St Austell Brewery pubs MD leaves business: Steve Worrall has left his position as managing director of pubs, inns and hotels at Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery, Propel has learned. Worrall joined St Austell Brewery as retail director in 2017 and went on to become managing director of pubs, inns and hotels following the introduction of a new leadership structure at the start of last year. The company said chief executive Kevin Georgel would be “taking a more direct role in leading St Austell Brewery’s pubs, inns and hotels business going forward”. Georgel said: “I would like to personally thank Steve for his dedication and significant contribution over the past four years – we wish him and his family the very best for the future. Going forward, I will be taking a more hands-on approach in leading the direction of our pubs, inns and hotels business. We have iconic pubs, in some of the best locations in the south west, and fantastic teams to help steer us forward into our next exciting chapter. I’m looking forward to realising the full potential of our pubs when we’re able to reopen, as we continue on our road to recovery.” St Austell owns more than 180 pubs across the West Country.
US steakhouse chain Wolfgang’s planning UK launch: Wolfgang’s, the US steakhouse chain, is planning to launch in the UK, and is currently seeking a site in central London, Propel has learned. Founded in New York in 2004 by Wolfgang Zwiener, the business currently operates 19 restaurants in the US, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and China. Propel understands Wolfgang’s has retained David Rawlinson at Restaurant Property to seek 5,000 to 9,000 square foot sites in locations including Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Marylebone.
Rudy’s secures flagship central London site: Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza, which is owned by Mission Mars, is to open a flagship restaurant in central London, after securing a site in Soho, Propel has learned. The Roy Ellis-led company is understood to have secured the former Wahaca site in Wardour Street, with an opening planned for the end of lockdown and restrictions on the sector being lifted. In January, the north west-based concept lined up what will be its seventh site, in Stockton Heath, Cheshire. It plans to open in the former Barclays Bank premises in the Church Farm shopping precinct in the town’s Walton Road. Rudy’s makes its dough on-site each day, taking 24 hours to double ferment and 60 seconds to cook. It operates two sites in Manchester as well as one in each of Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Sale. Mission Mars, which is backed by BGF, also operates the Albert’s Schloss concept.
Byron outlines reopening plans with 16 sites in England set to offer outdoor dining from April: Better burger brand Byron has outlined its reopening plans, with 16 sites in England set to offer outdoor dining from 12 April – as long as the government lifts restrictions. The company said it would team up with Brooklyn Brewery to offer outdoor drinking in conjunction with restaurant reopenings. Restaurants will be open until about 10pm and Byron said it had seen a “big pick up in bookings” since making the announcement on social media. The restaurants set to reopen are Bluewater, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, Leeds, Liverpool, London (Old Brompton Road), London (Waterloo), Manchester, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Oxford, Salisbury, Southampton and York. Last year, Byron was sold via pre-pack administration to investment vehicle Calveton UK under newly formed company Famously Proper for £4m.
Mowgli secures Cheltenham site: Indian street food concept Mowgli has lined up an opening in Cheltenham for later this summer. The 11-strong company, which is backed by Foresight and led by Nisha Katona, has secured the ex-Babel site in the town’s Brewery Quarter. Propel understands Mowgli hopes to open the 2,660 square foot site, which will house about 80 covers, by the end of August or start of September. Katona said: “Out of the ashes of a decimated 2020 we hope to raise this sweet fledgling Indian home kitchen in The Brewery Quarter. I have always been a fan of Cheltenham. To be able to take Mowgli there, to create 30 jobs, to find and support a local charity there makes me so proud. We exist to enrich the life in the places we go to – Cheltenham I hope we make you proud.” In December, Propel revealed Mowgli had lined up its second site in Scotland, in Glasgow. The company, which is confirmed to open in Edinburgh’s in Hanover Street, is understood to have secured the ex-Handmade Burger Co site in St Vincent Street in Glasgow. At the start of November, the group, which is chaired by Karen Jones, secured a site in the McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. Victoria Broadhead, of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, acted on the Cheltenham deal on behalf of the landlord.
Plant-based concept co-founded by Tom Kerridge to launch in Camden: Bad Vegan, a new plant-based concept, co-founded by chef Tom Kerridge and experienced brand creator Mark Emms, is to launch its first site, in Camden. The new concept, which focuses on providing a fundamentally vegan menu, will open its debut site at Buck Street Market. It has taken two of Buck Street Market’s shipping containers, covering 415 square foot on the top floor of the eco-conscious food and retail destination, which is owned by LabTech. Set to launch in the summer, the Bad Vegan menu will offer a range of innovative vegan “hero” dishes, alongside vegan shakes and beer partnerships with Camden Town Brewery. Emms said: “Our principles are simple – we want to encourage people to make small changes to their diet, incorporating more plant-based food. We know a growing number of consumers want to commit to this, but a purely vegan diet isn’t for everyone, so by adding a small amount of non-vegan elements our food retains familiarity while being predominantly vegan. Buck Street Market, and Camden generally, embraces sustainability like no other destination, so this is the perfect place to build the Bad Vegan brand.” LabTech acted on behalf of Buck Street Market while Bad Vegan dealt direct.
Greggs launches sustainability plan to ‘contribute to a better world’: Food-to-go operator Greggs has launched a sustainability plan with ten objectives including offering healthier options, ending food waste and going carbon neutral. The Greggs Pledge aims to hit its targets by 2025 and realises stakeholders are increasingly focused on the way companies operate and behave, and want “more transparency and disclosure” on how businesses are “contributing to a better world and future”. Its ten commitments focus on three key areas: stronger, healthier communities – to play its part in improving the nation’s diet by helping to tackle obesity, providing free breakfasts to schoolchildren and giving surplus food to those most in need; a safer planet – to become a carbon neutral, zero-waste business; and creating a better business – to increase the diversity of its workforce, and to use its purchasing power responsibly, with the aim of making things better in its supply chain. Its commitments are aligned with the ambitions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are: growing Greggs breakfast clubs at schools; putting an end to food waste – by 2025, creating 25% less food waste than in 2018 and working towards 100% of surplus food going those in need; supporting communities; helping customers make healthier choices – by 2025, 30% of the items on Greggs’ shelves will be healthier options; going carbon neutral by 2025; building the shops of the future; using less packaging; embracing diversity; implementing sourcing sustainability; and protecting animal welfare. Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “It is our duty to stand for more than just profit, and our history shows we are doing exactly that. We have a proud reputation of giving back to our people, suppliers and communities, and we know more can be done to change the world for the better.”
Whitbread prepares to open five seaside hotels as it readies for expected staycation boom: Whitbread is readying itself for the expected staycation boom with five new seaside Premier Inn hotel locations set to open this spring and summer. The openings, which are a mixture of freehold and leasehold developments, will add 545 bedrooms to Premier Inn’s network. They kick off with a 100-bedroom hotel and Cookhouse & Pub restaurant at Sandown seafront on the Isle of Wight, which opens on Friday (26 February). This will be followed with new hotels in Scarborough’s North Bay (105 bedrooms), Bournemouth’s West Cliff (105 bedrooms), Blackpool’s North Pier (150 bedrooms and Cookhouse & Pub restaurant), and Thurso (85 bedrooms). Since prime minister Boris Johnson’s announced his reopening roadmap on Monday (22 February), Premier Inn said it has seen an increase of almost 400% in searches on its website for coastal location stays in May and a similarly strong increase in searches of more than 330% for July and more than 240% for August. Alex Flach, UK development director at Whitbread, said: “Almost half of all Premier Inn customers stay with us on leisure breaks every year. Our leisure guests are a crucial part of our business and we have been steadily expanding our network in popular leisure and seaside locations to meet existing demand from our guests and caterer for the growing trend for UK breaks and staycations. They mark the start of a busy year for new Premier Inn hotel openings and we are continuing to seek new acquisition opportunities to grow and improve our network in select locations across the UK and Ireland.” Whitbread is continuing to grow its hotel business in the UK, Ireland and Germany where it has a combined network of more than 90,000 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn bedrooms open and in its secured development pipeline.
BrewDog achieves certified B Corp status: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has achieved certified B Corp status – making it the biggest beer business in the world to be awarded the accolade to date. It comes following more than a year of rigorous assessments across its business, and BrewDog said it showed its commitment to building a “new kind of business that balances purpose and profit”. BrewDog has already become the world’s first carbon negative beer business, through its work to double offsetting its emissions. Co-founder James Watt said: “After decades of inaction we have a climate crisis on the horizon, and our certification as a B Corp business is another huge part of BrewDog’s commitment to considering the impact of our business decisions on the global community. The business landscape is changing so much and the impact of covid-19 is only going to accelerate that change. The future of business is B Corp.” Meanwhile, BrewDog has strengthened its eco-friendly credentials by making a £14m investment to install a bioplant at its Ellon headquarters. Watt tweeted: “The facility will convert our organic process waste to site generated biomethane (replacing all of our grid gas) and further reduce our water usage by more than 40%.”
Point A Hotels reports 300% increase in bookings since PM announces reopening roadmap: Point A Hotels, which operates nine sites across the UK, has reported a 300% increase in bookings since prime minister Boris Johnson announced his reopening roadmap on Monday (22 February). The company said there was clear pent-up demand from consumers to travel once restrictions are lifted. Managing director Nic Wenn said: “We are over the moon to see Brits confidently making holiday plans once again. I think this again highlights the importance of the hospitality sector in the recovery of the country as a whole.”
Honest Burgers to launch ‘Support Our Suppliers’ special: Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers is launching a special burger in March – the Support Our Suppliers – paying homage to, and championing three of its longest standing suppliers. In collaboration with La Latteria, Crown & Queue and The Gay Farmer, the burger comprises Honest beef with La Latteria smoked mozzarella, Crown & Queue “Devil’s Mortar” Bermondsey ‘njuja, The Gay Farmer’s basil pesto, rocket and pickles, alongside Honest’s signature rosemary salted chips. Honest said the burger has been made in collaboration with the trio in order to best support them and these bulk orders will help boost these “much-loved artisans”. Honest Burgers head of collaboration Adam Layton said, “We’ve worked with La Latteria, Crown & Queue and The Gay Farmer for years, with their produce often showcased in our monthly specials and local burgers. These three businesses are not just the hidden network that makes our restaurants tick, they’re also the personalities behind the relationships that make hospitality such a wonderful industry to work in.”
Schnitzel Forever goes from delivery-only to permanent site: Sausage specialist Schnitzel Forever is set to move from its delivery-only model to a bricks and mortar site in Stoke Newington. Customers can expect to tuck into its classics, such as veal, chicken, pork loin, seabass, halloumi and mushroom schnitzels. It also serves schnitzels as burgers alongside side dishes, desserts and soft drinks. The business will open in Church Street, when government-imposed restrictions are lifted.