Qoot Restaurant Group among investor group that agrees to buy By Chloe out of bankruptcy but won’t get to use name: Qoot Restaurant Group, which operates a number of fast-growing brands in London, is among a group of investors that has agreed to acquire plant-based concept By Chloe out of bankruptcy, although they won’t get to use the name. By Chloe’s parent company, BC Hospitality Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, citing the impact of the pandemic. The company has for the past several years also been involved in a legal tangle with one of the concept’s co-founders, celebrity vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, who left the company in 2016 and has fought to prevent the use of her name with the concept. The group of buyers, which also includes Bain Capital Double Impact Fund, Kitchen Fund, Lion Capital and Simple Capital Management, agreed to pay $333,000 and assume debts for By Chloe, which before the pandemic had grown to 14 sites in the US, Toronto and London. The investors had already provided $3.25m in bankruptcy financing to enable the company to continue operating. Under terms of the acquisition agreement, the new owners would be allowed to continue using the By Chloe name for up to six months during the transition to a different name, which has not yet been disclosed. The judge in the case ruled BC Hospitality’s ownership of the By Chloe trademark was “significantly restricted” and could not be sold to another party because the sale would reduce Coscarelli’s ability to protect her interest in the name.
Immersive concept based on Monopoly board game lines up UK debut site: A new immersive concept based on the popular board game Monopoly is set to launch in central London, with a site lined up in Fitzrovia, Propel understands. Hasbro announced last year it had entered into a partnership with new company Gamepath to adapt the board game brand into a fully immersive event. The Monopoly experience will incorporate just 75 minutes of challenges and activities, which teams must race to complete in order to move across the board and buy up their property. Propel understands the companies have lined up the ex-Paperchase site at 213-215 Tottenham Court Road for the first location for the concept, which is set to launch later this year. Speaking last year, David Hutchinson, chief executive of Sellador Worldwide, parent company of Gamepath, said: “We’re delighted to launch our new company, Gamepath, dedicated to developing and producing experiential productions in partnership with leading global brands. The gaming sector is a huge industry, and by working alongside household brands developing them into innovative, dynamic live gaming experiences – we’re hoping we can bring a whole host of new audiences to live performance who want to consume entertainment in a different way.”
Whitbread to hit 1,000 room milestone for Premier Plus: Whitbread has said it will reach the 1,000 milestone for its number of Premier Plus rooms by the first half of the year. More rooms are being converted into the enhanced concept while “many more” are planned for the future. The premium Premier Plus rooms feature amenities such as a rainfall shower with luxury toiletries, mini-fridge with complimentary water, and “ultimate” Wi-Fi. The rooms will be available in many new hotels opening over the next six months, including London Tooting and Premier Inn’s upcoming opening in Oxford city centre, as well as converting existing standard rooms to the new style in a variety of locations such as Inverness, Kendal and Plymouth. Simon Ewins, managing director, Premier Inn UK, said: “At Premier Inn we know choice is important for our guests, so we’re delighted to give guests more choices when it comes to their room.”
BrewDog opens debut India site: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened its debut site in India. The company has opened the brewpub in Kamala Mills in Mumbai, which is operated by its franchise partner Ace-Aloha Group. It marks BrewDog’s 108th bar globally. The 4,500 square foot split-level taproom offers more than 20 different craft beers on tap as well as a food menu that features BrewDog staples such as sweet and spicy chicken wings and batter-fried cauliflower wings alongside Indian-inspired dishes including browned garlic chicken tikka, kung pao chicken, and paneer and butter chicken naan bombs. A further five BrewDog bars are set to open in India – in Pune, Gurgaon (two sites), Bengaluru and another in Mumbai.
Bristol-based Scarlett Pub Company set to take on third site: Bristol-based Scarlett Pub Company is set to open its third site in the city. The company, which was founded in 2012 and is owned by Alex Major, has secured the Butcher’s Hook pub in the Thornbury area of the city. The company also operates the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer (The Volley) in the city’s King Street and the Nettle & Rye in Clifton.
Nando’s strengthens management team: Nando’s has strengthened the management team of its UK & Ireland business with the appointment of Trudi Van Niekerk to the new role of chief operating officer, and Sarah Warby as chief customer officer. Van Niekerk spent the past four years leading Nando’s licensed markets and will join the leadership team, reporting to Colin Hill, the brand’s chief executive of UK & Ireland. Warby was previously chief executive of Lovehoney and is a current non-executive director of the Moneysupermarket Group. She was also previously innovation director at Scottish & Newcastle, marketing director at Heineken and marketing director at Sainsbury’s. Hill said: “Trudi joins us after leading Nando’s licensed markets for the past four years to take up a newly created role within the Nando’s UK & Ireland leadership team. After an immersion in the business and market she will lead the team on our journey from restaurant business to truly multi-channel restaurant brand while continuing to nurture the flame that has made Nando’s culture so special. With the appointment of Trudi in this role alongside that of Sarah Warby, who recently joined as chief customer officer, I am confident we have the right leadership team to lead us through the next exciting chapter of our growth.”
Freehold of ‘Lincoln institution’ The Wig & Mitre comes to market for first time:The freehold of The Wig & Mitre, described as a “Lincoln institution”, has been brought to market for the first time with “offers invited”. The gastro-pub, which has featured consistently in the Good Pub Guide, was founded by the owner Valerie Hope, and her husband Michael, in 1977, but they have finally decided to call last orders. The property has about 100 covers over two floors and two private dining rooms. Food is served throughout the day and the range is varied from modern European to traditional gastro-pub food. Everard Cole director Jon Heald, who is marketing the property, said: “The Wig & Mitre is a special venue that has been a mainstay of the Lincoln hospitality landscape for many years. It will be a very sad day when Valerie finally does step back, but the sale presents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner and provides a great platform to take the business further.”
Fuller’s London Pride announces British & Irish Lions partnership: Fuller’s London Pride, owned by Asahi UK, has announced a two-year partnership to be the official beer of The British & Irish Lions. The partnership will launch with Fuller’s London Pride’s Roar with Pride campaign, offering supporters a range of VIP experiences around the Lions’ three-test series against Rugby World Cup champions, South Africa, this summer. The campaign will also look to support clubhouses and grounds across the UK, with Fuller’s London Pride set to also announce further promotions in partnership with the Lions. A limited-edition range of Fuller’s London Pride and Lions merchandise will be available to win for promotional activities.