YO! to launch first virtual delivery brand: YO!, the global multi-channel, multi-brand Japanese and Asian food group, is to launch its first virtual delivery brand, called Lucky 7, Propel has learned. Lucky 7 is a “contemporary, quality pan-Asian fried chicken brand, which will specialise in higher welfare chicken burgers, wraps and wings”. The delivery brand will launch with a trial in mid-June through delivery partners, including Deliveroo, out of 11 YO! restaurants across the UK. The menu will include Asian influenced burgers such as The Katsu Curry One, The Korean Sweet Chilli One wrap, Kimchi Buffalo wings, Smokey Sesame BBQ tenders and Sweet Miso Corn as a side along with signature fries. Pricing for the new brand is still to be confirmed. It is understood the Richard Hodgson-led business believes Lucky 7 will give the group an opportunity to maximise at-home evening sales as that market continues to grow.
Cricket-based concept Sixes secures debut regional site: Sixes, the cricket-based competitive socialising concept from the founders of Mac & Wild, has secured its debut regional site, in Manchester. Propel has learned Sixes, which earlier this year secured a flagship site in London’s Great Portland Street, will open on the former Alston Bar & Beef site in Manchester’s Corn Exchange scheme, later this summer. Propel understands the group is also in talks on a further regional site. The concept is the brainchild of Mac & Wild founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, but run as a separate business from their restaurant operation. Launched briefly last December in Fulham’s Farm Lane, the business is backed by a number of former professional cricket players, including ex-England captain Sir Andrew Strauss. The concept features a cricket simulator, restaurant and bar. Will Biggart, of Torridon, acts for Sixes.
North west pub operators target ten-strong estate after taking on second site:North west pub operators Chris and Jon Nevin are targeting a ten-strong estate after taking on their second site in 16 months. The brothers are undertaking a joint £500,000 refurbishment with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars of The Bay Horse in Worsthorne, Lancashire. The pub, which has been closed for more than 18 months, will feature more drinking and dining space, a new private dining area and a heated and covered courtyard. The opening will create 30 jobs. It comes after the brothers reopened The Golden Lion in Rainford, which is also owned by Star Pubs & Bars, in 2020. Chris Nevin has more than 20 years’ experience in the pub industry, working as an area manager for Bass, Mitchells & Butlers, Travelodge, Spirit Pub Company and Greene King. His brother has complementary experience in IT and finance. Chris Nevin said: “Our plan is to build an estate of ten pubs in the medium term, taking on a new site every six months. We are interested in sites in locations across the north, from Cheshire and the Lake District to West Yorkshire and the North York Moors. Our business model is based on selecting sites with the optimal demographic guest base and transforming underperforming sites in suburban or village locations into businesses offering fresh food, premium drinks and excellent service.” Star Pubs & Bars business development manager Chris Newsham added: “The Bay Horse is a great pub in a fantastic village. It is sad it has been closed for so long but it was important the right operators take it forward.”
M&B to streamline board: Mitchells & Butlers is to streamline its board. Ron Robson, who joined the board in 2010 and is a nominated representative of the group’s largest shareholder, the Odyzean Group; Imelda Walsh, chair of the remuneration committee; and Colin Rutherford, chair of the audit committee – who both joined the board in 2013 – will all retire from the board at the end of July. Following these changes, the board will comprise non-executive chairman Bob Ivell, two executive directors (chief executive Phil Urban and chief financial officer Tim Jones), three independent non-executive directors (Susan Murray, who will remain as senior independent director; Jane Moriarty, who will assume the role of chair of the audit committee; and Dave Coplin, who will continue in his role as non-executive director nominated for representation of the “workforce voice”) and three non-executive directors representing the interests of the Odyzean Group (Eddie Irwin, Josh Levy and Keith Browne). An announcement in relation to the chairmanship of the remuneration committee is expected in the next few months while the office of deputy chairman, currently held by Robson, will not be continued. Ivell said: “By making these changes now, the smaller, more agile board is in line with the company’s stated intentions at the time of the equity raise and it can now focus on supporting and challenging management over the coming months as the business first recovers then moves forward again.”
Wright & Bell places Kitty Hawk and Lino into administration after failing to reach agreement with landlords: Restaurant and bar company Wright & Bell has placed its Kitty Hawk and Lino businesses into administration after being unable to reach agreement with landlords. The Imbiba-backed operator’s City businesses were said to have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with Kitty Hawk remaining closed since March 2020. Quantuma has been appointed as administrator. Wright & Bell managing director Sarah Clarke said: “We have been unable to reach a suitable agreement with our landlords so have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to appoint an administrator.” Other companies within Wright & Bell Holdings will not be impacted by the administration. These include Green Room, which was acquired in July 2020; new opening Marsha in Gabriel’s Wharf; and Whyte & Brown in Kingly Court. Clarke added: “We plan to continue to trade Lino, allowing time to realise its potential over the coming months. We would like to thank our incredible teams and all our stakeholders for their continued support and are looking forward to the future.”
Il Portico owners to launch sister site in Kensington: The owners of Il Portico, London’s oldest family restaurant, are to launch a new Italian restaurant and wine bar in the capital. Pino, which will offer Italian plates with a focus on Emilia-Romagna, arrives in Kensington on Tuesday, 29 June. The 60-cover site, which features an outside terrace for 52 people, was formerly Pizzicotto and is owned by James Chiavarini and his wife Marianna, who have run the Il Portico next door for decades. Named in homage to James’ father, Pino Chiavarini, who was part of the first wave of Italian restaurateurs, the whole ethos is heavily influenced by the family origins of the heart of the Italian food valley between Bologna, Parma and Modena. From the wood fired oven will come pizza and focaccia to share while other dishes will include Campari-cured salmon with caperberries and beetroot; and native Colchester oysters with house apple balsamic and tropea onion vinegar. The drinks list will include cocktails and wine. James Chiavarini said: “I want Pino to inject some life to Kensington’s dining out scene post covid. Pino is really a building on of everything our family has achieved at Il Portico – the solid, reliable, traditional Italian – by creating a fun, cheeky little sister restaurant.”
Daylesford Farm owner Lady Bamford confirms second pub opening: Carole Bamford, wife of JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford, has confirmed she is to open a second pub with rooms. As previously revealed by Propel, Lady Bamford, who also owns Daylesford Farm, has acquired The Fox in Lower Oddington, Gloucestershire. The 16th century inn will reopen at the beginning of next year serving a menu with classic pub dishes such as burgers, fish and chips and Sunday roasts, made with local organic ingredients. Seating up to 90 covers inside, a terrace will accommodate a further 40 people. The pub will house eight bedrooms, all decorated in Daylesford’s signature style, and The Coach House, opposite, will offer a self-catering alternative. Daylesford Farm is set in more than 2,500 acres of countryside. Recently awarded a Green Star by the Michelin Guide, the farm is home to the flagship farmshop, Bamford Wellness Spa and three restaurants – The Old Spot, The Trough Café and The Legbar. There is also a cookery school and a schedule of events. Lady Bamford acquired her first pub, the Wild Rabbit in Kingham in the Cotswolds, in 2013. It was for an undisclosed price by Colliers on behalf of previous owner Ian MacKenzie.
MasterChef the Professionals finalist Dean Banks to take over Pompadour in Edinburgh: MasterChef the Professionals finalist Dean Banks will take over the Pompadour restaurant at Hilton Hotels’ Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh. The venue, at the Caledonian hotel, is set to reopen on Wednesday, 9 June, and Banks has devised a new set menu to run between Wednesdays and Sundays using only Scottish produce. Banks said: “You think of iconic locations for food in the whole of Scotland and the legendary Pompadour is one of them.” The Pompadour first opened in 1925. It was run by the Galvins from 2012 until 2019 and has been somewhat separate to the hotel for some time. Banks was a finalist on MasterChef the Professionals in 2018 and was heading up Haar at the Kinnettles hotel in St Andrews before his latest venture. He said: “The concept has changed in that Haar is that relaxed dining idea of coming off the beach from walking the dog, whereas our Edinburgh restaurant is more refined. We still want to use the term ‘relaxed dining’ but want to make it even more premium, more of an occasion.” Emma Banks, vice-president, food and beverage strategy and development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “The opening of Dean’s restaurant at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh highlights our commitment to working with talented local chefs. As a company with a focus on responsible hospitality, we are also delighted to be partnering with a chef who has such a passion for locally sourced produce.”
Chef Joe Gould to take over kitchen at Glenapp Castle ahead of new restaurant launch: Chef Joe Gould will head up Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland, as the venue gears up to launch a new restaurant and events space. Gould will join as executive chef having been head chef at Fishmore Hotel in Shropshire, where he won the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs UK Young Chef of the Year award in 2015. Gould was also a senior sous chef at Lainston House in Winchester until 2016 and has cooked at Coworth Park in Ascot. Glenapp Castle is readying itself to unveil its new Azalea Glasshouse restaurant and events space, which is located in its walled garden. Glenapp Castle managing director Jill Chalmers said: “We are confident Joe will take the hotel and the food and beverage offering to new heights. We are committed to developing our offering and to growing our already flourishing business.”
Bespoke van that hosts changing line-up of chefs and street food traders becomes permanent part of Trinity Leeds: A new bespoke van that hosts a changing line-up of cooks, chefs and street food traders has become a permanent part of the Trinity Leeds shopping centre. Trinity Kitchen, which hosts food trucks and vans from across the country, has announced the van has taken up a place on its first floor. It also gives street food businesses the chance to be part of the kitchen without having to own a van. Josie Towning, food and beverage manager at Trinity Leeds, said: “Trinity Kitchen has transformed the idea of food courts, creating a unique concept and providing the perfect platform for independent street food traders. Now we’re going one step further and inviting up-and-coming cooks, chefs and foodies to showcase their talents without having to be an established brand with its own set-up. It’s also a chance for any restaurants or food businesses that might have struggled during lockdown or have had to close their doors to get back on the scene without having to fork out for any expensive overheads.”
New whisky distillery to launch in Wiltshire with team embarking on £3m fundraise to start production: A new whisky distillery is launching in Wiltshire with the team currently aiming to raise £3m with a view to starting production later this year. Alistair Munro, Alasdair Large and Jon Carson, who have a wealth of experience in the industry, are behind The Wiltshire Whisky Distillery Company that is setting up home on the Fonthill Estate, near Salisbury. Every ingredient will originate from the land upon which The Wiltshire Whisky Distillery Company stands and alongside the core whisky offering will be a series of botanical spirits and gin. The trio will be guided by an expert advisory board of industry experts including James Espey, who was awarded an OBE for services to the whisky industry in 2013; Alan Rutherford, who is former production director at Diageo; and Antonia Jamison, a founding director of Sipsmith. Munro said: “It is a dream realised to be building our distillery within such a culturally significant estate as Fonthill. Not only does it provide a rich backdrop for the development of our British brand, it also enables us to achieve our ambition of creating a highly sustainable, single-estate offering.” Fonthill Estate owner Lord Margadale said: “We look generations ahead with all our plans for the estate and could immediately see our long-term ambitions and values fit perfectly with those of The Wiltshire Whisky Distillery Company.” The Wiltshire Whisky Distillery Company aims to release the distillery’s first spirits in early 2022.
Pub snack brand backed by BrewDog co-founder closes second crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £800,000: Pub snack brand Serious Pig, which is backed by James Watt, co-founder of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has closed its second fundraise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising in excess of £800,000 – more than twice its original target. The company was aiming to raise £400,000 to “turbo-charge the business”, offering equity of 3.38%, giving it a pre-money valuation of £15m. It has now closed the campaign with 2,264 investors pledging £814,020. The company’s first raise in 2019 attracted more than 1,600 investors and raised £895,000 after setting an initial target of £350,000. Serious Pig said the capital raised allowed the company to expand its range, grow its sales and marketing operations, and helped to treble its revenues. Founder George Rice said: “Our first crowdfunding with Crowdcube was a huge success and gave us the ability to massively grow the business, despite the challenges of covid. Now, we want to build on our momentum and turbo-charge the business. Our plans are to invest in sales and marketing, move to a bigger and better site, add tasty new products to our range and become a more sustainable business.”
Fleet Street Communications appoints Robyn Black as senior editor and content strategist: Fleet Street Communications (FSC) has appointed experienced sector journalist Robyn Black to the new role of senior editor and content strategist. Black joins FSC having previously edited on-trade drinks title Imbibe, and enjoyed a number of other senior editorial roles at other publications. In her new role, she will support the company’s clients in the food, drink, hospitality and leisure sectors in creating content-led campaigns. FSC managing director Mark Stretton said: “Robyn brings an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience gained operating at a senior level in industry media for many years. As well as adding significant value to clients with fresh thinking, Robyn will bring first-hand insights from many years working at the sharp end of drinks journalism. Robyn’s appointment plays well to our strengths of sector specialisms, expertise and knowledge.” Black added: “FSC has long excelled at content generation and I am looking forward to using my two decades of experience as a trade journalist to take things to the next level for our clients.”