Fleet to step down as Flat Iron managing director: Jo Fleet is to step down as managing director of Flat Iron, the ten-strong “single steak” dining concept backed by private equity firm Piper, in the new year, to “pursue other opportunities within the sector”, Propel has learned. Fleet joined the then five-strong Flat Iron in 2017, from Wahaca, where she had been managing director since 2010. Previous to that, she spent more than ten years at ASK Italian and Zizzi, part of the then Gondola Group, as chief executive. Flat Iron will continue to be led by founder and chief executive Charlie Carroll. Fleet said: “I have enjoyed my time immensely at Flat Iron working with a really fun and creative team. The pandemic has obviously been hugely disruptive but Flat Iron is now in a good place and I feel now is the right time for me to move on and pursue other opportunities within the sector.” Carroll said: “Jo is an industry legend and we have been incredibly lucky to have the benefit of her talent and experience over the past few years. We will all miss her greatly but are excited to see what she does next.” Earlier this month, Flat Iron opened its latest site, at 42-44 James Street, Marylebone. In October, Propel revealed the company had completed a £6.9m refinancing with incumbent lenders ThinCats. Flat Iron, in which Tom Byng is a non-executive director, secured £5m of funding from UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises lender ThinCats in January 2019 to fund its expansion plans.
Just Eat to create more than 1,000 jobs through new employment model that secures staff income: Food delivery service Just Eat has announced it will introduce a new employment model that will create more than 1,000 jobs and will pay its gig economy workers by the hour rather than per job, therefore, securing a guaranteed income. All couriers contracted by Just Eat will also be entitled to minimum/living wage, pension contributions and statutory benefits including holiday pay, sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay and parental leave. Central London will be the first area to get the new terms, followed by Birmingham and other cities in the new year. All agency workers will benefit from bespoke training, and to help protect couriers, they will be covered by the relevant insurance. Alongside this, couriers will be provided with e-bikes/e-mopeds for launch, helping to reduce takeaway delivery contribution to UK emission levels. Just Eat UK managing director Andrew Kenny said: “We believe it is our responsibility to offer couriers a wide range of working options and benefits. From our experience in other European markets, we know many couriers value the benefits and protections our new model offers and with the use of electric vehicles, this launch will also help us build a sustainable future for food delivery in the UK. This is an important step forward for us.” The news has been welcomed by Matthew Taylor, the author of the Taylor Report, which the government commissioned in 2017 to call for more security of employment. Unions have also been pressing for such reforms, especially when demand fell in April during the first lockdown when some riders complained they were not making enough money to live. Staff will be able to opt out of the new system and continue to working as independent contractors if they wish. Taylor said: “This looks like a fundamental and very welcome shift in the business model of Just Eat and one that I hope others will follow.”
Phil Derbyshire appointed group property director at TRG: Phil Derbyshire, property director at Wagamama, is to become group property director of parent company The Restaurant Group (TRG), Propel has learned. Derbyshire has been property director of Wagamama since the start of 2018. He joined the Emma Woods-led business after less than a year as group property director at the Julian Metcalfe-led Itsu. He stepped down as group property director of the then Casual Dining Group at the start of 2017 after 15 years with the company. He has also had stints at Whitbread and TGI Friday’s. Derbyshire replaces Keith Janes, who is stepping down as group property director of TRG, after more than six years in the role. Janes is understood to be leaving TRG to take up a role with a property business.
Five Guys UK builds 2021 pipeline, secures Brixton site: Better burger brand Five Guys has begun building its 2021 opening’s pipeline, including securing a site in London’s Brixton, Propel has learned. The circa 100-strong brand is understood to have secured a newly developed site near Brixton’s Atlantic Road, and hopes to be on-site in January. It has also secured a site at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, which is due to open early in 2021, alongside Starbucks and Wagamama. As previously reported, it will also open in the Edinburgh St James development next year. Five Guys has opened nine sites this year, with launches in Crawley and Enfield recently coming online. It will open its last site for 2020, in Parrs Wood, Manchester, later this month. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Brixton deal.
Zip World awarded £4.4m to build new attraction in south Wales: LDC-backed leisure company Zip World has been awarded £4.4m in Cardiff Capital Region funding to support the development of a new south Wales attraction. Cardiff Capital Region’s (CCR) regional cabinet has agreed to provide a five-year repayable loan to Zip World to support plans to replicate its successful north Wales adventure business on the CCR Tower Colliery site. The Zip World Tower Project is expected to create an anchor visitor destination in the city region and, in so doing, complement and support other regional attractions, as well as local suppliers, accommodation providers, cafes and shops. Cllr Andrew Morgan, CCR cabinet board member and leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted the Cardiff Capital Region cabinet has approved the investment loan in Zip World. This project has the potential to bring an extra one million visitors to south Wales over the first five years, provide much needed sustainable employment opportunities for the local communities and provide a tremendous boost to the wider regional economy.” Zip World president and founder Sean Taylor added: “This is our first site beyond the north Wales border and we are hugely proud and excited to bring our brand of adventure to the Valleys. Both the area’s landscape and rich mining heritage offers Zip World visitors something truly unique and an experience to remember with family and friends.” Zip World was given the green light to install a zip line in Liverpool but plans were overturned in September by mayor Joe Anderson.
Kendal-based operators acquire Daniel Thwaites pub for third site, eye further growth: Kendal-based operators Joshua Macaulay and Chris Moss have taken on their third pub in the Cumbrian town. The duo have added The Gateway Inn to their portfolio having acquired the site from brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites – and are eyeing further growth. The Gateway Inn includes a bar area, a restaurant with about 70 covers, a conservatory area, nine letting rooms and landscaped grounds. “The Gateway stood out as a site with fantastic potential and we thought we could make something really special there,” Macaulay told the Cumbria Crack. Macaulay and Moss also operate Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Highgate and The Duke of Cumberland in Appleby Road. Macaulay said the three venues were able to offer customers different experiences. He added: “The Duke of Cumberland is a mighty, traditional, local brewhouse-style pub. The Fleece Inn is our gastro-pub and town centre bar. The Gateway Inn is our most premium offer and is a fine dining, special occasion type of place. It is the perfect site for that kind of establishment. It is in a really iconic location and is a lovely, old, imposing building. We are keen to grow and expand while people still want to come to our pubs and enjoy them and have a good experience.”
Uli team to open south east Asian restaurant Huo in new year: The team behind south east Asian food brand Uli in Notting Hill is set to open Huo restaurant in west London early next year. Huo will take the space that was used by healthy eating cafe group Farm Girl in Chelsea. Restaurateur Michael Lin has devised the menu for the Park Walk venue, which offers similar fare to Uli. Customers can expect a range of snacks, small plates and main dishes, all made “using traditional Chinese, Thai, Malay and Singaporean disciplines”. Lim’s partner Graham Rebak said: “It might feel like we’re going against the grain opening a restaurant in the current climate but we’ve taken our time over Huo and it now feels like the right moment to launch.” Huo will also have a separate bar area that will offer a range of unusual Japanese whiskies, vodkas and craft beer.
Farm Fetch and Melt Chocolates sign for sites in Chelsea: Boutique food business Farm Fetch and luxury sweets producer Melt Chocolates have taken sites on The King’s Road as part of the Sloane Stanley estate. Farm Fetch, which will be opening its debut shop in the new year, works with small-scale artisan food producers globally to provide healthy food with an environmentally friendly conscience. The Chelsea store will feature a delicatessen counter with a cafe dining area with up to 20 covers. A “la gastronomia” bar will serve products such as fresh fish, meat tartare, fine cheeses and charcuterie, plus seasonal specials with wine. Melt Chocolates, has opened a pop-up kitchen to complement its stores in Notting Hill and Holland Park. It has been offering virtual courses and chocolate tasting on Zoom, and has focused on takeaway and delivery services during lockdown. Ennio Lizzi, founder of Farm Fetch said: “We realised now was the perfect time to launch our concept in London.” Melt Chocolates chief executive Andrew Nason added: “Since lockdown, we have worked hard to keep our business growing, and after launching a successful online offer, we feel now is the time to expand our services to the community in and around The King’s Road.” Savills and Miles Commercial represented Sloane Stanley. TK Retail Property Consultants represented Farm Fetch and Melt Chocolates represented themselves.
Brasserie Bar Co expands ‘Voila At Home’ offer into pub estate: Brasserie Bar Co, the Richard Ferrier-led operator of the Brasserie Blanc and White Brasserie Company, has expanded its “at home” range into its pub estate, Propel understands. Launched last month through the Brasserie Blanc in Beaconsfield, the “Voila At Home” offer has now been expanded into the group’s restaurant in Fulham Reach, London. It has also been made available through its White Brasserie sites in Chobham, Teddington and Ruislip. The new service allows consumers to “create and serve restaurant-quality food and drink at home”.
Founders of The Camden Grocer to launch new food hall in Stratford next year: Scott Winston and Matthew Bunch, founders of luxury deli concept The Camden Grocer, will open food hall Stratford Grocer & Co in The Gantry Hotel in spring next year. Stratford Grocer & Co food hall and cafe will have a capacity of 200 and will sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat from expert London butchers, deli products and premium British cheese, charcuterie, groceries, baked goods, fine wines, beers and spirits. There will also be an in-house artisan coffee roaster at the east London site. An online service will begin this month too, which includes Christmas hampers as part of its offer. Winston – who previously worked for Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges – and Bunch – formerly of cheese shop Paxton & Whitfield – said: “Building on our experience of the past few years and our proud reputation for delivering unique and engaging food retail concepts, we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring the spirit of The Camden Grocer to Stratford. It is a great opportunity for us to reach a new audience in a new format space, and we’re confident that Stratford Grocer & Co will be a hit with local residents and workers, as well as serve as a destination for curious food folk from further afield.” The Gantry Hotel, which also opens in spring will have 291 bedrooms, independent restaurants, bars and a rooftop venue.
Plans for £60m surf park at TraffordCity revealed: TraffordCity will be home to a £60m surf park if proposals are given the go-ahead by Trafford Council in Greater Manchester. A scoping document for the first inland surf lagoon in the region has been submitted by Belfast-based property developer McKinney Group. It will be located on Peel L&P’s brownfield site off Barton Dock Road in Trafford Park and could be open by 2023. The project will create 100 full-time jobs when opened. TraffordCity is a leisure and shopping complex that is already home to the likes of indoor ski slope Chill Factore and a David Lloyd Club. Plans feature a surfing lagoon, bar and restaurant facilities and other interactive attractions such as a pump track and fitness zone, a halfpipe/boarding area and exercise areas, including bouldering and balancing zones. The site will be known as Modern Surf Manchester operated by Wavegarden, which is headquartered in northern Spain and operates surfing lagoons in locations such as South Korea, Melbourne, Bristol and Snowdonia. It has three in construction at present, one in Switzerland and two in Brazil. McKinney Group managing director Billy McKinney said: “This is a really exciting project to be bringing to Greater Manchester. On the back of becoming an Olympic sport, surfing is growing in popularity and our plans will deliver perfect and consistent waves to TraffordCity and build on the region’s excellent and world-leading sporting assets.” James Whittaker, executive development director for Peel L&P, added: “Our vision is to be the UK’s number one destination for retail, leisure and business in a sustainable environment where, over the past 25 years, we have created more than 17,500 jobs and invested over £1.6bn. Modern Surf Manchester will bring something unique to the already-strong leisure offering.” Consultation on the proposals is set to begin next year before a planning application is submitted to Trafford Council.
KBE Drinks appoints new chief operating officer: Drink distributor KBE Drinks has promoted sales director Shaun Goode to lead the business as chief operating officer. Goode will be moving forward with a focused new strategy “to build on the substantial growth the business has seen in recent years, as well as help it to surpass the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic”. He joined the company in October 2016 as sales director and, at the time, KBE was a single-brand business selling Kingfisher Beer in the UK and throughout Europe. The company said, since then, he has been instrumental in elevating the business, which now operates as the exclusive distributor for 14 global beer and cider brands, and also played a key role in growing the company’s flagship brand, Kingfisher, and expanding it into key international markets. Prior to joining KBE Drinks, Goode had acquired leadership experience working with companies including Scottish & Newcastle, Heineken UK and C&C Group building brands across multiple channels. He said: “Times such as these present opportunities, as well as challenges, and the past six months have afforded us a chance to re-evaluate our business and plot a new course forward. As consumers develop evermore curious and sophisticated tastes, we’ll continue to search out new opportunities that will offer something a little different.”
Edinburgh restaurant saved from closure by crowdfunding campaign: Edinburgh-based restaurant Wings has been saved from closure following a crowdfunding campaign. The restaurant, which operates by the concept of “we sell chicken wings and beer”, has been a staple in Old Fishmarket Close for the past seven years, but was on the verge of shutting due to the drop in revenue caused by the pandemic. However, after starting a campaign on Crowdfunder last week, customers have rallied to support the business and it hit its £25,000 target in a matter of days – and has now passed £30,000. On the crowdfunding page, owner Adam Hepburn wrote: “What can we say, eh? We thought this would take all month, you saved us in just over 48 hours. We have been deeply humbled and overjoyed by the response. You saved us. You saved Wings.” The campaign stated: “With our initial target, we will be able to stay open and make sure all of our staff stay safe, are well looked after and keep their jobs for the foreseeable future. With any extra funds, we will be able to expand our menu permanently (something we were testing out right before lockdown hit the nation).”
Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, appoints new on-trade sales director:Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has appointed Jean-David Thumelaire as its new on-trade sales director. Thumelaire has worked at AB InBev for more than ten years, starting his journey in Europe, and most recently worked as director of expansion, growth and strategic partnerships in Africa. The group said Thumelaire would build on the success of the on-trade team, which was previously led by Ryan Fritsch, who managed the function through the initial covid-19 period. Thumelaire said: “I have long admired the great British pub culture, and now I am happy to be a part of it. Covid has shown us how pubs are an essential feature of national life here, playing an important part in local communities. In the immediate weeks ahead, we’ll also be continuing the second rollout of our Save Pub Life programme to support pubs and bars financially at what is usually their busiest time of year – enabling people to support local businesses this Christmas season.” Paula Lindenberg, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland president, added: “JD has had great results growing our brands throughout Europe and Africa, so I have no doubt he’ll be a great asset to the UK on-trade. I’d like to thank Ryan for his hard work as he moves on to a new opportunity.”