’ve had a fantastic reaction to our offering so now it’s time to shift it into a permanent site. After trawling the London property market we’ve found the ideal location. It’s a short walk from our pop-up, kitted out and ready to go. It means we’ll go from 28 seats to about 60 but, despite having such a successful initial run as a pop-up, we don’t have the cash reserves to fund the move. We hope you are part of what we hope will be the first of several Freak Scene diners around the globe.”

Soho House set for Austin as it adds to US portfolio: Soho House is set to open a site in Austin, Texas. The company is opening the venue, which will include a hotel, club and public restaurant, at the Music Lane development between East Riverside Drive and Academy Drive. Soho House Austin’s restaurant is touted as a “unique dining experience” offering simple dishes made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, reports Eater Austin. Soho House operates 18 “houses”, one “hotel”, 43 restaurants, 15 spas, two cinemas and 527 hotel rooms across the portfolio. The company was founded by Nick Jones in 1995 in Greek Street, Soho, and has expanded to have “houses” around the world. Last month, it was reported the company, which has seven sites in North America, would open a site in San Francisco.

Gail’s Bakery lodges plans for Kentish Town venue: Gail’s Artisan Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, has lodged plans for a site in Kentish Town, north London. The company has applied to Camden Council to open the outlet in a vacant unit in Kentish Town Road, reports the Camden New Journal. Gail’s Artisan Bakery was founded in 2005, when Ran Avidan, Tom Molnar and Emma King opened the first site in Hampstead. It currently has 38 sites.

Butcombe launches apprenticeship academy: Butcombe Brewery, part of Liberation Group, has launched an apprenticeship academy across its estate of 25 managed pubs in the West Country. The company has teamed up with HIT Training for the Butcombe Futures Academy, which has been created to provide a structured development programme for team members to progress within the business while maximising the company’s Apprenticeship Levy funding. With a blend of work-based learning and group training days, the academy launched with two pathways aimed at aspiring managers and chefs. During the next year, 12 assistant managers will complete the hospitality supervisor apprenticeship standard, alongside additional qualifications for first aid, stocktaking, and health and safety. The apprentices will also take part in courses designed to provide the skills required to run pubs with accommodation. A further 11 chefs will undertake the commis chef apprenticeship standard benefiting from workshops, trade qualifications, and visits to suppliers, farms and fisheries. Liberation Group managing director pubs and inns Jayson Perfect said: “The Futures Academy will provide our team members with specialist knowledge relevant to their job roles, the business and its future growth. By creating a bespoke programme, the apprentices will acquire the skills and understanding of what’s required to run a successful business or head up a kitchen, providing them with the experience and inspiration to progress to their dream roles.”

Filmore & Union to open two sites in Newcastle: Healthy eating cafe and restaurant company Filmore & Union is opening two sites in Newcastle as it expands into the north east. The company will open a site in Jesmond on Thursday (14 December) followed by a concession at the city’s John Lewis store early next year. They will be Filmore & Union’s 15th and 16th stores as part of ambitious growth plans to expand across the north of England after the company secured a £3.5m investment from Business Growth Fund in September. The Jesmond restaurant is in Acorn Road with plans to develop adjoining land into an outdoor seating area in time for the summer. Founder Adele Ashley told Chronicle Live: “When we started looking for new locations outside Yorkshire, Newcastle was the obvious choice and Jesmond fits with our ethos of bringing exciting new food and drink trends to suburban towns with residents who want more than your average cuisine on the high street.”

JD Wetherspoon reopens Great Yarmouth pub following £3.5m refurbishment to include hotel: JD Wetherspoon has reopened The Troll Cart in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, following a £3.5m refurbishment that has seen the addition of a hotel. The pub in Regent Road had been shut since August while the work took place. The investment has seen a neighbouring building demolished and an extensive beer garden built, as well as a 22-bedroom hotel added in the three-storey space above the pub. The transformation has created 55 jobs to bring the total number of staff to 85. It has also seen the operation more than double to a capacity of 1,320 customers. The bar and stairwell have been adorned with local scenes and artwork by children from Stradbroke Primary School in Gorleston. Manager Todd Inns told the Great Yarmouth Mercury: “It was great to see some of the regulars again after the pub had been closed for four months. The feedback has been superb. People have been commenting on the fact there is a lot more space and family-friendly feel. They are loving the design.” Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said the pub had been “ripe for renovation” with everything coming together in a “perfect storm” of opportunity making it the right time to expand the pub and add the hotel.

Deliveroo appoints the7stars to run £10m UK and Ireland media account: Deliveroo has appointed the7stars to run its estimated £10m media planning and buying account in the UK and Ireland. Deliveroo held a competitive pitch for the business and it is believed WPP’s MediaCom, which previously handled the online food delivery company’s media across Europe, did not participate. Deliveroo head of marketing for UK and Ireland Emily Kraftman said the company appointed the7stars because of its “compelling strategy”. Deliveroo, which was founded in 2013, operates in more than 100 cities and towns across the UK and Ireland. Nick Maddison, managing partner at the7stars, told Campaign: “Deliveroo is a dynamic and growing company that has quickly embedded itself as part of the UK food scene. We look forward to working with it to deliver the next phase of growth.”

Hospitality software company aims to raise £250,000 with target of 4,500 restaurants on its books: Hospitality software company Software For Restaurants is aiming to raise £250,000 as it looks to have 4,500 venues on its books in the next 12 months. The London-based company, led by managing director Hugh Johnson, is looking to raise the funds for expansion through the Angel Investment Network platform, which connects startups with angel investors. The pitch states: “Our business model is to provide quality hardware and software at a very low entry cost and make our money on transaction processing. A return on investment of 300% within one year is achievable. We will also seek to help our members combat the erosion of margins we are experiencing through third-party marketers such as Just Eat, Hungryhouse etc and the sale by supermarkets of ready meals and set meals. Our objective is to be the UK’s most prolific hospitality app developer. Our ‘Core’ software is very clever and enables unlimited app development in quick time without having to program a full build. We are training ten experienced direct sales people. We will supply each with an EPOS till to demonstrate the software and ordering from the app and website. They will show a prospective restaurant the powerful back office, where the restaurant can be managed round the clock and information updated from one location.” The company is forecasting turnover of £7.9m by the end of 2018 with net profit of £1.3m.

Punch launches online training hub with CPL: Punch has launched an online training portal – the Punch Progress Console. The online hub is mobile optimised and is designed to put publicans in control of all aspects of training and development. Publicans will be able to access online booking and choose from a variety of Punch training workshops, together with a library of toolkits, templates and materials. In addition to the free training console, Punch has partnered with CPL Training Group, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, to offer its publicans a portfolio of e-learning modules that cover a wide range of compliance and soft skills courses and qualifications for a discounted annual fee. Publicans are able to use the console to track and record all their training activity to meet key legislative requirements and manage their staff development. Punch learning and development manager Helen Willis said: “We have worked really hard to ensure this console is relevant to our publicans. We have been able to tailor the information for different types of pub businesses, giving our publicans a service that works best for them. It is also the first time publicans have been able to self-serve all the Punch support available to them, which makes it the most easily accessible and cost-effective training programme in the industry.”

Nando’s opens restaurant at former Pizza Hut site in South Wales: Nando’s has opened its latest restaurant, at a former Pizza Hut site in South Wales. The venue has launched at Talbot Green Shopping Park, near Llantrisant, creating 50 jobs. Bev Swift, regional managing director for Nando’s, told Wales Online: “We’re thrilled to open the doors to our first restaurant in Talbot Green and look forward to welcoming peri-peri fans through the door.” Sarah Bristow, spokeswoman for Talbot Green Shopping Park, added: “The arrival of Nando’s at Talbot Green Shopping Park is fantastic news for the park and the Valleys as a whole. It will be the nearest Nando’s for hungry shoppers in Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan, who currently have to travel to Swansea or Cardiff.” Last week, Nando’s Group Holdings reported turnover rose 13.9% to £847,914,000 for the year ending 26 February 2017, compared with £744,167,000 the previous year driven by organic growth in its key markets, including the UK and Ireland. The company reported a pre-tax loss of £12,923,000 compared with a profit of £19,118,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The number of employees during the period grew to 16,625 from 14,430.

Former MasterChef quarter-finalist launches Malaysian coffee shop concept in Glasgow: Former MasterChef quarter-finalist Julie Lin MacLeod has launched Malaysian coffee shop concept Kopitiam in Glasgow. The venue has opened in Pollokshaws Road at a site formerly occupied by Cafe Strange Brew. MacLeod, who appeared on the BBC television series in 2014 and still features on programmes on the STV network, operated food stalls in the city until opening her first restaurant, Julie’s Street Kitchen. MacLeod has brought that menu to Kopitiam, which features dishes inspired by her Malaysian mother, the Glasgowist reports.

Liverpool-based Turkish restaurant lodges plans for second site: Liverpool-based Turkish restaurant Eton Place has lodged plans for its second site in the city. Owner Turgut Olgun has applied to the city council to open the venue in the suburb of Aigburth. He wants to change the use of a unit in Aigburth Road that is currently occupied by part of interior design shop Elaine Cunningham Design Studio, which also trades from the site next door, reports Your Move. Eton Places’ debut restaurant is in Woolton Road in the suburb of Childwall.