Open House and Brewhouse & Kitchen receive Puma VCT investment: Open House, the London-based restaurant and bar operator, has secured new growth funds from investment house Puma VCT, Propel has learned. Puma has invested £1.8m in the business, which operates The Lighterman and Percy & Founders in the capital, as part of a £5m transaction, investing alongside its Puma Alpha EIS fund. The business was launched by the team behind Cubitt House in 2015 and the new investment will support plans for growth though further flagship units across London. Earlier this year, Puma invested a further £847,000 in Knott End Pub Company, which last year entered into a franchise agreement with Brewhouse & Kitchen to roll out a portfolio of pubs offering “on-site craft micro-brewing activities and good-quality food”. Knott End opened its first two pubs, in Milton Keynes and Horsham, West Sussex, last year. Puma said both were trading well. Puma had previously invested £2.4m in Knott End Pub Company.
Ole & Steen appoints Ward-Nicholson as managing director: Danish baker Ole & Steen has appointed SSP operations director Simon Ward-Nicholson as managing director, Propel has learned. Ward-Nicholson spent the past four years at the travel concessions company, with stints as concept development director and operations director. Before that he was operations director at BaxterStorey and Corney and Barrow Bars. While at SSP, Ward-Nicholson was responsible for creating brands from scratch, forming partnerships with emerging brand owners and driving brand performance of brands within the company’s portfolio. Brands included Knead by Paul Hollywood, Gino D’Acampo’s My Restaurant, Leon, James Martin Kitchen, Cabin, Barzetti and Pita & Brew. Ole & Steen, which made its UK debut in Haymarket in 2016, operates ten sites in London plus a unit in Oxford. Its parent company operates more than 70 sites in Denmark. Alastair Gordon stepped down as operations director of Ole & Steen in October after overseeing its launch and expansion in the UK. Earlier this year the company opened on the ground floor of 31 Eccleston Place. In February, former Tragus chief executive Graham Turner joined the board of the Danish bakery and cafe chain.
Kodagoda leaves Anglian Country Inns to launch pub company: Harry Kodagoda has left his role as food and beverage director at Anglian Country Inns, the operator of gastro-pubs and restaurants led by James Nye, to set up his own pub company, Propel has learned. Kodagoda has launched Horizon Pub Company and acquired a debut site after taking on Punch-owned The Cricketers Arms in the Essex village of Rickling Green on a ten-year lease. The pub, which has ten en-suite bedrooms and a 70-cover restaurant, is set to reopen next weekend offering a “gastro-pub” menu. Kodagoda told Propel: “After 15 years with Anglian Country Inns it’s time for me to go it alone. I’ve learned so much from my time with the Nye family and I’m going to take bits and pieces from my time there and incorporate them into my business. I’m going to be very hands-on in terms of the kitchen side of things and we’re currently assembling the rest of the front-of-house team.” He added: “I saw a great opportunity with this pub – it’s in a great spot overlooking the village green and the cricket field. At the moment it’s a case of making sure we get this one right and then see where we go.”
Coffeesmiths Collective acquires CoffeeWorks Project: Coffeesmiths Collective, the Toby Smith-led business that runs various coffee chains including the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (DoCaSA) and Filmore & Union, has added yet another brand to its portfolio by acquiring The CoffeeWorks Project out of administration, Propel understands. The move adds CoffeeWorks Project stores in Battersea, Great Titchfield Street, Islington and Blackfriars Road to Coffeesmiths Collective’s growing London estate. It’s thought the CoffeeWorks site in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park wasn’t part of the deal. Coffeesmiths Collective rolls out and acquires speciality coffee shops and companies preserving, wherever appropriate, their strong individual identities. Its flagship brand is DoCaSA. It also owns Bea’s of Bloomsbury, Small Batch Coffee, Baker & Spice, Nordic Bakery and Urban Tea Rooms.
Rileys acquires Bierkeller site in Liverpool: Sports bar operator Rileys has acquired the Bierkeller site in Liverpool, Propel has learned. Rileys has agreed a new lease for the venue at Liverpool ONE, taking over from Access Commercial Investors 6, which was awarded temporary tenancy for the outlet in December. Rileys said it views the opportunity as an “exciting extension” to its 23-strong portfolio of sports-themed bars following the recent refurbishment of its sites in Harlow and Liverpool. Chief executive Craig Mayes said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to take the venue forward. We will continue to offer great entertainment including live music, sport and themed events that all come together to give the people of Liverpool more reasons to visit. I’m excited to welcome this new venue into the Rileys family and we’re looking forward to building a bright future.” Access Commercial Investors 6 took over the tenancy of the building after Access Commercial Finance set up a special-purpose vehicle to acquire Burning Night Group, which operated Bierkeller, out of administration in December. The change of tenancy has left Access Commercial Investors 6 looking for a new Liverpool home. The Bierkeller venues in Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham remain open. Access Commercial Investors 6 head of operations David Howarth said: “Liverpool has been amazing for us. We’ve had more than two million customers over the seven years we’ve been in Liverpool ONE.” Rileys, which was founded by Edward John Riley in 1878, is owned by private equity firm Weight Partners Capital.
Fledgling pub company Lunar to open debut site, plans two more in next 18 months: Fledgling pub company Lunar will open its debut site in September, with plans to launch two more outlets in the next 18 months. Founded by Hubert Beatson-Hird and Oliver Marlowe, Lunar will open The Hunter’s Moon in South Kensington, west London. The Hunter’s Moon will launch at a 2,587 square foot site in Fulham Road, which will be split between a 25-cover pub and a 48-cover dining room at the rear. The venue will offer a modern European menu with dishes created by Marlowe, who has held executive chef positions at a number of pub groups as well as Michelin-starred restaurants The Glasshouse and Chez Bruce. The dining room will serve a daily changing menu with dishes such as scallop ceviche with whipped avocado, pickled ginger and truffled ponzu. Beatson-Hird said: “Having managed London pubs since 2012 for a variety of independent groups, it is great to open a site I can call my own. The opportunity to do this with Olly is fantastic as the food he creates is exceptional and we have worked together as a team in the past.” Marlowe added: “Food-focused pubs have been offering some of the best dining experiences in London and that’s the bar we’re setting ourselves.”
Foxlow Soho back on the market: The former Foxlow site in Soho has been placed back on the market, Propel understands. The venue, which closed earlier this year, was due to be taken over by award-winning Australian chef Shaun Presland, who intended to make his London debut by opening a Japanese restaurant. It was understood Presland, who was executive chef of contemporary Japanese restaurant chain Saké in Australia, would open the restaurant under the name Pacific. In April, Hawksmoor announced it would close the Foxlow site following two years of trading. The group said although the restaurant had been “successful in many ways”, it had received a “great unsolicited offer”. Davis Coffer Lyons (DCL) is marketing the Soho site. Hawksmoor closed the two remaining Foxlow sites in Balham and Clerkenwell at the end of June. Propel understands Clerkenwell Green-based restaurant Dans Le Noir has secured the former Foxlow in St John Street. DCL acted on the deal.
Post office franchisee introduces cafe concept: Post office franchisee Zco is to move into the foodservice sector by opening a cafe. Zco is also the biggest franchisee for WHSmiths in the UK and will launch cafe and bistro Roti Bar after taking on the franchise of a post office in Huddersfield that will incorporate the cafe concept. Customers will have to walk through the cafe in New Street to get to the post office. The all-day menu will feature filled jacket potatoes, pasta, burgers and “rice and three” – any three types of curry with rice. A Zco spokesman told the Huddersfield Examiner: “We will make it into a place where people can enjoy themselves. If there are queues at the post office they can sit down, have a coffee and chill out.”
Samuel Smith ‘closes Hale pub after customers break mobile phone rules’:Tadcaster-based brewer and pub operator Samuel Smith has reportedly closed the Cheshire Midland pub in Hale, Greater Manchester, after customers broke its ban on using mobile phones. The chain introduced the phone rule last year to encourage people to talk to one another. Customers have to go outside to use their phone while the company also banned swearing in 2017 and has removed jukeboxes, slot machines and televisions from its estate. A customer told the Metro brewery representatives ordered him to stop texting during an unannounced “inspection” of the pub, which was then closed. The pub has remained closed since last Thursday (18 July), with no official reason given. One customer said: “The ban on phones was known about at the pub but was never really enforced as bar staff accepted some of the punters had to keep an eye on their phones. The customers were happy with the ban on jukeboxes and TVs and fruit machines but this is a ban too far.” Samuel Smith, which is renowned for its low prices and runs its pubs on a directly managed basis, is known for not responding to press inquiries.
Chilled Pubs takes on Lichfield gastro-pub for fifth site: Chilled Pubs, owned by former British Institute of Innkeeping licensees of the year Richard and Loren Pope, has taken over The Barn in Lichfield, Staffordshire, for its fifth site. The Walsall Road gastro-pub will undergo a refurbishment to reopen under its former name, The Three Tuns. The venue had a spell as Indian restaurant Panache after The Three Tuns closed before becoming The Barn, Lichfield Live reports. Chilled Pubs wrote on its Facebook page: “We are excited to take this amazing venue under our wing. We only ask for your patience while we grow the business and get up to our popular Chilled Pubs standard. This standard doesn’t happen overnight but we assure you we will get there together. The Three Tuns will be extensively refurbished and offer something different in every corner. We are eager and excited to bring this pub back to its former glory.” In an advert for new staff, the company stated: “Expansion is a key focus for us as a business.” Chilled Pubs also operates The Bull’s Head in Repton, The Joiners Arms in Quarndon, The Swan in Walton-on-Trent and The Hunloke Arms in Wingerworth, all in Derbyshire. Last year, Richard Pope told Propel the company was targeting an estate of “12 to 15 pubs in the next ten to 12 years”.
Sheffield-based cafe concept Marmadukes to double up: Sheffield-based cafe concept Marmadukes is doubling up in the city. Founders Tim and Claire Nye have agreed a deal for a 1,500 square foot unit on the ground floor of Grosvenor House, below the new HSBC offices in Charter Square. The venue, which will feature a terrace, will join H&M-owned fashion stores Monki and Weekday, which have already been confirmed as tenants at the Heart of the City II scheme. Marmadukes offers coffee, salads, sandwiches and baked goods but the new venue will have a stronger focus on vegan and vegetarian food. The debut site opened in Norfolk Row in 2012. Tim Nye said: “We are proud to call Sheffield our home and excited to play a part in the Heart of the City II regeneration scheme.” Heart of the City II is led by Sheffield Council, which is acting as the scheme’s developer. Mazher Iqbal, the council’s cabinet member for business and investment, said: “Marmadukes is one of Sheffield city centre’s best-loved independents so we’re delighted it is continuing to grow its business.”
Cantonese roast meat concept Three Uncles to open debut restaurant, in Liverpool Street: Cantonese roast meat concept Three Uncles is to open its first restaurant next month, in London’s Liverpool Street. Three Uncles will open at a site in Devonshire Row formerly occupied by Mexican restaurant chain Poncho 8. Three Uncles’ menu will include chopped-to-order siu mei alongside pak choi and steamed jasmine rice. As well as a selection of hot and cold grab-and-go specials, it will also offer Hainan chicken rice, Lo Mien noodles and dim sum, reports Hot Dinners. Three Uncles is also due to open at Nag’s Head Market in Holloway – the dedicated street food space from Simone Moroni, managing director of Italian craft beer pub concept The Italian Job – but is currently sorting out licensing issues. Poncho 8 currently operates two sites – in Paddington and St Paul’s.
Property investment company behind six hotels goes into administration:Property investment company Carlauren Group, which owns six hotels, has gone into administration. The Somerset-based business also manages and operates residential and care facilities and has architecture, engineering and interior design divisions. A letter sent to clients and customers stated: “Carlauren Group has instructed administrators. There is no cause for concern. This step is intended to protect all studio owners while updating them on the companies’ past financial trading by an independent third party.” A petition to wind up an associated company, CHF 3, which trades from the same address as Carlauren Group, has been presented by a creditor at the High Court in Manchester, reports The Business Desk. In June, Carlauren Group dropped plans to develop a luxury hotel and Ibiza-style beach club on the Isle of Wight. Earlier this month Carlauren Group closed a care home in Somerset with only a week’s notice due to financial losses. Somerset County Council stepped in to take care of residents at the home.
Spalding-based operator to open second site: Spalding-based operator Paul Jeynes is to open his second site in the Lincolnshire town. Jeynes will launch #PE11 at the former Hole In The Wall pub on Thursday, 1 August. Jeynes told Spalding Today: “We are going along the lines of the Cosy Club in Stamford – a safe, comfortable environment. It will be aimed at the more mature clientele. We’re not going to have run-of-the-mill lager and cider, there will be premium-quality lager and a large selection of gin.” Jeynes also operates The Ship Albion Inn in Albion Street.
The Chestnut Group signs deal with Paddy & Scott’s as it looks to boost coffee offer: East Anglian-based pub and restaurant company The Chestnut Group has signed a deal with coffee shop operator and wholesaler Paddy & Scott’s as it looks to boost its coffee offer. Paddy & Scott’s will supply eight Chestnut Group sites with coffee and train its baristas. Scott Russell, founder and chief executive of Paddy & Scott’s, said: “We are proud of our Suffolk roots and love linking up with other local firms. The Chestnut Group has much the same ethos as us, with quality and customer service top priorities. We look forward to working with its team, improving its coffee offer and ultimately boosting sales of coffee across the board.” Last week, The Chestnut Group acquired The Crown in Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, for its tenth site.
BrewDog to open St Andrews site next week: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog will open a bar in St Andrews next week. The company will launch the venue in South Street on Friday, 2 August in premises formerly occupied by restaurant and ice cream parlour Nardini. The bar, which will be the company’s 16th in Scotland, will feature 24 taps of craft beer alongside BrewDog’s menu of pizza, burgers and wings. Earlier this month BrewDog extended its latest Equity for Punks fund-raise and is now allowing people to invest in cryptocurrency. The campaign, which aims to raise a minimum of £7m and has a stretch goal of £50m, will now run until April. So far, 25,678 investors have pledged £5,676,225, which means the total amount pledged to date through BrewDog’s six Equity for Punks campaigns is almost £73m from more than 117,000 people.