Fuller’s to open pub restaurant at Wembley Park: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s is to open a pub restaurant at Wembley Park. The two-storey, 8,200 square foot venue is due to open in Wembley Park Boulevard in the spring as part of Quintain’s £3bn development of the area surrounding Wembley Stadium. The pub will offer premium beer, wine and spirits alongside seasonal dishes served throughout the day. It will also offer a garden and terrace with views across Wembley Park, while the upper floor will be flexible to provide a large open space on event days or smaller areas that can host work spaces and private dining to appeal to residents and office workers. Fuller’s property director Peter Turner said: “We are under-represented in this part of London and the location will give us a presence in the heart of this great new development.” Quintain retail director Matt Slade added: “Fuller’s pub will be a great addition to our food and beverage mix that already features London’s largest Boxpark, a new food hub at Wembley Park Market and 30 restaurants and bars at London Designer Outlet.” Nash Bond and Cushman & Wakefield are agents for Wembley Park.
Live music venue operator Electric Group looks to expand across UK through ‘immersive opportunities’: Electric Group, which operates live music venues Electric Brixton in London and SWX in Bristol, with another due to open in Newcastle in 2021, is looking to expand across the UK through “immersive and one-of-a-kind opportunities”. The company, a joint venture between founder Dominic Madden and River Island owner the Lewis Family, has hired agent Christie & Co to find sites in its target cities – Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton as well as further venues in London. Suitable sites could include nightclubs, theatres, performance venues, bingo halls, cinemas, churches and existing live music venues. A minimum floor area of 18,000 to 20,000 square feet is being sought that could host 1,200 people for live performances. Madden said: “Little can compare to the thrill of a live gig and, with our extensive experience in the music and entertainment business and sound financial backing from the Lewis family, we’re committed to growing our business in key city centres around the UK. We want to be in locations that have a thriving music scene as well as a ‘going out’ culture.” Jon Patrick, head of leisure and development at Christie & Co, added: “Electric Group is looking for immersive and ‘one of a kind’ opportunities where people can hear their favourite and up-and-coming artists in more accessible venues before they hit the arena tour schedules.”
YO! hits halfway mark in 50-kiosk Tesco partnership: YO!, the Richard Hodgson-led global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, has opened its 25th To Go kiosk in a Tesco store. The YO! To Go kiosk has opened at the Durham Extra store as part of the company’s partnership with Tesco to open 50 kiosks in its stores across the UK. The roll-out, which will be complete by the end of the year, is part of a strategy to leverage YO! group’s combined knowledge and create new formats and products to “broaden the brand’s appeal”. The manned kiosks offer made-to-order sushi as well as sharing platters and ready-meal versions of YO! dishes. Chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “Developing our YO! To Go proposition is an integral part of our multi-channel strategy to drive availability and engagement with more consumers. Tesco, as the largest retailer in the UK, is the perfect partner.” YO!, which was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015, launched a standalone YO! To Go in Manchester last month as part of its return to the grab-and-go market. The kiosk uses interactive technology to allow customers to build their own meals by choosing from different-sized dishes and bases. The company said the Manchester Piccadilly launch would pave the way for “further openings in other key cities across the UK from early 2020”. The group previously trialled a standalone YO! To Go unit at London’s Charing Cross station but closed it a few years ago.
SSP Group acquires 14 units at Perth and Melbourne airports: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has entered into an agreement to acquire 14 food and beverage units from Australian hospitality company Red Rock. SSP will take over full operation of Red Rock’s F&B business at Perth airport and the majority of its sites at Melbourne airport. The seven Perth airport units include two Long Neck pubs and one housing Loco Poco, which offers Mediterranean cuisine. SSP will also acquire two outlets for Italian-inspired brand Macchinetta and two for Haymarket, a market concept featuring bars, cafes, bakeries, delis, juice bars and pizzerias. The acquisition is completed by units for Common Bar + Kitchen, Pronto by Macchinetta, and a new grab-and-go offer. SSP will acquire four units at Melbourne – two pubs under the Two Johns Taphouse brand and one each for Vietnamese concept BÀ XÃ Noodle Bar and Italian bakery, pizzeria and bar Able Baker Charlie. SSP Group chief executive Simon Smith said: “The acquisitions are in line with our strategy to grow our geographic footprint and expand our operations in the Asia-Pacific region. We’re excited to add Australian brands to our portfolio and look forward to growing our business further in Australia.” The acquisition came as SSP revealed its full-year results, where revenue was up 9% to £2,795m. Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy said: “The group issued guidance on a number of the key drivers for FY20. Like-for-likes are expected to be at a similar level to 2019 (almost 2%), contract gains 4% to 5%, and operating margin to be flat year-on-year owing to higher pre-opening costs, higher depreciation and the acquisition of Red Rock. We currently forecast 1.6% like-for-like growth, a 5.7% benefit from group contract gains, and a seven basis points increase in Ebit margins leading to 10% year-on-year earnings per share growth. SSP currently trades on circa ten times EV/Ebitda and 21 times price-to-earnings ratio, having de-rated year to date due to concerns about general macro weakness affecting air passenger numbers. Guidance from the company should encourage another year of good earnings per share growth.”
Rival criticises Takeaway.com bid for Just Eat as formal offer launches:Technology company Prosus has claimed the bid for British food delivery service Just Eat by rival suitor Takeaway.com presents “significant risks” for shareholders. Prosus’ attack follows a two-week period in which Takeaway’s share price has rallied to a point where its all-share offer for Just Eat is almost equal to Prosus’ £4.9bn cash bid. Prosus said Takeaway’s offer took a “narrow view of the food delivery sector” and was principally based on its experience in the Netherlands and Germany – markets, it said, that had been “relatively insulated” from competition. Takeaway argued its bid, which has the backing of Just Eat’s board, would create a global powerhouse in food ordering and save the combined group €20m in costs if accepted. Takeaway.com has now launched its formal offer for Just Eat, asking shareholders to tender their shares by Wednesday, 11 December – the date on which both offers for Just Eat are currently scheduled to end. Takeaway’s offer, which would see founder Jitse Groen become chief executive of the combined group, valued Just Eat at 698p per share, or £4.76bn. Just Eat shares traded at 752.4p on Wednesday morning (20 November), signalling shareholders believe a higher bid is likely. Prosus said in a statement: “Takeaway.com’s claim it can achieve a meaningful own-delivery roll-out with no impact on the bottom line and through only tens of millions of investment is, in Prosus’ view, unrealistic and demonstrates its lack of experience with the own-delivery business model.” Takeaway.com shares have rallied 17% since 5 November – the day after the company announced it would change the format of its original offer, paving the way for an acceptance threshold of 75% or possibly lower.
Wahaca to launch luxury experiential dining pods on London’s Southbank: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca is to launch two luxury experiential dining pods on London’s Southbank. The “Mexican Eye pods”, which will offer a “taste of the best Mexican street food” on the banks of the Thames, will be available to book from Wednesday, 27 November. Wahaca co-founder and chef Thomasina Miers has created a feasting menu exclusive to the pods showcasing Wahaca dishes. The experience will begin with a range of sharing snacks followed by sharing boards and dessert. A tequila flight will be available alongside cocktails. All food and drink will be served by a Mexican Eye dedicated waiter, while the pods will be available to book daily for two-hour slots and seat six people each.
Nick Willoughby launches Borough Market venture: Nick Willoughby, who founded Creme de la Crepe and is the man behind New Orleans-inspired concept Bayou Bar, has launched a new venture. Willoughby has joined forces with Borough Market trader Philip Crouch, who runs company Italianate, to launch The Black Pig. The venue has opened as part of the new Borough Market Kitchen development – a communal dining space featuring 20 traders. The Black Pig offers Italian cured meat and cheese alongside options such as the Black Pig Crudo Cone and The Muffuletta Sandwich. Willoughby said: “Philip has been selling his products on the market for years but until now people have had to buy and enjoy at home. We hope having The Black Pig will not only allow people to try the best of Italian artisan products when they visit the market but might also encourage them to visit Italianate to buy the products we use to recreate dishes at home.”
Darwin & Wallace makes east London debut for eighth site: Darwin & Wallace, the “collection of independent sustainable bars in quintessential London villages”, has opened its first site in the east of the capital and eighth venue in total. No 35 Mackenzie Walk has opened on Canary Wharf’s waterfront featuring a hand-crafted bar and stools made from reclaimed fir trees alongside sofas and lounge chairs. The venue features a 30-cover, glass-encased private dining space and a south-facing terrace with its own cocktail bar. The venue is open from 7.30am to 12.30am on weekdays and from 9am at weekends. Darwin & Wallace managing director and founder Mel Marriott said: “Our eighth site is at a tremendous waterside location in the heart of Canary Wharf and marks another exciting chapter as we move east, continuing our aspiration to create uniquely designed bars with a home from home aesthetic that forms the perfect backdrop for socialising, from morning coffee to nightcap and everything in between.”
Birmingham-based operator to open fifth site, this week: Birmingham-based operator Wayne Tracey will open his fifth site in the city, this week. Tracey will launch Henman & Cooper on Friday (22 November) in a grade II-listed building in Colmore Row formerly occupied by The Bureau Bar. The venue, which is named after the architects who designed the building in 1902, will eventually house four bars. Henman & Cooper will offer cocktails, wine and spirits alongside an all-day menu of small plates, sandwiches and sides. Tracey also operates the Snobs, Theatrix and Etiquette nightclubs as well as cocktail bar Sobar in the city. He told Birmingham Live: “Henman & Cooper will be very different to my other venues. Eventually it will be a four-bar venue, including basement and rooftop. For now I’m focusing on the ground-floor bar. In December we’ll open another bar – on the first floor – called the Garden Room. We’ll also open up the basement, which hasn’t previously been in use, with screens for live sports. I hope to open it in December, with our rooftop ready for the spring.” The Bureau Bar opened five years ago but announced its closure in January.
Team behind Burger & Lobster to launch Mediterranean concept in Sloane Square next month: The team behind Burger & Lobster and Goodmans is to launch a Mediterranean concept, in London’s Sloane Square next month. As revealed by Propel in the summer, Wild Tavern will be an “informal neighbourhood restaurant serving premium Mediterranean food”. It will open at the site in Elystan Street formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant Kiru. The focus will be on fish, sharing plates, small dishes and homemade bread. Burger & Lobster currently operates nine sites in London and seven overseas. The company also operates three Goodman restaurants, two Zelman Meats and Beast restaurant in the capital. The team has closed its Smack Lobster Roll site in Soho’s Dean Street, turning the concept into a delivery-only brand.
Nando’s to open restaurant at Greater Manchester retail park: Nando’s has agreed a deal to open a site at the Walkden Retail Park in Worsley, Greater Manchester. The company has signed a 20-year lease to occupy a 4,100 square foot unit between Aldi and Tesco that is expected to open in the spring. James Maule-Finch, senior asset manager for The Derwent Group, which owns the site, told Insider Media: “Nando’s will be the third food and beverage operator at Walkden Retail Park, joining Papa John’s and Purple Lounge Indian, and is a hugely popular brand to bring to the area. We’re also delighted to strengthen our relationship with Nando’s in the UK as this is the third site in our portfolio to welcome the brand.” CSP and Petch & Co acted for The Derwent Group.
Ossett Brewing Company launches taproom and visitors’ centre: Yorkshire-based Ossett Brewing Company has launched a taproom and visitors’ centre. The move is part of a rebrand by the company and builds on its investment of more than £3m in brewing capacity, warehouse facilities and equipment in the past two years. The taproom and visitors’ centre has capacity for 100 people and serves as a venue for live bands and social events. Brewery tours are also on offer. The rebrand “brings a more contemporary, bold and inclusive look that pays homage to the rolling countryside of Ossett’s Yorkshire heartland”. Ossett’s beers are sold in its own estate of 27 pubs alongside free trade accounts and through selected wholesalers. Co-owner Jamie Lawson said: “Our new taproom is the cherry on the cake of a journey to invest in our future in recent years.”
Peel Hunt – Premier Inn’s Germany potential will be ‘icing on the cake’ for Whitbread investors: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Ivor Jones has said the potential of Premier Inn in Germany will be the “icing on the cake within the next year” for Whitbread investors. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 5,200p, Jones said: “Whitbread’s German Premier Inn business is in the early stages of development. It has the potential to replicate the remarkable success of Premier Inn in the UK but clearly has a lot to prove before that potential begins to be reflected in the share price. We believe material progress will be made in the next year and investors should be paying attention now. The German business is a work in progress and we’re not changing forecasts. The operating losses and capital investments drag on the earnings per share and return on capital invested performance respectively. However, if we were to add the profit we expect from the German business when it has only 8,000 rooms (at maturity), we estimate our FY21E earnings per share forecast would be 13% higher. At the moment we believe the German business drags on forecasts and is largely ignored in the valuation. However, when it shows it can really get to 8,000 rooms (43 hotels) the roadmap to, perhaps, 60,000 or more rooms will seem much more credible. We believe there will be 20 Premier Inns (circa 4,000 rooms) in 13 cities in Germany before the end of calendar 2020. Germany is a bigger, more fragmented, more domestic hotel market than the UK. Branded hotel penetration is much lower than in the UK (26% compared with 49%) and, while German markets don’t always mimic other countries, we believe there’s scope for a major national chain with the right brand, product and price proposition, balance sheet and know-how. In the short term the main driver of the Whitbread share price will be its trading performance in the UK. We believe the general election will deliver greater political certainty and the weakness in business bookings that has depressed forecasts will reverse. We believe the potential from Germany will be the icing on the cake within the next year.”
Bermondsey Pubs launches Christmas community campaign: Bermondsey Pubs, part of Ei Group’s managed operations, has launched a Christmas campaign to reward local heroes. The division’s 40 participating sites will offer each winner and three of their friends a free festive meal. Bermondsey Pubs operations director Henry Fairbanks said: “The Bermondsey offering is centred around communities so this Christmas we want to reward individuals who have made a difference to lives or local projects.”
Gloucestershire arena owners plan entertainment complex conversion: The owners of Brabazon Hangars at Filton, near Bristol, have submitted plans to repurpose the venue as an entertainment complex. YTL Developments said the move would create more than 500 jobs and add £1.5bn to the local economy over 25 years. The project would see three former aircraft hangars converted into an arena, and exhibition and leisure space under one roof. West Hangar would be turned into The Hub, featuring food and drink brands and leisure facilities, while Central Hangar would house a 17,000-capacity arena. East Hangar would become Festival Hall hosting conventions and exhibitions. YTL Developments is already transforming Filton Airfield into a new neighbourhood, Brabazon. Managing director Andrew Billingham told Insider Media: “The YTL Arena Complex would connect to and complement the new community, creating a place where every generation could live, work and play.” A train station due to open in 2021 and a new Metrobus service will create transport links between Brabazon and Bristol city centre.
Yorkshire-based distillery to open new home after original destroyed by fire:Northallerton-based Masons Yorkshire Gin will open a distillery in early 2020 nine months after its original home was destroyed in a blaze. The new premises will be based at a purpose-built unit on Leeming Bar industrial estate close to the distiller’s original Bedale site. The 12,368 square foot site will be open plan and house Masons’ production, bottling plant and offices. Following the blaze in April the company’s founders, Karl and Cathy Mason, continued production with the support of other distilleries. Masons Yorkshire Gin produces more than 400,000 bottles of gin a year and works with on and off-trade customers around the globe. Karl Mason told The Business Desk: “Without the incredible response from the fire department and support we received from our staff, community and industry colleagues, we wouldn’t be in the fortunate position we’re in today. The most important things for us immediately after the fire were safety of staff and continuation of our business. We built this business on love and care and that was incredibly important to us when sourcing our contingency plans.”
Hollywood Bowl completes £350,000 revamp of Watford site: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, has completed a £350,000 refurbishment of its venue in Watford. The 27-lane venue at Watford Woodside Leisure Centre has been redesigned to feature new furnishings, contemporary American decor and exclusive VIP lanes. The Hollywood Diner serves gourmet burgers, hotdogs, thick shakes served in retro milk bottles and desserts as well as speciality cocktails. In addition, the centre’s amusement area has been revamped. Chief executive Steve Burns said: “Our refurbished Watford Woodside centre is a great example of a latest-generation Hollywood Bowl.” Last month the company added immersive video game-style format HyperBowl as part of a £200,000 revamp of its Norwich site.
Swindon-based brewer to open debut bar: Swindon-based brewer Hop Kettle is to open its first bar. Owner Tom Gee runs the brewery from the Hawksworth Industrial Estate in Rodbourne. Now he plans to sell some of its experimental brews by opening Tap and Brew in Devizes Road. As well as selling experimental creations to see if they merit major production, Tap and Brew will teach people how to make their own beer as part of a brew school, reports the Swindon Advertiser.
HGEM wins technology product of the year award: Guest experience management expert HGEM has won the technology product of the year category at Restaurant & Bar Tech Live for The Hub, a cross-functional platform that blends guest experience results from multiple sources. HGEM managing director Steven Pike said: “We are delighted with our win, particularly with the judges’ recognition of the impact The Hub will have in terms of empowering operators to improve the experience for consumers. We are very proud of The Hub but also of our clients, whose ideas and feedback have shaped the product. Their inspiration lies behind further developments planned for 2020.”