Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken secures debut London site, signs up a further two franchisees: South west-based operator Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken will make its London debut next month, in Walthamstow, Propel has learned. Propel revealed earlier this summer the ten-strong company, which is led by Carl Traill and backed by HBM Investments, planned to open ten sites in the capital in the next five years under a new franchise agreement. It will open the first site under this agreement on Monday, 29 November in Walthamstow. It is currently looking at further sites across London, with a site in Romford under consideration. Propel also understands Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken has recently signed up another two franchise regions – Kent and Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire – with plans to open ten sites in each. The brand is thought to have six new openings already lined up for next year. Earlier this year, Propel revealed Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken was to begin its national expansion after signing a franchise deal to open in Essex. The company opened the first site under the new agreement with franchisee Joe Bhangal in Billericay, on the site of the former Wimpy in the town’s High Street. The Billericay site will be the first of ten stores planned in the Essex area over the next three to five years for the brand, with openings lined up in Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend. Traill previously told Propel that Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken was actively recruiting multiple site franchisees across the country and had mapped out 85 regions in which the brand could expand into.
Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars secures seventh site: Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars, the north west of England-based, multiple operator led by Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin, is set to open its seventh site, next month, on the Whitmore Estate, Staffordshire, Propel has learned. The company is taking on the Mainwaring Arms in Whitmore, with an opening scheduled for the middle of November, after a refurbishment. The pub, which will open offering “fresh, seasonal and innovative premium gastropub food, premium wine and craft beer”, was previously operated by Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s. Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars’ new pub will be located five miles from its award-winning, Fitzhurbert Arms in Swynnerton. Propel understands the company is looking to add rooms to the Fitzhurbert Arms next year.
Simmons Bars to open Leicester Square site: Simmons Bars, the London-based, Lonsdale Capital Partners-backed cocktail bar operator, is set to open a site in Leicester Square, Propel has learned. The Nick Campbell-led company, which earlier this month secured the lease of the former award-winning steak and cocktail restaurant Silk & Grain in Cornhill, is understood to have lined up an opening on the ex-The Lost Alhambra site that was previously operated by Adventure Bars. Established in 2013 in Kings Cross, Simmons currently has a portfolio of 20 locations and has most recently opened sites in Brick Lane, Putney, Tottenham Court Road and Old Street. Earlier this summer, the group expressed its ambitions to expand to 30 sites over the next two years with new sites in both London and regional cities.
Simmons Bars features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Simmons Bars turned over £10.3m in its most recent reported financial year. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 410 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
Yotam Ottolenghi plans Chelsea opening: Chef Yotam Ottolenghi is planning a further opening under his eponymous deli concept in London’s Chelsea, Propel understands. The chef is believed to have applied to open a site in Pavilion Road. Earlier this summer, Ottolenghi opened his first deli site in six years, in Marylebone: The deli, the fifth in total, is in Marylebone Lane, and is the chef’s most central deli yet, with the other sites located in the neighbourhoods of Notting Hill, Islington, Belgravia and Spitalfields. Ottolenghi also operates the Fitzrovia-based restaurant Rovi and Nopi in Soho.
Marston’s increases food and drink prices, expects simplified menus to remain permanent feature: Marston’s has put up its food and drink prices following the recent hike in VAT rates from 5% to 12.5%. The group, which had already pushed up its prices by about 10p a drink and 20p to 30p a dish on food, increased them further by about 5p to 10p a drink and another 20p for a main course this month, chief executive Andrew Andrea told The Telegraph. This follows Marston’s reporting this week that its trading had surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the period 25 July to 2 October, with like-for-like sales at 102% of 2019’s figures. “You’ve got to strike that balance, because if you’re greedy you’ll get found out and customers will just stay at home, and we certainly don’t want to encourage that,” said Andrea. “There has been some quite material price-taking in the sector, and certainly in London we’re seeing some eye-watering prices for a pint of beer.” Andrea also revealed the carbon dioxide shortages affecting the meat industry had forced Marston’s pubs to take chicken pies off the menu temporarily – and he expects simplified menus to now be a feature of the future. “There were a couple of days where we had an issue with chicken pie supply – we had a bit of a shortage,” he added. “We didn’t run out of pies altogether, but we had to source alternatives and offer people alternatives. As a sector, pub companies have simplified menus already coming out of the pandemic, and we expect simple menus to remain a permanent feature because I don’t think customer demand is there for a vast array of options. It feeds right through from the supply chain right through to what we’re asking chefs to do in the kitchen.”
Tattu secures £1m CBILS to strengthen cash position ahead of ‘uncertain’ winter months: Independent restaurant group Tattu has secured £1m through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to strengthen its cash position “given the risk of further restrictions through the winter months”. The company, which is set to make its London debut with the opening of its fifth site, said trading outside of lockdown in the past year had been “strong”. It comes as the business, founded by Adam and Drew Jones, reported turnover fell to £8.1m for the year ending 27 December 2020, compared with £13.8m the previous year. The reduction was a result of the restaurants being shut for six months due to restrictions. Ebitda was £0.6m, compared with £2.2m the year before, which was considered to be “a satisfactory performance against the backdrop of the lengthy closures”. Pre-tax profit fell to £4,000, compared with £1.7m the previous year. Tattu hailed a number of government policies that had helped it mitigate the impact of the pandemic, including the reduction in VAT and the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Sales post reopening from August 2020 until the lockdown in November 2020 were 5% lower on a like-for-like basis compared with 2019. This was a good performance given the severe social distancing restrictions and curfews that were in place.” Tattu has sites in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester. The company’s fifth restaurant, and first in London, will be located in the Denmark Street building that forms part of the wider Outernet London scheme and opens in early 2022.
Loungers hits 150-site mark for Lounge brand with Ringwood launch, Reigate to follow: Cafe bar operator Loungers has hit the 150-site mark for its Lounge brand, with an opening in Ringwood, Hampshire. The company has launched Arboro Lounge in The Furlong. Loungers also operates the Cosy Club brand and the opening takes its total estate to 181 sites. The Ringwood site will be followed by a Lounge opening in Reigate, Surrey, next week. Corzo Lounge will be based in High Street. Loungers has also lined up an opening in Maidenhead before the end of the year. The business will open the Bardo Lounge at Shanly Homes’ Waterside Quarter development in the Berkshire town, in December. Further Lounge openings are planned in Basildon, Colchester, High Wycombe and Ealing, while the business is also set to open a Cosy Club site in Chester.
D&D London unveils permanent chef training programme: Restaurant operator D&D London is making its chef training programme permanent. It follows the launch of its summer school in July, which saw learners train and begin careers in the hospitality sector, and has seen 50 participants go on to be employed across the company’s restaurants. In partnership with Electric Mayonnaise, D&D has been working on a long-term commitment to secure employment for people with little or no previous experience looking to enter kitchens, while giving a much-needed boost to staffing numbers nationwide. The programme will kick off with two courses starting this month, which will take place at its flagship 100 Wardour Street venue and operate on a monthly basis. The Into Hospitality for Kitchens programme will be a five-day intensive course, which will see participants awarded with an entry 3 introductory certificate. Modules will include basic cooking, organisational skills and food hygiene with a focus on additional skills such as teamwork, task and time management and effective communication. The course will culminate in a MasterChef-style cook-off for a table of judges comprising of industry experts and D&D staff, and a work experience shift at a chosen D&D restaurant. Successful participants will secure employment in one of D&D’s sites. The second and more advanced option will be the chef de partie course, an eight-week deep dive, designed to cover all the basics an NVQ level 2 in professional cookery would cover. The course is geared towards commis chefs with at least six months’ kitchen experience. Modules include preparing and cooking fish, meat and poultry, sauces, pastry and food hygiene skills. Learners will be accredited with a Laser Award in “extended certificate in cookery”.
Pi Pizza secures former Stable site in Poole for third restaurant: Pi Pizza has secured the former Stable site in Poole, Dorset, for its third restaurant. Dining at the High Street restaurant will be over two floors with views overlooking Poole Harbour and The Quay. Pi Pizza is due to open by the end of the year and the site will feature its statement glitter ball pizza oven in the middle of the restaurant. There will be waterside seating internally for up to 100 guests and a large outdoor dining space on the recently created pedestrian street area. Pi Pizza was founded in 2014 by restaurateur Rosie Whaley and is known for its 20-inch sharing pizzas made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, using a secret dough recipe and all served up with a selection of small plates and cocktails. The business currently operates sites in Battersea and Winchester. Whaley said: “We cannot wait to open in this beautiful, listed building and offer our unique pizza dining experience to Poole.” The Stable restaurant closed in March last year when the business was under the ownership of Fuller’s. Savills acted on the deal.
Buzzworks to shut business on New Year’s Day in latest well-being initiative: Scottish restaurant and bar operator Buzzworks is to shut the business on New Year’s Day to allow staff to spend time with their loved ones. It is part of a series of initiatives launched by the company to support employees and follows the introduction of a “well-being day” earlier this month. Managing director Kenny Blair said: “We’ve made the decision that we will be closing our restaurants on New Year’s Day for the first time. Despite it being one of the busiest dates for us, we appreciate all the hard-work our staff consistently put in, and want to ensure they can spend an extra special day with their families.” The well-being day saw the family-owned business close every venue in its 13-strong portfolio to offer them a day focused on well-being and boosting mental health. More than 500 team members had the opportunity to meet up and get to know each other in the great outdoors. They also had the chance to take part in activities including horse riding, a spa day, mud run, tree top adventure and paint balling. Blair said: “This is just one part of an ongoing programme of initiatives that support our people in work and at home. We can’t wait to plan our next well-being day and continue to give our staff the rewards and support they deserve.”
London-based club owner Luca Maggiora opens new luxury Italian restaurant:Luca Maggiora, who was behind clubs such as Project and Toy Room and who also owns B-Soho pizzeria, has launched luxury Italian restaurant, Bardo St James’s, in London’s Pall Mall. The 150-cover, 11,000 square foot, space features an open kitchen, walk-in wine cellar, whisky room, private dining room and private lounge alongside the restaurant itself. Former Sette head chef Graziano Bonacina is in charge of a seasonally-rotating menu featuring classic Italian flavours and contemporary vegetable-led dishes. Having worked for ten years in London’s late-night industry, including the recent acquisition of the Cuckoo Club in Swallow Street, former banker Maggiora is aiming to “channel his expertise and knowledge into opening a restaurant that bridges the gap between an after dark venue and fine dining”. Bardo is not Maggiora’s first venture into the world of restaurants, however. In 2018, he co-founded Italian concept La Mia Mamma – which featured a new chef each season specialising in produce from their region – in Chelsea with Peppe Corsaro and Corrado Mozzillo.
Colette confirms Battersea opening for third site: Restaurant and deli concept Colette has confirmed it will open its third London site, in Battersea. As revealed by Propel last month, Colette will open in the former Shooting Star charity shop in Northcote Road, near Wandsworth Common, and it will be its biggest site yet. The restaurant – which launches on Thursday, 4 November – will have 14 covers inside and further outside seating for 18. The kitchen, led by Chris Hill, will offer a seasonal menu, hand-selected fine wine and artisanal sweet treats. There will also be a deli and butchers counter. This follows the opening of Colette’s second venue, at the site of former Iris fashion store in Wimbledon High Street, in April. Colette was founded by Dimitri and Mira Plaquet in 2019 and opened its debut site in Fulham Road, Chelsea, in January last year. Propel understands the company is seeking further sites to expand its London portfolio, including in South Kensington, Victoria and Mayfair. Oliver Serrant, of Stance, acted for Colette and Matthew Whitworth, of Randalls Commercial, acted for the landlord on the Northcote Road deal.
German Doner Kebab makes festival move with Wireless partnership: German Doner Kebab (GDK), the Hero Brands-backed business, has signed a three-year brands partnership deal to be official kebab supplier at the Wireless Festival until 2023. The Glasgow-based company, which is looking to continue its UK expansion, kicked off the partnership at last month’s Wireless, which attracted more than 40,000 music fans to London’s Crystal Palace Park. The deal is the first of its kind for GDK, which has spread rapidly across the UK, Europe and the Middle East and is now expanding into the United States, Canada and Ireland. Daniel Bunce, GDK managing director for UK and Europe, said: “Wireless is an iconic festival, and as one of the country’s fastest-growing food brands we see a great synergies with it. This has been a major strategic collaboration for us, and the festival at Crystal Palace gave us a stand-out platform to engage with festival-goers. We are now very much looking forward to building on the partnership with Wireless in the coming years as we forge ahead with creating the fast-casual brand of the future.” For the festival, GDK created a 40-foot container restaurant complete with a VIP rooftop terrace and six self-service order kiosks. GDK, which opened its first restaurant in Berlin in 1989, announced in April it would be opening 47 UK sites in 2021, and now has more than 90 restaurants worldwide.
London’s The Strand to get new restaurant, bar and bakery: A new Mediterranean restaurant and bar will open in The Strand in London on Tuesday (19 October), followed by a bakery next month. Toklas is a first venture into the world of hospitality for Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, who are known in the art world for co-founding the Frieze Art Fair. It will share a premises at 180 The Strand with the Frieze offices, as well as several other creative organisations. Chef Martyn Lyons has worked alongside Ollie Dabbous and in the kitchens at Spring and Moro, and his dishes will have a Spanish and Italian twist. Launching after the restaurant will be a bakery from Adam Sellar, the man behind Angel Bakery in Abergavenny and the Little Bread Pedlar. Opening in November, the bakery will be run by Janine Edwards, former head pastry chef at Little Bread Pedlar, who was also head baker at Brentford bakery-restaurant Rye by the Water. It is expected to be modelled on “European-style bakeries and Pasticceria”, offering bread, patisserie, sandwiches and coffee.