BrewDog reports £13.1m pre-tax loss as online sales fail to offset impact of bar closures: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog swung into the red last year as booming sales of its craft beer online during covid-19 pandemic lockdowns failed to offset the impact of bar closures. The company reported a £13.1m pre-tax loss in 2020 despite reporting revenues of £238m for the year, 10% higher than in 2019. Co-founder James Watt called the revenue increase during the year “the most significant achievement in our short history”. After the pandemic closed hospitality venues around much of the globe, BrewDog switched to selling its beer through its online shop. Its e-commerce revenues were up 900% compared with 2019, as it shipped 750,000 orders in 12 months. BrewDog called its online shop one of the most important divisions of our entire global operation” during 2020, and has further rolled out its e-commerce platform to Europe, the US and Australia. Before the pandemic took hold, the brewer had expected to make 40% of its revenue from more than 100 bars, located around the world. BrewDog, which employs 1,600 people globally, reiterated the pandemic had not dented its plans to continue opening more venues. It is working on 30 new locations – including bars and hotels – in cities such as Manchester, Mumbai and Milan. Watt called 2020 “without a doubt the toughest year in our 13-year history”. He said the company’s team “galvanised in the fire and adversity of the past nine months, is also stronger than it has ever been”. That comes only weeks after BrewDog apologised to former employees who accused Watt and the company in an open letter of fostering a “culture of fear”. In the letter, since signed by more than 300 former employees, they alleged the company had created a “toxic” culture that left staff suffering from mental illness. Watt released an update earlier this month on the company’s response to the claims by the group calling themselves Punks with Purpose. He said the firm has launched an independent review of the culture within BrewDog, has sent out an anonymous staff survey and has committed to creating an employee representative group.
Richard Clark promoted to managing director of Caprice Holdings: Caprice Holdings, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant group, has promoted Richard Clark to managing director with immediate effect, Propel has learned. Clark was previously operations director for Caprice Holdings and The Ivy Collection, which he joined in January 2019. Before this, he held senior roles at Harbour Hotels and CAU Restaurants. Baton Berisha, chief executive of Birley Group, Caprice Holdings, The Ivy Collection and Bill’s Restaurant & Bar, told Propel: “I am delighted to announce Richard’s promotion to managing director. Richard has been an integral part of our team as operations director for Caprice Holdings and The Ivy Collection, and has been a driving force behind our continued evolution. Richard is best placed to deliver the unique experiences to our customers across our portfolio of restaurants. I look forward to continuing to work with Richard as we grow the business through 2021 and beyond.” Last week, Propel revealed Jonathan Peters had stepped down as chief financial officer of The Ivy Collection, Caprice Holdings, Birley Clubs and Bill’s Restaurant & Bar. Propel understands he stepped down to pursue another project and that his successor will be announced in due course.
Mowgli lines up Brighton opening: Indian street food concept Mowgli has lined up its first opening in the south east, in Brighton. Propel understands the Nisha Katona-led company has applied to open on the Oasis unit in the city’s Dukes Lane. The 12-strong group recently opened in Cheshire Oaks, and has openings in Bristol and Cheltenham lined up for later this year. It has also secured sites in Edinburgh and Glasgow for 2022, while Katona, the founder of Mowgli, hinted last week an opening in London is a possibility for the Indian street food concept before the end of this year. In an Instagram update, Katona said “the dogs and family have approved a possible site in London for October”. She also said the business was looking at Newcastle and Cambridge for 2023-24 and the brand would “continue to build at the steady rate of four sites a year as long as you want us”.
Honest Burgers to replace YO! at St Paul’s: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, is to further add to its presence in central London, with an opening in St Paul’s, Propel has learned. The circa 45-strong business, which is led by Frank Hayes, has secured the former YO! at 5-14 St Paul’s Churchyard. Pre-pandemic, it had previously been in talks to take the ex-Ernest Jones site in Paternoster Square. Earlier this year, Propel revealed the company had taken the former ASK Italian site in Watford’s Market Street, for an opening nearer the end of the summer. The business also secured a site at the City North development next to Finsbury Park Station. Earlier this month, the business revealed it was launching a concept incubator scheme in The Yard at Backyard Cinema, Wandsworth. The initiative seeks to help the company’s employees with their own food and beverage concept ideas.
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Slim Chickens franchisee JRK lines up second site: JRK Restaurants, which signed a franchise agreement to roll out the Slim Chickens brand across the south coast last July, has lined up an opening in Bournemouth, Propel has learned. It is thought the company is set to open on the former Frankie & Benny’s site at the town’s BH2 complex. Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), which holds the master franchise for the US brand in the UK, entered into a franchise development agreement with JRK under which the new partners would initially open five outlets across the south coast. The first site under the agreement opened in Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre. Propel previously reported BRG is looking to add to its Slim Chickens estate with openings in Gateshead and Nottingham. The 11-strong brand, which will also open a concessions site in the Sainsbury’s in Selly Oak, Birmingham, is understood to have lined up openings on the former MOD Pizza sites in the Metrocentre, Gateshead, and in Long Row, Nottingham. Slim Chickens opened its latest UK site in the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Cannock, West Midlands, in the spring.
Mildreds team to launch new restaurant Mallow in Borough Market: Vegetarian restaurant group Mildreds is to open a new concept called Mallow in London’s Borough Market in autumn 2021, Propel has learned. The new restaurant, which will be in Cathedral Street, will serve “great value, fresh, colourful and internationally inspired plant-based food and drinks”. A one-off concept exclusively for Borough Market, Mallow will be an extension of the market, “bringing to life the history of the market and the produce that it sells”. The company said: “As a 100% plant-based restaurant, mallow brings a truly unique dining and lifestyle experience not found anywhere else within Borough Market and will offer a modern, informal dining style, serving seasonal plant-based dishes where fruit and vegetables will always take centre stage.” Managing director Sam Anstey told Propel: “Borough Market has continued to evolve as the dynamic heart to London’s food scene. We can’t wait to bring Mallow to Borough and join the fantastic community of traders and restaurants who have made the market their home.” Food menus at Mallow will be designed by Sarah Wasserman, head of food development at the four-strong Mildreds, and will have a strong focus on sustainability, seasonality and provenance. The company continued: “The restaurant will be open to guests from early morning with a plant-based breakfast offer, transitioning from day into evening with the addition of a considered bar menu of vegan wines, beers and handcrafted cocktails.”
Chipotle CEO – we are optimistic about what we are going to learn in the UK:Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive of Chipotle, has said he is optimistic about what the brand is going to learn in the UK after its latest two openings in London have got off to “really good starts”. The company recently opened new sites in the UK, in Clapham and Chiswick, while Propel revealed, last month, an opening in Canary Wharf was also in the pipeline. Talking after the company’s second-quarter update, Niccol said: “We just opened two new restaurants outside of central London and both of those are off to really good starts. We’re just a couple of weeks in but we love the diversity of assets we’re opening. We love the fact we have our digital assets all in place and I’m optimistic about what we’re going to learn so that we can really give clarity on the opportunity in Europe down the road. But that’s still in the early stages of our stage-gate process and, I think I mentioned this in the past, probably covid has slowed us down in our learning there more than anywhere else.” Propel revealed last month, Chipotle was understood to have lined up the former Caffe Nero in Jubilee Place for an opening later this year. It will become the brand’s 12th opening in the UK, and fourth in 2021, as the business looks to ramp up its expansion plans here. For its second quarter update, Chipotle, which operates circa 2,500 sites in the US, recorded a 31.2% increase in comparable restaurant sales during the period, with revenue up 38.7% to $1.89bn. Digital sales grew 10.5% and accounted for 48.5% of sales.
Simon Rogan to launch culinary academy: Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan is launching a culinary academy. Rogan, who is behind restaurants including L’Enclume, Rogan & Co, Aulis Cartmel and Henrock at Linthwaite House, as well as outposts of Roganic and Aulis in Hong Kong, is working with Kendal College on the venture. The Simon Rogan Academy will offer students a “cutting-edge learning package, designed to equip participants with skills that will escalate their passion for food and drink, provide them with a strong foothold in the hospitality industry and develop a career within one of the UK’s leading restaurant groups”. Up to 14 student places are available for those aged 16 years and above, and who are resident in the UK. The course runs for 18 months, culminating in a fully expensed week-long placement at Roganic, Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong. He said: “I’ve established the Simon Rogan Academy as a way of doing something positive to help try to fill this skills gap in the hospitality sector. I also want to show people that choosing a career in hospitality is an exciting prospect, one that can literally take them anywhere in the world. It’s an incredibly rewarding industry, day in, day out, you are surrounded by people who are passionate and creative in everything they do. The academy will focus on developing and nurturing aspiring chefs as they progress through the bespoke apprenticeship with a view to becoming fully fledged commis chefs at the end of their training.” During the course, students will work across Rogan’s Lake District restaurant kitchens for four days a week and one day per week will be spent at Kendal College to attain an accredited level 2 City & Guilds qualification.
Swansea-based The Secret Hospitality Group secures third site: Swansea-based The Secret Hospitality Group has secured its third site. The family-owned company is the first food and beverage operator to sign for the Copr Bay project. The leisure-led, £135m “coastal park”, which is being delivered by Swansea Council, is the first stage of the reimagining of the city, centred around a new 3,500-capacity arena that will be operated by Ambassador Theatre Group. The Secret Hospitality Group, which is owned by Ryan and Lucy Hole, will run an all-day service at the 1,400 square foot premises that will operate as a cafe by day and a pizzeria by night. The restaurant and cafe is due to open towards the end of 2021 and will have capacity for some 60 covers plus outside seating. The design champions renewable energy to lower carbon emissions and uses solar panels to contribute to the power requirements. Ryan Hole said: “While it might seem an odd decision to commit to a new restaurant during the pandemic, we did not think twice when this opportunity came knocking. Swansea Council’s £1bn transformation of the city is a vote of confidence in the future of the area and will offer opportunities to people like us and businesses like ours. Our latest restaurant will be a new landmark for Swansea.” Cllr Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, added: “This new restaurant will be a great community asset and landmark in our wonderful new coastal park. I’m sure that, together with the arena and other new developments, it will make Swansea even more of an attraction.” The Secret Hospitality Group also own The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and The Optimist Bar & Kitchen, both in Swansea.
American brasserie to open at grade II-listed building in Mayfair: A 350-cover American brasserie spanning three levels will open at London’s Hanover Square in October. Founded by Joey Ghazal, The Maine Mayfair will take one of the few Georgian, grade II-listed townhouses in Mayfair, which dates to 1720 and is the former home of the Duke of Montrose. Divided across three levels with five distinct spaces, the sections will house a brasserie, tavern and year-round terrace. The Maine Mayfair promises a “blend of old-world British elegance, New England extravagance and subterranean decadence”. The venue will open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, after-work Martinis, oysters and late-night cocktails.
Pan Pacific to open London hotel in September, reveals F&B details: Hotel group Pan Pacific will open its new London hotel – its first in Europe – in September and has revealed details of its food and beverage offering. The 237-bedroom hotel within the mixed-use development opposite Liverpool Street station will feature five restaurants and bars as well as a well-being floor with treatment rooms. Three of the food and beverage offerings – Straits Kitchen, Ginger Lily and The Orchid Lounge – will open on 1 September, with a further two venues to be announced shortly. The menu at Straits Kitchen will reflect the wide range of cooking styles brought into Singapore through the Straits of Malacca. The à la carte menu will include Scottish lobster nonya laksa; and butter-aged Buccleuch beef with roasted black garlic and Himalayan salted chips. All dishes will be paired with a wine list featuring 500 bottles. Ginger Lily will offer a “premium drinks experience”, with an extensive Champagne list from more than 200 houses and “the largest list of by-the-glass bubbles in the City”, as well as a specialist rum menu with more than 150 varieties. The cocktail menu will be inspired by Singaporean flavours. Drinks will be complemented by a small plates menu. The Orchid Lounge will offer a menu that combines Asian flavours with the traditional British tea, including a selection of handmade pastries. Pan Pacific is owned by Singapore’s UOL Group. It manages almost 50 hotels, resorts and serviced suites.
Cloudwater Brewery to reopen Manchester city centre pub after taking sole control: Manchester-based Cloudwater Brewery is to reopen a city centre pub after taking sole control of the premises. Cloudwater Brewery ran The Pilcrow in partnership with Common & Co, but the pub closed last month with Common & Co wanting to concentrate on its existing sites and its forthcoming opening of its new pub, Cornerstone, and a Nell’s Pizza shop, at Kampus, the £250m garden neighbourhood being developed by Capital & Centric and HBD. Now Cloudwater Brewery will reopen The Pilcrow on Friday, 30 July under the new concept Sadler’s Cat. Cloudwater Brewery has invested in the refurbishment of the pub, which will provide capacity for 200 covers inside and out. Rejuvenated in collaboration with Standard Practice – the studio that helped to oversee the original construction of the site that was built by local volunteers – the refurbishment process will be holding public workshops as it develops, linking back to the pub’s community-orientated history. Sadler’s Cat will serve a variety of beer, natural wine and mixed drinks. Meanwhile, John Wallace, of Wallace and Sons, will provide the street food-style menu, with a heavy focus on bao buns and at least half of the dishes being plant-based. Cloudwater Brewery founder and managing director Paul Jones told Secret Manchester: “The Pilcrow has been a much-loved feature of Manchester’s beer scene for a number of years and played a part in our own story too. So it’s exciting things have come full circle.”
Tim Hortons eyes former Frankie & Benny’s site in Aintree for drive-thru:Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons is looking to open a site in Aintree, Merseyside. SK Group, which is leading the rollout of Tim Hortons in the UK, is aiming to open a drive-thru restaurant at Aintree Retail Park. A planning application has been submitted to Sefton Council by Montagu Evans on behalf of The Crown Estate for the premises. The Crown Estate is the owner of the retail park. The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s used to occupy the unit. The Crown Estate has now agreed terms with Frankie & Benny’s for the surrender of its lease, and the re-letting of the unit to Tim Hortons, reports Insider Media. Tim Hortons has 28 sites in the UK. The company will open a drive-thru in Chester at the end of the month while it has tabled plans for drive-thru sites in Oldham and Warrington. They form part of the brand’s plan to create more than 2,000 jobs across the country, bringing Tim Hortons restaurants to every major town and city by 2022. Professional ice hockey player Tim Horton founded the brand in 1964 to create a space where “everyone feels at home”.
Security company fined for supplying unlicensed staff to nightclub: A Brigg-based security company and its manager has admitted to supplying unlicensed security to a Bradford nightclub. Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court fined Liberty Security Solutions £540 plus a victim surcharge of £54 and court costs of £1,050 payable within 28 days. The court also fined the company’s acting manager Basharat Bashir £176. He is additionally required to pay a victim surcharge of £30 plus court costs of £1,050. Earlier this year, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) prosecuted Abbas Ali Shah for working illegally at the nightclub. West Yorkshire Police investigated the venue and discovered signing-in sheets had been completed by an unlicensed security operative. Shah had worked illegally between 11 November 2018 and 17 March 2019. The SIA took over the investigation and during 2019 made repeated attempts to carry out interviews. The SIA was informed an accountancy firm was acting on behalf of the directors. Bashir was a manager within Liberty but told the SIA he had nothing to do with the staffing, contracts or payroll, and no knowledge of Shah. Evidence demonstrated this was untrue. This led to the SIA’s investigation and prosecution, which had been delayed because of the pandemic.
Then Hospitality takes over management of Leamington Spa hotel for fifth site:Hotel operator Then Hospitality has taken over the management of a site in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, for its fifth site. The company is now running The Jephson Hotel in Warwick New Road, with a refurbishment of 43 of its 65 bedrooms having been completed. Work has also been carried out in the bar and communal areas, while the corridors and outside of the hotel also have a new look. It also has a private function room that can cater for up to 60 guests. The hotel, formerly called Falstaff Hotel, is looking to build on its popularity with corporate guests, offering people working in the area short stays. Then Hospitality currently operates four other hotels – the Heywood House Hotel in Liverpool; The Lansdowne Hotel in London; Ghyll Manor Hotel in Rusper, West Sussex; and the Bournemouth West Cliffe Hotel.
Apex Hotels appoints cluster head chef for London properties: Apex Hotels has appointed a new cluster head chef to work between its three London properties. Daniel Ayton joins the food and beverage team of the Scottish-headquartered hotel group, taking the lead in the kitchens within Apex City of London Hotel, Apex Temple Court Hotel and Apex London Wall Hotel. The chef, who grew up in a culinary family that owned restaurants in Devon, boasts more than 35 years’ experience in the industry at various restaurants and hotels across the UK. The new role will see Ayton work between the three city hotels with the key ambition of reintroducing exciting food offerings at each outlet. At Apex’s Temple Court Hotel, he will play a lead role in the three-year plan, which is in place to relaunch Chambers restaurant and its outdoor food offering, The Courtyard. Off the Wall Bar & Grill at Apex’s London Wall Hotel reopened last year following a multimillion-pound investment. The new dining concept takes inspiration from land, sea and field and is one of the portfolio’s first hotels to introduce the new offering. Ayton will also look after The Lampery restaurant, part of Apex City of London Hotel, as well as The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas, a wine bar within the Temple Court property.
Edyn Group opens debut Locke aparthotel in mainland Europe: Aparthotel operator Edyn Group has opened the first site for its Locke brand in mainland Europe. The company has launched Schwan Locke in the German city of Munich. The aparthotel features 151 apartments, as well as a complimentary co-working space, gym, coffee shop, retail space, courtyard and craft cocktail bar. Each room features a fully equipped kitchen, living area and dining space. Eric Jafari, chief development officer and creative director at Locke, said: “Schwan Locke marks the first of two Locke openings in Munich and it is a particularly exciting start for all of us. Like other Locke locations in the UK and Ireland, we have gone to great lengths to create a space that is deeply rooted in the neighbourhood.” Edyn Group is set for further expansion with its second Dublin site – Beckett Locke – due to launch in August. This will be followed by Turing Locke in Cambridge in September and Buckle Street Studios in London’s Aldgate in October.