Famous Brands makes £46m impairment charge as GBK operating losses increase to £2.6m: Famous Brands has reported Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has seen operating losses increase to £2.6m for the six months ended 31 August 2018, compared with £872,000 the year before. As a result of GBK’s “continued adverse trading conditions and sustained underperformance”, the board has decided to recognise a (pre-tax) impairment of 874 million rand (£46m) at group level. Famous Brands bought GBK in 2016 but its contribution to group profitability has taken longer than the company initially anticipated, hampered by lower consumer spending in the context of Brexit as disposable incomes come under pressure. At the same time higher property rates in Britain and increased input costs and declining foot traffic in shopping centres, exacerbated by oversupply of restaurants as landlords continue to replace failing retailers with more food offerings, has contributed to GBK’s estimated larger operating loss. In a trading update to the Johannesburg stock exchange, Famous Brands said: “The group’s results for the six months ended 31 August 2018 were expected to be stronger than those reported in the prior comparable period, primarily due to an improved performance by the SA and AME operations, which would record a solid increase in operating profit. However, GBK would report a larger operating loss than in the prior comparable period. An improved performance will be reported at group operating profit level, while GBK has recorded an operating loss of £2.6m (2017: £872,000) for the review period. In light of the continued adverse trading conditions and sustained underperformance of GBK, shareholders are advised the decision has been taken by the board of directors to recognise an impairment of 874 million rand (pre-tax) at group level. The post-tax amount is 760 million rand. The board is of the opinion that this impairment value is prudent in the current situation.” The company, which also operates Wimpy in the UK, will announce its results on Monday, 29 October.
Sourced Market launches £750,000 crowdfunding campaign to open fifth and sixth sites: Sourced Market, the hybrid deli, retail and dining brand with four London locations, has launched a £750,000 campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, which is led by Ben O’Brien and Dan O’Neill, is offering 6.98% equity in return for investment. The funds will support plans for a “fifth site in the Eurostar departures lounge, a sixth site in Holborn with our hotel partner, development of an airport model, working with a franchise partner, increased kitchen production capacity and key hires”. The pitch states: “Sourced Market has a hybrid artisan deli and dining offer of speciality retail, artisan coffee, bakery, food-to-go, and craft beer and wine. We operate flexibly in a variety of formats from 80 to 500 square metres, including pop-ups. Since launching in 2007 as a music festival pop-up, the company has attracted capital investment from Pembroke VCT and a successful £1m Crowdcube mini-bond in 2016 and now has four prime London locations and a central production kitchen. We saw £6.4m turnover to the year ending April 2018, with Ebitda of minus £888,000. The company is building on eight years of success with more than 100 suppliers, a number of them choose Sourced Market to launch products. The food-to-go and coffee markets in the UK are flourishing, with expected values of £23.5bn by 2022 (35% increase from 2017) and £4.3bn by 2021 (29% increase from 2017) respectively. Consumer demand for sustainable, ethical and local food outlets is also rising. The business has invested heavily in creating a strong senior team, including former general manager of Barbecoa Henry Summerlee (head of operations) and former Selfridges buyer Emma Murphy (head of buying). Sourced Market’s other spaces are at Marylebone, Victoria and the Barbican.
Koh Thai founder – southern African-inspired restaurant venture can be ‘even bigger’, scope for spin-offs: Koh Thai founder Andy Lennox has told Propel he believes his new southern African-inspired restaurant venture can be “even bigger”, while there is scope to spin-off various parts of the concept. Lennox has revealed the concept will be called Zim Braai and feature dishes from South Africa, the Seychelles, Malawi, Zanzibar, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. The first restaurant will open in Ashley Cross, Dorset, at the end of November with two further sites in the final stages of negotiation. Lennox, who founded the now 13-strong Koh Thai brand a decade ago, said the plan was for five Zim Braai restaurants in five years but there was “no rush”. He added: “It is about getting the first one perfect and taking it from there but, ultimately, I think the brand has legs to grow to be even bigger than Koh. I want to take it steady – I’ve spent the past ten years running at full pelt. We want to expand from our own cash flow as much as possible, although we are also talking to banks.” Lennox said the debut site would incorporate a small bakery so he could experiment with South African bread. He added: “There is certainly the potential for spin-offs – a Zim Bar, for example, with the fantastic array of South African wines available.” Lennox is also launching an all-encompassing three-month training programme that will see staff paid the “real living wage” once completed. He added: “I want them to be able to do everything from being a waiter to making the coffee and cooking food on the braai. I think as an industry we have to do better when it comes to wages. I want people who complete the programme to see it as a badge of honour.” Regarding his decision to focus on southern African food and drink, Lennox said: “There is a diverse array of foods on offer from the Zimbabwean dovi to the grilled fish of Mozambique and such an amazing array of cultures and rich heritage. It’s something no-one else is really doing. Our recipes use authentic cooking methods with the braai and the potjie (South African cooking pot). Our food will open minds and tantalise taste buds.”
Edinburgh-based Boda bars buys four-strong social enterprise Beer For Good: Edinburgh-based Boda bars, led by Mike Christopherson, has acquired four-strong Scottish social enterprise Beer For Good. Christopherson, who is originally from Sweden and founded six-strong Boda bars with wife Anna, has bought the portfolio from Chris Thewlis. The Christophersons will take on responsibility for the entire Beer For Good portfolio, which includes two pubs – Harry’s Bar in the west end and Harry’s Southside – and two cafes, Harry’s Courtyard Café and Harry’s On The Hill. The couple intend to continue running the operation as a social enterprise. Thewlis has decided to focus on GTS Solutions, the only social enterprise operating in private security. Founded six years ago, GTS recently announced turnover had doubled to £1m in the past 12 months, with growth forecast to hit £5m in the next three years. Thewlis told Third Force News: “It was great fun creating Scotland’s first hospitality social enterprise group. It was a privilege to help the chain grow since its formation three years ago, delivering on our social mission to improve people’s lives along the way. Mike is well positioned to take on the pub side and it was a great opportunity to do a good deal as he intends to keep it going as a social enterprise. He is very socially minded so the whole thing fits perfectly. I’m sure it will go from strength to strength.” In March, Christopherson launched recruitment app My Job Pitch because, he told Propel, “you can’t assess personality on a CV”.
SI Leisure plans to double estate by next year as it takes on fifth venue and second with Star Pubs & Bars: Multiple operator SI Leisure, run by Ian Ellis and Sefa Memetovic, is planning to double its estate by the end of next year after taking on its fifth site and second with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. A joint £280,000 refurbishment is being undertaken at The Fox in Steventon, Oxfordshire, to turn it into a family-friendly gastro-pub with rooms. The pub will have three distinct areas – a snug, a dining area and a bar. The dining capacity is being increased by a third. A new heated covered terrace is being introduced while a children’s play area will be installed. The pub’s six bedrooms are also being transformed. The food menu will feature “home-cooked” dishes such as Fox Gourmet Burgers, while the drinks range will include wine, beer, 12 gins and ten signature cocktails. Ellis said: “The Fox will be the only gastro-pub in the immediate area to have dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and to offer premium-quality rooms. There is a real demand in the area for this calibre of offer. Our intention is to double the size of our operation by the end of next year. The new sites, some of which we’ve already identified, will all have a premium food offer and sizeable gardens, while most will have accommodation.” Neil Convery, regional operations director at Star Pubs & Bars, added: “We look forward to seeing the transformation at The Fox and wish SI Leisure success in achieving its ambition to be one of the best food pubs in the area.” SI Leisure currently runs Star Pubs & Bars’ The Bear Hotel in Chippenham as well as two venues on the south coast.
 
Turkish restaurant group Efes secures Fitzrovia site for sixth venue: Turkish dining group Efes Restaurants has secured a site in Fitzrovia, central London, to open its fifth London venue and sixth in total. The company has secured a 1,650 square foot unit in Maple Street. Efes was founded by Kazim Usta in 1975 with a focus on traditional Turkish flavours. The Fitzrovia venue will offer signature charcoal-grilled dishes as well as a selection of pides, platters and wraps. Emma Cousins, of agent CDG Leisure, who brokered the deal on behalf of the previous tenant, said: “Fitzrovia is the perfect location for Efes’ foray into central London. With its proximity to a variety of museums, universities and offices, even more people will be able to enjoy the authentic Turkish flavours that have made Efes an institution.” The other Efes restaurants in London are in Canning Town, Stepney Green and Whitechapel (two sites), with a regional site in Dartford, Kent.
Boparan Restaurant Group introduces 50% food discount for emergency workers: Boparan Restaurant Group is introducing new offers at Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Harry Ramsden’s for front-line emergency services workers. The 75-strong group is making the offer available this winter at all its company-owned restaurants nationwide to support police, firefighters and NHS staff. A range of local initiatives will be implemented within individual stores as well as a group-wide 50% discount on food to front-line service personnel throughout the winter months. Boparan Restaurant Group chief executive Tom Crowley said: “Like many in our industry we have supported front-line service staff for a number of years in response to the well-documented pressures this sector faces daily, on and off-duty. We are pleased to be in a position to ‘halve the food bill’ with our front-line services to demonstrate, if only in a small way, our ongoing support and appreciation for the priceless contribution they make to our society around the clock.”
Pasta Remoli gears up for ‘strong but gradual growth’ as it prepares to open third site: London-based casual dining concept Pasta Remoli will open its third site, in Ealing, and is gearing up for “strong but gradual” growth. Founder Simone Remoli will open the site at Dicken’s Yard in November. Following significant investment in its fresh pasta production facilities in London, Remoli said the opening was the next stage in the development of the Pasta Remoli brand and offering. He added: “We are gearing up for strong but gradual growth over the next five years, within London and potentially elsewhere in the UK.” The Ealing site will have space for 80 covers inside, 12 outside, and takeaway and delivery services. The Pasta Remoli concept sees diners choose their pasta, a sauce and add cheese. Remoli said: “What is important for us is we maintain a quality experience for our diners and stay true to our ethos – authenticity, quality and doing things our way. It is important for us we control our growth plans without having to compromise to meet expectations of outside investors.” Pasta Remoli’s other sites are in Finsbury Park and Westfield Stratford.
Bramley Bars opens second Beckford Bottle Shop, in Bath: South west-based pub company Bramley Bars has opened a second site for its Beckford Bottle Shop concept. The company has opened the venue in Bath, offering more than 250 wines from around the world to buy or drink, together with a curated selection of local craft beer, cider and spirits. The refurbished site in Saville Row, next to The Assembly Rooms, is divided into four interconnected parts – wine shop, tasting rooms, cheese and charcuterie counter, and cellar lounge. The tasting rooms offer wine accompanied by small plates as well as British cheese and charcuterie from the neighbouring counter. Downstairs the cellar lounge has a more intimate setting, with monthly tasting events featuring wine-makers from around the world. At the back of the shop is a private dining room. The Beckford Bottle Shop opened its first site in Tisbury, Wiltshire, in November 2015 as a spin-off from the food-led Beckford Arms, Talbot Inn and the Lord Poulett Arms, which it acquired in July. Co-owner Dan Brod said: “We are fiercely independent and passionate about great food and wine and, above all, warm hospitality. We are excited about bringing this spirit to Saville Row in a city we have always loved.”
Signature Brew launches £400,000 crowdfunding campaign to open two taprooms and treble capacity: Signature Brew, the “music-inspired” brewing operation known for its collaborative beers with musicians, has launched a £400,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open two taprooms and treble capacity. The company, which was founded by Tom Bott and Sam McGregor in 2011 and named 2018 UK brewery of the year by the Society of Independent Brewers, is offering 4.26% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £9m. The pitch states: “We have grown revenues at an average rate of 78% year-on-year over the past three years – past 12 months revenue of £1.13m, Ebitda of £25,000 – with Ebitda for the past six months of £33,000. We expect to brew a million pints this year and our core range, including Roadie IPA and Studio Pilsner, are found at venues, festivals and supermarkets, as well as bars and pubs nationwide. Our current brewery is at capacity so to keep up with demand we’re seeking investment to move to a nearby east London site, which will house a brewhouse, trebling capacity from day one to future-proof the brewery. The site will underpin the next ten years of continued growth, expanding UK distribution and growing exports. We want to bring all production in-house – we’ve recently had to brew some of our pilsner kegs off-site due to capacity constraints. In addition to our new taproom, we plan to open two further taprooms to showcase our beers and host events.”
Gino D’Acampo to open eighth My Restaurant site next week, in Leeds:Chef Gino D’Acampo is to open an eighth site for his My Restaurant brand, in Leeds next week. The 150-cover restaurant will open at The Springs, the rebranded leisure space at Thorpe Park Leeds, and include a coffee and deli bar, a prosecco bar, “build your own sundae” bar, a games area offering table tennis, pool and foosball, and a terrace. The £1.2m venue will open on Friday, 26 October and be the fourth My Restaurant in Yorkshire, with others in Leeds city centre, Harrogate and Hull, and third in partnership with fashion retailer Next. D’Acampo said: “Yorkshire is a place close to my heart – to be opening a fourth restaurant here is amazing. The development is impressive and I’m looking forward to the leisure and hospitality offerings coming together.” Last week, D’Acampo launched Italian fast casual dining offer My Coffee & Deli Bar on the lower ground floor of his My Pizza & Prosecco Bar in Manchester. D’Acampo made his move into restaurants when he teamed up with friend and business partner Steven Walker, founder of Manchester-based restaurant group Individual Restaurants. They plan to open further restaurants in 2018, with a strong pipeline in place for 2019. The other My Restaurant sites are in Camden, Euston and Liverpool.
Soho property let to Barrio Bars sells for £8.55m: A property in Soho partly let to Barrio Bars, the London bar operator led by Ferdie Ahmed, has been sold for £8.55m. Coffer Corporate Leisure advised the purchaser, a private client, on the deal for the building in Poland Street. The price of the freehold mixed-use investment reflected a net initial yield of 3.26%. The property comprises circa 3,300 square feet of office accommodation let on three separate tenancies and a circa 2,000 square foot bar restaurant let to Barrio. Jack Silvani, director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “Over the past quarter (quarter three), pricing for core assets has remained resilient and we continued to observe steady transaction volumes. The purchasers were typically private investors (UK and overseas) and institutions investing for the long term and there remains adequate depth to the market. Assets with strong fundamentals – in London and regionally – and/or long, index-linked leases are still very much in demand. There is, however, a sharp drop-off in pricing for less desirable assets as investors are being more selective. We anticipate this will continue in the short term. The subject property falls firmly into the former category and should provide steady rental growth across the restaurant and office elements.” Savills acted on behalf of the vendor, a private client.
JD Wetherspoon to expand Irish estate with Carlow opening: JD Wetherspoon is to expand its estate in the Republic of Ireland by opening a site in Carlow. The company is redeveloping the former Traders Bar in Tullow Street at a cost of little more than €3m (£2.6m). Work will start on Monday, 12 November with the pub, which will be called The Tullow Gate, set to open in June 2019 creating 50 jobs. The pub takes its name from one of the four town gates that once stood close to the site. The proposed design for the pub incorporates a bar on the ground floor and another on the first floor. A first-floor roof terrace will have a partially covered space at the rear of the site. Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “We are confident the pub will be a welcome addition to the town and prove popular with people of all ages. Hopefully the new pub will act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in Carlow.” Wetherspoon currently operates five pubs in the country.
Inn Collection Group launches training academy: The Inn Collection Group, which is owned by Alchemy Partners, has launched the Innspiration Training Academy to fast-track talent and help staff further their careers. The programmes, launched in partnership with Branikov Training, will cover subjects including food safety, first aid, hospitality services, supervision and leadership through to NVQ Level 5 management and leadership. Training is delivered via a bespoke e-learning portal, monthly workshops, on-the-job training and product showcases. Inn Collection Group operations manager Paul Brown said: “Hospitality tends to be seen as a stop-gap solution rather than a long-term career. The Inn Collection Group ethos is to promote from within and we have a proven track record of supporting our people to rise through the ranks such as our managing director Sean Donkin, who started with the company as general manager. By tapping into and nurturing bright sparks from grass roots to the highest level within our organisation, we have created a culture in which individuals want to foster a career with us.” Last month, Inn Collection Group acquired its first site outside its north east heartland – the Waterhead Hotel in the Lake District. Alchemy Partners acquired Inn Collection Group in June from Kings Park Capital. Later that month, OakNorth provided The Inn Collection Group with finance to fund expansion.
200 Degrees to roast coffee in Cardiff as it takes production outside Nottingham: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees is adding an in-store 5kg roaster to its site in Cardiff. Moving some elements of production to Cardiff is part of a planned expansion. It is the company’s first move of its kind since it began roasting in 2012 and is designed to complement 200 Degrees’ rapidly growing business services and wholesale operation. Available from mid-November, the coffee roasted in Wales will be used primarily to serve visitors at the Queen Street shop in Cardiff. However, small batches will also be supplied to the other six 200 Degrees shops in England. The freshly roasted coffee will also be supplied to 200 Degrees’ Wales-based wholesale customers. Managing director Tom Vincent said: “We have been thinking about expanding the roasting side of the business for a while and wanted to start with Cardiff. Being able to serve authentic Welsh-roasted coffee to our Cardiff customers is fantastic. Cardiff has a vibrant coffee scene we love being part of and further investment in the store was a natural step. We are always looking at new ways to offer the best – not only in food and drink but also offering our customers unique experiences.” In December, 200 Degrees received a £3m investment from Foresight Group. Co-founder Rob Darby told Propel at the time the funds would allow the company to expand to between 20 and 25 sites during the next three to five years as well as develop the wholesale side of the business.
London site housing Porky’s BBQ sold for £2.4m: BNP Paribas Real Estate has agreed the sale of a site in New Globe Walk, near London’s Bankside, for £2.4m – a yield of 4.23%. The circa 3,200 square foot leisure space is currently tenanted by London-based barbecue restaurant Porky’s BBQ on a 25-year lease. The sale also includes freeholds for the property’s 27 residential units, creating an additional income from ground rent. The site has been acquired by Nova Max Investment and lies about 150m from the Thames, enjoying large footfall due to its proximity to Borough Market, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. The property is built on the site of a bear pit mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diaries. Nick Lyell, director in national leisure investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “The sale provides an excellent opportunity for the buyer to invest not only in a historically significant building but also with the added security of a reputable tenant in situ. For this reason, we had many interested parties and were able to achieve a strong market value.” BNP Paribas Real Estate acted on behalf of the seller, while Stripe Street represented Nova Max Investment.
Albion and East Group opens third London site: Albion and East Group, which is supported by The Imbiba Partnership, has opened its third London site and second in Brixton. Cattivo has opened next to sister site Canova Hall in Ferndale Road and comprises a laid-back Italian-style cafe with a cocktail bar in the basement. The venue focuses on southern Italian small plates, including home-cooked ragu, meatballs and filled pasta, and offers gin-blending and cocktail masterclasses. Cattivo also hosts experiential activities and features its own gin still, while guests can hire private areas with mini-bars stocked to order or with their own bartender to create cocktails of their choice. Albion and East managing director Sarah Weir said: “We are super excited to introduce Cattivo to the vibrant Brixton neighbourhood. It complements our sister bar, Canova Hall, but offers something different and continues to add to the energetic Brixton nightlife and restaurant scene.” Albion and East launched Martello Hall in Hackney in 2016, followed by Canova Hall in May 2017. Its fourth project, Serata Hall, will open within The Bower development at Old Street in early 2019.
McDonald’s wins legal fight to build restaurant on Atlantic isle: An island off western France has lost its legal battle against McDonald’s after a court ruled the company should be granted a building permit. An appeal court in Bordeaux has ordered the town of Dolus-d’Oléron on the island of Oléron, a popular tourist destination, to let McDonald’s start building. Mayor Grégory Gendre had been fighting to keep his island free of fast food and created a sustainable food area on the site where McDonald’s wants to build. However, a lower court in Poitiers last year ordered the island to grant the building permit and, if it failed to do so, pay €300 (£260) for every day it was withheld. The Bordeaux court has upheld that judgement, the Telegraph reports, meaning Dolus-d’Oléron must now pay €105,000 in fines and a further €300 for every day until it issues the permit. “Le burger” was recently proclaimed France’s favourite snack, appearing on 85% of menus, while France is McDonald’s largest market outside the US.
Cafe bar concept Bear to open third site, in Stone next month: Staffordshire-based cafe bar concept Bear is to open its third site, in Stone next month. Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley launched the concept in Uttoxeter in January 2016 before adding a second site in Derby. Now they are converting a former HSBC branch in Stone High Street, which will open on Thursday, 1 November. The site will seat about 110 people, including outside space and a mezzanine level. Bear combines speciality coffee and fresh seasonal food during the day, while offering cocktails, craft beer, wine and informal dining during the evening. Bunting told the Stoke Sentinel: “We love Stone! The high street is full of character and history and we can’t wait to be part of the community. It already feels like a second home as we’re in those familiar market town surroundings. We’re excited to see what it brings!”
Hog & Hedge opens first in-town site, in Newbury: Coffee and fresh food brand Hog & Hedge has opened its first in-town site, in Newbury, Berkshire. The company has launched a store in Northbrook Street after making its debut at Whiddon Down Services, Devon, in 2014. The new venue has extensive seating upstairs with USB charging points, sockets for phones and laptops, and free Wi-Fi and newspapers. There is also a children’s play area and bottle-warming and baby-feeding facilities. The brand, launched by Rupert Burnell Nugent and James Pollock, offers barista-quality coffee and homemade food. The opening in Newbury is part of a wider expansion into the south of England, the company said. Hog & Hedge offers breakfast, pastries, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, one-pots and soup.