Pret launches new dinner range for delivery and new Order Ahead service: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-owned chain, has further diversified its offer with the launch of new Dinners by Pret delivery range and a new Order Ahead service. Available from 30 Pret sites from Thursday (19 November), the new Dinners by Pret range comprises focaccia pizzas; pigs in blankets; mac ’n’ cheese; hot rice bowls, including curry and chili; and milkshakes. The new dinners menu also includes three new vegan-friendly hot rice bowls. Briony Raven, UK food and coffee director at Pret, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to offer more customers new (and freshly made) Pret Dinners for their evening takeaways. With many of us having tried to take up cooking during the last lockdown, we decided it’s time to let our customers sit back and relax while Pret handles dinner – you’ve seen enough of your kitchen this year. We’ve worked hard to take some of the nation’s most beloved comfort foods and give them a Pret twist, including our new focaccia pizzas. Not only have we created new items to add to our dinners menu range but we have expanded the delivery services to be from 30 shops with our delivery partners. Not only that but we have also made sure to include something for everyone including more vegan dishes than ever before.” Customers looking to arrange a takeaway from their local Pret for breakfast or lunch can now visit the brand’s website and order directly through its new Order Ahead system to safely pick up their order at their designated shop at the specified time.
German Doner Kebab appoints new franchise recruitment director for North America, 75 restaurants in development pipeline: German Doner Kebab (GDK), the flagship concept of Hero Brands, has appointed a new franchise recruitment director for North America to spearhead its growth and development in the region. Michael Bruno joins from Focus Brands and has more than 25 years’ experience in the sector. Bruno will be heading up the franchise recruitment arm for GDK and will be tasked with developing the franchisee growth pipeline across North America. Bruno’s appointment comes as German Doner Kebab opens its first two restaurants, in Ottawa and Vancouver, and forges ahead with its North American expansion and ambitious plans to engage and recruit quality franchisees across the region. GDK has five franchisees who have signed up for a development pipeline of 75 restaurants across North America, embarking on significant growth with key locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New York, New Jersey, Houston, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. GDK USA managing director Nigel Belton said: “I am looking forward to working closely with Michael as we seek to rapidly develop a robust development pipeline. With our first two stores now open in Canada, I am confident this will translate into much more interest and excitement, which will support our endeavours to ‘on board’ the right partners to build the GDK brand.” Bruno added: “This really is a fantastic opportunity to be joining a new disruptive brand and help the senior team drive and further strengthen GDK’s footprint as it prepares for an exciting growth period. I’m seeking to engage with experienced franchisees across North America that are keen to expand their restaurant portfolio and join the GDK family.” The GDK franchise business employs more than 1,000 people within the UK and also operates franchised stores in Sweden, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain.
The Pepper Collective appoints managing director: Salt’s restaurant division, The Pepper Collective, has appointed Paul Fleming as managing director. Fleming, who was commercial director at Salt, will be responsible for driving forward the day-to-day operations and bringing Pepper’s project pipeline to life, in line with the company’s ambitious strategy. Fleming’s commercial experience ranges from West End theatres and music festivals to global beverage brands, and he brings to the business “an unrivalled understanding of how to grow brands in challenging markets”, The Pepper Collective said. Group chief executive Andrew Fishwick said: “Paul’s ability to drive large-scale projects with all of the diplomacy and skill required is second to none. I am so excited to bring him into our team and go on this exciting journey with him.” Fleming added: “There has never been a more important time for hospitality businesses to build meaningful partnerships, to share knowledge, resource and skills to create joyful experiences.” In addition to Fleming, The Pepper Collective has also appointed Janelle Ladewig as general counsel. Ladewig, a qualified solicitor, brings extensive experience in commercial property, particularly the sale and acquisition of high-worth businesses.
Five Guys secures former Chiquito site in Crawley: Five Guys, the US better burger brand, is set to continue its expansion in the UK, after securing a site in Crawley, West Sussex. The John Eckbert-led company has secured the former Chiquito site at Crawley Leisure Park, with an opening planned before the end of the year. Propel understands the circa 100-strong Five Guys is in talks on a number of former Gourmet Burger Kitchen sites and is set to take the former Frankie & Benny’s site in the Parrs Wood Entertainment Centre, Manchester. Earlier this summer, Propel revealed the company had launched a “curbside” pick-up option at selected sites across its UK estate. It launched the option at 14 of its sites across the country, including those in Leicester, Nottingham, Cheshire Oaks, Gloucester Quays and Milton Keynes.
Whitbread to convert two Travelodge sites into Premier Inn hotels: Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn and Hub by Premier hotel brands, has exchanged contracts to secure two trading Travelodge hotels for Premier Inn. The agreements with separate private landlords will see the Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel and Travelodge London Uxbridge hotel convert into Premier Inns. The move means the demand for additional bedrooms in popular locations noted by Premier Inn can be met. Commenting on the acquisitions, Mark Anderson, managing director for property and international at Whitbread, said: “Securing new Premier Inn hotels in Bury St Edmunds and Uxbridge is a strategic investment by Whitbread in popular markets for business and leisure travel. It’s part of our ongoing strategy of growing market share, through Whitbread’s strong balance sheet and financial flexibility and resilience, in locations where we are under-represented and where we see opportunities to create long-term value for our shareholders and guests.” The Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel opened in 2018 and is located in the north of the town, close to transport connections and major local employers such as British Sugar. Premier Inn’s existing hotel is located to the south, within Bury St Edmunds town centre. The Travelodge Uxbridge hotel is located on Bakers Road adjacent to Uxbridge underground station. Premier Inn has been actively pursuing a site in the town centre to complement its existing 80-bedroom site to west of the town centre. The timescale for converting the hotels into Premier Inns has not yet been confirmed.
Michael Caines to launch beach bar and restaurant alongside patisserie in Exmouth: Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines has unveiled plans to open Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant alongside Sylvain Peltier, as well as Michael’s Café Patisserie Glacerie as part of the Exmouth seafront regeneration project in Devon. Mickeys will be a casual dining restaurant that will feature a glasshouse and outdoor terraces. In keeping with Caines’ ethos of local and seasonal produce, Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant will source local produce to support the local community of food producers and farmers, reduce food miles and promote biodiversity. Adjacent to Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant will be Caines and Peltier’s first Café Patisserie Glacerie franchise. It will offer fresh French patisseries, house-made gelato ice-cream, artisan coffee, milkshakes and hot pies, Cornish pasties, sandwiches and salads that will be available for grab and go. Caines said: “Mickeys has been in development for five years and I am so excited to see the building finally come to life. It is a space for the local community and beyond. Above all, it’s a place of fun. I’m excited to be able to share more over the coming months as we approach the opening.” Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant joins The Harbourside Refuge in Porthleven, The Cove at Maenporth and luxury country house hotel and restaurant Lympstone Manor as part of the Michael Caines Collection.
M&B places 20 permanently closed sites on market: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the All Bar One, Harvester, Miller & Carter and Toby Carvery operator, has placed 20 permanently closed sites on the market. The Phil Urban-led group is working with property advisers CBRE on marketing the 20 leasehold sites. Propel understands the sites are spread across the UK, and across a number of the company’s brands. An M&B spokesman said: “As announced in September, M&B reopened the vast majority of its estate, approximately 95%, after the first lockdown ended. The remaining sites have been under review on a case-by-case basis since, taking into account factors such as expected footfall and business layout. We have taken the difficult decision not to reopen some of these sites and are working with leaseholders on next steps.”
D&D London launches ‘at-home’ kits: Restaurant operator D&D London has launched “at-home” kits. For the first time, diners are able to enjoy dishes created by D&D London’s chefs from their own homes. The inaugural kits include The Bluebird At Home Feast, Sartoria At Home, The Ultimate German Gymnasium Experience, Orrery At Home and The Ultimate Klosterhaus Experience Kit. Each kit includes starter, main course and dessert as well as additional wine options. Dishes include Creedy Carver duck breast, roasted cauliflower, pickled blueberries and five spice sauce from Bluebird; home-cured black cod, liquorice, red Tropea onion jam, extra virgin olive oil crushed potatoes and cavolo nero from Sartoria; Vienna schnitzel, potato salad and lingonberry compote from German Gymnasium and Klosterhaus; and lamb Wellington with pomme purée rosemary jus – for two – from Orrery.
Loungers set to make Black Country debut with Wolverhampton site next month:Cafe-bar brand Loungers is set to open a site in Wolverhampton next month for its first outlet in the Black Country. The company has transformed the former Topshop store in Dudley Street into Lupo Lounge, which is due to launch on Wednesday, 16 December. Loungers operates 168 sites across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands.
PizzaExpress to give £12,000 to community heroes for Christmas: PizzaExpress will give £12,000 to 12 community heroes – through £1,000 gift cards each – who have made this year a little more bearable for others in its Share A Smile campaign. Nominations can be made through the pizza chain’s social media channels with the #ShareASmile hashtag until Sunday, 22 November with winners being picked by a judging panel on Monday, 7 December. The £1,000 PizzaExpress gift cards will allow winners to eat free for a year at its restaurants. Potential winners may have made charitable efforts to help those in need, assisted with grocery shopping for neighbours or simply checked in on others to make sure they are coping. PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley said: “This has been a difficult year for so many people and we, like so many, have been amazed and heartened by the kindness we’ve seen. On the run-up to Christmas, we want to put a spotlight on those who have been selfless and supportive and who, quite frankly, deserve a bit of a treat. I have no doubt it’s going to be a difficult choice choosing just 12 winners.”
Ex-Fuller’s boss Jonathon Swaine hired as an adviser to Bohem Brewery: Former Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine has taken an adviser role with Bohem Brewery. The north London-based brewer will use Swaine’s experience in the sector to support the growing Czech-style beer business. Swaine, who is managing director, retail, of Rank Group, will also help with further expanding Bohem’s distribution. Bohem Brewery co-founder Petr Skocek said: “We’re delighted that Jonathon is working with us to support the brewery’s growth. This is a challenging time for the whole sector, but Jonathon’s willingness to come on board is testament to the fact that we have a very distinct proposition in the market. Our fresh, authentic lager offers a point of difference, and having access to the advice and contacts of someone of Jonathon’s calibre is a huge benefit as we focus on continuing our carefully managed strategy for growth.” Swaine added: “I’m delighted to support Petr and the team at Bohem Brewery, having long been an admirer of its high-quality, and differentiated lager. The business has an exciting future and I am honoured to be asked to play my part in its growth.” The brewery is based in Tottenham and has its own taproom in nearby Bounds Green. Bohem beers are the “house pour” lager in the Mother Kelly’s and Craft Beer Co bar brands. Privately owned Bohem is backed by a small group of investors.
Everyman appoints advisers to assist with landlord talks: Cinema operator Everyman has appointed financial advisers as it assesses the impact of the coronavirus shutdown on its finances. The company, which has 35 sites, has appointed FTI Consulting to assist it in talks with landlords during the coming months, reports Sky News. It joins a list of major cinema operators – including Cineworld, Vue and Odeon – to draft in corporate finance experts to help weather the covid-19 crisis. Everyman has reduced its pipeline of venues since the start of the pandemic, although it still plans to open eight new cinemas in due course. Everyman raised £17.5m from a share placing in April in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet. It said earlier this month: “All appropriate measures are in place to reduce the financial impact of the closure on the group, including the reduction of operating costs and the postponement of new sites, refurbishments and other capital expenditure projects, together with accessing government support schemes where available.”
Mobile ordering app Fetch raises £1m: Mobile ordering app Fetch has exceeded its seed funding target of £150,000 by raising £1m. It includes investment from entrepreneur Andrew Harman, of Strive Capital. Following the deal, Fetch plans to further develop its technology, which has already seen it incorporate instant ordering through App Clips, so customers can tap and go without the need for downloading the app. Fetch co-founder and chief executive Jason Jefferys said: “We’re delighted to have received such considerable investment and that others see the potential in Fetch. Strive Capital has made a significant investment in Fetch and Andrew has been hugely successful with his other tech businesses. He brings a lot of experience and guidance to help us succeed in our mission to be the number one order and payment solution.”
London-based restaurants launch delivery options: London-based fried chicken shop Billy & The Chicks has returned for delivery. Billy & The Chicks is now on Deliveroo, and soon to be on UberEats and Just Eat, with a streamlined menu, delivering to customers in the Southbank and Canary Wharf area. The offer includes its fried chicken burgers – The Classic Chicken Burger and The Stinger Burger – spicy hot wings, chicken pieces, boneless breast strippers, and sides such as barbecue beans and coleslaw. Meal deals are also available. Meanwhile, all-day Australian restaurant Milk Beach, in Queen’s Park, west London, has launched a burger and pie delivery menu. It is available Wednesdays to Sundays on its website and includes the Larrikin Leadbeater burger – HG Walter grass-fed British beef, emmental cheese, streaky bacon, caramelised onions, Clarence Court egg, beetroot, lettuce and tomato; and the Vietnamese fish curry pie. Milk Beach has also teamed up with St John Bakery to offer its doughnuts. Milk Beach also operates a takeaway shop from its Lonsdale Road premises that is open Wednesday to Sunday and has launched online sales of its single origin coffee. BAO and Bleecker have teamed up to offer nationwide delivery on their new collaboration – the Bleecker BAO Made-by-you Kit. With this limited edition option that runs until the end of November, visitors to the BAO website can buy six BAOs, six 4oz Bleecker burger patties (halved to create doubles), with American cheese slicves, Bleecker seasoning, Bleecker house sauce, BAO hot man sauce and onion. It’s enough to serve two people and costs £30 plus delivery fees. Soho restaurant and bar Folie has launched Petite Folie – a new patisserie brand that delivers desserts across London through delivery company Supper. Head pastry chef Valérie Morton and executive head chef Christophe Marleix have designed a menu that offers classics such as vanilla mille-feuille with salted caramel, apple tarte tatin, hazelnut and almond Paris-Brest plus chocolate and lemon tarts for up to eight guests. Customers can also pick up their pre-orders from the restaurant. Premium Japanese restaurant Bisushima in the Page 8 hotel, overlooking Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square, which managed to open for just two days before lockdown, is offering a new delivery service from the launch of its à la carte menu, which includes premium quality fish and seafood such as wild sea bass sashimi with shisho and Tosazu shiso dressing; mackerel tatsuta with salsa and shiso dressing; and grilled live fresh Water eel kabayaki donburi.