Boparan Restaurant Group set to complete deal for Carluccio’s: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), the Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Slim Chickens operator, is on the verge of completing a deal for the Carluccio’s brand and 30 of its sites. The deal is expected to see the jobs of just under half of Carluccio’s 2,000 staff saved. Geoff Rowley and Phil Reynolds, partners at FRP Advisory, were appointed joint administrators of Carluccio’s at the end of March. Propel understands BRG is paying about £2m for the brand, its online shop and 30 sites. It is thought it will look to convert some of the Carluccio’s sites to its Slim Chickens brand, of which it is the master franchisee in the UK. It is thought it had been initially looking to take up to 47 of Carluccio’s 71 sites. Propel understands offers have been put forward for smaller packages and individual sites from the remaining 41 that remain with the administrators.
KFC to have 500 sites reopened by the end of this week: KFC is to have 500 sites reopened across the UK – about 50% of its restaurants – by Friday (22 May), for delivery only. The company, which has already reopened more than 100 sites for either drive-thru or delivery, reopened 16 of its restaurants for takeaway orders last week. KFC emphasised it was being careful in how it managed reopenings, with strict new rules and hygiene measures in place. KFC UK managing director Paula MacKenzie said: “This next stage allows us to continue to provide wider access to hot food for those who need it most, whether that’s key workers after a long shift or those working from home who need a quick, affordable dinner for the family. I’m hugely appreciative of our team members who have returned to work – it’s a challenging time for everyone, but we’re so glad to play our part in helping to feed the nation.” The company said the newly opened restaurants also mean it can donate more of its food to the NHS and key workers. It said: “We’ll be able to continue to deliver 10,000 meals a week in partnership with Deliveroo – to add to the 13,000 we’ve already donated.”
Corbin & King to top up staff pay to 80% this month following generosity of customers buying vouchers in advance: Jeremy King, co-founder of London restaurant operator Corbin & King, has said the “overwhelming” generosity of customers buying dining vouchers in advance means the company can pay staff 80% of their wages this month – “but unfortunately we still have a long way to go”. King asked customers earlier this month to buy vouchers to support staff and “keep redundancies to a minimum” as it could not continue topping up their pay without putting the future of the company in jeopardy. The company gives 50% of each voucher sale directly to staff to help “alleviate the desperate situation many are finding themselves in”. Some customers have chosen to donate money to staff without buying a voucher. King has written to customers to thank them for their support and included a video from employees “to give you an idea of what the support means to them”. King said: “We have already been able to cover this month’s top up on salary to the 80% level we were seeking – but unfortunately we still have a long way to go. I can’t tell you enough just how much this has meant to Chris (Corbin), myself and all the staff. It has given them such a fillip, and hope, in the most trying of circumstances. We will be forever grateful.” Customers can still buy vouchers for any amount they wish and they can be redeemed in all restaurants across the group without any time limit.
Goodbody – M&B will need to secure further waivers with debt holders: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has said Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) will need to agree further waivers with debt holders given pubs and restaurants will be shut until at least July. M&B said the waiver agreed with lenders to avoid a breach of its financing terms had been extended for three weeks, until 8 June. It comes after the company announced the waiver to 15 May in mid-April because the closure of its pubs and restaurants during the coronavirus might cause a breach of its financing arrangements. Ruddy said: “While it offers some respite the wavier has been granted, and at this point it appears largely technical in nature, the group will need to agree further waivers with debt holders particularly considering pubs are unlikely to reopen before 4 July.” The government has said some hospitality businesses in England could be allowed to reopen in early July if they can keep people apart to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Moto to launch click-and-collect food ordering service: Moto, the UK’s largest motorway service area operator, is launching a click-and-collect food ordering scheme at 48 of its sites. The service will include Moto’s on-site brands and will start with the company’s Burger King outlets. Customers will eventually be able to use a mobile phone to browse the menus of Moto’s food brands, select a site and pick-up time, and pay for their order. Their food will be ready at the specified time at a special collection point or it can be delivered to their vehicle. Orders will be able to be placed with multiple outlets, allowing collection times to be synchronised. The launch takes place in June with a pilot scheme at Burger King outlets, with other food brands to rapidly follow. Moto IT director Guy Latchem said: “It’s our goal to provide an exemplary service and go that extra mile, ensuring guests enjoy their experience with us. Our new click-and-collect service will help us achieve this, removing the least enjoyable part of any motorway service area – the queue – and providing guests with the smoothest of customer journeys.”
Intu seeks debt standstill as lock-down takes toll: Shopping centre operator Intu is seeking standstill agreements from its lenders as it battles for survival after a collapse in rent payments from retailers. The company said it was likely to breach its debt commitments at the end of June as the stock market turmoil and downturn in the property market made it impossible to raise new funds. It is the latest warning from the debt-laden company, which was struggling before the coronavirus crisis. Its shopping centres remain largely closed until at least 1 June, with only essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies allowed to open under the UK’s coronavirus restrictions. Intu said the speed of recovery once the UK emerged from the lock-down remained unclear. The company is therefore seeking standstill agreements from its creditors – whereby Intu would not have to pay back borrowings – until the end of 2021, with a pay-if-you-can interest agreement, to provide stability until the property markets settle down. It had previously secured waivers from some lenders to prevent breaches of its debt commitments until 26 June. Intu said at the start of the month it had collected 40% of the rent due by the end of March, up from 29% collected on the due date, and vowed to get tough with large well-capitalised tenants who were refusing to pay their rent, including potential legal action. “There can of course be no certainty as to whether any standstill can be achieved with all or some of the group’s creditors, or as to the terms,” Intu said.
Deep Blue to begin reopening Harry Ramsden sites: Deep Blue Restaurants, owner of the Deep Blue and Harry Ramsden brands, is to begin reopening its Harry Ramsden sites on Wednesday (20 May). The company will open the sites in Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne for takeaway only. Deep Blue said teams in its seaside locations are used to dealing with large numbers during busy periods so believes these three sites are best placed to reopen since the restrictions on the public have been eased. Chief executive and founder James Low said: “We are expecting to attract a lot of people who have been looking forward to spending some quality time with their families and enjoying fish and chips on the beach. This prolonged period of isolation has been very challenging for many and we want people to enjoy their outdoor leisure activity, while adhering to the rules and respecting one another.” All three sites will have strict social distancing measures in place and sanitising stations for customers entering and leaving the store. Deep Blue has already reopened seven of its eponymous outlets for takeaway only.
Cafe Murano and Ormer launch delivery and collect services: Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett has launched a delivery and collect service for her Cafe Murano brand. Operating from the group’s latest restaurant to open – in Bermondsey, south east London – a selection of ready-made meals and fresh pasta dishes are on offer. There is also make-your-own risotto and pasta kits alongside produce such as salami and a selection of wine, including Hartnett’s own-label wine. Orders can be placed throughout the week. Delivery and collections are available Thursday to Sunday between 1pm and 3pm. Delivery is available within a three-mile radius of the Bermondsey Street restaurant. Meanwhile, Mayfair restaurant Ormer is to launch delivery and collection service, Ormer At Home. Available from Wednesday, 27 May, it will offer the restaurant’s high-end, seasonal British dishes alongside wine, beer, cocktails and champagne. Ormer At Home will be available Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 10pm and Sundays from noon to 7pm. Delivery will be available within a three-mile radius of the Half Moon Street restaurant through Supper and Deliveroo.
Patty & Bun extends DIY burger kit delivery nationwide: Patty & Bun, the better burger concept led by Joe Grossman, has extended delivery of its “Lockdown DIY Patty Kit” nationwide. The company, which has joined forces with its meat supplier, butcher HG Walter, was initially selling the kit within the M25. Meat and plant-based DIY kits are available. The meat-based kit features Patty & Bun’s HG Walter beef patties, brioche buns, a mini squeezy bottle of smokey Patty & Bun mayo, cheese slices, and the home-made pickled and smokey onions. Meanwhile, the vegan kit has two vegan patties, four plant-based patties, rashers of “This Isn’t Bacon”, vegan cheese slices as well as the bottle of mayo and the home-made pickled and smokey onions.
Further operators sign for development at former Young’s brewery in Wandsworth: Family-owned Mai Thai Deli is to double up in Wandsworth, south London. The business is to open a 1,050 square foot site at the Ram Quarter development after agreeing a deal with developer Greenland. It adds to Mai Thai Deli’s existing site in the Southside Shopping Centre. Specialist craft beer bar Schooner – which also serves wine, spirits and a small plates menu – has taken a 20-year lease for a 1,500 square foot unit on the development’s riverside terrace on the bank of the River Wandle. They are two of four deals that Greenland has agreed at its redevelopment of the former Young’s brewery as a new leisure, workplace and residential quarter with more than 700 new homes. Visa and consular services business TLScontact is relocating its London operations to Ram Quarter, taking 16,000 square foot of office space, while men’s barber Dapper Fox is also joining the scheme. It follows a series of openings earlier this year, including neighbourhood fine dining restaurant London Stock, the second outlet for local independent cafe Story Coffee, and nursery Kido School. Backyard Cinema and MoreYoga have also launched while independent brewer Sambrook’s and bowling operator Strike are due to open later this year. Bruce Gillingham Pollard and CBRE acted for Greenland.