Prezzo restaurants in Mayfair, Wembley and Edinburgh among 22 to shut after pre-pack administration: Prezzo restaurants in London’s Mayfair, Wembley and Marble Arch will be among those to close after the business was acquired through a pre-pack administration last week, Propel has learned. The Karen Jones-chaired group, which is backed by Cain International, announced last week 22 of its 178 restaurants would not reopen, resulting in 216 people leaving the business as part of the process. The sites that will close are in Aberdeen (Marischal Square), Aylesbury, Bridgnorth, Chislehurst, East Dareham, Edinburgh, Harbourne, Hitchin, Isle of Wight, Marble Arch, Marlborough, Mayfair (Hertford Street), Milton Keynes (Kingston Centre), Norwich, Preston, Ruislip, Saffron Waldon, South Woodford, Swindon, Welwyn, Wembley and Weston-super-Mare. Last week, Cain International, the privately held investment firm operating in Europe and the US, acquired Prezzo from its administrators through a pre-pack arrangement. The action protected the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 team members’ jobs. It will continue to be led by its existing management team. Cain International acquired the debt and equity of Prezzo in December last year. As at 10 February 2021, Prezzo’s restaurants had been able to operate for just 25 weeks out of the previous 52 weeks but with fixed costs and rent accumulating, Cain International said.
Pizza Hut Delivery to expand footprint through Starboard Dining franchising partnership: Pizza Hut Delivery has announced a franchising partnership with Starboard Dining, which will take on 27 existing sites in the Midlands, Yorkshire and north west and will open new stores in 2021. The move that was negotiated by property agent Christie & Co will also support 540 jobs at Pizza Hut’s delivery and takeaway sites. The agreement with Starboard, whose parent company owns and operates 21 UK hotels, will provide considerable investment into dozens of communities through renovation of existing stores, as well as planned new openings. Pizza Hut announced in November last year it plans to open 125 new locations over a three-year period – creating about 2,000 additional jobs. Pizza Hut Delivery general manager UK Neil Manhas said: “We’re excited to see what new growth 2021 has in store for us, including increasing our footprint through strategic franchising deals such as this.” Starboard Dining managing director Frazer Callingham added: “This 27-store portfolio offers an amazing opportunity to continue our expansion into the dining and hospitality space, using our extensive experience in both sectors.” Pizza Hut operates more than 700 sites across the UK – including circa 350 Pizza Hut Delivery locations. Starboard Dining, created in 2017, also operates two Wok To Walk restaurants under franchise in Birmingham and Reading.
Camile Thai announces 15 new stores to open in 2021, plans €10m fundraise for tech pivot: Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai has announced it will open 15 new stores in 2021 and begin a €10m fundraise to pivot to a more tech-focused approach using drones and kitchen robotics. This year will also see Camile Thai push forward with its “franchise as a service” venture, which will offer flexible franchise options for business owners with “well-located, but underused commercial kitchens in regional towns”. Of the planned 15 new sites, which will create 300 jobs, seven will be in the UK, in locations such as Streatham, London; Twickenham, Greater London; and Epsom, Surrey – with the remaining eight in Ireland. The €10m will be part of its plans to progress with a technology-centric strategy. The chain claimed to be the first in Europe to deliver its menu by drone and has plans to automate its kitchen operations with robotics in 2021. Camile Thai founder Brody Sweeney said: “Despite an extremely difficult year for the hospitality sector, for Camile, 2020 has seen rapid growth. Our suburban, delivery-focused model has proven to be pandemic proof in the past 11 months, not least in terms of revenue and sales. This has enabled us to not only push forward with our aggressive expansion plans, but also to prematurely move ahead with our main goal – our tech pivot. We see tech playing such an incremental role in terms of food preparation, but also user experience and, of course, delivery.” Its plans for flexible franchises aims to allow operators to easily pivot to offer Camile’s delivery menu even if further lockdown restrictions were to be implemented. Camile operates more than 35 outlets in the UK and Ireland, including six in London and was founded in 2010. Its investors include Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave, Andy McCue and Brian Caulfield.
Inn Collection Group appoints property director: The Inn Collection Group has appointed Louise Stewart to the newly created position of property director. Stewart, who has worked for more than 20 years in the commercial property industry, as well as being a chartered building surveyor with a Masters in construction project management, joins from consultants Silverstone Building Consultancy, where she was a director. Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “As we continue to grow, it is vital we strengthen our team with highly skilled professionals such as Louise, and we are excited for what she will bring to the group.” Stewart joins the group as its growth journey continues, with the current portfolio of pubs standing at 19 and several refurbishments planned for 2021. The Alchemy backed group is aiming for a site total of 22 by the end of March. The group’s portfolio of sites spreads across the north of England in Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire, Cumbria, and Lancashire, as it continues to deliver its strategic “buy and build” growth plans, supported with banking via OakNorth.
Estabulo Rodizio Bar and Grill operator to launch Portuguese concept:Independent restaurant company Churrasco Group, which is behind the eight-strong Estabulo Rodizio Bar and Grill, is to launch a Portuguese-inspired concept. The company is opening Casa Peri Peri at the Trinity Walk shopping centre in Wakefield. The former PizzaExpress unit at the complex is being refurbished ahead of the opening of the new restaurant, which will serve “quality Portuguese-style chicken dishes”. Churrasco Group chief executive Rob Campbell told The Business Desk: “Our family of brands has gone from strength to strength and knowing how successful Estabulo already is in Wakefield means we are confident Casa Peri Peri will follow suit, especially in such a prime location at Trinity Walk. Quality and choice for customers and the creation of new jobs means we have all the right ingredients for something special.” Churrasco Group is also behind Fleur Cafe in Leeds.
Costa Coffee continues growth with 63 openings during 2020: Costa Coffee opened 63 new stores in 2020 despite the pandemic. Of that total, property agent Savills agreed deals for 30 sites, which included 21 new drive-thru sites in locations such as Pontprennau, Wales; East Lothian, Scotland; and Luton. In addition, four stores were acquired in retail parks, including Trostre Retail Park, Llanelli, and Kingstown Retail Park, Carlisle, as well as five stores in high street and travel locations such as Exeter High Street and Winchester and Oxford train stations. Costa UK & Ireland property and store development director James Hamilton said: “We’re delighted to have been able to continue to grow our store portfolio in the UK over the past year, across both equity and drive-thru sites. In 2020, our drive-thru stores played a particularly important role for us in enabling our on-the-go customers to be able to safely and easily purchase their favourite Costa coffee while out on essential journeys.” Savills retail director Matthew Brown added: “2020 was clearly a challenging year for the retail and hospitality sectors, but the continued expansion drive from Costa Coffee shows the strength of the business and its commitment towards building its store portfolio in all locations throughout the UK.”
Applegreen set to go private as shareholders approve €718.1m deal: Shareholders of Applegreen have approved the cash offer of €718.1m for the roadside retailer from a consortium including B&J Holdings and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. Under the terms of the acquisition, Applegreen shareholders will be entitled to receive €5.75 per share – a 48.2% premium to its closing price on Wednesday, 9 December, which was the day before the offer was received. B&J Holdings is a 41.3% shareholder in Applegreen, which owns Welcome Break, and represents the holdings of Applegreen’s founders, Robert Etchingham and Joseph Barrett. B&J Holdings will retain a significant equity stake in the consortium and Etchingham and Barrett will maintain their current management positions as chief executive and chief operating officer respectively within the business.
Tim Hortons lines up two former Pizza Hut sites for openings: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons is lining up two former Pizza Hut sites for openings. The company is aiming to open new sites in Chester and Gloucester. Tim Hortons is looking to open a restaurant and drive-thru at the former Pizza Hut unit in Chester Retail Park. Plans to build a drive-thru facility at the site were given the green light in November last year – just days before Pizza Hut closed the site for good. Now an application for advertisement consent has been lodged with Cheshire West and Chester Council revealing Tim Hortons is to occupy the vacant unit, reports The Chester Standard. Meanwhile, Tim Hortons has applied to Gloucester City Council to open a restaurant in the former Pizza Hut premises in Eastern Avenue retail park, reports Punchline Gloucester. The application stated: “Tim Hortons will operate in much the same way as Pizza Hut has on this site for about 18 years; offering restaurant facilities with a takeaway option.” Tim Hortons operates circa 25 sites in the UK. In October last year the company said it wants to open an outlet in “most major cities and towns” by 2022, with plans to create more than 2,000 jobs.
Civerinos opens fourth Edinburgh site: Edinburgh pizza brand Civerinos has opened its fourth site in the city. The company has launched the Corstorphine branch, known as West Slice, in St John’s Road. The former Pizza Hut premises has been transformed and serves a selection of 20-inch pizzas and slices with a range of sides. Announcing the opening on Instagram, Civerinos said: “Congratulations to the team that beat the odds and put it together safely these past few months.” Civerinos operates outlets in Hunter’s Square and Forrest Road, as well as the High Dive pizza pub and restaurant in St Leonard’s Place.
Signature Living investors sign agreement in bid to bring company out of administration: The majority of Signature Living’s largest group of investors are backing founder Lawrence Kenwright to bring the aparthotel operator and developer out of administration. Kenwright, the co-owner and founder of Signature Living Hotels, through the work of umbrella company UK Accommodation Group (UKAG), has won the support of 95% of unsecured investors in his efforts to save the business that began to suffer financial troubles towards the end of 2019 and subsequently went into administration last year. The investors group is being led by Thomas Scullion, an executive-level chartered accountant from Northern Ireland, who first invested in Signature Living in 2018. He has worked with Kenwright on restructuring Signature Living under UKAG of which Scullion is chairman, leading a board of five with Kenwright as chief executive. UKAG will operate all hotels. Scullion said: “In signing this agreement, we, the investors, have demonstrated we are united and willing to allow the company to continue, in order to be repaid in due course. If we are to continue along the administration route all the unsecured money will be gone and the business will be sold off, broken up and liquidated. Further, by establishing UKAG we have brought stronger governance and control and removed some of the weight from Lawrence’s shoulders to allow him to do what he does best namely, to build his business, create projects and drive value.” Kenwright said: “I am grateful for the support of Thomas Scullion, the UKAG board and all the investors who have signed the agreement to help them realise the return on their investment. I am hopeful further positive steps can now be made to bring the company out of administration.”
Feast It launches gourmet meal kits platform, profits go back to caterers: Feast It, the event booking marketplace, has launched a one-stop shop for gourmet meal kits from a variety of restaurants and caterers. “Feast It Deli” will see operators such as Pizza Pilgrims, Caper & Berry and Lima add their home meal kits to the platform so customers can browse and buy from one place – and all money made, bar a small amount for marketing, goes back to the meal kit makers. Cuisines available include west African, Peruvian and Afghan barbecue, and there are interactive options such as a fondue kit from The Cheese Bar and a DIY Dosa Kit from En Root. There are plans to grow Feast It Deli in the future to encompass craft breweries and for food providers to sell goods such as sauces, general ingredients or merchandise. Feast It co-founder Hugo Campbell said: “We carried out an impact study a few months ago where 61% of our suppliers told us they would go under by March without further government support and because that has not been particularly forthcoming, we have set up Feast It Deli to try to help the hospitality and events industries.” Fellow co-founder Digby Scott added: “It’s so important we keep supporting this incredible industry to make sure it’s there for us on the other side, and purchasing a meal kit from Feast It Deli is a great way to do that.”
Lancashire shopping centre falls into administration eight months after mothballing restaurant quarter plans: A Lancashire shopping centre has fallen into administration – eight months after it mothballed ambitious plans to develop a restaurant quarter. St George’s Shopping Centre in Preston was bought by private equity firm InfraRed Capital Partners in 2015 for a reported £73m. But a letter sent to creditors this week confirmed the company that owned the centre – IRAF UK Dragon Limited Partnership and two subsidiaries – went into administration at the start of the month. Alex Williams and Andrew Dolliver, of EY, have been appointed as joint administrators. Williams told The Business Desk: “The administration of the partnership and the companies will have no operational impact on St George’s Shopping Centre, which continues to trade in compliance with government covid regulations on a business as usual basis.” The 270,000 square foot centre had agreed deals in October 2019 for Indian street food concept Mowgli and New World Trading Company-owned The Botanist to take half of the space in its planned restaurant quarter development. However by June 2020, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona revealed the scheme had “sadly stalled”. Restrictions put in place to respond to the public health emergency, including closing non-essential shops for several periods in the past year, has affected shopping centre values and rent collections.
 
Mapal acquires Swedish software solution to expand Nordics presence: Mapal Group, the European hospitality software developer behind Edinburgh’s Flow Hospitality Training, has acquired GetCompliant, a compliance and operations management solution provider in the Nordics, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is the latest in a series of investments by Mapal Group in complementary hospitality technologies, with a view to combining solutions “to create a powerful, integrated back of house multi-site operating system for the hospitality sector”. Founded in 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden, GetCompliant helps multi-site hospitality and retail businesses “save time and ensure compliance and brand consistency between stores” using a cloud-based solution that includes digital checklists, documentation management and performance tracking for food safety and operations. The solution is used by firms in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and France, including Caffe Nero, UK-based travel hub foodservice company SSP Group, Compass Group, and Espresso House.