GG Hospitality to embark on Hotel Football roll-out: Winston Zahra, the new chief executive of GG Hospitality, which is co-owned by former Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, has told Propel it plans to roll out its Hotel Football brand globally in the years ahead. Zahra said the company’s immediate focus would be on growing Hotel Football within the UK, although he added it was “open to opportunities” overseas. Zahra said the Cafe Football brand would be an intrinsic part of the Hotel Football offering and the main food and beverage offer within each hotel. Zahra, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and was previously co-owner and chief executive of Malta-based Island Hotels Group, said: “Our main focus is growing the Hotel Football brand and that is what we are working on at the moment. The plan is to make Cafe Football the food and beverage offer for Hotel Football instead of opening more standalone sites. We are not going to rush the process because we want to get it right, but we feel we are ready to move on to our second and third hotel sites for the concept. The fundamentals of the Hotel Football brand are very strong. In Gary and Ryan you also have two very well known and respected people, not only in the football world but in the business world. Their winning mentality is what attracted me to the group and forms the basis of the culture internally. There is a great atmosphere and I feel privileged to be working with some great people in the city of Manchester.” GG Hospitality’s next planned opening is a hotel due to launch at the end of this year or in early 2019 at a former stock exchange in Manchester. The five-star boutique hotel will have 41 bedrooms. Zahra is part of a new executive management team at GG Hospitality, which has been appointed to lead its strategic growth. Andy Floyd has been brought in as chief financial officer from property development company Bruntwood, while Kate Greville has joined as head of PR and communications. They join group operations director Stewart Davies, who has been with GG Hospitality for more than three years.
Starbucks to form alliance with Nestlé to grow reach in packaged goods and foodservice sectors: Starbucks and Nestlé are proposing to form a “global coffee alliance” that would grow the reach of Starbucks brands in the consumer packaged goods and foodservice sectors. Subject to regulatory approval, the partnership would see Nestlé obtain the rights to market, sell and distribute Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks Reserve, Teavana, Starbucks VIA and Torrefazione Italia packaged coffee and tea in all channels. If approved the agreement, which excludes ready-to-drink coffee, tea and juice products, could close by early autumn. Nestlé would pay Starbucks $7.15bn in closing consideration, with Starbucks retaining a significant stake as licensor and supplier of roast and ground and other products. The Starbucks brand portfolio would also be represented on Nestlé single-serve capsule systems. Starbucks said it intends to use the after-tax proceeds from the up-front payment primarily to accelerate share buybacks, with expectations to return about $20bn in cash to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividends through fiscal year 2020. The transaction is also expected to be earnings per share accretive by at least the end of fiscal year 2021, with no change to the company’s current long-term financial targets. As part of the perpetual global license agreement, Starbucks would lead in sourcing, roasting and brand management, with the companies working together on innovation and go-to-market strategies. Starbucks president and chief executive Kevin Johnson said: “This historic deal is part of our ongoing efforts to focus and evolve our business to meet changing consumer needs.” Nestlé chief executive Mark Schneider added: “This transaction is a significant step for our coffee business, our largest high-growth category. With Starbucks, Nescafé and Nespresso, we bring together three iconic brands in the world of coffee.”
Chick ‘n’ Sours ‘tests the waters’ in Brixton: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours has told Propel it is “testing the waters” in Brixton. The company will launch a pop-up on Thursday (10 May) at a site in Coldharbour Lane that was formerly occupied by Bengali restaurant Calcutta Street. Co-founders Carl Clarke and David Wolanksi said they had always wanted to open a site in Brixton and the space, running until Sunday, 3 June, would “test the waters” for a possible permanent site. The venue will feature a restaurant and development kitchen, with items added to the “Made In Brixton” menu during the month. Dishes that prove popular will “shape the menu” at the Chick ‘n’ Sours site in Haggerston, which is due to reopen in mid-June to feature late-night bar Sub Culture. Clarke said: “If Noma can go to Mexico, we can go to Brixton! We’ve always felt Chick ‘n’ Sours would fit in this vibrant part of south London. We’ve got some Chick ‘n’ Sours classics on the menu but the exciting bit will come in the form of these new creations.” Last month, Clarke and Wolanski announced they would remodel CHIK’N in Baker Street to bring their single-site concept closer in style to the Chick ‘n’ Sours brand, which launched in 2015 with a sister site opening in Seven Dials the following year.
San Carlo Group reveals more details of next month’s Regent Street launch: Italian restaurant group San Carlo has revealed more details of the restaurant it will open in London’s Regent Street early next month. The 130-cover venue will open at a site formerly occupied by Spanish restaurant Bilbao Berria. Alberico Penati will head the kitchen at the new San Carlo site. He previously worked at Ristorante Carpaccio, the first Italian restaurant in France to win a Michelin star. His menu will feature Italian ingredients such as veal from Tuscany, beef from Piedmont and tomatoes from Sicily. Dishes will include monkfish stewed with shallots and broad beans, and tagliolini with crab and artichokes. The interiors will feature rare marble cut from specially selected blocks and more than 600 hand-made brass rosettes. San Carlo Group managing director Marcello Distefano said: “The Crown Estate’s £500m investment in the St James’s area has attracted some of the best names in international cuisine and we are delighted to be part of this. The fact we will also be working with Alberico Penati, one of the great Italian chefs, makes this new venture even more exciting.” The group operates 20 restaurants in the UK and international sites in Qatar and Bangkok, with a Cicchetti site due to launch in Bahrain soon.
East London distillery sets £1.5m crowdfunding stretch target after passing £1m mark: Gin, vodka and whisky distillery East London Liquor Company (ELLC) has set a stretch goal of £1.5m after passing the £1m mark in its fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, which is listed in more than 1,000 UK accounts and exports to 20 markets, hit its initial £750,000 target within 24 hours of launch as it offered a 4.76% equity stake in return for investment to drive growth in the UK and abroad. So far, 517 investors have pledged £1,059,710 and the campaign is overfunding with 23 days remaining. ELLC stated: “To ensure we honour all ongoing discussions with potential investors, we will be closing our Crowdcube campaign at £1.5m.” In the three years since it was founded, ELLC has sold 327,764 bottles of spirits in the UK, delivering £4.25m in sales revenue. The company is valued at £15m and will build annual bottle sales to 592,000 bottles in 2022, delivering sales revenue of £9.8m. The company’s five-year plan forecasts 1.8 million bottle sales during that period driven by 30% year-on-year growth. Total sales revenues for the five-year period will be £28.7m. The business will turn over £10.5m by 2020 (2017 turnover was £1.8m, 2018 estimated turnover is £2.5m). Alex Wolpert launched ELLC in April 2014. Barworks finance director Scott Chillery is also a founding shareholder.
MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up launches Leeds restaurant: MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up Matt Healy has launched a venture in Leeds after acquiring renowned restaurant The Foundry. Matt Healy At The Foundry has opened following a refurbishment of the grade II-listed building offering the best of seasonal British produce, with many of the dishes featuring five ingredients or fewer. Dishes include asparagus with wild garlic, peas, and duck egg; hake with confit fennel and charred clementine puree; and crème brulee doughnut. Healy said: “We’ve created a menu of simple food with big flavours. There’s a selection of small plates plus larger dishes and amazing puds and we’ll be offering a Sunday roast I’m proud to put my name to.” A number of parties made bids for The Foundry after owners Phil Richardson and Shaun Davies decided to sell up. Healy, who previously worked at El Gato Negro in Manchester and appeared on the BBC show in 2016, said at the time: “I’d been looking for a Leeds venue for a long time and when we heard The Foundry might be available we jumped at it. We’re looking to take The Foundry to the next level.”
Shake Shack abandons cashless kiosk concept following customer backlash: Shake Shack has reversed its decision to go cashless following a customer backlash. The company launched a cashless kiosk concept in New York in October but, after complaints from furious customers, the chain will have cashiers at all its new kiosk sites. Chief executive Randy Garutti told Business Insider UK: “There are people who have told us very clearly ‘we want to pay with cash’. So in this next phase we’re going to go ahead and have cashiers as well as kiosks.” Complaints included customers not knowing how to use the kiosk to order and the system that notifies customers when their burgers are ready not supporting non-US formatted phone numbers. However, a company spokesman said: “We are committed to digital innovation to better connect with our guests, delivering ongoing menu innovation and investing in our people and infrastructure to execute on the significant long-term opportunity ahead.” Shake Shack will add “four or five” new kiosks by the end of the second quarter, all with cashiers.
Scottish brewer WooHa launches crowdfunding campaign to boost US sales push: Scottish brewer WooHa has launched a £125,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to upgrade its packaging equipment and boost sales efforts in the US. The company is offering 2.44% equity in return for investment. The company’s beers are stocked in JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Company sites in the UK, while Wooha also exports to EU countries and the US, with its “bold, Scottish branding” mainly aimed at export markets. WooHa Brewing Company was founded in 2015 and moved to a larger, 6.2-acre site in the Highlands last year to “accommodate rapid expansion”. It aims to be selling its products through 14 distributors in the US by the fourth quarter of this year. The pitch states: “WooHa is all about big ambitions and showing the world Scotland produces great beer. WooHa has always had a focus on the export market – with the US its main target. The ethos and branding reflect the company’s proudly Scottish identity – WooHa isn’t just exporting beer, it’s exporting Scotland. WooHa can be found in Tennessee, California and Washington DC. We aim to launch the beer in Alabama, Texas, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The beers can also be found in Europe with distribution in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and most recently Norway. Domestically, WooHa is stocked in supermarkets that include Asda, Aldi and Ocado, bars including Wetherspoon and Stonegate, and restaurants across the UK. The new site has allowed capacity to increase five-fold. However, the volume of beer sold is limited by capacity of the current bottling line. WooHa is looking for funding to help finance new packaging equipment to remove this bottleneck and allow the company to continue to grow its international reach.”
Bacon sandwich street trader Le Swine to open debut bricks-and-mortar site, in Spitalfields this week: Bacon sandwich street trader Le Swine is to open its debut bricks-and-mortar site, in London’s Spitalfields this week. Le Swine, which started trading four years ago, will launch the venue in Lamb Street on Wednesday (9 May). James Packman came up with the idea of selling the perfect bacon sandwich to Londoners, with the venture backed by Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet. Alongside bacon rolls and sandwiches, the concept offers the Swine Burger, which is served in a gammon patty, and duck egg baps. New dishes are also planned for the “lunch crowd”, Hot Dinners reports. Le Swine has most recently been operating from its van at Bishops Square, Spitalfields, on Thursdays and Fridays.
Daniel Thwaites to move into new headquarters in August: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites is set to move into its new headquarters in August. In a break from more than 200 years of tradition, the company will leave Blackburn and move into an £8m, 12-acre facility in the Ribble Valley. It will feature a brewery, heritage centre and stables for the company’s shire horses, while Thwaites will also manage local woodland. Chief executive Rick Bailey told the Lancashire Telegraph: “It’s great to see this long-awaited project coming together. Every time I visit I see real progress. The buildings are nearly complete and we are starting to work on the internal fit-out. A lot of effort is going into the cottage, a listed building where our heritage centre, taproom and training facility will be located. We are retaining as many original features as possible. Best of all, our shire horses are getting a new home in a custom-built barn. We are already several weeks into installing our craft brewery. We will move into our new home in August. I know a lot of people are interested in what will happen to our current site once we move and we are in discussion with the council about best use of the land.”
Five Guys to open Chelmsford site in August a year later than planned: Better burger brand Five Guys is set to finally open its site in Chelmsford, Essex, a year later than planned. In April 2017, the company announced it would open the venue in High Street in August. However, a series of delays has meant the 76-cover restaurant won’t be ready until this August – as long as the building work goes to plan – creating 40 jobs. Five Guys will share the former NatWest bank site with a Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee and a Slaters suit store, Essex Live reports. Last month, Five Guys strengthened its presence in London by opening a site in Canary Wharf – the brand’s 23rd site in the capital and 82nd in the UK. Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, opening its first UK site in Covent Garden in 2013.
Soho delicatessen Lina Stores opens debut restaurant: Soho delicatessen Lina Stores has launched its debut restaurant. The 51-cover venue has opened in Greek Street set over two floors and offering a menu inspired by the Italian ingredients in its Brewer Street store, which was founded 75 years ago. Head chef Masha Rener’s menu focuses on the best Italian produce with all pasta hand-made at the deli on a daily basis. The drinks list at the 12-seater bar includes Italian wine and classic cocktails. The interiors, designed by Red Deer, are influenced by the original Lina Stores deli, while the bar features reclaimed pendant lighting and leather stools. Striped floor tiles lead guests to the lower ground floor, where a further 36 covers are divided between bar seating and banquettes. Rener said: “When Lina Stores was founded, Soho was home to a thriving Italian community of butchers, delicatessens, shops, restaurants and bars. Most of these independent businesses have closed but Lina Stores has remained a constant, a home from home for many Italians like myself. Our first restaurant will create another destination in which simple Italian cooking can be celebrated.”
Fish and chip operator Tasty Plaice opens fourth site, in Birmingham: Midlands-based fish and chip operator Tasty Plaice has opened its fourth site, in Birmingham. The restaurant has launched in Grand Central shopping centre, joining the family-owned brand’s other sites in Intu Merry Hill in Dudley, Intu Derby and Meadowfield shopping centre in Sheffield. Tasty Plaice has opened an 1,100 square foot restaurant with space for circa 40 covers. A new concept has also signed to launch a site in Hammerson-owned Grand Central – Harlem-influenced soul food brand Holy Moly Macaroni. The concept is the brainchild of Birmingham chef Anthony Duffy, who will open a 1,750 square foot restaurant opposite Tortilla. Holy Moly Macaroni has been operating at markets and festivals, with the Grand Central site its debut permanent location. Interiors at the 60-cover restaurant will include industrial elements and neon lighting. Duffy said: “We can’t wait to start serving our mac ‘n’ cheese dishes for Grand Central visitors to enjoy. The location itself is perfect for our debut.”
Brothers behind North East Brewing Company fail in £450,000 fund-raise to launch beer-pairing pub restaurant: Brothers Garry and Matt Fawson, who lead North East Brewing Company, have failed in their £450,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a pub restaurant that would focus on matching beer and food. The Fawsons were offering a 13.04% equity stake in the venture – Beeronomy – with a site earmarked for Newcastle city centre. The pitch stated: “Our vision is to create an environment to showcase award-winning craft beer from around the world, paired with food of exceptional quality. No matter how complex or refined the dish, we believe there is a terrific beer out there that will provide a perfect accompaniment. The restaurant and pub will be designed as a distinctive and comfortable environment appealing to discerning and adventurous consumers.”
Worthing-based pub operators move along the coast for third site: Brothers Matt and Tim Taylor and friend Darren Gearing, who operate two pubs in Worthing, West Sussex, are to open a third site, along the coast in Shoreham. The team, who have backgrounds in the cruise, brewery and hotel industries, run The Corner House in High Street and The Beach House in Marine Parade. They hope to repeat their success when they launch The Tap House in Shoreham’s East Street in early June. The pub will offer local ale, wine and an extensive gin menu alongside “good-quality food” such as gourmet burgers and mussels. As at their Worthing pubs, the Shoreham business will allow dogs, permit children until 7pm and offer a 20% discount for NHS employees. Gearing told the Shoreham Herald: “We have done really well in Worthing and we’re upbeat about Shoreham – it’s a great location. The curiosity factor is high. We try to be part of the local community and, because of that, the crowd we seem to attract is a nice mix. Shoreham is a lovely town, it’s really on the change.”
Leicester-based Johnny Custard opens second dessert parlour in city:Leicester-based Johnny Custard has opened its second dessert parlour in the city. The 50-cover venue has launched in Evington Road at a former pharmacy. The concept’s menu includes puddings, cakes, waffles, gelato, cookie dough, sundaes, milkshakes and hot drinks. The new store also offers additional menu items such as crepes and gluten-free options. Johnny Custard opened its debut site in Narborough Road and plans to grow to ten stores in the UK and internationally during the next few years. A spokesman told the Leicester Mercury: “We are delighted to finally open our second store in the city. The Johnny Custard brand is becoming famous for quality desserts and service. Our aim is to grow the brand across the UK and we are in advanced talks to take our concept internationally.”
Boxpark Wembley agrees terms for 75% of units, three-month waiting list for applications: Boxpark Wembley has agreed terms for 75% of its units. Operators to sign up include US chicken brand Wingstop, Shake Shack, and street food operators The Ugly Dumplings, Poptata and The Athenian. Boxpark said it had received unprecedented demand for units and was running a three-month waiting list for new applications. Opening later this year, Boxpark Wembley will be its largest venue to date. At the heart of the rapidly developing Wembley Park, the 24-unit, 2,000-capacity venue will feature independent food and beverage vendors, secured by agents CWM, alongside 20,000 square feet of events space. Units range from 500 to 1,800 square feet and the venue, a partnership with developer Quintain, will be Boxpark’s first fully indoor site. Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “There is a real mix of food offerings we think locals and visitors will enjoy.” Boxpark is currently seeking open land or vacant plots within mixed-use development schemes as it gears up for further expansion. “London and other major cities” are preferred, with space ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 square feet. Leasehold requirements are for a minimum of five years, but Boxpark said it would also consider freehold sites.
Flip Out to open Aintree site: Trampoline park operator Flip Out is to open at Aintree Racecourse Retail and Business Park in Merseyside. The company will open the 46,000 square foot arena in the summer, creating 60 jobs. It will comprise trampolines, a climbing wall, two cyber towers, a wipe-out zone, battle beams, a laser maze and a free-running area. Flip Out Aintree will also include a cafe and four party rooms. Entrepreneurs Gobind and Hardip Sohal, from Ormskirk, are behind the launch. Gobind Sohal told Insider Media: “This is a first for Merseyside and sees Aintree welcoming jumpers of a different kind. It’s the perfect location, blending the fun of a traditional trampoline arena with the excitement of an activity and adventure park.”
Camerons reopens Head of Steam site in Durham following refurbishment:Camerons Brewery has reopened its Head of Steam site in Durham following a full refurbishment. The venue has been updated to bring it in line with the style featured at its recently opened bars in Didsbury, Nottingham and Leicester. The Durham site, which first opened in 2009, has been enhanced with a new food menu including a selection of traditional British pub classics with a contemporary twist, plus stone-baked pizza, burgers, 12-inch hotdogs and the new “Besler Flight” – three snacks paired with three beers. There is a selection of cask ale and craft beer as well as premium cocktails, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Camerons Brewery chief executive Chris Soley said: “We have always loved The Head of Steam in Durham and were keen to enhance the already fantastic beer range with our popular new menu and comfier surroundings.”
Premier Inn trials ‘wedding vending machine’: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn is trialling a “wedding vending machine” at one of its London hotels. Designed to offer solutions to the ten most common wedding woes, the machine includes resizeable wedding rings, on-call dance teachers and make-up artists, and a gift set for forgetful guests. It also offers speech cue cards, a one-size-fits-all dress, a shirt and tie, hairstyling products and flip-flops. The machine is being trialled at London County Hall, one of the brand’s most popular wedding destinations, with a roll-out if it proves popular. Faizan Kazi, of Premier Inn London County Hall, told the Independent: “Every year thousands of wedding guests across the UK stay with us. We know how easy it is to forget something important or have a last-minute mishap.”