Old Rope Walks acquires fourth Liverpool site: Liverpool-based pub group Old Rope Walks has acquired its fourth site in the city. The company has taken on the Roscoe Arms, which belongs to Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The Oldham Street property is set to undergo a £750,000 refurbishment during the next 11 weeks, which will see the venue renamed The Butterfly & The Grasshopper and reopen in mid-November. The investment will transform the building, expanding the pub across three floors to include a ground-floor bar and dining area, and a top-floor gin and cocktail bar. The new name is inspired by William Roscoe’s poem The Butterfly’s Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast. Old Rope Walks director Mike Girling told the Liverpool Echo: “I discovered the poem many years ago. It’s beautiful and I’ve wanted to celebrate it in a pub or bar since. This is the perfect opportunity because of the connection with William Roscoe. The renaissance of this part of the city is not before time, and it’s fantastic to be able to contribute to it.” Phil McWilliam, area manager for Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Mike is well-known in the city for his brilliant pubs and bars and we’re delighted to be working with him on his new venture.” Old Rope Walks also operates Dovedale Towers, Tavern On The Green and The Lodge. It also ran the Newington Temple but the pub closed in June when the lease ended.
Bistrot Pierre lines up Worthing site: Bistrot Pierre, the Livingbridge-backed French restaurant group, is lining up a site in Worthing, West Sussex. Worthing Borough Council has struck a long-term agreement with developer Nextcolour to convert a seafront shelter opposite West Buildings into a “contemporary, vibrant destination restaurant”. It would have space for 110 diners and a first-floor terrace with a retractable roof for another 60. Nextcolour’s planning application states: “This proposal aims to provide Worthing with a contemporary, vibrant destination restaurant with wonderful sea views. The restaurant will bring increased activity to the seafront and promenade.” As well as the first-floor terrace, an outside area will provide ground-floor seating and full-length sliding windows around the building would give sea and beach views along Marine Parade, reports the Worthing Herald. The 24-strong Bistrot Pierre will open its next site later this year by the Wish Tower Napoleonic fort on Eastbourne seafront. The company has also launched a virtual delivery brand called Birds, Buns and Bowls.
Honest Burgers continues like-for-like sales growth: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed chain, has continued to see an increase in like-for-like sales growth for the first six months of its current financial year, Propel has learned. The company, which will open its latest site on Monday (2 September) in Cardiff, is set to file its full-year accounts to the end of January 2019 this Friday (30 August). In March, Propel revealed for the period the company had seen an increase in sales from £22.3m to £30.7m, a rise in group Ebitda from £2.9m to £4.2m and restaurant Ebitda of £6.8m. Like-for-like sales for the year increased 7.9%. Propel understands the company’s like-for-like sales for the first six months of the current year increased on last year’s numbers, mainly driven by restaurant covers. The 34-strong group expects to open six to seven sites in its current financial year. Last month it secured the former Gow’s restaurant in Old Broad Street in the City of London for an opening later this year. Positive sales growth in the year to the end of January 2019 was boosted by strong like-for-like sales and the opening of five restaurants, including in Holborn, Piccadilly, Waterloo and Bristol.
Ozone Coffee to double up in London: Ozone Coffee Roasters will open its second cafe in the UK, in Bethnal Green, east London, in early October. The company, which has operated a roastery and all-day dining space in Shoreditch for the past seven years, plans to launch a venue in Pritchard’s Street, off Hackney Road. Established in New Zealand in 1998, the company still operates two sites in its homeland plus a coffee roasting and brewing operation beneath its Shoreditch cafe. The company stated: “Designed for the bruncher, first dater, creative worker, family catchup-er, meeting shaker, dog walker, holidaymaker, local morning walker or all of the above, our new space is for everyone. We are humbled to join this east London community and can’t wait to welcome you all.”
Lucky Onion to add Hollow Bottom to growing group: Cotswolds hotel and restaurant group The Lucky Onion is set to add to its Cotswolds-based estate of pubs. Propel understands the company, owned by Julian Dunkerton, the entrepreneur behind high-street brand Superdry and Dunkertons Organic Cider, is set to take over The Hollow Bottom pub in Guiting Power. The pub, which closed last month, is at the heart of the local horse-racing community and is within walking distance of Grange Hill Farm, where leading trainers Nigel Twiston-Davies and Fergal O’Brien are based. The Lucky Onion was recently granted permission by Stroud District Council to transform The Crown Inn in Minchinhampton. The ground-floor pub, which has been shut for six years, is being refurbished while the first and second floors are being converted into flats, reports Punchline Gloucester. The Lucky Onion acquired the grade II-listed pub last year. The company is also refurbishing the George Hotel in Cheltenham and owns five other sites in the Cotswolds.
Saudi Arabia-based cafe concept Bafarat comes to Soho for second site: Saudi Arabia-based upscale cafe concept Bafarat has headed to London to launch its second site. The brand was established in Jeddah in 1952 by the late Omar Ahmed Bafarat and was known for importing herbs, spices and coffee from around the world. This resulted in the opening of Bafarat cafe in the city in 2016. Now the concept has opened in Soho’s Warwick Street offering Arabic-style coffee and custom-made French desserts and pastries created by Thomas Alphonsine, previously of chocolatier Callebaut. An open counter offers desserts such as pistachio eclairs and raspberry tart. A five-course interactive dessert-tasting menu is also available, with Alphonsine guiding guests through every element, explaining the provenance and attention to detail behind each dish. The decor includes a custom-made counter top featuring large chunks of marble to look like shards of caramelised sugar, while feature walls resemble cake icing and table bases are in the shape of a cookie cutter.
Derbyshire-based holiday park operator sees losses widen as turnover remains flat: Derbyshire-based holiday park operator Forest Holidays has reported turnover remained flat at £36.7m for the year ending 28 February 2019. Underlying adjusted Ebitda was down to £9.3m, compared with £10.3m the year before. The company saw pre-tax losses increase to £4m following “significant” one-off cost increases, compared with £1.4m the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Forest Holidays, which is part-owned by the Forestry Commission and backed by private equity firm LDC, has sites in Beddgelert in Snowdonia; Blackwood Forest in Hampshire; Cropton and Keldy in North Yorkshire; Deerpark in Cornwall; Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire; Thorpe Forest in Norfolk; and Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre, both in Scotland. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The directors are pleased to report a stable performance despite challenging trading conditions arising from wider economic, political uncertainty during the year and significant one-off cost increases. June 2019 saw the opening of our tenth location, in Beddgelert in the Snowdonia National Park. Beddgelert has performed very well, exceeding budgeted expectations delivered through strong performance in occupancy and rate per night achieved. In addition, investment in an estate-wide upgrade of cabins has been completed and a considerable proportion of profit continues to be reinvested into the maintenance, development and improvement of the estate and customer offer on an annual basis.” Occupancy levels were maintained at 2018’s 91%, while the group is due to open its 11th location in autumn 2020.
Brunning & Price to relaunch Malvern gastro-pub next month: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, is to reopen The Plough & Harrow in Guarlford, Worcestershire, next month. The company will relaunch the venue on Wednesday, 18 September, almost a year to the day it bought the pub from Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth. The old house and historic pub have been joined with the addition of a garden room that will look out on to a stone patio, lawns and a wildflower meadow beyond. There will also be a 20-cover private dining room upstairs with a private balcony offering views across the Malvern Hills. A spokesman for Brunning & Price told the Malvern Gazette the pub had a management team in place and was now looking to recruit 50 staff. Brunning & Price operates more than 70 pub restaurants.
Hull-based restaurant Jude’s starts expansion by launching site inside historic pub: Hull-based restaurant Jude’s has started expansion by opening a second site in the city. The restaurant in Holderness Road has launched a venue at The Plotting Room inside 16th century pub Ye Olde White Harte in Old Town. The venue’s a la carte menu offers British fusion dishes such as guinea fowl, king scallops and wild mushroom fricassee, while the restaurant will offer a bar menu for pub customers. Jude’s co-owner Emma Margetts told Hull Live: “The pub is so well known, we thought it would be a great place to serve our British fusion style of food. There will be a bar menu with sandwiches and burgers as well as popular main courses, and an a la carte menu for people who want more of a dining experience.” The Plotting Room is infamous for being the space in which plotters decided to refuse King Charles I entry to Hull in 1642, triggering the English Civil War.
Ei Publican Partnerships roadshow to showcase new support systems: Ei Publican Partnerships’ annual roadshow, eilive, will return in October and showcase two new support systems designed to enhance pub businesses. The Food Menu Portal has been developed to help publicans optimise their food offering and boost profitability while ensuring they conform to food safety and allergen laws. It will enable publicans to design their own menu using recipes and dishes based on their kitchen equipment and suggests the number of dishes appropriate for their market segment. There will also be demonstrations of Property Universe, a new system designed to allow publicans to raise their own repair jobs and monitor their progress from beginning to end. Also new at eilive this year will be a theatre holding business-building demonstrations from partners such as Pernod Ricard, Diageo, Molson Coors, Heineken, Sky and digital experts Yext, hosted by television presenter Mark Durden-Smith. More than 140 suppliers are set to exhibit at three shows – at Doncaster Racecourse on 8 October, Olympia London on 15 October and Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol on 17 October. Ei Publican Partnerships managing director Nick Light said: “Eilive is a great opportunity to learn about all the latest innovations and trends in the industry.”
Edinburgh-based restaurant operator secures second site: Edinburgh-based restaurant operator Ruori Stewart has secured his second site in the city. Stewart, who owns contemporary European restaurant The Apartment in Barclay Place, has acquired Mexican-themed Pancho Villa’s in the Old Town in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. Stewart has purchased a new lease and plans to trade the restaurant as “The Apartment pop-up” until the property undergoes refurbishment to prepare for a new concept.
Waterworld Leisure Group launches UK’s ‘tallest and fastest’ rides as part of £12m expansion of Staffordshire park: Waterworld Leisure Group has launched four super rides it claims are the “tallest and fastest” in the UK as the centrepiece of a £12m expansion of its Stoke-on-Trent water park. The new rides in the Tornado Alley zone, which tower up to 16.5 metres, are Thunderbolt, Cyclone, Stormchaser and Hurricane. Work is also under way on a two-storey extension that will house a spa, indoor running track, children’s soft play area, and Adventure Island Mini Golf attraction – Waterworld Leisure Group acquired the brand in a £20m investment deal in September 2017. Waterworld owner Mo Chaudry told The Business Desk: “The opening of these rides marks the end of a mammoth construction project and the first stage of a huge new era for Waterworld. We also intend to expand the upper decks and use some of the space to provide food and beverage areas with seating so up to 1,500 people can enjoy seeing the action in the waterpark in a relaxed environment. This all adds up to the biggest single investment in Waterworld’s 30-year history.” Chaudry has been masterminding the growth of Waterworld since 1999, when he took over the previously loss-making operation from The Rank Group. Waterworld attracts more than 350,000 visitors a year, with the expansion expected to lift that figure above 500,000.
Multi-purpose space featuring food market and cinema to launch in Catford next month: Cultural infrastructure developer Really Local Group is to open a multi-purpose space featuring a food market in Catford, south London, next month. The company will launch Catford Mews, a 23,000 square foot community hub, on Wednesday, 25 September. The development will feature a three-screen cinema, food market, cafe, bar, live entertainment venue and, eventually, co-working areas and exhibition spaces. The food market will include stalls from traders in the neighbourhood, while the full-service bar will offer local produce including its own Catford Mews beer from nearby Brockley Brewery. The cinema will offer 220 seats in total, while a stage with live performance equipment will be on offer to local artists, groups and schools. Really Local Group founder Preston Benson said: “It is my aim to make Catford Mews the envy of south London.”
Black and White Hospitality receives royal recognition for workplace training programme: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to eight restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, received the Princess Royal Training Award (PRTA) for its onboarding and brand engagement training programme. Established by global skills development body City & Guilds Group and now in its fourth year, the PRTA recognises employers with outstanding training and development programmes that have had a direct impact on business performance. Those businesses chosen will receive their awards from HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony in London in October. Set up by Nick Taplin and Pierre White in 2013, Black and White Hospitality operates close to 50 franchised venues across the UK. Taplin said: “This has been an incredible journey and to receive this award is testament to the commitment and dedication of the whole Black and White team. We’re in the business of selling a night out and staff training forms a vital element of achieving that.”
OYO takes on largest UK property so far, in Sheffield: OYO, the fast-growing hotel brand, has secured its largest UK property so far. The company has leased Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel from London Town Group. The purpose-built river-front hotel offers 112 rooms in central Sheffield. OYO operates more than 8,500 hotels in 230 cities. London Town Group founder and managing director Koolesh Shah said: “We are delighted to work with OYO as an early adopter of the brand in the UK. The company’s growth is fuelled by its success in China, with a presence in 337 cities and more than 500,000 rooms and we are pleased to offer OYO this opportunity in the UK. We feel our Sheffield Metropolitan hotel is a perfect fit.” London Town Group owns and operates hotels in the UK including franchises with major hotel groups and high-street brands.
Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth launches environmentally focused F&B consultancy: Michelin starred chef Nigel Haworth, co-founder of the Northcote brand and creator of Obsession food festival, has joined forces with wife Kathrine to launch a consultancy service with sustainability at its heart. The hospitality package will combine the Haworths’ expertise in food and interior design. Kathrine Haworth graduated with first-class honours in sustainable construction in 2010 before embarking on a range of renovation and restoration projects. She will combine her skills with her husband’s renown for championing local, organic, seasonal produce to deliver an “environmentally focused offering in F&B consultancy”. Nigel Haworth said: “This collaboration makes so much sense, bringing together our strengths and creativity. We’re looking forward to making an impact on some exciting schemes.” Kathrine Haworth added: “We offer a really joined up, holistic approach to projects – combining Nigel’s extensive knowledge in the hospitality industry and my approach to innovative, best practices in construction and interior design.”
David Lloyd correction: In Wednesday’s (28 August) Propel Morning Briefing we reported David Lloyd Clubs had lodged plans for new leisure venture Adrenaline World at the PEAK development in Chesterfield. We would like to clarify it is David Lloyd himself who is behind the project and David Lloyd Clubs is not associated in any way. We apologise for the error.