Costa to have more than 1,100 stores open by end of June, introduces contactless hatch at drive-thru sites: Costa Coffee, owned by Coca-Cola, has said it will have more than 1,100 of its stores across the UK reopen by the end of June. The company, which has so far reopened almost 650 sites, has introduced bespoke serving hatches at its drive-thru outlets designed so customers can collect their order with no contact. The hatches, which lower items from the service hatch down to customer’s vehicles, have a built-in acrylic hygiene screen to provide maximum protection for both customers and Costa team members. Staff are equipped with personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser stations have been introduced and each store will continue to operate with contactless payment. Perspex screens have been installed at all counters across takeaway sites, with designated pick-up points for delivery and mobile order collections. Both inside and outside stores, two-metre floor signs have been carefully placed to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Costa is also offering coffee on the go via its 8,400-plus Express machines and its ready-to-drink and at-home ranges. The company has delivered more than 861,000 ready-to-drink Costa cans and 1,200 coffee packs to key workers.
Pizza Pilgrims promotes Gavin Smith to managing director: Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria concept founded by brothers Thom and James Elliot, has promoted Gavin Smith from operations director to managing director, Propel has learned. Smith joined the 13-strong company as operations director from Wahaca at the start of 2018. He spent four years at Wahaca, including the past two and a half as its operations director. Smith joined Wahaca in 2014 as its first regional operations director. He was formerly operations manager of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) brand Browns. Thom Elliot said: “We are delighted to be promoting Gavin to managing director of Pizza Pilgrims. He has been a tremendous force for good during his two years as operations director – driving the business forward in all areas, developing and nurturing our teams (and us!) while also doubling company Ebitda and increasing sales and profitability in every single pizzeria. He keeps us all on our toes to how we can be better as a company – and most importantly he is always hugely respectful of the core values of the brand. He is an inspiration to all around him and we are looking forward to him leading the charge back towards the ‘old normal’ over the coming months.” Smith said: “This is an incredibly exciting and rewarding day for me, both on a personal and a professional level. I am delighted to take on the role as managing director, with the phenomenal support of the founders, our team and board. I believe Pizza Pilgrims not only has the most exceptional pizza but fundamentally the happiest, most energised and dynamic team in hospitality. My purpose moving forward is to protect and enhance both. I am confident our team and business will continue to innovate and excite both our customers and team as we grow with soul and passion to share our pizza with yet more people. We are, as always, focused on developing a brand that is not only fun, but one which our team love as much as our customers. Ultimately, I am driven to ensure we continue to make hospitality an even more attractive industry to work in for all people from all walks of life.”
Former Revolution CEO McQuater takes chair role at Roxy Leisure: Mark McQuater, the former chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, has become chairman of Roxy Leisure, the Roxy Ball Room operator, Propel has learned. McQuater stepped down from Revolution in October 2017 after more than four years as chief executive of the company. Prior to that he spent 12 years leading Barracuda Group. He is also currently chairman at Barworks, the London-based pub and bar group led by Marc Francis-Baum. Earlier this year Propel revealed Roxy Leisure had secured a £7.5m investment from private equity firm Foresight Group. The company currently operates nine sites across Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham under the Roxy Ball Room, Roxy Lanes and Roxy Arcade banners. Earlier this spring it made its debut in Birmingham. Foresight backs other sector companies including the Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees, and Indian street food concept Mowgli.
McDonald’s begins reopening sites for takeaway: McDonald’s began reopening its sites for takeaway on Wednesday (17 June), starting with 11 of its 29 Roadchef locations. Among the outlets that have reopened are the Clacket Lane eastbound services on the M25 in Kent and Taunton Dean southbound services on the M5 in Somerset. McDonald’s said following the pilot it hopes to roll takeaway out gradually to high streets across the UK and Ireland. Social distancing measures for sites offering takeaway include the use of a one-way system, a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at one time and the closure of all dining spaces and toilets. McDonald’s has so far reopened more than 1,000 sites for drive-thru and delivery. It is also planning the return of the McDonald’s breakfast. A small group of yet to be confirmed restaurants will offer a breakfast service from 24 June, with proposals to roll out the menu for delivery, drive-thru and takeaway in July.
Like-for-like sales continuing to improve at Denny’s, agrees to one-time $3m royalty abatement: Like-for-like sales are improving each week at US restaurant company Denny’s, but are still down 40% compared with last year, the group has said. The figure, for the week ended 10 June, is an improvement on the minus 47% the week before and minus 79% for the week ended 1 April – two weeks after dining rooms of most restaurants across the country were ordered to close to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. To help franchisees, who operate more than 95% of its estate, Denny’s has agreed to a one-time $3m royalty abatement systemwide for the second quarter of 2020. It also has deferred or abated rent at more than 77% of restaurants that Denny’s leases to franchisees. Denny’s said most restaurants were still operating with streamlined menus and reduced operating hours, but 1,234 of its circa 1,550 US restaurants now had opened for dine-in – many with limited capacity of between 25% and 60% because of social distancing requirements. As of 10 June, 93 US restaurants and 14 international sites remained temporarily closed. Off-premise sales, which more than doubled between February and April as delivery fees were waived and kerbside pick-up and family meal bundles were introduced, “remained high”, the company said, but not as high as they were at the end of April.
OHH Pub Company launches ‘Farmshop Menu’ concept: West Country-based The OHH Pub Company, led by Mark Warburton, has launched a “Farmshop Menu” concept. It sees fresh local produce delivered to doorsteps across Bristol and Bath. To date the concept has generated revenues in excess of £100,000 and Warburton told Propel it has “provided a lifeline to secure a strong return to the new normal following lock-down”. He said the move has paved the way for a new arm to the business and offered a rare opportunity to invest in its properties while they are shuttered. Warburton added: “Monetary income aside, the concept has put the OHH Pub Company at the forefront of our local communities. It has resulted in increased exposure to new customers and set up a foundation for an additional revenue stream post-lock-down. The journey has been a fantastic chance for myself to re-evaluate my business while personally delivering to a majority of our supporters throughout the pandemic.” Warburton said while awaiting official guidance from government, the company has started developing plans to ensure its pubs “are as safe as can be upon reopening”. This includes order and pay through its app, contactless check-in for rooms, hand sanitising stations throughout venues, single occupancy communal toilets and daily staff health checks including temperature checks.
Five Guys opens new site in More London: Five Guys, the US better burger brand, has opened its first new restaurant during lock-down, at More London. The company secured the dim t More London site at the turn of the year for circa £2m. The business has almost opened its entire circa 100-strong UK estate for delivery and takeaway. The company has reopened more than 90 sites, with only a handful in shopping centres and in central London still shuttered. It also has new openings lined up for this summer in Jubilee Street, Brighton; and Chiswick High Road.
Venezuelan concept Arepa & Co to reopen for takeaway, click-and-collect and delivery: London-based Venezuelan restaurant concept Arepa & Co is reopening its Haggerston site for takeaway, click-and-collect, and delivery on Thursday (18 June). Customers will be able to order from a wider delivery area thanks to the reach of its new partner Vita Mojo. Located alongside the Regent’s canal, the site will have a new breakfast menu and selection of cocktails alongside ice tea and juice. Its Bethnal Green branch is expected to reopen on Thursday, 9 July, along with the launch of its “Arepa at Home” boxes. To start with the sites will be open between Thursday and Sunday, with plans to progressively move to all-week opening. To ensure the safety of customers and staff, additional measures are being put in place including social distancing guidelines, hand sanitiser for customers and protective screens.
RA Group appoints new operations director: RA Group, which is part of Compass Group, has announced the appointment of Jean-Christophe Roumignac to the role to operations director, RA Venues. Roumignac will join RA Venues at the end of June and brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked previously for Ampersand, Genuine Dining Group, and more recently within the education sector. He succeeds Jonathan Davidson, current business director at RA Venues, who is retiring from a career with Compass Group that has spanned 20 years.
Passo extends DIY pasta and pizza delivery nationwide: East London-based Italian-inspired restaurant Passo has extended delivery of its newly launched DIY pizza kits and selection of pasta dishes through its Passo To Go service nationwide. The company, which recently opened the site in Shoreditch for takeaway and Deliveroo, has also brought Turkish-Cypriot chef and Fifteen graduate Hasan Semay on board to create a selection of exclusive dishes, including Spaghetti Ammatriciana – cured pig cheek, chilli flakes, garlic, fresh tomato and basil. The DIY pizza kits contain all the ingredients necessary to create two or four of Passo’s signature pizzas. The recipe kit contains how-to instructions, and there are also tutorials on the Passo website and its Instagram page. There is also a selection of lager and homemade cocktails. Passo founder Jonny Boud said: “Dishes we’ve spent time developing in our Shoreditch restaurant will now be available via our make-your-own fresh pizza and pasta kits to a bigger audience than we could have imagined. The future of restaurants is still unknown, so for now we’re concentrating on bringing Passo safely to homes. Importantly, we’ve been able to bring members of the team back into the kitchen and also sought new talent to help where possible. We plan to grow Passo To Go for the long-term!” Passo To Go is available for delivery daily between 9am and 6pm.
Historic New Forest country inn and golf course goes on market for £4m: The Bell Inn and Bramshaw Golf Club in the New Forest, Hampshire, which has been family owned for more than 250 years, has been put up for sale with a guide price of £4m. The site, being marketed by Savills, comprises two 18 hole golf courses, clubhouse and pro-shop with an adjacent 28-bedroom country inn with 100 seated covers. The Bell Inn, The Manor Course and the practice ground are all held freehold, and the Forest Course leasehold. Kevin Marsh, head of the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “The Bell Inn and Bramshaw Golf Club has proven to be a highly successful business that benefits from mixed revenue streams including annual golf subscription income, daily green fee income, hotel room revenue, food and beverage and functions/event revenue. The various elements to the business present genuine opportunity for growth.”
Drink specialist lodges plan for Brighton whisky venue: Drink specialist Woolf Sung has lodged plans to convert premises in Brighton into a venue for the sale and tasting of whisky. The company has earmarked 23 Trafalgar Street for the development. Under the plans, a new shopfront would be installed while permission is also sought for the change of use of the basement and ground floor from retail to a mix of retail and drinking establishment. The opening hours would be 11am to 10pm daily and up to eight whiskey tasting events could take place at the property each month, reports Insider Media.