Star Pubs & Bars invests further £4m in rent reductions: Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars is investing a further £4m in rent reductions for its leased and tenanted pubs in September and October. The move brings the total rent support offered by the company to £25m until the end of October. The group said with most pubs open and benefiting from government support such as a business rates holiday, VAT cut, loans and furlough scheme, the company was tapering its rent relief in September and October. The company’s 50%, 75% and 90%-plus rent reductions will reduce to 40%, 55% and 70% in September and 30%, 35% and 50% in October. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “We have invested heavily in helping licensees through these difficult times. Throughout, we have been transparent and consistent with the rent reductions we have offered. We hope this latest tapered rent relief will help licensees plan ahead as much they are able to and we’ll continue to review our overall support as we have done since the beginning. Now seems the right time to offer tapered support as the feedback from our estate has been encouraging overall, with consumer confidence growing and many licensees trading near to pre-lock-down levels.” The company’s previous rent support had been due to finish at the end of August.
Hall & Woodhouse appoints Paul Barnett as group financial director: Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has appointed Paul Barnett as group financial director. Barnett, who was previously a partner at Deloitte, is a chartered accountant with extensive experience of working with globally listed companies such as Just Eat, Anglo American and Rio Tinto. In his new role, Barnett will lead the finance and IT teams at Hall & Woodhouse to ensure the business meets its “challenging growth objectives by building on its successes from the past to expand in the future”. Barnett said: “Given current events it’s a fascinating time to join Hall & Woodhouse. Through my time with Deloitte I’ve worked with many of the world’s largest companies through good and bad times. I will use these experiences to drive and deliver Hall & Woodhouse’s ambitious growth strategy. A key part of my role will be team leadership. I’m passionate about supporting my people to enable them to achieve their career goals. I’m already enjoying getting to know everyone in the business and visiting all our pubs.” Hall & Woodhouse brews Badger Ale in Dorset and runs 180 pubs across the south of England. Last year, finance director Michael Owen left the business to become chief financial officer of London pub retailer Young’s.
Greene King to recruit at least another 150 apprentices: Brewer and retailer Greene King is set to recruit at least another 150 apprentices and has encouraged young people to apply for jobs as they receive their A-level results. Since 2011, Greene King has supported more than 12,500 apprentices through its programme as it supports the development of its next generation of managers. Apprenticeship programmes are run from level 2 to level 7, which is post-graduate degree level. More than two-fifths (43%) of apprentice vacancies at Greene King were filled by 16 to 18-year-olds in 2019-20, an increase of 3% on the previous year. Greene King offers apprenticeships across the country – 97% of pubs run or have run apprenticeship programmes – with opportunities at all levels. Graham Briggs, head of apprenticeships and employability programmes at Greene King, said: “We know university might not be the right path for everyone and an apprenticeship can provide an alternative route and be the start of a rewarding and fulfilling career. Our apprenticeship programme enables young people to earn while they learn, offering the best of both worlds. With a particularly challenging jobs market at the moment, we’re pleased we can continue providing roles to young people at the start of their careers. Apprenticeships play a hugely important role in social mobility and we are continuing to invest in our programme so we can provide more opportunities and quality training for young people entering the hospitality industry.”
Boxpark appoints Wells & Co’s Bishop as property director: Boxpark has appointed Simon Bishop as property director to drive the company’s development plans during the next five years. With more than 25 years’ experience in leisure acquisitions for restaurants, pubs, hotels and casinos, Bishop has been instrumental in delivering sites in the UK and major European cities for brands such as Peach Pub Company, Scottish and Newcastle Retail, and City Inn Hotels. His most recent role, as head of acquisitions at Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co, focused on acquiring pubs and hotels. Before lock-down, Boxpark revealed plans to open ten sites in major UK cities during the next five years. Bishop will create a programme of rolling acquisitions focusing on potential sites for Boxpark in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Liverpool and Manchester. He will be responsible for sourcing potential sites for Boxpark’s original concept as well as two new ones – BoxOffice, which will incorporate co-working spaces, and BoxHall, 10,000 to 20,000 square foot food and drink-focused destinations featuring six to 12 street food traders. Boxpark chief executive and founder Roger Wade said: “Despite closing our sites for more than 12 weeks we’ve tried to maintain a positive outlook by realising our key strengths as a business and prospects. Luckily for us, we’ve had a great bounce back. Since reopening our sites footfall and like-for-like sales have surpassed our expectations but there’s no time to stand still. We’re more focused than ever on our growth strategy and think Simon holds the perfect skill set and experience to help us reach our ambitions.” Bishop added: “My experience in the hospitality and leisure sectors lends itself well to Boxpark’s expansion plans and there are loads of opportunities ahead.”
Pizza Pilgrims lines up Queensway opening: Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria concept founded by Thom and James Elliot, has lined up a further opening in central London, in Queensway, Propel has learned. The 13-strong company is understood to have secured a former Persian restaurant as part of the West Walk Estate. It’s thought the group will look to open the site near the end of this year or early 2021. The company has so far reopened nine of its 13 restaurants for dine in, with only its sites in the City, Westfield London, Covent Garden and Swingers in the City closed. Earlier this week the company said it would open a permanent facility for its Pizza In The Post operation. Having sold more than 25,000 units nationwide during lock-down, the company has secured a site in Herne Hill for the purpose-built facility. It will cater for all prepping, packing and distribution of Pizza In The Post. The space will allow the team to create more than 2,000 kits a day and hire ten staff to help develop this new arm of the business.
Wendy’s chief – we’re on track to open restaurants in UK in first half of 2021:Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, has said the group is on track to open restaurants in the UK in the first half of 2021. The company, which operates more than 6,000 sites worldwide, has submitted plans to open a site in an empty unit in Station Road, Reading. Speaking on an earnings call after the company’s second-quarter results, Penegor said: “We have continued to make progress towards our plan to expand into Europe and are on track to open restaurants in the UK in the first half of 2021. We’ve been building a top talent team on the ground and have a strong pipeline of locations. International growth is one of the three growth pillars we remain fully committed to. This growth may take a slightly different shape as a result of covid but we know international remains a huge opportunity for the Wendy’s brand and we’re excited to grow this business.” Earlier this summer Propel revealed the company had started building its team ahead of a proposed UK launch. It has appointed Michael Clarke, formerly of Pizza Hut Restaurants and Firezza, as UK director of operations. At the same time Rhodri Jones, former property director at Soho House joint venture Quentin Restaurants, joined Wendy’s as UK real estate manager. Propel revealed last year the company had started searching for sites in the UK to “kick-start a broader expansion plan across Europe”. The group attempted to break into the UK market before the end of the last millennium but surrendered ten leases in 2000.
Lane 7 moves closer to Bristol launch: Lane7, the bowling alley, ping pong and karaoke concept, has moved closer to opening a site in Bristol after applying for a licence at a unit in the city. Propel understands the business, which owns six sites under its eponymous brand, has applied to open at Unit 2, Canons Way, in Millennium Promenade. Lane7 was founded by Tim Wilks and entered the family bowling market with the launch of its Gutterball Alley site in North Shields late last year. Wilks said at the time: “We wanted to bring the soul and flavour of Lane7 paired with a family friendly offer. Gutterball Alley is for the parents who dread a trip to lifeless entertainment venues that cater for kids only.” Lane7 launched its first site in Newcastle in late 2013 and has gone on to open venues in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Sheffield. It planned to launch a “super-site” in Leicester this year that would feature a container-style food and drinks village, while it has also thought to have secured a site in Cardiff.
Nando’s postpones A-level and GCSE giveaway: Nando’s is postponing its annual giveaway to A-level and GCSE students in the UK. Usually they can grab a free Fire-Starter or quarter chicken on the day grades come out by providing proof of their results. The company stated on its blog: “As we continue to get all our restaurants back up and running we’ll postpone our annual results day celebrations until September. Given the circumstances, the safety of our customers and team is still our number-one priority. We also want to make sure customers can take full advantage of the offer when we’re open at a national level for eat-in. We give away free food to GCSE and A-level students each year to celebrate their hard work across the academic year and celebrate with them as they move on to the next chapter of their life, whatever that may be. We get this year has been a tough one, especially for students, and we don’t want anyone to be left out or miss the opportunity to celebrate with some peri-peri.” Nando’s has reopened almost half its 422-strong UK estate for dine-in.
Leeds city centre bars bought out of administration: More than 100 jobs have been saved after two Leeds city centre bars were bought out of administration. Darren Brookes and Molly Monks, of Milner Boardman & Partners, were appointed joint administrators of Bar Fibre, Viaduct Leisure and Mission (Leeds) on 31 July. A deal has now been agreed to save Bar Fibre and Viaduct, safeguarding 102 jobs. However, the Mission nightclub will remain closed. A spokesman for the three companies told Insider Media: “We are pleased to have been able to save 102 jobs at Bar Fibre and Viaduct Leisure. Unfortunately, Mission couldn’t be saved. The night-time industry has suffered the most through the pandemic. We hope the government extends support for the sector into 2021 to ensure its long-term survival.” All three venues operated under the APN Group banner. The company’s website states Fibre is the company’s flagship bar, while Viaduct Showbar is “the UK’s leading drag cabaret venue”. Mission is branded as a “super club with a 15-year history”. APN Group’s website also states the company operates hotels and apartments, media services, and property and facility management services.
Bunga Bunga to relaunch karaoke experience with shower booths: Bunga Bunga, the Inception Group-owned venue in Battersea, south London, is to relaunch its karaoke nights next month featuring shower cubicle-style booths to comply with social distancing. The group said the Friday and Saturday “kara-soaky” nights, which will launch on 4 September, would offer a “singing in the shower karaoke experience” while complying with covid safety measures. As part of the “playful distancing inventions”, the party venue has been transformed into an “Italian bathroom” including bathroom props and tables separated by transparent shower curtains to create “bathroom bubbles” for parties of ten. Cubicles will be sanitised after each performance. To avoid bubbles mixing, retro telephones will allow tables to communicate with each other while providing a direct line for song requests. Each performance will be broadcast on screens, while the venue will offer a three-course Italian feasting menu, including Bunga Bunga’s signature metre-long pizza.
Leon rolls out grocery range to 62 more Sainsbury’s stores: Natural fast food brand Leon has rolled out its sourdough range into a further 62 Sainsbury’s in-store bakeries. The expansion, from 32 to 94 sites, also sees a brown seeded sourdough added to the range, which will be available exclusively at Sainsbury’s stores. The range also features the super white sourdough, which was the best-selling product at Leon’s stores during lock-down. Leon has been expanding its range of products in Sainsbury’s, recently adding gluten-free chicken nuggets to its waffle fries and vegan sauces. Charlotte Di Cello, chief commercial officer and managing director of Leon Grocery, said: “It has been our mission to make food that tastes and does good more widely available and this expansion will allow even more customers to access our bakery products.”
Bone Daddies extends Eat Out To Help Out discount at Flesh & Buns to Thursdays: Bone Daddies Group is extending the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme at its Flesh & Buns restaurants to include Thursdays. The company has decided to subsidise the offer so diners can receive the 50% discount on all food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per person for an additional day during August. The offer will be valid for lunch and dinner at the Fitzrovia and Oxford Circus restaurants. Bone Daddies Group also operates six eponymous ramen restaurants in London as well as fusion concept Shack-Fuyu.
Watch House launches roastery and coffee subscription service: Edition Capital-backed coffee concept Watch House has launched a roastery to supply its five London coffee houses alongside an espresso bar. The roastery has launched under the arches of Maltby Street in Bermondsey, offering Watch House’s house-blend coffee while housing the company’s training lab and head office. Each coffee changes seasonally and is available to buy by the bag or as part of a new subscription offering spanning three, six or 12 months. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the roaster and training room, giving visitors behind-the-scenes access to the modern coffee experience. The training room will also host tastings and workshops. The brand’s coffee houses in Bermondsey Street, Spitalfields and Tower Bridge have also reopened with Somerset House and Fetter Lane set to do so “in due course”. Watch House coffee founder Roland Horne said: “Our new roastery brings with it a new era for Watch House. We’ve spent years fostering relationships with farmers who believe in our way of doing things and our house range has been created with our community in mind. The space also enables us and our guests to have the space to learn, grow and explore our coffee programme even further.”
Colchester-based Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant to shut permanently due to ‘uncertainty’ caused by pandemic: Colchester-based restaurant Grain, which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand last year, is to permanently close as a result of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Paul Wendholt and Jordan Sidwell launched the concept in 2016 with a menu focused on British food offered in small plates. However, they have decided not to renew the lease of the North Hill restaurant and it will close in October. Wendholt told Essex Live: “Everything was heading in the right direction but this year came along and threw a spanner in the works. We had to commit to a ten-year lease or walk away. After what has happened over the past six months, ten years is a very long time. Pre-lock-down we were doing very well and even since lock-down we weren’t doing badly at all, but it’s not the same world we opened in.” Wendholt refused to rule out the business returning in some form in the future. He added: “One day we may look at other avenues such as opening another site – but we’re back to square one.”
Santo Remedio launches at-home meal kits: Santo Remedio, the Mexican restaurant brand founded by Edson and Natalie Diaz-Fuentes, has launched a range of at-home meal kits. The Remedy Kits focus on slow-cooked meat and consist of three boxes – bone-in short rib (12-hour beef short rib with mole negro); barbecoa lamb shank (eight-hour slow-cooked lamb); and duck carnitas (two confit duck legs). Each kit comes with garnishes, Santo Remedio corn tortillas and sides such as house-made black beans, citrusy potato salad, and crispy coleslaw. Deliveries go out from Santo Remedio’s site in Tooley Street, London Bridge, on Wednesdays and Fridays with orders required 48 hours in advance, Hot Dinners reports. After three years of pop-ups, supper clubs and a Street Feast residency, the first bricks and mortar Santo Remedio opened in Shoreditch. Following its closure, the brand opened its 100-cover restaurant in Tooley Street.
MeatLiquor to reopen Oxford Circus site on Saturday: Scott Collins-led concept MeatLiquor is to reopen its Oxford Circus site on Saturday (15 August). The company has been gradually reopening its 11-strong estate with only its King’s Cross and Queensway sites still temporarily shuttered. Meanwhile, MeatLiquor will launch plant-based burger Burgaloo 2 on Thursday (13 August). Developed in-house, the roast white onion and potato patty is served with pink onions, lime pickle, soy yogurt, red chillis and sev jinni.
Club Mexicana to open debut permanent restaurant, in Soho next month: Club Mexicana, which offers Mexican and Californian-inspired street food, is to open its first permanent site, in Soho next month. Having been scheduled to open in spring before the pandemic struck, the venue will now launch in Kingly Court on Tuesday, 1 September featuring an open kitchen, al pastor spit and bar. New tacos on the menu will include chicken and avocado, a vegan version with corn salsa, pink onions and hot sauce, and the Chorizo (with salsa roja and pickled jalapenos). Sides will include shoestring fries with chilli lime salt, while desserts will include rich dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel popcorn. The bar will offer cocktails on tap from Tottenham-based drinks company Black Lines alongside natural wine, Mexican beer, tequila and mezcal. Interiors will feature Club Mexicana’s signature neon pink signs and colour-pop artwork. The bar top will be made using crushed coloured glass, while the venue will offer outdoor tables. Club Mexicana founder Meriel Armitage said: “We look forward to doing what Club Mexicana does best – great vibes, lots of tacos and banging cocktails.” Armitage founded Club Mexicana five years ago inspired by the roadside stalls of Los Angeles and Mexico City. The brand has made a number of residencies and appears at pop-ups and street food markets across London. In 2018, Armitage co-founded London’s first 100% vegan pub, The Spread Eagle. Nick Garston, director of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, secured the Kingly Court site for Club Mexicana as its sole property agent.
Glasgow restaurant to extend Eat Out To Help Out until at least end of September: Glasgow restaurant Mharsanta is to extend the Eat Out To Help Out scheme until at least the end of September. Director Derek Mallon said the company had decided it would continue to subsidise the offer when the government scheme finished at the end of August. Mallon said he saw the extension of the scheme as an “opportunity to encourage guests to continue to use the restaurant at normally quieter times of the week”. He added the response so far had been “fantastic”.
Love Triangle pizza concept launches in Balham: A new pizza concept has launched in Balham, south London. Love Triangle has opened in Ritherdon Road focusing on triple-fermented Neapolitan-style pizza for delivery or collection. Guests can also enjoy their pizza on the venue’s 24-cover terrace. The menu is split into meat, vegetarian and vegan sections and includes nduja and fennel, courgette and pancetta, and roasted mushroom pizza. Sides include burrata with pea and basil salad, while the drinks lists includes spritz, craft beer from Gypsy Hill and Brixton Brewery, and natural wine from Uncharted Wine. The concept is the brainchild of chef director Will Griffiths, formerly of Salon, Peg and Brawn and founder of Hackney barbecue restaurant Billy Smokes, who has overseen menu development; design director Tyson Benton, co-founder of events marketing agency The Flash Pack; and marketing director Ben Mason, a food entrepreneur who appeared on Dragons’ Den with his posh baked beans brand Masons Beans. Mason said: “As the saying goes, three is the magic number and it’s the inspiration behind everything we do. Love Triangle is best described in three words – ‘kneads’ (triple-fermented wood-fired pizza), ‘feeds’ (we’re nothing without our customers), and ‘deeds’ (for every pizza ordered, we donate a meal to our local food bank).”
Gousto secures new north west distribution facility as it looks to triple capacity: Recipe box subscription service Gousto has secured a new distribution facility in the north west of England as it looks to at least triple capacity by 2022. The company has signed for a 307,807 square foot space at Mountpark Warrington Omega II, which is owned by Mountpark Logistics. Following strong trading from the start of the year, lock-down has accelerated demand for Gousto’s products. Mountpark is now working with Gousto to integrate elements of the company’s fit-out specification within the build programme. The facility is planned to go live at the end of 2021 and will create more than 400 jobs. CBRE and JLL acted for Mountpark, while Gousto was represented by SBH.