Creams to introduce QR code menus and ice-cream handwashing jingle as it prepares for dine-in: Dessert parlour operator Creams is introducing QR code menus and pay at table as part of a number of safeguarding and social distancing initiatives as it readies its 88-strong estate for sit-in customers. Diners will be asked to use a sanitisation station at the entrance before being guided via signage to their socially distanced table. Once the customer completes their mobile order, they will be encouraged to approach Creams’ long service counters to pick up their dish along with single-use compostable bamboo cutlery. Throughout the day, customers will hear a quirky ice cream van jingle that will play at frequent intervals and serve as a prompt to all Creams team members to wash hands and sanitise surfaces. The initiatives have also been developed to “create a fun and engaging experience that encourages customers back into store when doors reopen”. Creams will be undertaking a review of all sites with the aim of implementing a bespoke social distancing programme, unique to the floor plans at each location, over the coming weeks. Marketing director Lauren Haslewood said: “Over the past weeks we have been exploring how to maintain our high level of customer experience while we ensure safety and adherence to government guidelines. When we open, our customers can be sure that although the environment will be fully sanitised, their experience will be as fun as ever.”
Escape Hunt plans £4m fund-raise: Escape room operator Escape Hunt has said it intends to raise up to £4m though the issue of shares and loan notes. The proceeds will go towards the roll-out of owner-operated sites, operational improvements and working capital purposes. Escape Hunt will place up to 46.6 million shares at a price of 7.5 pence per share through an accelerated bookbuild, for which Shore Capital Stockbrokers and Zeus Capital are acting as joint brokers. The issue price reflects a discount of 21% to the closing price on Thursday (11 June) of 9.50p. Shares in Escape Hunt closed down 3.7% at 9.15p on Friday (12 June). In addition to the placing, Escape Hunt will also issue up to 2.2 million shares through a subscription – conducting an open offer on the basis of one open offer share for every four ordinary shares. The group will also issue £340,000 in convertible loan notes. The final number of placing shares will be agreed by Escape Hunt and the brokers at the close of the bookbuild. Looking ahead, Escape Hunt plans to open a further five or six UK owner-operated sites within a year of the fund-raising, as the company expects property market conditions to offer highly attractive opportunities when the time comes.
The Cornish Bakery secures £1m loan to support reopening of sites and protect future: Cornwall-based The Cornish Bakery has secured a £1m loan to support it in reopening its 45 bakeries and help to protect the company’s future. The company closed its sites to customers on 23 March and had to furlough all but seven of the team. The loan provided through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by Clydesdale Bank will allow the business to ensure there is adequate cash flow to be able to reopen doors to customers over the coming weeks. The funding will also enable The Cornish Bakery to introduce new health and safety procedures, including providing staff with personal protective clothing and introducing Perspex screens around all customer counters. By the end of June, the company hopes to unfurlough all staff and reopen each one of its sites, excluding those based at the National Exhibition Centre, without having to make any redundancies. Additional hires are being considered to see it through the summer season. The CBILS funding has also given The Cornish Bakery an opportunity to pivot its strategy to diversify into launching an online mail order and a click-and-collect service to future proof the business. Founder Steve Grocutt told Insider Media: “Our hopes now are to not only to return the business to normal but hopefully grow the business through these new revenue streams and in time through acquisition.”
Purezza secures former Patisserie Valerie site in Hove for third restaurant:Brighton-based vegan pizzeria Purezza has secured the former Patisserie Valerie site in Hove for its third restaurant. The outlet near Palmeira Square is set to open in late August and will be spread across two floors, featuring upcycled furniture, and decorated with eco-friendly and organic paint. As well as its plant-based pizzas, the restaurant will offer a range of cocktails and a full gluten-free menu. Co-founder and co-owner Tim Barclay told Vegan Food & Living: “2020 was always set to be a big year for Purezza, and while the coronavirus crisis was an unforeseen challenge, it won’t affect our plans. Purezza is a growing brand, but our home has always been Brighton & Hove. Before looking at national expansion, we’re proud to be able to give some of our most dedicated customers a new beautiful space in Hove to enjoy.” Purezza opened its debut site in Brighton in 2015 before adding a site in Camden three years later. The company also has its own vegan cheese factory.
Apostrophe founder launches takeaway and delivery offer at Delamina in Marylebone: Apostrophe founder Amir Chen has launched a takeaway and delivery offer at his eastern Mediterranean restaurant Delamina in London’s Marylebone. Delamina, launched by Chen and wife Limor, is serving pitas and cocktails from the window of the site in Marylebone Lane. Pitas are filled with some of its signature dishes, including hand-pulled shawarma with dates, pine-nuts, house pickles and tahini; and roasted turmeric cauliflower with lemon-infused crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses. Dishes are also available for delivery via the website. Delamina bartenders are also mixing house cocktails, such as its watermelon martini, and serving wine and beer from the window. Delamina opened in 2018 following a residency at Shoreditch House. The couple’s first restaurant opened as Strut & Cluck in Shoreditch in 2016 but has since been converted to become Delamina East. Chen founded Apostrophe in 2004 and was chief executive until the company was acquired by CH&Co in 2016, remaining as an advisor until leaving to launch the restaurants.
Boston Tea Party and Gourmet Burger Kitchen reopen further sites: All-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party is to open ten more sites this week for click-and-collect and delivery, Propel has learned. The company is reopening three more sites in Bristol – Cheswick Village, Park Street and Stokes Croft – as well as Kingsmead Square in Bath along with its outlets in Cheltenham, Chichester, Edgbaston, Ringwood, Salisbury and Stratford. It follows a trial last month in Bristol, at its Gloucester Road cafe, and in Birmingham, at its Harborne site. Meanwhile, Gourmet Burger Kitchen has opened another five sites for takeaway and delivery in the past fortnight, taking the total to 17.
Go Ape to reopen with CBILS funding: High-ropes adventure course operator Go Ape will reopen with the support of funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through Clydesdale Bank. Go Ape was forced to close its 34 sites across the UK on 20 March in line with government guidance. The company’s management team has worked with Clydesdale Bank to restructure its existing banking facilities and apply for the CBILS loan to support working capital. Nick Hall, finance director at Go Ape, told Insider Media: “As an outdoor seasonal business, the closure of our sites coincided with the lowest cash point in the year coming out of winter, a period when revenues are low and we invest heavily in our sites in advance of the new season. The lock-down at the beginning of our most profitable months from Easter through to the end of summer created a significant financial challenge. The CBILS loan from Clydesdale Bank is vital to ensure we have a sustainable business to reopen, providing working capital to support a return to operation.”
Cairn Group launches Californian-themed takeaway: Newcastle-based hotel and bar operator Cairn Group has launched a street food takeaway restaurant. The Fable is inspired by Californian food, and delivers within a five-mile radius of Jesmond. The company said the at-home dining experience has been designed to give people an experience that “lets their imagination roam free” despite the current restrictions. Naveen Handa, director at Cairn Group and founder of The Fable, told BDaily: “We have used this time to create a fresh, new menu that is inspired by our travels and our favourite places to eat on the Californian coast. We’re excited to bring The Fable to the people of Newcastle and hope it livens up their at-home dining and brings a smile to faces during these challenging times.”
Wright Brothers extends at-home service nationwide: Wright Brothers, the oyster specialist and seafood wholesaler, has expanded its at-home range nationwide. The company launched the initiative last month within the M25, but it is now available through the UK mainland. Customers are able to order fresh, smoked and cured fish; oven-ready whole fish to share; cooked crab and lobster; oysters and mussels; and frozen prawns and seafood. Wright Brothers has also introduced a Shell Out! box comprising a dozen Carlingford oysters, a Wright Brothers “pro” oyster-knife, six scallops on the shell and a whole oven-ready turbot, serving four, for £75. Since launching the service, Londoners have ordered more than 10,000 oysters and more than 500 lobsters. Wright and Hancock said: “Our aim was and still is to get the fishermen fishing, workers working and people cooking at home. We’ve also brought 26 of our staff back into work from being furloughed. While we would like to be doing still more, we feel that we’re moving in the right direction.” Delivery is available Tuesday to Saturday. There is a minimum order value of £35 with a £10 delivery charge, while orders more than £50 qualify for free delivery except on Saturdays when there is a £5 charge. Orders placed before 5pm will arrive two working days later.
West London-based ice-cream concept opens second site: West London-based ice-cream concept Bears Parlour has opened its second outlet – a kiosk at Brook Green. Run by Phil Harrison, former head chef at the Anglesea Arms gastro-pub, and his partner Vera Thordadottir, the Icelandic ice-cream served includes seasonal flavours such as salted pumpkin seed nougat and blueberry, lavender jam meringue swirl. All come with a choice of toppings. The Bears Parlour site in Shepherd’s Bush is offering socially distant collections and deliveries during lock-down.