KFC UK system sales up 16% in first quarter, second largest increase of all markets: Yum! Brands has reported KFC system sales in the UK rose 16% for the first quarter, ended 31 March 2021, compared with the previous year when many of its stores were shut for some of the period as a result of the pandemic. The increase was the second largest in all of KFC’s markets as the business continues its recovery – the highest was in China, at 24%. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales in the quarter increased 8% with US like-for-like sales up 14% – system sales worldwide rose 16%. The company said about 2% of its international restaurants and less than 1% of its US sites remained temporarily closed at the end of the quarter. Operating margin increased 8.4%, driven by like-for-like sales growth, lower bad debt expense and unit growth. KFC opened a gross of 409 new restaurants in 50 countries during the period. Operating profit was up 34% to $300m. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut system sales in Europe, including the UK, were down 23% – the continent accounts for 8% of Pizza Hut’s system sales globally. Individual figures for the UK were not included in the announcement. Pizza Hut sales were up 11% globally, with like-for-likes increasing 12%. US system sales, which account for 45% of global sales, grew 8% while off-premises sales generated 23% like-for-like growth. About 3% of Pizza Hut’s international and 3% of its US restaurants were temporarily closed at the end of the quarter. Pizza Hut opened 172 gross new restaurants in 33 countries during the period. Operating margin increased 8%, driven by like-for-like sales growth, lower bad debt expense, and lower general and administrative expenses, partially offset by the impact of prior year permanent unit closures. Operating profit was up 34% to $102m. Taco Bell like-for-like sales increased 9% and system sales were up 11%. Operating profit increased 24% to $178m. Taco Bell opened 73 gross new restaurants during the period in nine countries. Yum! Brands’ total revenue in the quarter was up 18% to $1,486m.
Five Guys lines up first UK drive-thru site, signs on further McArthurGlen Designer Outlet units: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, plans to open its first UK drive-thru site on Teesside. The company, which will open its 115th UK site next Monday (3 May) in Stevenage Leisure Park, is planning to launch the drive-thru at the former Chiquito restaurant at Teesside Park, it acquired late last year. Propel revealed in March, the company was exploring opportunities to open its first drive-thru sites in the UK, on the back of the success of its “kerbside” pick-up option, which it launched in Britain last May. At the same time, Propel understands the company, which recently opened in Chichester and Walthamstow High Street, has secured sites in the York and East Midlands McArthurGlen Designer Outlets for openings in the second half of this year. Last month, Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert said the brand, which recently opened in the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, near Cannock, was going to open up to 50 new sites in Europe this year, including up to 25 here. The company has further openings lined up in Brixton, Glasgow Fort and Edinburgh St James for later this year. Propel understands the group has also lined up a further opening in Manchester, on the site of the Yorkshire Building Society in the city’s Piccadilly area.
Team behind The Red Duck to launch new concept in Battersea: The team behind The Red Duck restaurant in London’s Balham, which includes Dario Kadiev, the former chief executive of AAYA, the London-based hospitality platform established by Alan Yau, is to launch a further venture called Baima, Propel understands. The new 50-cover eastern Mediterranean restaurant will open on the former Arlo’s site in Northcote Road. The Red Duck, the Cantonese restaurant from Alan Yau protege, Chi San, opened earlier this year on the site of the other former Arlo’s in Balham. Marc Rogers at MKR Property acted on the Arlo’s disposals.
Island Poké to open in Camden: Island Poké, the London-based, White Rabbit Group and Hero Brands-backed business, is to further increase its presence in the capital, with an opening in Camden. The 17-strong business, which operates five sites in France, has secured a site in Camden Market for an opening on 17 May. Last month, the company secured a cash injection from hospitality investor Hero Brands to help accelerate its plans for rapid growth. It said it plans to use the “substantial” undisclosed investment to open at least five more sites by the end of 2021. Island Poké said it had opened four “dark kitchens” in the UK over the past year as it used an expansion in delivery to help keep growth plans on track despite the global health crisis. Funds will also go towards its plans to expand rapidly in France, with plans for a further 40 sites in the country in five years.
Soho’s Windmill Theatre to reopen as theatrical bar and dining concept following £10m revamp: A new theatrical bar and dining concept is to launch at The Windmill Theatre in London’s Soho following a £10m revamp of the venue. The Windmill Soho is the brainchild of Ryan Bishti, founder of The Cream Group, which is behind the plant-based burger concept Neat Burger, and Amrit Walia. The Windmill Soho will open in June as a 350-capacity venue, offering “Michelin star-quality dining and bespoke cocktails”. The venue, which has hosted acts such as Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, will also welcome “the biggest names in entertainment” and provide a platform for the next generation of rising stars to perform. The variety acts taking place each night will feature new shows on frequent rotation. The themed dinner acts will include a modern twist on cabarets from the past. Set across three floors, the building features The Theatre, which will act as the main restaurant, with the a la carte menu featuring dishes such as crab spaghetti and whole grilled Dover sole. The upstairs bar will be called Palais De Luxe while there is also a private dining room, The Royal Box – one of the original rooms in the club from the 1900s. Beneath the 110-year-old theatre will be speakeasy bar, Hendersons, which is named after Laura Henderson, who created the theatre in the 1930s. Walia said: “Our audacious vision is to continue Laura’s legacy and elevate this iconic venue for the next generation of theatre-goers and ‘bon viveurs’.” Bishti added: “I founded Cream Group with an intent to provide unique experiences and to shake up the hospitality industry. I feel like we are doing just that with The Windmill Soho and it will be a venue that London has not seen before.”
Northern Ireland coffee and doughnut shop operator opens ninth site, plans expansion into England: Northern Ireland-based coffee and doughnut shop Guilt Trip has launched its ninth outlet and is planning expansion into England. The business, which was launched in 2017 by former rugby players Callum Black and Darren Cave, has opened a 20-seat, 750 square foot unit on Belfast’s Lisburn Road following a £50,000 investment. Cave said: “We’ve experienced something of a meteoric rise in demand for our doughnuts and coffee, often selling out. We hand make, bake and glaze our doughnuts fresh every morning and everything we put into our doughnuts is made from scratch. We have our sights on further new sites both locally and in England, which we hope to announce later this summer.” Guilt Trip employs a total of 80 staff members.
St Austell to reopen 18 managed pubs after significant investment in alfresco spaces: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery will reopen 18 of its managed pubs for outdoor service on Thursday (29 April), having made significant investments in its alfresco spaces. The independent, family-owned business secured working capital from its lenders – Barclays, HSBC UK and NatWest – at the end of last year, which has been used to invest in the pubs. As well as extensive refurbishments of the outside terraces, two of the pubs – The Port William, in Trebarwith Strand, and the Oystercatcher, in Polzeath, have new retractable roofs above their gardens. St Austell will also reopen the Hope & Anchor in Hope Cove next month, which has been closed since February 2020 as a result of flood damage. The newly refurbished pub, with bedrooms, is set to become one of the company’s flagship sites. Chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “Securing this working capital from our lenders has enabled us to look forward with confidence, underpinning our progressive plans for the future. We’re delighted to have been able to invest this funding in our managed pub estate to ensure we are well positioned to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”
Brighton-based Cin Cin to open in London next month for third site: Brighton-based Italian restaurant Cin Cin is to open its third site, in London, next month. Cin Cin, which won a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2018, is taking over the former Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack premises in Fitzrovia. The venue in Foley Street is set to open on Tuesday, 18 May. Cin Cin is the brainchild of David Toscano, who began operating from a vintage Fiat van at events and festivals in 2013 before opening a bricks-and-mortar site in Brighton’s Vine Street. He then opened a 35-cover site spread over two floors in Western Road, Hove, in January 2018. Cin Cin offers antipasti, handmade pasta, seasonal specials, aperitifs and Italian wine in an open bar and kitchen setting.
Former Claridge’s chef to double up with second site: Former Claridge’s and River Cafe chef Nick Grieves is set to open his second site in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The site, which will be home to a restaurant, Ophelia, and a cafe, Cafe Renne, is slated to open at the former site of M Steel Cycles. It follows his restaurant The Patricia that opened in Jesmond in 2016, which has been described as “a little belter” by The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin. Grieves has submitted planning documents to Newcastle City Council to open a restaurant and cafe at the site that has been unused for a number of years. The application, submitted by planning consultants Lichfields, said: “Our client is converting the unit into a restaurant and cafe on the ground floor, with the first floor to be used as additional seating, internal ancillary office space or storage. The applicant plans to use this space to run a high-quality restaurant and cafe, to be named Ophelia and Cafe Renee respectively, as an expansion to his existing successful restaurant business in Jesmond, The Patricia.”
Premium delivery brand Cosaporto raises €1.8m to expand UK arm: Premium delivery brand Cosaporto, whose partners include London-based Peggy Porschen, Unico Gelato, NIO Cocktails and Maison Samadi, has raised €1.8m in a new funding round. This latest investment will support the growth and expansion of Cosaporto in the UK. The digital marketplace, which delivers artisan food, wine and gifts across London, has secured the capital from a venture capital firm based in Milan. Cosaporto operates in a number of Italian cities including Rome, Milan, Turin and Bologna, and, last year, it launched a London arm of the business. The brand offers concierge-style delivery, allowing products to be collected from premium independent shops, producers and artisans, and delivered direct to city doorsteps within hours of ordering. The “bundling” service means goods from multiple high-end retailers and restaurants can be delivered at the same time, with the business in Italy having its own fleet of electric delivery vehicles. In Italy, the brand has collaborated with companies such as Nobu, Emporio Armani Restaurants and lifestyle brand Acqua di Parma, alongside other Michelin-starred venues, chefs and brands. In addition to further investment being ploughed into the London arm of the business, Cosaporto is setting its sights on Paris, which will be next city outside of Italy to welcome the service. Cosaporto founder and chief executive Stefano Manili said: “This past year, Cosaporto has gone from strength to strength in Italy, with the business seeing a 600% increase in orders year-on-year, along with a 30% rise in the average spend of each customer. This new capital will allow us to turn our attention to the UK arm of our business and inject cash where needed to foster the same growth we’ve seen in Italy. Not only are we looking to grow our customer base, but to double the number of carefully selected partners from 35 to 70 in London by the end of the year.”
Edwardian to open ‘super boutique’ hotel in Leicester Square featuring restaurants, cinemas and rooftop bar: Edwardian Hotels is to open a “super boutique” hotel in London’s Leicester Square in September that features restaurants, two cinemas and a rooftop bar. The Londoner is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels, which is behind the development of The May Fair Hotel and a collection of restaurant and bar brands in the capital, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and Peter Street Kitchen. The 16-storey hotel will offer 350 bedrooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, alfresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit – plus an expansive ballroom, meeting spaces and a gym and wellness centre. The Londoner will take over the space previously occupied by Odeon West End. As a brand-new build, it has employed pioneering methods of sustainable luxury and secured a £175m “green loan” from HSBC UK. The funding will be used to ensure the new hotel exceeds the Breeam Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.
Carlsberg reports volume growth of 12.8% in first quarter as China performance offsets on-trade fall in western Europe: Carlsberg has recorded volume growth of 12.8% in the first quarter, as a strong performance in China offset the on-trade plummet in western Europe. The company witnessed a strong start to the year in its Asia and central and eastern Europe businesses, while western Europe remained significantly impacted by lockdowns and restrictions across the region. Carlsberg’s revenue grew organically by 3.8% to DKK 13bn (£1.52bn), driven by organic volume growth of 11.5% as recovery was strong in many markets. The Chinese market in particular performed very well, with more than 50% organic volume growth – driven by Chinese New Year activities, premium brands and partly supported by easy comparables as the first quarter of 2020 was heavily impacted by the outbreak. In western Europe, volumes fell organically by 5.8% and revenue dropped 14.9%. Markets such as Norway and Poland continued last year’s growth trajectory, but markets with high on-trade exposure declined, particularly in the UK and Switzerland. Once again, Carlsberg’s alcohol-free and craft and specialty categories performed well, with organic volume growth of 24% and 13%, respectively. Tuborg volume went up 26%, mainly due to China, India and the Turkish licence market. Carlsberg beer fell 4% as strong growth in Asia was offset by the western Europe market. Meanwhile, 1664 Blanc’s volumes increased 33% thanks to growth in China and across central and eastern Europe and Somersby went up 31% broadly based across all three regions. While uncertainty remains high, in the light of Carlsberg’s “good start to the year”, the company has raised the bottom end of its earnings guidance for 2021 – expecting operating profit within the range of 5% to 10%, compared with the previous forecast of 3% to 10%.
Carlo Scotto secures Mayfair site for new restaurant: Carlo Scotto, previously head chef at Xier in London’s Marylebone, is to open a restaurant in Mayfair. Scotto will launch Amethyst in Stratton Street in September. The 24-cover restaurant will offer three and four-course menus at lunch, with Carlo’s signature tasting menus, six and 15-courses, available at dinner. There will also be a chef’s table accommodating six diners who will have the chance to prepare a dish under Scotto’s expert tutelage. Scotto said: “It has been an ambition of mine to open in Mayfair and the pandemic has given me time to find the perfect site and redevelop my menus. I can’t wait to share my new dishes with diners come the autumn.”
‘First of its kind’ co-working and gym venue launches in Sheffield: A “first of its kind” co-working and gym venue has been launched in Sheffield to provide professional and personal space. Hii Fitness is launching a fitness studio on the ground floor of Wizu Workspace, a flexible workspace provider. The new venue is part of a plan to promote workplace well-being as well as an incentive to encourage workers to come back into the office after working from home. The fitness studio features state-of-the-art equipment, with members able to use the My Zone technology to monitor their performance. Members can also use the open-plan co-working space, which features phone booths, break-out spaces and unlimited free speciality tea and coffee. Matt Hancocks, managing director at Hii Fitness, said: “We’re thrilled to open our doors to the Sheffield business community, providing a new offering that will make it much easier for busy professionals to take care of their fitness alongside their work. With many businesses struggling to entice staff back to the office, we see wellness initiatives like ours becoming much more important over the coming year.”
Former Compass Group UK & Ireland CEO joins Aramark to lead business growth: Chris Garside, former chief executive of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has been named head of sales and business development for catering company Aramark International. Garside – who takes up his new role on Monday, 17 May – will take on responsibility for leading growth in 18 countries around the world, including the UK. In this newly created role, Garside will lead the company’s growth agenda with a focus on driving new sales across its international portfolio, supporting strategic and major retention efforts, and developing and executing a global mergers and acquisitions framework. He will report to Carl Mittleman, chief operating officer of Aramark International. Garside comes to Aramark following a successful career with Compass Group. As a member of the executive board, he achieved sustainable year-on-year growth across northern Europe. During his 11-year tenure with Compass, he held a variety of roles of progressive responsibility in the UK and Europe, leading businesses in defence, offshore, government and education.