Pure secures £3m CBILS, CVA links majority of rent costs to sales over a two-year period: Healthy food-to-go concept Pure has secured £3m from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) with Lloyds Bank to help it through the crisis, Propel has learned. The 21-strong company, which launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in September, said it entered into the agreement on 7 October with its creditors, which has linked the majority of rent costs to sales over a two-year period. On 23 March, in response to UK government guidance to close all hospitality and shops, the company announced it would temporarily close all of its 21 sites in London. It began a phased reopening of shops beginning in July and by September, 20 shops were trading. However, turnover was only at 30% of pre-pandemic levels. On launching the CVA, co-founder Spencer Craig told Propel: “We really did not want to do a CVA. It was the last option we considered. We took every other possible measure but, in the end, the lack of people in central London has led to an unsustainable position for us.” News of the CBILS came as the business saw its full-year turnover break through the £25m mark for the first time, in the 12 months to 26 December 2019. Full-year turnover stood at £25.7m, up from £19.1m in 2018, with four new sites opened during the period. The company stated: “2019 was the third year of a four-year growth strategy to triple the size of Pure from £11m sales in FY16 to £33m-plus of sales in FY20. We are delighted to report 2019 sales were on track to meet this target with sales growth of 34% and total sales in excess of £25m for the first time.”
Mowgli lines up Glasgow opening: Indian street food concept Mowgli has lined up its second site in Scotland, in Glasgow. Propel understands the 11-strong company, which recently confirmed it will open in Edinburgh, in the former Clydesdale Bank branch in Hanover Street, has secured the ex-Handmade Burger Co site in St Vincent Street in Glasgow. It is thought the company, which is backed by Foresight and led by Nisha Katona, has secured a new lease on the site. Last week, Mowgli founder Katona confirmed plans to open a site in Edinburgh on 22 January. She wrote on Instagram: “All being well, Cheshire Oaks (will open in) February and Bristol late spring, Edinburgh (on) 22 January. But I’m looking at whether to go to Glasgow, Brighton and Cheltenham in the next couple of years too.” At the start of November, the group, which is chaired by Karen Jones, secured a site in the McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, with the opening scheduled for spring 2021.
Egg-based fast casual concept EggRun to open first permanent sites, eyes 15 in next three years: Egg-based fast casual concept EggRun is preparing to open its first permanent site – and is eyeing a portfolio of 15 by the end of 2023. Laurent Manuel and Asher Grant launched the venture during the pandemic offering delivery only. Now the first permanent store will open at Monument, in Fish Street Hill, in early March. Manuel and Grant plan to open an initial three sites in the next 12 months and up to 15 in the next three years. Primarily grab-and-go, the Monument site will have just ten seats with a menu that will offer dishes such as scrambled eggs with caramelised onions, cheddar, chives and EggRun’s secret sauce; and the TacoRun with scrambled eggs, feta cheese, onion and lettuce – both served in a brioche bun and with the option of vegan eggs and cheese. Burgers will feature the New Yolker – a beef patty topped with a fried egg, crispy and caramelised onions, gherkins, tomato and secret sauce.
Spaghetti House operator developing delicatessen offer and attempting to expand takeaway business: London restaurant company Lavval Group, owned by the Lavarini family and operating the Spaghetti House brand, is developing a delicatessen offer and attempting to expand its takeaway business in a bid to increase revenue during the pandemic. The group, which operates ten sites, said the additional restrictions placed on the hospitality industry, along with its exposure to central London, has created “significant uncertainty”. However, the directors said the company has adequate resources to continue meeting its liabilities. The update was provided as Lavval Group reported turnover fell to £10.6m for the year ending 29 March 2020, compared with £11.3m the previous year. It reported a pre-tax profit of £1.3m, compared with a loss of £708,000 the year before.
High five for Over Under Coffee: Over Under Coffee will open its fifth site in February, in Clapham. The London-based brand said it is: “Buzzing to be bringing another coffee-till-cocktails site to the Over Under community. Our brand new site in Clapham Old Town will be the fifth Over Under site.” Customers can expect to find “seriously comfy sofas” when the site opens. Plans also incorporate “pumping tunes” and food that is “finger lickin’ good”. Over Under will be located at 25 The Pavement in Clapham. Its other coffee shops are in Earl’s Court, West Brompton, Wandsworth Town and Ladbroke Grove.
Lunar to double up with new Belgravia site: Pub company Lunar is to double up, with an opening in London’s Belgravia. Founders Hubert Beatson-Hird and Oliver Marlowe are building on their launch of The Hunter’s Moon in South Kensington with the opening of Ganymede. The 30-cover bar and 46-cover dining room is set to launch in Ebury Street in April. Named after the largest moon of Jupiter and the third largest celestial being in the solar system, Ganymede will offer modern-European cuisine. Dishes will include a foie gras parfait and scallop ceviche, and a sharing fillet of beef wellington alongside daily changing menus. Ganymede will also offer brunch on Saturdays and roasts on Sundays. Marlowe held executive chef positions at a number of pub groups as well as Michelin-starred restaurants The Glasshouse and Chez Bruce.
Aramark appoints new UK managing director: Catering company Aramark has appointed Helen Milligan-Smith as UK managing director. Her tenure will begin on Monday, 4 January, taking over from Lawrence Shirazian, who is leaving the business this week to pursue other interests. Milligan-Smith joins from Marks & Spencer, where she was head of Simply Foods. She has also worked for Brakes/Sysco and is a former head of retail at food-to-go operator Greggs. Aramark Northern Europe chief executive Frank Gleeson said: “We’re not just excited about the skillset, expertise and experience Helen will bring, but the character and personality we know will galvanise our entire business for the year ahead. She is a dynamic, and people-focused, leader, who gets culture, who delivers growth, who drives innovation, and who, notably, brings a wealth of experience in organisational strategy.” Milligan-Smith added: “I couldn’t be happier with the challenge and opportunity ahead with Aramark. I was really impressed with its growth agenda, innovation and the business aspirations for the year ahead. We know the consumer and industry has changed immensely in the past 12 months and I look forward to bringing my foodservice and food retail perspective to lead the next phase of the company’s UK growth.”
Cut The Mustard doubles up in Tooting: London-based independent cafe Cut The Mustard has doubled up in Tooting. The company has launched the venue in Franciscan Road, which is offering takeaway as a result of the tier three restrictions in the capital. The site is part-bakery, part-cafe. Its sourdough is at the heart of the bakery – with porridge, whole wheat and rosemary and polenta options all available. There are also daily made pastries and cakes while a brunch menu like at the original cafe will be offered when dine-in is allowed, reports Hot Dinners. Cut the Mustard opened its debut site in 2014 in nearby Moyser Road.
Signature Living launches football striker-inspired hotel, its second site opening in two weeks: Signature Living has opened its second hotel within a fortnight and has also launched The Pillow Club for safe party nights in. The Dixie Dean hotel in Liverpool city centre is now fully open following delays caused by the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of the pandemic, according to Lawrence Kenwright, co-founder and chief executive of the hotel and events group Signature Living. The luxury hotel has been completed after its conversion from being an office building. The grade II-listed former Jerome and Carlisle building, is themed around the legendary Everton football club goal scorer and is opposite sister hotel, The Shankly, named after Liverpool’s former manager. Meanwhile, Kenwright has also reopened another of his hotels in the city, The Arthouse, just a week after completing the multimillion-pound conversion of Rainhill Hall in St Helens as a wedding and events venue. The Dixie Dean’s 160-cover restaurant and bar, No.9, named after the striker’s shirt number, was opened in July 2019 and is now again also open to the public. As part of the hotel opening, an initiative has been launched to help it operate successfully called The Pillow Club. Signature Living dubs the club as being “the best night out, but in” for adult social bubbles that offers a live DJ feed to hotel rooms, allowing guests to enjoy a covid-safe night of entertainment. Kenwright said: “Completing a long ongoing project like the Dixie Dean hotel, especially after already opening Rainhill Hall this month is nothing short of amazing. With The Pillow Club, we are answering a need – our prospective guests are looking for unique, safe experiences and this gives us all a flag in the sand that we can look forward to that helps us all regain that feeling of living life.”
Tom Aikens to launch Instagram cookery channel in new year: Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, who operates Muse restaurant in Belgravia, will launch an online cookery school with a six-lesson course beginning in January. Called “Cooking with Tom Aikens”, the virtual lessons will be available via a members-only Instagram channel and will range from essential knife skills to making “show-stopping” dishes. The first course is Meat Free Mondays, which will take place on Monday evenings throughout January, February and March. It focuses on reducing meat consumption and learning new skills in plant-based cooking. The dishes being taught in the first series include salt baked beetroot Wellington (vegan); oven baked cabbage cannelloni; cauliflower tabbouleh and cauliflower pizza (vegan); roasted savoy cabbage, stilton, pear and pecan; and chia seed and red berry pudding, cardamom, cashew cream (vegan). Aikens said: “It has been an incredibly difficult time for our industry, but one positive that has come out of this is the interest in cooking and growth in the number of people wanting to learn new skills in the kitchen. We’re hoping to offer people the opportunity to cook good, healthy meals at home – something I feel really passionately about. I’m looking forward to meeting all our new members over Instagram in the coming weeks.” Further courses are planned throughout 2021.
Gulliver’s Kingdom reports turnover boost before pandemic hit: Family-run, four-strong theme park operator Gulliver’s Kingdom has reported turnover increased to £6m for the year ending 31 December 2019, compared with £5.5m the year before. Pre-tax profit fell slightly to £613,000 from £732,000 the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Turnover has increased due to the continued increase in the trading of the hotel, together with the continued popularity of the Adventurers Village and Explorers Retreat accommodation. The park turnover picked up to a similar level as 2017, however, this was matched by a drop in the Splashzone and Nerfzone attractions.” On the ongoing pandemic, the company added: “As an operator of accommodation facilities, linked to our group holding of theme parks, we are heavily reliant on public attendance at our venues. This has been severely hampered by the lockdown restrictions in place. We have utilised government schemes where possible to enable us to continue trading, control cash flow and retain staff. We have also made our accommodation facilities available to NHS staff.” Ray Phillips opened Gulliver’s Kingdom in Derbyshire in 1978, with sister sites in Warrington and Milton Keynes opening in 1989 and 1999 respectively. It then opened a venue in Rotherham earlier this year.
Nando’s opens third Coventry site: Nando’s has opened its third site in Coventry. The company has opened the restaurant at Arena Park, although it is only offering takeaway and delivery due to current coronavirus restrictions. It joins other brands at the complex including Burger King, food-to-go retailer Greggs, Pizza Hut and Subway, reports Coventry Live. Nando’s other branches in Coventry are in the city centre and Cross Point.
Ottolenghi pop-up wine shop open until Christmas Eve: Chef Yotam Ottolenghi has turned his Belgravia deli into a pop-up wine shop until Christmas Eve. Pierre Malouf, who is general manager of Nopi – Ottolenghi’s all-day brasserie in Soho – is behind the move because, according to Hot Dinners, he is a “complete wine guru and extremely dedicated to celebrating low intervention, natural wines”. The all-natural wine store is stocking a wide variety of sparkling wines including lambrusco, cremant, prosecco, champagne alongside artisanal digestifs, dessert wines and bottled cocktails like the Nopi Negroni and Rovi 75 – Ottolenghi’s twists on the Negroni and French 75. The wine shop is located at 13 Motcomb Street.