McDonald’s UK promotes ‘world-class leader and marketer’: McDonald’s UK and Ireland has appointed Michelle Graham-Clare to senior vice-president, chief marketing officer. The company stated: “Since joining the business in January 2015, Michelle has played a pivotal leadership role in the UK & Ireland marketing team, holding a number of key roles across all categories, most recently in the role of VP, marketing and food development. Michelle, who worked as a crew member at McDonald’s earlier in life, will take ultimate responsibility for all food strategy and marketing campaigns as well as continuing to lead her marketing teams and agency partners. Her leadership over the past 18 months has been pivotal as she helped the business through the pandemic, with award-winning work, delivering record-breaking brand scores for the UK and Irish business. When McDonald’s faced the challenge of closing and reopening more than 1,400 restaurants in 2020, connecting with customers, understanding their concerns and providing reassurances around the steps the business had taken was paramount, and, ultimately, played a significant role in successfully welcoming customers back. The quality of work delivered by both internal teams and agency partners speaks volumes to Michelle’s long-term emphasis on developing the talent around her. She has overseen the exceptional delivery of a leading food strategy, and award-winning marketing campaigns including the McCafe range, Spicy McNuggets and the Grand Big Mac, which is currently the most successful promotion to date for UK and Ireland. Michelle also plays a leading role in the development and execution of the Trust strategy, which runs McDonald’s marketing campaigns and communications across the business. This also encompasses our charity partnerships and community work, ranging from the long-term relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities, to the new partnership with Fareshare that saw five million meals provided for families in need. Michelle is a mum of two, and is committed to championing women in business through her role in the women’s leadership network and mentoring across the business. Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “I am delighted to announce Michelle’s promotion. What has always been clear to me is that Michelle is a visionary marketer with strong business and commercial acumen and a passionate brand advocate. Since taking responsibility for the marketing team last year, she has demonstrated her strong, brave and balanced leadership to create a marketing and food strategy that truly seeks to connect with our customers through understanding the role McDonald’s plays in their lives and the communities we serve. The role of chief marketing officer is critical to our ongoing success as a brand, and I know that in Michelle we have a world-class leader and marketer.”
Electric Star Pubs to open eighth site: Electric Star Pubs, which is led by Ron Star, is to open its eighth site, the Lord Napier pub in Hackney Wick. Unique features include a huge 80-seater roof terrace boasting panoramic views across Hackney Wick with two first-floor function rooms that can be booked for private parties, meetings and other gatherings. Star said: “I used to go to parties at The Lord Napier in the early 2000s and for many years it has been my dream to turn it back into a proper boozer. I have been working with landlord Stewart Schwartz for more than six years to turn that dream into a reality and sometimes I still can’t quite believe it’s actually happening. It’s the only pub in Hackney Wick, so I will be making sure it appeals to as many people in the community as possible. It will also be my local because I only live a stone’s throw away, so it needs to be extra special.” The in-house food will offer Hackney flavours from northern Thailand, based around punchier and much more complex notes from neighbouring countries Laos, Myanmar and China. A spokesman added: “This will be Electric Star Pubs’ eighth venture, with its first being the Star of Bethnal Green. However, no two pubs are ever the same. Catering for different demographics in each location, every pub is built from the ground up to suit its location and local community. The Lord Napier is no different. Falling back to its indoor pub roots with exterior coated in graffiti, The Lord Napier is set be one of the best-looking pubs in the eight-pub arsenal.”
Lupo Bros to open Fitzrovia site: Lupo Bros, the south west London-based cafe concept, is to open its first central London site, in Fitzrovia. Propel understands the company, which is led by James and Matthew Drago-Ferrante, has secured the Bibimbap site in Charlotte Street, for an opening later this year. Lupo Bros currently operates sites in East Sheen and Wimbledon Park. Korean concept Bibimbap currently operates a restaurant in Soho’s Greek Street and a smaller format site in St Swithin’s Lane, near Cannon Street. CDG Leisure is understood to have acted on the Fitzrovia deal.
Heaven nightclub to be turned into pop-up covid vaccination centre: London late-night venue Heaven is to become the UK’s first nightclub to be turned into a pop-up covid vaccination centre. More than 1,000 doses of the Pfizer jab will be available at the club near Charing Cross on Sunday, 8 August, from midday until 9pm. Jeremy Joseph, who owns the G-A-Y group of London and Manchester bars, which includes Heaven, urged Londoners to take up the opportunity. He said people would be able to turn up on the day or book an appointment. London’s night czar Amy Lamé said: “Nightclubs have always been part of the covid solution and I’m really proud to be working with NHS England, Westminster City Council and Jeremy Joseph to make this happen.” Pop-up clinics have been used by health officials to ramp up their drive to vaccinate younger adults. Last month, a similar clinic opened at Thorpe Park in Surrey that allowed people to get a vaccine before riding a roller coaster.
Shaftesbury appoints Matt Thompson to new role of head of property insights:Landlord Shaftesbury, which owns a 16-acre portfolio in the heart of London’s West End, has appointed Matt Thompson to the newly created role of head of property insights. The role will see Thompson provide cross-sector and consumer insights to help drive the company’s portfolio curation strategy, as well as support the performance of Shaftesbury’s occupiers across the portfolio. He joins Shaftesbury from Colliers, where, most recently, he was head of retail strategy. Brian Bickell, chief executive of Shaftesbury, said: “Matt’s in-depth understanding of our industry, its customers and domestic and international consumer trends, combined with his extensive experience, is a great addition to our skill sets and local knowledge, which enables us to continue to develop our research capabilities and evolve our highly regarded curation strategies for our popular West End villages.” Thompson said: “As we emerge from the pandemic disruption, I am excited to have the opportunity to build on the work Shaftesbury has been doing to support its occupiers and contribute to shaping the future of its unrivalled West End portfolio.”
UberEats UK introduces feature that displays calorie information: Delivery firm UberEats UK has introduced a new feature that displays calorie information on meals. UberEats customers will now be able to see how many calories are in each meal, after it launched a new in-app feature to “help the nation make healthier choices”. Calorie information will initially be listed by Pizza Hut, Leon and Burger King, with more restaurants to follow. Sunjiv Shah, general manager for UberEats in the UK and Ireland, said: “It is more important than ever to focus on our own health in light of the covid-19 pandemic. We want to empower our customers to make healthier choices. This is why we’re giving them the information they need to compare different meals and make an informed decision about what they order.” Nick Ayerst, managing director of Leon, said: “We’re delighted to partner with UberEats in trialling this welcome new feature. At Leon, our mission is to make it easier for everyone to eat well and live well, which is why we serve naturally fast food that tastes good, does you good and is kind to the planet. We champion transparency and the sharing of information about the food any business is serving and already provide the full nutritional information of our meals online and in our restaurants, allowing our customers to make informed decisions about what they are eating.”
Marco Pierre White’s son to expand Luccio’s concept: Marco Pierre White’s son Luciano is to open the second site under his Italian restaurant concept Luccio’s, in Exeter. The first Luccio’s opened on the former Carluccio’s site in Dorchester’s Brewery Square at the end of last year. The business has now secured the ex-Carluccio’s in Exeter’s Princesshay shopping centre for an opening this summer. Luciano Pierre White said: “I am hugely excited to be opening my second Italian restaurant in the heart of Exeter in a few weeks’ time. We have an authentic and affordable menu that includes main courses for £12.50 with a complimentary glass of wine. We aim to serve the best-quality Italian food and beverages.” It is understood that an opening of a third Luccio’s is being considered in Woking, Surrey.
Soho House opens second Mollie’s: Soho House has opened it second super-luxe Mollie’s motel, this time on the corner of Cribbs Causeway, close to the M5 junction near Bristol. The £15m investment has created 60 jobs with the promise it will “transform travel in the area with its own distinctive and disruptive ‘budget-luxe’ offering”. Rooms start at just £50 a night for a double. It features 123 Soho House-designed rooms across three floors, all-day food and cocktails served at the 195-cover diner and heated terrace, as well as a communal workspace with free bottomless tea and Mollie’s own artisanal house coffee blend. “Mollie’s is a stylish, fun, brand new concept in hotels that is discerning, design-led and surprisingly affordable, and we have high hopes that it will quickly become Britain’s favourite stopover,” said Mollie’s site manager Darren Sweetland. “Cribbs Causeway, with its incredible links to Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and the south west, was the perfect choice for our second site. We have invested £15m in the property and are proud that we have created 60 new jobs for the local economy, hiring individuals from the surrounding area as part of our commitment to provide opportunity to people within the local community. Mollie’s also marks a new era of positivity for the UK hospitality sector, bringing employment, growth and energy to the market,” he added.
Hop secures £600,000 of new funding, secures Paternoster Square site: London-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop, which was acquired by a new vehicle set up by founder Paul Hopper earlier this year, has raised £600,000 of new funding to aid its further expansion, Propel has learned. The new investment has been provided from the business’ existing shareholders, which includes current Burger King UK and Parkdean Resorts chairman Martin Robinson. The company will use some of the funding to open a new site in early October in Queens Head Passage, Paternoster Square, and for a further site next year. Hopper acquired Hop via a pre-pack administration for a total consideration of £80,000 through new vehicle Cau Lau Holdings. The company operated sites in Broadgate, the Cheesegrater, Coleman Street, Cullum Street and London Wall, and it is thought Hopper was in negotiations with landlords with a view to entering into new agreements where commercially viable. The Broadgate site has so far reopened.
McDonald’s to continue delivery kitchen rollout with Sutton site: McDonald’s UK is to continue the rollout of its delivery kitchen format, with an opening in south London. Propel understands the Paul Pomroy-led business is set to open a delivery site in Sutton. In June, Propel revealed the fast food giant had opened its second UK delivery kitchen site in Partnership Park in Fratton, Portsmouth. It came 17 months after the company opened its first UK delivery kitchen site in Hanworth, west London, which it launched to “meet a boom in demand for home deliveries”. The opening in Hanworth in November 2019 was part of a wider trial by McDonald’s to test different restaurant formats. Earlier in 2019, the company had opened McDonald’s to Go, a small format restaurant, in Fleet Street, London. At the same time, Propel understands Wagamama is also set to add to its delivery kitchen estate with an opening in Sutton.
The Coffee House secures ninth site: North west-based independent coffee shop The Coffee House is to continue its expansion in the region, with the opening of a new site in Warrington. The company, which was established by Chris and Stephen Shelmerdine in July 2011, plans to open its ninth site at the beginning of September, on the former Patisserie Valerie site in the town’s Golden Square’s Old Market Place. It will create 15 jobs. The brothers also have Coffee House branches in Sale, Partington, Widnes, Huyton, Northwich, Bootle and, most recently, Runcorn. Chris Shelmerdine said: “This year is a significant milestone for us as we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary, and what better way than to open in a location where we know so many of our existing customers shop regularly.”
Middletons secures Leamington Spa site for tenth restaurant: Norfolk-based Middletons Steakhouse and Grill is to return to the expansion trail with an opening in Leamington Spa. The nine-strong group, which is led by Stephen Hutton, has secured the former Gusto Italian site in the town’s Regent Court, for an opening later this year. Hutton said: “Work on the former Gusto site will start soon and we expect the refurbishment to cost around £500,000. If all goes to plan, and it usually does, we will open in November in time for a busy Christmas.” In December last year, the business opened on the former Cafe Rouge site in Cambridge’s Bridge Street. The company opened its first Middletons Steakhouse and Grill in King’s Lynn in 2010. Its other sites are in Chelmsford, Colchester, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Peterborough and Watford. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Leamington Spa deal.
Team behind Berber & Q to open new restaurant in October: Brothers Josh and Paul Katz and Mattia Bianchi, the team behind Berber & Q and Shawarma Bar will open a north African and East Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in Queen’s Park, London, in October. Carmel, in Lonsdale Road, will have an all-day menu with wine at the heart of its offer, incorporating a list of 60 wines. Breakfast dishes with bold, Middle Eastern flavours alongside freshly roasted coffee from Origin Coffee will be available at the start of the day. Lunch options include flatbreads, while evening meals, cooked a wood-fired oven, feature Tamworth pork chops with confit garlic, preserved lemon and borlotti, or slow-grilled chicken from Sutton Hoo with curry-pickled radicchio and apricot glaze. Josh Katz said: “My brother and I opened Berber & Q six years ago and Carmel maintains our core ethos of celebrating good company and eating great food, cooked simply, with real care and passion. The menu continues to take inspiration from the Levant and makes good use of the wood-fired oven. Mattia has had real fun with the wine list and we have created a list that shows off some of the most exciting producers out there.”
Dishoom releases new home feast kit, meals ready in about 30 minutes: Indian restaurant group Dishoom will release a new home meal kit containing a selection of its most-loved dishes. Dishoom Home Feast contains all the ingredients and know-how to prepare a spread of grills, curries, breads, sides and pudding, in little more than half an hour. There are vegetarian and meat dishes included in the kit that will provide a plentiful meal for two to four diners. Kits are priced at £60 (excluding delivery) and for every kit sold, Dishoom will donate a meal to its long-term charity partner, Akshaya Patra, an organisation that provides free meals to school children in India. Orders can be placed now, with deliveries beginning on Thursday, 12 August. Kababs, which arrive pre-marinated, ready to skewer and grill include Lamb Sheekh Kabab and Murgh Malai. Accompanying curries need simply to be warmed through and include vegetarian favourite Mattar Paneer. Tawa Roti dough balls come ready to be rolled and cooked. To finish, there’s Gulkand Mess, Dishoom’s take on a classic Eton Mess. All dishes come with bottled Mango Lassi and easy-to-follow instructions with links to video tutorials by Dishoom’s executive chef Naved Nasir.
Japan Centre to open sister site to its Heddon Yokocho ramen bar: Japan Centre, the Japanese food hall in Soho led by Shoryu Ramen founder Tak Tokumine, which is also behind Heddon Yokocho ramen bar, is to open a retro 1970s-style sister site called Panton Yokocho. Panton Yokocho will have 120 covers and is located in a 5,800 square foot site on Panton Street, off Leicester Square, Soho. It will serve regional ramen from the cold island of northern Japan to the tropical climate of the south, this time with the addition of noodle favourites udon and soba. Guests will be transported back in time to the 1970s Yokocho “alleyways” of Tokyo, where they’ll be immersed in vibrant Showa era ambiance and retro tastes of the decade. The menu will celebrate the history of ramen, udon and soba and the differences of regional noodle cuisine in Japan, offering speciality bowls with different broths and noodle genres from across Japan, with prices starting at £11.90. Panton Yokocho is slated to open in early September.