Leon working with advisors and landlords to find ‘right solution’: Natural fast food brand Leon has become the latest sector operator to confirm it is working with advisors and landlords in regards to its current rental levels. A Leon spokesman told Propel: “We are working collectively with consultancy firm Quantuma and our landlords to find the right solution for everyone.” It is thought the business will follow peer Pret A Manger in pushing to change to a turnover-based rent model. Pret, the JAB Holdings-owned business, announced at the weekend it had appointed advisors as it looks to undertake a “comprehensive transformation plan”, which could it see it try and change to a turnover-based rent model. It is thought this may lead to a limited number of permanent stores closures across Pret’s circa 430-strong UK estate. The company is working with professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal and property agent CWM to advise on aspects of the plan and to examine the best options to “adjust its business model in a new retail environment”.
West Berkshire Brewery launches £750,000 fund-raise to support growth, including ‘ambition plan’ for Maverick Pubs portfolio: West Berkshire Brewery, the David Bruce-chaired group, has launched a £750,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to support its growth, including an “ambitious plan” for the Maverick Pubs portfolio. The company is offering 9.35% equity in return for the investment, giving the business a pre-money valuation of £7.27m. The company already has £500,000 committed from existing shareholders and is hoping to significantly overfund. Propel understands the company had seen revenue increase to £6m-plus before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with revenue collapsing 85% by the end of March. However, it is understood the business has subsequently managed to recover, mainly through online beer sales and through packaging work from other bigger regional brewers. The company is now thought to be doing 65% of pre-coronavirus sales without any pubs being open, which accounted for most of its revenue, and without its own pubs and brewery bar. The money raised will also be used to launch a beer subscription box on the back of online success, plus sales and marketing support. West Berkshire Brewery managing director Tom Lucas said: “The past few months have been extremely tough for everyone, ourselves included, but despite these challenging times, we have been able to trade through and some parts of our business are in significant growth, which is testament to the extensive work we have completed in the past couple of years to establish a much bigger and multi-faceted business, which has positioned us well to weather the current storm. We are in a very positive place and ready to continue accelerating our business in the months and years ahead.” In February, Propel revealed West Berkshire Brewery was working with advisors as it explored options to secure additional finance. West Berkshire Brewery raised £1.8m in July 2019 to grow its brewing and pub operations. The company operates three pubs under its own vehicle – The Depot in Holloway, The Grapes in Oxford, and the Taproom & Kitchen at its brewery development – plus two London pubs, the Old Suffolk Punch in Hammersmith and The Oxford Tavern in Kentish Town under its Maverick Pubs joint venture with Downing Pubs.
Individual Restaurants launches delivery/collection service and at-home range:Individual Restaurants, which operates 30 sites under the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, has launched a delivery and collection service out of selected sites, and developed an at-home range, Propel understands. The company, which parted company with managing director Vernon Lord earlier this year, has launched Piccolino2Go out of its Piccolino restaurants in Alderley Edge and Virginia Water, offering free delivery within a five-mile radius. At the same time, the business, which also operates a joint venture with chef Gino D’Acampo, has launched its at-home service, which features frozen dishes from its menus, freshly prepared by its executive chefs. There is a minimum order of £75 per delivery, while a £7.50 delivery charge applies.
Frontier Pubs starts offering delivery and click-and-collect: Frontier Pubs, the partnership between Ei Managed Investments and the Karen Jones-led Pioneer Hospitality, has begun offering a delivery and click-and-collect option out of some of its ten-strong estate. Propel understands the London-based company has begun working with OrderSwift to offer click-and-collect from The Norbiton in Kingston, and The Rose & Crown in Tooting Bec. The sites are open from Wednesday to Friday between 4pm and 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9pm for delivery, click-and-collect and grab-and-go. The company is also offering delivery through Deliveroo at its Chandos site in Honor Oak. The sites are offering pizzas, wine by the bottle, and a selection of beer and cider.
Deep Blue to reopen three further Harry Ramsden sites on Wednesday: Deep Blue Restaurants, owner of the Deep Blue and Harry Ramsden brands, is to open a further three Harry Ramsden sites for takeaway and delivery on Wednesday (3 June). The restaurants in Blackpool, Great Yarmouth and Swanage will reopen following on from the brand’s Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne outlets last month. The sites have reduced opening times and social distancing measures in place. Deep Blue chief executive and founder James Low said: “We have been keen to reopen gradually to ensure our team has time to adjust and we can make the necessary changes to our operational practices. The locations we have reopened have extremely well under the current circumstances and we hope to continue this success with Blackpool, Great Yarmouth and Swanage.” The company began reopening its eponymous restaurants at the start of May and the majority of the 35-strong Deep Blue estate will be open by this week.
Shoot The Bull lines up Hull opening for Solita: Yorkshire-based event and food and beverage operator Shoot The Bull, which earlier this year acquired the two remaining Solita burger and steak restaurants in Manchester for an undisclosed sum, has lined up an opening in Hull for the brand. The Chris Harrison-led business is to take over the 1884 Wine and Tapas site on the city’s quayside. The site is set to open for takeaway and delivery, before a planned full reopening, government restrictions permitting, next month. In March, Shoot The Bull said it planned to immediately grow the Solita brand, with a new home in Call Lane in Leeds. The Solita business fell into liquidation in February 2019, with its Prestwich closing in June. Owner Simon Pogson started again under a new company name, SP Restaurants, and retained the Northern Quarter and Didsbury sites, as well as the El Taquero Mexican restaurant in the city centre, which closed last month. Shoot The Bull currently operates The Old House pubs in both York and Hull, Shoot The Bull in Hull Truck Theatre and the Rotisserie & Grill at the Kommune food court in Sheffield.
Pure to reopen more sites for takeaway and delivery: Healthy food-to-go group Pure is to reopen a further four of its 21-strong, London-based sites for takeaway and delivery from Tuesday (2 June). The company, in which Whitbread has a 51% stake, reopened its outlet in Moorgate at the end of April after it conducted a survey of its customers and teams to find out their concerns about the business reopening. It will now reopen its sites in Hammersmith, Waterloo station, Victoria station and Baker Street, while also adding a takeaway option to the Moorgate site. The company said: “For our customers, it was about the safety of the food preparation and the delivery itself. We have designed a menu based on what our customers said they wanted for delivery, including groceries.”
Elite Bistros to launch cook-at-home meal service: Chef Gary Usher has announced his Elite Bistros business is to launch a cook-at-home meal delivery service, which he hopes will be available nationwide. Taking to Twitter, Usher, who operates restaurants including Sticky Walnut in Chester, Hispi in Didsbury and Kala in Manchester, said in a video: “We’ll be taking all the hassle out of cooking at home. We’ve seen a few other restaurants and chefs doing it and it seems like a great idea. We won’t be doing takeaway. We’re not trying to get our hot food to you. We’re going to be packaging up a bit of prepped food with some really easy-to-follow instructions and a couple of videos by me showing you how to recreate what we do in Elite Bistros at home.”
Bundobust launches online beer bottle shop: Indian street food and craft beer restaurant Bundobust has launched an online beer bottle shop. Patel’s Off Licence, named after co-founder Mayur Patel, launched as a trial over the last bank holiday weekend, with the purpose to sell Bundobust’s existing stock and to generate some income while the restaurants are closed. The majority of beer sold out within two hours, which prompted Patel and business partner Marko Husak to restock with the pair planning to keep Patel’s Off Licence online permanently. The selection will change regularly with new brews landing in the shop twice a week, including some experimental beers. Delivery is available nationwide. Bundobust is also offering rewards to customers, including dishes that will be redeemable once Bundobust can open again for dine-in at its three restaurants – in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. Husak said: “Seeing as the customers can’t come to us, we thought we’d go to them. We thought the bottle shop would be a good way to sell existing stock generate a bit of income, and most importantly to connect to our customer base.”
Bravo Inns co-founder joins Hawthorn Leisure as non-executive director as Gerry Carroll steps down: Hawthorn Leisure, the community pub company of NewRiver, has announced the appointment of Ken Buckley as a non-executive director. Buckley joins the board alongside chief executive Mark Davies, chief financial officer Matt Ward, chief operating officer Edith Monfries and non-executive chairman David Lockhart. Buckley co-founded Bravo Inns, a community pub company with 44 pubs, in 2007. Bravo Inns joined Hawthorn Leisure’s managed estate in December when it was acquired by Hawthorn for £17.9m, and since then, Buckley has been working as an advisor and supporting the integration. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the UK pub sector. Gerry Carroll has informed Hawthorn Leisure of his decision to step down from the board as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Davies, said: “Ken has always been a champion of wet-led community pubs, and his expertise will be a great help to myself and the board as we move forward.” Buckley added: “I’m looking forward to taking on this new role and supporting the company through what will undoubtedly be a period that presents not just challenges, but also opportunities, for the sector.”
Bao to launch home kits for delivery: Taiwanese concept Bao is launching home kits for delivery. Available to order from next Monday (8 June) within the M25, the kit will feature six ready to steam baos as well as all the elements needed to build their namesakes. Boxes of plain baos will also be available to buy separately and in July the store will begin to sell limited editions of its bao bakery goods. The home kits will be on Bao’s online convenience store, Convini, with delivery outside the M25 available from July. The one-stop shop will also sell non-perishable food and drink, ranging from Taiwanese loose teas and curry bars to bottled cocktails, XU gin and Bao beer.
Lyle’s team to launch takeaway brand ASAP Pizza: James Lowe and John Ogier, the team behind Michelin-starred Lyle’s and Borough Market wine bar and bakery Flor, are to launch a pizza takeaway brand called ASAP Pizza. Launching on Wednesday, 10 June, the company said the new venture is borne from the pair’s long-standing plans to open a larger bread and pizza-led restaurant, and the necessities and pace of a post-coronavirus world. The new brand’s delivery radius will include parts of London Bridge, Southwark, Elephant & Castle, and Kennington. It said the new brand will have a “New York-style vibe” and will operate from the Flor kitchen at Borough Market’s Bedale Street via click-and-collect and Deliveroo and will bring the duo’s take on “sourdough pizzas made with heritage British wheat”. It will also offer a tight range of small plate dishes including burrata, asparagus and preserved lemon; plus a number of desserts.
Lebanese Bakery to open two new delivery sites: Lebanese Bakery, the Qoot Restaurant Group-operated brand, is to open two delivery sites, in London’s Crouch End and Islington. Available through Deliveroo, the company said it had “handpicked our bestsellers” to be delivered, including warm Manousheh filled with fresh cheese, meat, and vegetables; traditional “Kaak” Lebanese bread with sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme; salads with pomegranate and muhammara, and sweet Maamouls filled with pastry, dates, pistachios and walnuts. The creation of brothers Samer and Bassam Chamoun, the concept opened its first London site in Covent Garden in May 2019 and a second site is due to open in Harrods later this year.
Folie launches delivery and click-and-collect: Folie, the restaurant and bar in London’s Soho, has launched a delivery and click-and-collect service. Founder Guillaume Depoix has specially designed the Folie to Go menu, which features dishes focusing on the Italian and French Riviera, as well as a drinks offer including wine, spirits and a selection of ready-to pour cocktails. The menu, which sources and champions seasonal ingredients from small-scale UK farmers, and fish from day boats in Cornwall and Devon. Dishes include confit lamb shoulder with confit garlic; and chilled salmon, steamed vegetables and aioli. The menu is available for delivery through Supper or collection from the restaurant in Golden Square. It is available Tuesday to Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm until 9.30pm, with plans to open on Sundays in the foreseeable future. Delivery is within a radius of 2.5 miles from the restaurant.
SpiceBox to launch nationwide recipe box delivery service: SpiceBox, the London-based vegan curry house concept, is launching a nationwide recipe box delivery service. From Wednesday (3 June) the business will be offering boxes filled with the ingredients to make its curries such as tikka masala or cashew and coconut, plus a recipe card. Deliveries will be made on Thursdays and Fridays and each box will feed four people. Founder Grace Regan has created accompanying YouTube recipe videos, which will be live on SpiceBox’s YouTube channel. SpiceBox is already offering a delivery and click-and-collect service from its restaurant in Walthamstow.
Bespoke to open second Hotel Brooklyn, in Leicester: Bespoke Hotels is to open its second Hotel Brooklyn site, in Leicester. The 191-bedroom hotel, restaurant and bar is set to open in summer 2022 and follows the launch of its Manchester sibling in February. The new hotel will be located beside the expanded Welford Road Stadium – home to Leicester Tigers rugby team. As with its Manchester site, Hotel Brooklyn in Leicester will pay homage to the New York borough from the early 20th century to the present day with the versatile dining offer showcasing both European and American influences.