Tomahawk Steakhouse repays money it borrowed from staff to fund wages and adds 20% ‘thank you’: Tomahawk Steakhouse, the company led by north east-based multi-site operator Howard Eggleston, has paid back the money it borrowed from staff to help pay their wages – with an additional 20% as a thank you. The company previously asked furloughed employees to sign an agreement to lend 10% of their wages each month to cover their pension and national insurance contributions and insisted every single employee had chosen to sign up to the agreement. It wrote to staff saying it has a “short-term cash flow issue and it requires your help and support”. It said as it must make the national insurance and pension payments itself the “only viable alternative is to ask for your agreement to a loan arrangement”. It added the interest-free loan would be repaid “once the lockdown is eased sufficiently for the company to trade”. A spokeswoman told Propel: “As part of the voluntary agreement signed by all of our staff, we promised any monies loaned would be returned as soon as we were financially able. Following the Budget announcement last week, we are delighted to have been able to swiftly honour that promise this week. All staff have now received the loaned amount, along with an additional 20%, as a thank you for supporting the business at this critical time.”
Vegan fried chicken restaurant Really Happy Chicken to double up with Bristol launch, plans five more UK sites in 2021: Vegan fried chicken restaurant Really Happy Chicken is to double up by opening a site in Bristol and is planning a further five outlets across the UK by the end of 2021. The concept opened its debut site in Brighton last year, serving vegan chicken burgers, wings and popcorn-style bites. Now founder Owais Amiri is taking the concept to Bristol and hopes to launch the site in the next six to eight weeks. He told Bristol Live: “I absolutely love Bristol and can’t wait to launch there – we were Brighton’s darling when we opened there and we hope to be Bristol’s darling too. I see a lot of similarities between Bristol and Brighton, including the fact both have a really strong vegan community. Given the sheer number of vegans in Bristol, I think it’s an eco-system in which all plant-based restaurants can thrive alongside each other.”
Shoot the Bull to launch Harrogate food hall: Yorkshire-based event and food and beverage operator Shoot The Bull is to open a food hall in Harrogate. The company is transforming the former Wagyu premises in Parliament Street into The Solita Foodhall, which will feature a large outdoor roof terrace. The venue will house six different stalls, all under the Shoot The Bull brand, and will offer a takeaway service. The roof terrace, which will have capacity for 60, will open on Monday, 12 April, with the full food hall experience, including indoor dining over two split levels, set to launch on Monday, 17 May. The menu will include maple brined rotisserie chicken, British wagyu steaks and lobster tacos. Shoot The Bull founder and chief executive Chris Harrison said: “Harrogate has always been a place I love to visit. We worked as a pop-up five years ago in a pub and had such a great response to our food. Now five years later on the opportunity to take such a large site has presented itself and my ambition to launch an exciting diverse and engaging food hall concept can come to life.” Founded in 2015, Shoot The Bull operates The Old House pub in Hull, Shoot The Bull in Hull Truck Theatre and the Rotisserie & Grill at the Kommune food court in Sheffield. It also operates the Solita brand, which consists of six restaurants, with a seventh launching in Sheffield in May.
Nando’s reports 85% of orders now placed digitally: Nando’s has reported 85% of orders are now placed digitally at its restaurants, compared with zero pre-pandemic. Through a partnership with hospitality technology company Vita Mojo, Nando’s has accelerated the roll out of its digital ordering experience and reopened its restaurants with new contactless dining and ordering at 400-plus locations in just ten weeks last summer. The new digital experience has formed the foundation of a new multichannel, integrated approach to the global restaurant brand’s operations. Customers scan a QR code to join Nando’s new virtual queuing system. Once seated, customers can order and pay at the table using their own device, with the digital experience consistent for click and collect orders and a single sign-on for all of Nando’s ordering channels including its app and loyalty programme. Reg Meyer, head of technology solutions, Nando’s UK & Ireland, said: “The pandemic has catalysed a positive change in the way we now operate and are thinking about the future. What we’ve achieved over the past 12 months with Vita Mojo is just the start of our journey towards becoming a truly multichannel business with an all-encompassing integrated approach. Our goal is to integrate the entire customer experience, so people only ever experience one Nando’s, regardless of which ordering channel they use.”
Just Eat reports 600% rise in orders ahead of rival Deliveroo’s float: Just Eat has revealed a 600% rise in orders and it expects to grow its share of the UK market this year. Amsterdam-based Just Eat said in its latest results, it has been boosted by an 88% surge in UK orders in its online marketplace and a 600% jump in delivery business in the first two months of 2021. It also said its growth in logistics was now “multiple times” the rate of its competitors after partnerships with McDonald’s and food-to-go operator Greggs, among others. The company said: “Given recent trading and the investment programme, management expects to increase market share in the UK in 2021.” Just Eat processed 179 million UK orders last year – a year-on-year boost of 35% – with revenues 42% higher at €725m (£621m) after more restaurants used delivery services during lockdown. Just Eat has also changed the way it employs gig economy workers by giving London couriers employment benefits and hourly pay rather than pay-per-job, therefore ensuring increased security of income for staff for the first time. Just Eat, which last year completed the takeover of GrubHub in the US, also recorded a loss of €151m (£129.3m). Chief executive Jitse Groen wished Deliveroo rival Will Shu well with the flotation: “I’m a fellow founder and know how important an initial public offering is to the business. We are quite a bit larger than Deliveroo and will do our best to compete with it.”
Colonial Property signs 20-year lease to bring New England-inspired restaurant to Mayfair: A New England-inspired restaurant is set to open in an historic London building that will house three floors of dining and social space. Colonial Property, which will be making its UK debut with the restaurant, has signed a 20-year lease on the grade II-listed Mayfair site in Hanover Square from Grand Portland Estates’ GHS Limited Partnership joint venture. Colonial Property will take on the 9,350 square foot restaurant at an initial minimum rent of £600,000 per annum, plus a turnover top-up. The new tenant will also be given a 24-month rent-free period, plus a landlord contribution of £600,000 to be paid following completion of the restaurant fit-out. The three levels – ground and two lower ground floors – also comes with 1,100 square foot raised external terrace overlooking Medici Courtyard. Great Portland Estates leasing director Marc Wilder said: “The New England cuisine style and opulent fit-out will combine to create the most exciting eating and drinking destination in the heart of Mayfair. We are also encouraged by the continuing strong occupier interest across a high proportion of the total remaining space within the scheme.”
First neighbourhood pub and restaurant to open at Camden Market: A neighbourhood pub and restaurant is to open at Camden Market this spring. George Hartshorn, Chris Gibson and Ollie Patterson, who have collectively worked in the hospitality and music industries for more than 30 years, will launch The Farrier after agreeing a deal with market owner, LabTech. Spanning 2,100 square foot, the former horse hospital and stables building will be Camden Market’s first pub and restaurant, featuring a hidden courtyard with outdoor heating and fire pit. The 90-cover pub and restaurant will focus on modern rustic dining, headed up by a three-Michelin star-trained chef, Ash Finch. Offering a seasonal menu, dishes will include game pie, beef fat cured mackerel, and wild smoked pigeon and salt baked squash. The Farrier will also showcase a floor-to-ceiling wine wall with sliding ladder, and the drinks menu will provide a choice of organic wine from small producers and wineries from around the world, alongside a range of bottled and canned craft beer as well as gin. Patterson said: “It’s definitely been a rollercoaster of a challenge but when London comes out the other side, which we’re confident we will, The Farrier will be ready to welcome Londoners with open arms for quality comfort food, wine and good times.” The Farrier represented itself while LabTech dealt directly.
Wendy’s gives sneak peak of menu ahead of UK return: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, has given a sneak peak of its menu ahead of its UK launch. The company will make its return to Britain 20 years after it closed its UK outlets to focus on its North America base. The first site will open in Station Road, Reading, which will include a walk-up window “to create speedy access for delivery providers”. The menu will include the Dave’s single quarter pounder burger, spicy chicken sandwich, avocado chicken salad and the Chocolate Frosty dessert. Steven Derwoed, vice-president, global design and construction for Wendy’s, said: “We’re very proud of our restaurant design in Reading, and I’m confident we’ve built a place our customers will love to go and our employees will love to work. Creating a frictionless and convenient experience for our customers is at the heart of our design and we look forward to serving customers soon.” Last week, the company revealed plans to open five sites in the UK this year, with a target of eventually operating about 20 company-owned branches in Britain. The company plans to enter the UK with company-owned and operated restaurants in the first half of 2021 and, in its second phase, will launch in priority areas with multi-unit franchisee operators. The business said at a presentation of its full-year results it plans to open ten sites in the UK next year, has secured multiple locations and is engaged with several potential franchisees.
Telecoms entrepreneur takes majority stake in Feed It Back: Telecoms entrepreneur James Palmer has taken a majority stake in guest feedback service Feed It Back, Propel has learned. The chief executive of communications business 9 has made a multimillion-pound investment that will be used to grow Feed It Back through an expanded team and the creation of new products and services. Feed It Back’s technology and services are used by cafes, bars and restaurants to rate their customers’ experiences. With a background in running their own cocktail bar and restaurant, husband-and-wife team Carlo and Julia Platia founded Feed it Back in 2008. The company bucked trends to record growth in 2020 during the pandemic lockdown and counts operators such as Las Iguanas, Friday’s, Marco Pierre White, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Tenpin and Parkdean Resorts as some of its customers. The Platias retain a minority shareholding in the company, and Carlo Platia remains chief executive with an unchanged management team. He will also join the board of a newly formed holding company. He said: “This new investment is perfectly timed to allow us to double the size of our software development team and create more new products and services that help better inform our growing UK customer base.” Palmer, who becomes executive chairman of Feed It Back, added: “Now on a very solid financial footing, Feed it Back and its excellent management team can take a fast-growing business and supercharge it into a dominant position in the UK market. It also opens the prospect of future expansion opportunities overseas.”
New operators of Corinium Hotel plan garden pizza kitchen opening for April: The new operators of the Corinium Hotel in Cirencester already have plans to add a pizza kitchen to the garden to welcome guests back to hospitality on Monday, 12 April. David and Julie Sherriff have bought the leasehold of the Gloucestershire 15-bedroom hotel to be closer to relatives after operating a farm with holiday lodge lettings and a motorhome hire business in Pembrokeshire. David Sheriff said: “We hadn’t considered a lease purchase when we started looking at hospitality properties in the Cotswolds, but we realised it offered an excellent opportunity when we saw the Corinium Hotel.” Colliers acted for the seller on the deal.
New restaurant concept launches to help ‘chefs get back on their feet’: A new concept is launching “to help chefs get back on their feet after the pandemic”. 21Blox is a restaurant that “empowers talented chefs” by providing them with a platform to launch their new culinary concepts. Typically, a week is divided into 21 mealtime blocks; seven breakfasts, seven lunches and seven dinners. This is the basis of the concept, giving the inspiration for the name, 21Blox. Through a shared economy, chefs will be able to take control of set blocks each week, serving their own menus, launching their own concepts and introducing their brand. Founder Tracy Kohl said: “The art of being a chef seems to be slowly eroding away by an uncertain economy, disappearing employment opportunities, and developments in artificial intelligence. Restaurants could soon suffer the same fate as high street retail. We aren’t ready to see independents become instinct. They should be able to expand organically like the big competitors are able to do financially. We want to be able to help talented chefs make their dreams of owning an independent restaurant a reality.”
British chef Daniel Calvert to open French restaurant in Tokyo: British chef Daniel Calvert is to launch a restaurant, Sézanne, at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Marunouchi in June. Named after a small city in the Champagne-Ardenne region, the restaurant will showcase technique-driven French cuisine, with a focus on classic flavour profiles featuring produce from across Japan. Calvert will oversee the boutique hotel’s entire food offering with a more casual bistro bar also opening. The 40-cover restaurant will also feature an extensive champagne list with an eclectic range of vintages available by the glass. Calvert said: “I’ve always been drawn to Tokyo so to be given the opportunity to work here is really every chef’s dream. I want to make sure the highest quality is felt across the board. It’s one of the smallest Four Seasons properties in the world, and you can really feel that personality and sense of place throughout.” Previously head chef of Belon in Hong Kong, Calvert won the restaurant a Michelin star within two years of opening, making him Hong Kong’s youngest Michelin-starred chef. After cutting his teeth as a line cook at The Ivy in London, he joined the two-Michelin-starred Pied à Terre to learn the fundamentals of modern French cuisine. In 2009, he crossed the Atlantic to hone his skills as sous chef at Per Se in New York City, followed by a placement in Epicure at Le Bristol in Paris.
High Spirits Leisure Group to open Ambleside bar: Cumbria-based High Spirits Leisure Group is to open a new bar, in Ambleside. The company, owned by Alex Mauro and Colin Monk is carrying out a £500,000 revamp of a building in the old mill yard, next to Bridge House, to create Ambleside Tap Yard. The 160-cover venue, which is set to open in May, will offer craft beer from six 1,000-pint copper tanks from above the bar, and food including pizza and burgers. The venue will also offer a separate takeaway, Ice & Slice, which will offer ice cream, wood-fired pizza slices, retro milkshakes and beverages. The takeaway will have separate outside seating, reports the Cumbria Crack. Ambleside Tap Yard is next to the group’s Flying Fleece venue, which opened in June last year to become the eighth site operated by the group in the Lake District.
Edyn Group unveils next stage of expansion for Locke brand including first international sites: Aparthotel operator Edyn Group has unveiled the next stage of expansion for its Locke brand, with new sites across the UK and its first international openings. The company will open a further two locations in London, a new property in Cambridge and the European expansion of the brand into Germany and Ireland. Kingland Locke will open in Dalston, east London, in May along with Zanzibar Locke in Dublin, which will the group’s first property outside the UK. Later in the month it will be joined by Schwan Locke in Munich, Germany. A second property in the German city – Wunderlocke – will launch in July with a second opening in Dublin – Beckett Locke – due in August. This will be followed by Turing Locke in Cambridge in September and Buckle Street Studios in London’s Aldgate in October. Edyn Group chief executive Stephen McCall said: “After demonstrating the resilience and adaptability of our business model throughout the pandemic, we’re excited to share further details of our Locke openings in 2021, which promises to be an exceptional year of growth for the brand across Europe. As international business and leisure travel reawakens, we are seeing new trends, tastes and priorities emerging. Locke’s hybrid home-meets-hotel concept has never felt more relevant, and we’re looking forward to expanding the brand into new markets to meet traveller demand for more spacious, self-contained accommodation.”
Travelodge investment offered at £3.66m: A freehold Travelodge site in Woodford Green, east London, is being offered for sale for £3.66m. Travelodge has just over 14 years left on its lease of the building that operates as a 34-bedroom hotel – the company has a rent of £233,794 subject to five-year uncapped Retail Price Index-linked rent reviews. The landlord has the option to extend the lease increasing the unexpired term to 20 years. The yield on the investment is 6%. The investment is offered via l.
Derby-based street food venue triples space as it relocates: Derby-based street food venue, Bustler Market, has moved to a new site three times bigger than its previous location. Located at The Chocolate Factory in Siddals Road, the new venue spans more than 36,000 square foot, with capacity to seat more than 1,500 customers indoors as well as a further 300 in the outdoor beer garden. The venue is set to fully reopen later this year when all national lockdown restrictions are lifted, but the beer garden is intended to open from 12 April. Since its launch in 2017, Bustler Market has regularly attracted more than 5,000 visitors each weekend. This is the street food vendor’s second relocation in three years after it outgrew its previous site in John Street last year. Once open, the new-look space will feature a selection of up to 12 independent street food traders from across the UK that will be rotated each weekend. There will also be an arcade area, karaoke room and a gin and cocktail bar. Bustler Market managing director Olivia Pritchard told The Business Desk: “This move marks the start of a really exciting new era for us. The new space is just across the road from our old site, but it allows us to do so much more. Not only does it mean we can welcome even more of our great customers and hire more staff, it also allows us to be even more creative with how we use the venue too.”
Hartlepool-based restaurant owner lodges plans for micro-pub: Hartlepool-based restaurant owner Joseph Franks is looking to open a micro-pub in the County Durham town. Franks, who owns The Open Jar restaurant at Hartlepool Marina, has submitted a licensing application to Hartlepool Borough Council for the micro-pub at the Elizabeth Way shopping parade. He wants to convert the former Abby Foods and Wine store into the 30-seater venue, reports the Hartlepool Mail. In his application, Franks said the new venue would offer bottle and draught options of alcohol and soft drinks, and would play some recorded music. The application states the micro-pub would open from noon to 11pm Sunday to Thursday, and stay open to 11.30pm on Fridays and midnight on Saturdays. Franks is in the process of relocating The Open Jar to the larger former Sheesh Mahal site, in Seaton Carew.
SevenCapital submits plans to open 174-bed aparthotel in centre of Birmingham:Property developer SevenCapital has submitted plans to Birmingham City Council to transform the Royal Angus Hotel into a 174-bed aparthotel with communal ground floor facility and winter gardens. SevenCapital bought the 186-bedroom hotel in St Chad’s Queensway in August – which was also formerly a Thistle hotel – as part of plans to expand its hospitality business. SevenCapital also operates the four-star Park Regis Hotel in the city centre. SevenCapital group managing director Damien Siviter said: “The Royal Angus Hotel is an exciting acquisition for SevenCapital that will allow us to expand our hotel ownership, while helping to uphold and further boost the hospitality sector and create jobs within Birmingham. This will be especially important in helping to meet and alleviate demand ahead of the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will see unprecedented pressure and spotlight put on the city.”