East London Pub Company buys Clapham freehold as start of roll-out of new concept, targets 20 sites: The owner of well-known Spitalfields pub The Ten Bells has secured a site in Clapham as part of a London-wide roll-out of its new concept. East London Pub Company has bought the freehold for 50 Clapham High Street. The company has submitted a planning application to extensively refurbish the lower-ground, ground and upper floors to create a night-time venue during the week, with all-day dining at the weekend. The acquisition is the first in a wider expansion strategy led by East London Pub Company owner Patrick Frawley – who also has a string of restaurants in Ireland – and his operations director Bradley Lomas. Frawley said: “We are also looking for up to 20 units in core high street London locations. We were attracted to Clapham because of the prime south London location – there is an opportunity to create something more interesting required on the bar front to match the current restaurant offering in the area. We want to do something that will still be steeped in old-fashioned values in terms of it being a good boozer, like The Ten Bells, but also with a good wine and food list.” Salvatore Di Natale, of CDG Leisure, who brokered the deal, said: “Although we represented the freeholder in this transaction, East London Pub Company has now instructed CDG Leisure to be its retained advisor.”

Honest Burgers to open in Reading next month, turnover hits £15.6m: Honest Burgers will open its second restaurant outside London next month, in Reading, Berkshire. The company will give a Reading spin to its burgers by incorporating local food providers, sourcing a range of ingredients and beer from companies such as award-winning Barkham Blue Cheese and Nomad Bakery’s roasted red pepper chutney. The restaurant will also serve beer from local brewers Wild Weather Ales and Siren Craft Brew, which was named the best brewery in England by Ratebeer. The licence Honest Burgers has applied for means it is likely to open from 8am to 12.30am, Monday to Saturday, and from 8am to midnight on Sundays. The restaurant is set to open on the corner of King Street and High Street in the next few weeks. The company reported turnover increased 51% to £15.6m in the year to 29 January 2017. It currently operates 22 sites, with its first opening outside London in Cambridge. Ebitda before exceptional costs increased by 8.3% to £2m.

Groucho Club closes in on New York site: The Groucho Club, the private London venue famed for celebrity hedonism, is eyeing an outpost in New York. It is in talks to lease at least half of a new, ten-storey building downtown designed by architect Morris Adjmi, sources told New York website Side Dish. The prospective site, located at 363 Lafayette Street at the corner of Great Jones Street, would include a club-run restaurant and bar, screening rooms, party rooms and hotel rooms, insiders said. If all goes well, the Groucho Club could open as soon as spring 2019, according to sources. “The club has a long friendship and connection with New York and we feel it is a logical home for us,” Groucho Club’s Matt Hobbs wrote in an email, confirming the Big Apple ambitions. The New York club is slated to be bigger than the London one, with 30 hotel rooms for members and their guests, sources said. The London club has 20 rooms. “The Groucho Club is considering leasing the whole building, or half of it,” David Kleiner, managing director of property management firm JLL, told Side Dish. “If it goes to half, we are also in talks with boutique private equity and hedge fund firms, and high-end family offices to open in the building. We are offering a unique product.”

M&B – leisure and retail park market has changed over past five years: Mitchells & Butlers has set aside £35m of onerous lease provision in relation to about 50 sites in leisure and retail parks. Finance director Tim Jones told analysts: “Most of them will be Harvesters. I think the outlook has changed so we’ve struggled more with these sites. I think footfall on a lot of those parks has gone down and that’s been more challenging than when we made the investment five or six years ago. And I think all the cost headwinds we’ve talked about combined with that reduction in footfall gives us a very different outlook for what we can do and what we can make with those pubs. Now it’s absolutely not because we’ve given up on them – we’re all working very hard to turn them around where we can, to look at innovation, to look at changes to the offers or the service cycle – but the outlook they face is now significantly different than it was a short while ago.”

Vapiano opens first Scottish restaurant with Edinburgh launch: Vapiano has opened its first site in Scotland with the launch of a restaurant at the St Andrew Square development in Edinburgh. The company has opened the 8,770 square foot restaurant in South St David Street having signed a 25-year lease with the building’s owner Standard Life Investments in the summer. The three-floor premises includes a bar featuring a nod to Florence, the Italian city twinned with Edinburgh, via a wall-length art installation of its skyline. Vapiano managing director Phil Sermon said: “We’re excited to open our doors and introduce our unique take on Italian food to not only Edinburgh but Scotland.” The first Vapiano restaurant opened in Hamburg, Germany, in 2002. Since then, the business has developed a portfolio of 186 venues in 31 countries on five continents. The Edinburgh site is its fifth in the UK, while a Glasgow restaurant will open at the beginning of 2018.

Grind breaks £1.5m mark in crowdfunding campaign as it raises double original target: London-based Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, has broken through the £1.5m mark on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube – double its original target. The company was seeking £750,000 to open ten company-owned UK sites and has signed an agreement with transport hub foodservice specialist SSP to launch in airports and train stations next year, nationally and abroad. It was offering a 4.18% equity stake in return for the investment and so far 1,034 investors have pledged £1,587,000, meaning the campaign is “overfunding” with 25 days remaining. Grind, which was founded in 2011 by David Abrahamovitch and Kaz James, currently has nine sites in the capital and has reported run-rate sales of £8.5m per year, with like-for-like sales up 31% in the first five months of FY18. The pitch states: “We plan to grow over the next five years by opening ten new Grind-owned restaurants following the tried and tested all-day, all-night experience we have refined at London Grind. We plan to expand nationally and internationally, opening 15 cafe-bars in train stations and airports across the UK and Europe with our exclusive franchise partner. We are also launching supermarket-grade coffee tins and other consumer coffee products, bringing Grind into the home.” In 2015, Grind raised more than £1.3m through a mini-bond on Crowdcube – smashing its £750,000 target.

Paul UK to open 36th site next week, in Hammersmith Broadway: French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul is to open a site next week in Hammersmith Broadway, west London, taking its total number of UK sites to 36. The 693 square foot bakery, which is set to open on Monday, 4 December, is based inside The Broadway Shopping Centre, directly opposite the tube entrance. It will sell Paul’s signature range of bread and handcrafted patisserie, viennoiserie, gourmet salads and sandwiches alongside freshly brewed coffee and a range of hot seasonal products including soup and quiche. Paul UK chief executive Jean-Michel Orieux said: “Hammersmith Broadway is one of west London’s major transport hubs. We feel the addition of Paul Bakery to the centre, with its exclusive range of traditional French handcrafted bakery and fine patisserie, will be well received by commuters and tourists alike and we look forward to welcoming them through our doors.”

Pieminister to open escape rooms above Nottingham site: Bristol-based Pieminister is to open escape rooms above its Nottingham site. The two rooms will open on Monday, 4 December with one taking a spin on the legend of Sweeney Todd and his infamous barber’s shop and the other set in the control room of a derelict laboratory with players having to stop an apocalyptic chemical outbreak. Both games are for two to five people with players having 60 minutes to complete the challenge. Pieminister stated: “Our team has worked tirelessly to transform the space into two, fully themed and elaborate escape rooms that will absorb you into the gritty story lines and excitement of the game. Both rooms are packed with mind-bending riddles and cryptic puzzles that will put even the most tenacious minds to the test. With 60 minutes on the clock, teams will need to work together to escape before the time is up, or they will suffer an untimely fate!”

Dirty Bones to open first site outside London, in Oxford next month: US comfort food and cocktails brand Dirty Bones will open on Oxford’s Westgate roof terrace on Thursday, 7 December. In addition to being Dirty Bones’ largest and first restaurant outside London, Dirty Bones Oxford will also feature a collection of new dishes developed exclusively for the launch. Building on the playful, New York-inspired comfort food menu at Dirty Bones’ Kensington, Carnaby, Shoreditch and Soho sites, the Oxford menu will feature new, on-the-bone dishes such as sweet peach and barbecue glazed smoked baby back ribs; an expanded taco selection led by cheeseburger tacos; and vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes including gem lettuce and grilled halloumi salad; and quinoa, pecan and black bean veggie burger. Founder and director of operations Cokey Sulkin said: “Oxford is a vibrant, youthful city with so much history – a great balance of old meets new. The Dirty Bones concept is the same, combining the nostalgia of old-school Brooklyn with creative comfort food and cocktails that echo New York City’s innovative, evolving food scene. Oxford feels like a natural home to us, and we couldn’t be more excited for it to be our first home outside the capital.”

Pret boss considers doubling discount to encourage more customers towards reusable coffee cups: Pret A Manger is considering doubling the discount to encourage more customers to bring reusable coffee cups to its stores. Writing on his Twitter account, Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said: “How do we encourage more customers to bring reusable coffee cups to Pret? We’re thinking of increasing the discount for bringing your own cup from 25p to 50p. Our organic filter coffee would cost just 49p! I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

Freehold of Derby property let to Odeon sold as part of £19m double deal: The freehold of a property in Derby leased to cinema operator Odeon has been sold as part of a double deal worth nearly £19m. LondonMetric has sold the building, along with a retail asset in Guisborough, near Middlesbrough, for £18.6m. The ten-screen, 37,000 square foot cinema formed part of a portfolio of ten Odeon Cinemas acquired in 2013. The company continues to own five Odeon cinemas with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 21 years. LondonMetric chief executive Andrew Jones told The Business Desk: “These assets have generated strong returns from both income and significant yield compression as investors increasingly look for reliable and predictable income streams. The uplift in valuation over book value demonstrates the strength of the current market for long income with guaranteed growth in liquid lot sizes. Furthermore, it provides strong support for our portfolio valuations.”

Safari park reports turnover boost as spend per visitor rises 6%: West Midlands Safari Park has reported a profit boost as spend per visitor rose 6%. The company saw turnover increase 1.69% to £17,831,914 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £17,536,090 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell to £2,214,028 compared with £2,646,036 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. During the year revenue spend per visitor increased 6.13% while the average number of employees, including seasonal staff, was up from 437 to 493. The company stated: “The directors are very pleased with the excellent financial performance of the company during an improving economic environment for the leisure market. The business continues to show strong growth in earnings resulting from a policy of continuous investment and improvement of the visitor experience.” The 200-acre park opened in 1973, has about 600 animals and has more than 750,000 visitors a year.

Former Sipsmith duo launch ‘small beer brewery’ in Bermondsey: James Grundy and Felix James, who formerly worked for drinks company Sipsmith, have launched the “world’s first small beer brewery” in Bermondsey, south east London. Grundy and James said their new brew process had enabled them to create “full-flavoured beer at a lower ABV” and with up to 25% fewer calories than normal beer. The Small Beer Brew Co has launched under the banner “small beer with big taste” and will initially brew a 2.1% ABV lager and a 1.0% ABV dark lager. Based on sustainability, the brewery is powered by renewable energy and uses only one and a half pints of water to produce a pint of beer. James said: “We are pioneering an entirely new brew process while respecting the craftsmanship of centuries-old small beer traditions. This has allowed us to maximise the flavour profile while minimising the alcohol we produce.” The company also plans to use its 5,500 square foot brewery as a community space hosting live music, exhibitions and yoga classes. Its first beers will be available to buy from early December.

Douglas Jack – Patisserie Valerie openings continue to pay back in 24 months: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said openings at Patisserie Valerie are continuing to pay back in 24 months. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 425p, Jack said: “We estimate average sales were broadly flat in 2017, supported by the company continuing to improve its product range in the shops and online. Of the 10% increase in total sales, in-store sales grew 9% to £109.4m and online sales grew 26% to £4.8m. The company’s number of Facebook followers has doubled to 140,000, while its Cake Club membership grew by 11.9% to 404,000 (2016: 361,000). These figures have been boosted by the company’s online competitions. A total of 20 new sites opened in 2017 ‘with a number of strong profit contributors’. All new stores were profitable from opening and the company expects all these stores to achieve the payback target of 24 months. Leases on five stores expired – these stores were closed as they were no longer in prime locations – presumably, this also supported margins. In April, the company launched a supply-only trial with Sainsbury’s. Its product is being sold within Sainsbury’s bakery department from Patisserie Valerie-branded counters. It is currently trading from 31 Sainsbury’s stores and online via ‘click and collect’. The net cash position has grown to £22m, providing a war chest that could be used to make acquisitions. Given its returns, cash flow and pace of growth, the company’s rating is not at all strenuous in our view.”

Tim Hortons gets go-ahead to add to Scottish portfolio with Linwood site: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, has been given the go-ahead to add to its Scottish estate with a site in Linwood, Renfrewshire. SK Group, which is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons, has been granted permission by Renfrewshire Council to build the venue at the former Rootes car factory in Linwood Road. SK Group plans to invest £700,000 in the single-storey, 204 square metre site, which would create 25 jobs, reports the Daily Record. The first UK Tim Hortons restaurant opened in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in early June and the brand has since added a second site in the city – at the Silverburn shopping centre. The company has also opened a venue in Cardiff and is due to open outlets in Manchester and Belfast in the coming months. Tim Hortons, which is planning up to 100 UK sites, was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.

Hawkshead reveals new £3m brewery plan to meet demand: Lake District brewer Hawkshead has revealed a £3m plan for a new brewery to help it keep up with demand. The company has agreed a deal with German manufacturer Krones to install a 6,500 litre rapid-batch brewhouse, capable of multiple brews per day, near its brewery in Staveley. The existing brewery will continue production, concentrating on small batch, specialist and limited edition beers. It currently produces 7,000 barrels a year. The new brewery will be built on a site owned by Halewood International, which acquired Hawkshead Brewery earlier this year. Alex Brodie, Hawkshead founder and managing director, told the North West Evening Mail: “The brewery is 15 years old and has been straining at the leash for years. Halewood’s backing allows us to go to the next level. We will be expanding production of kegs, cans and bottles but we will also grow cask.” Hawkshead Brewery was founded in 2002 by Alex and Anne Brodie in a barn at Hawkshead. In 2006, the brewery moved to Staveley Mill Yard.

Somerset-based peri-peri chicken company lodges plans for third site, in Plymouth: Somerset-based peri-peri chicken company Sabeez has lodged plans for its third site, in Plymouth. Owner Ali Chowdhury has applied to the city council to open the outlet in Raleigh Street at the former Derrys department store. Chowdhury, who has venues in Weston-super-Mare and Taunton, has asked to change the use of the premises into a cafe and hot food takeaway, reports the Plymouth Herald. The Sabeez website states: “The concept combines mouth-watering peri-peri taste with an unforgettable flavour and uncompromising nutritional values. Our chicken is marinated for a full 24 hours in our secret marinade using only the freshest natural ingredients. Chicken is then flame grilled to your perfection.”

Southport bar Peaky Blinders to start expansion with Liverpool sister site: Southport bar Peaky Blinders is to start expansion by opening a sister site in Liverpool. The debut bar, inspired by the BBC television drama of the same name, launched in Lord Street, Southport, in November 2015. The new 1920s-themed bar will open at the former Cains Brewery site in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area and will be much larger than the Southport site, spread across two floors. Like its sister site, the Liverpool bar will feature period wallpaper and lighting but the decor will also take advantage of some of the brewery’s original features, the Liverpool Echo reports. The venue will offer draught beer and a large selection of bottles alongside wine, spirits and a cocktail menu, including the Angry Arthur (Liverpool gin, cherry herring, chocolate Schnapps and ruby port), and The Aunt Polly (St Germaine elderflower liqueur, mint and prosecco). Peaky Blinders Liverpool is set to open in the new year.

Bill’s opens restaurant at former Ed’s Easy Diner site in Plymouth: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, has opened a site in Plymouth. The company has launched the two-floor, 2,068 square foot venue at Drake Circus Shopping Centre in a unit previously occupied by Ed’s Easy Diner. Bill’s has more than 80 sites around the UK, with founder Bill Collison having opened the first restaurant in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001.

T&R Theakston stepping up production to record levels following further investment: Yorkshire-based family brewer T&R Theakston is stepping up production to record levels following further investment. An additional multi-role vessel is being installed to allow the company to brew greater quantities and varieties of its cask ales, seasonal offerings and new craft keg range in its Victorian brewery in Masham, near Ripon. It is the latest stage in a decade-long capital investment programme. The stainless-steel container will be used for processes including fermenting, conditioning and storage. T&R Theakston executive director Simon Theakston told The Business Desk: “The installation of this vessel will give us significant extra overall capacity and also the flexibility to brew an even greater range of both our permanently available and specialist cask and keg brands. The renaissance of cask-conditioned and modern craft ale has given our superb brewing team a golden opportunity to experiment with different hops and malts from the UK and indeed throughout the world. In turn, this has allowed us to significantly expand our range of beers and introduce new lines that have quickly established themselves as firm favourites with cask and craft ale aficionados.”