Red Oak Taverns acquires ten-strong Wells & Co package, finalising terms on £35m of new capital: Red Oak Taverns, the national pub operator founded by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell in 2011, has acquired a ten-strong package of leased and tenanted pubs from Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co. Red Oak Taverns said it was also finalising terms for additional capital of £35m to “take advantage of immediate investment opportunities”. The acquisition of the ten sites, which are all based in the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire areas, takes Red Oak’s estate to 190 pubs. The deal is the second for Red Oak since the start of the year, after it acquired three pubs from Reclamation Inns for an undisclosed sum last month. On the deal for the ten Wells & Co sites, Grunnell said: “These pubs are a mix of rural destination food venues and community pubs that are a perfect match for our business and we look forward to welcoming the tenants and their teams to Red Oak Taverns. Following this acquisition, we are finalising terms for additional capital of £35m to take advantage of immediate investment opportunities. The pandemic has in some part slowed our plans but with the additional funding and an established and focused team, we are ready to take our business through the next phase of its evolution.” Peter Wells, managing director of Wells & Co, added: “We’ve worked closely with the Red Oak team to ensure the handover is as seamless as possible and I’m confident these businesses will thrive under Red Oak. The sale enables us to focus on growing our managed sites both in the UK and France while leaving us with a quality portfolio of 170 tenanted pubs.” Wells & Co was advised by Simon Chaplin, of Christie & Co, on the sale.
Oakman fundraise closes at circa £4.4m, business overwhelmed by customer engagement: Oakman Inns, the Dermot King-led pub-restaurant operator, has raised circa £4.4m and welcomed about 300 new investors, through its latest funding round. The group’s chief investment officer Steven Kenee told Propel the 28-strong business has been overwhelmed by the success of the customer-focused fundraise and the customer engagement it generated. He also didn’t rule out reopening the funding round when the business was allowed to reopen its sites. He said: “Despite being closed and having limited touch points to engage with our customers, we’ve received applications for £4.4m of shares and welcomed almost 300 new investors into the Oakman family. What has been particularly pleasing is the level of engagement and the brand advocacy seen. It is great to raise the capital but the response from our consumers to the fundraise has been equally as important. They are desperate to use our sites and believe in what we are doing. This could eventually open up a new avenue of raising money for the business and bring in a lifestyle element.” Propel understands Oakman will use the new funding toward the purchase and development of its next seven sites and deliver £3m of additional Ebitda. The company has already secured five new sites and is in advanced negotiations on a further 12. The five sites, four of which are freehold, are a Beech House in Epsom, the Grand Junction in Buckingham, The Rose in Wokingham, a Beech House in Hampton Hill, and Bush Hall in Hatfield. Last month, Propel revealed Oakman had secured a former retail site in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, for another opening under its Beech House concept. The company paid £1.9m plus costs to acquire the ex-M&Co site in High Street from a private landlord. Propel revealed in December that Oakman was looking to tap into its customer base to raise further funding toward its next phase of growth, with an eventual aim of doubling the size of its existing estate by 2026.
Deliveroo on hunt for leasehold sites for new Editions kitchens: Deliveroo is seeking leasehold sites at regional locations and also in central and Greater London for its Deliveroo Editions brand. The “delivery only” kitchens will need to meet specific criteria. These include being between 3,000 and 10,000 square foot; a minimum of three metres height between the floor and ceiling; a dedicated power supply, gas and water mains supply plus foul drainage connection; unrestricted access and on-site or adjacent parking space; and a maximum one to two minutes’ walk from rider parking to dispatch. Deliveroo will pay £15,000 as a fee for all successful introductions. At the start of this year, Deliveroo said it planned to expand into circa 100 new towns and cities in 2021 across the UK as well as more than double its number of Editions sites globally.
La Nonna to open third London site, in Brixton: Fresh pasta concept La Nonna is to open its third site in London, in Brixton, Propel has learned. The concept, which is the brainchild of chefs Eduardo Wansbrough and Daniele Pino (ex-Chiltern Firehouse and Galvin), has secured a site in Brixton Market for an opening later this year. La Nonna currently operates sites in Flat Iron Square and Boxpark Shoreditch. Wansbrough and Pino also operate two sites under Spanish concept Edu, in London Bridge and Shoreditch. Will Biggart, of Torridon, which acted for La Nonna, said: “The pandemic is bringing the cream to the top and La Nonna’s addition to Brixton Market will only lead to strengthening the offer that is currently there.” Dominic Tixerant, of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, acted for the landlord on the deal.
Jollibee lines up Reading opening: Jollibee, the Philippines fast food group, has lined up a further opening in the UK, in Reading. Propel understands Jollibee is set to take over the former Artigiano Espresso & Wine Bar site in Broad Street. Meanwhile, Jollibee, which operates about 1,200 sites worldwide, selling fried chicken, spaghetti and burgers, is thought to have applied to open on the former Argos site in Newcastle city centre. Last month, the brand was granted permission to open a new site in Nottingham that will create 70 jobs. The branch will open in the city centre’s Clumber Street. The Nottingham outlet will be the brand’s fourth UK site. Late last year, the company announced it has openings planned for Edinburgh, Leeds, Cardiff and a flagship site in central London, after securing the ex-Bella Italia in Leicester Square.
Hello Oriental concept to launch in July at Circle Square development in Manchester: Pan-Asian market hall and dining venue Hello Oriental, from the Chi Yip Group that operates Chinese restaurant Ocean Treasure, is set to open at Bruntwood SciTech’s Circle Square, the new neighbourhood in Oxford Road, Manchester. Hello Oriental will incorporate dining, a market hall and live music across three floors, taking inspiration from infamous Asian dining destinations such as Bang Bang Oriental in London and 1800 Lucky in Miami and is expected to open in July. The venue’s focal point will be a market hall that will serve food such as Chinese roast meat and east Asian street food. There will also be a Chinese bakery and on-site supermarket. Hello Oriental owner Ricky Yip said: “Circle Square is the perfect place for us, a new city neighbourhood that is bringing people together and creating a really thriving community. We can’t wait to launch Hello Oriental and we’re confident our new market hall experience will be a place for food-lovers of all backgrounds to come together, socialise and enjoy the very best Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine.” Circle Square provides a 1.2 million square foot mix of co-working, collaboration space and small suites; 1,700 new homes; 100,000 square foot of retail and leisure space and two hotels.
Holiday park business makes double acquisition: Lincolnshire holiday park business Coastfields Leisure has secured a seven-figure loan to fund the acquisitions of a pub and a golf centre. The HSBC UK loan was used to help acquire the Villager Pub in Ingoldmells and the Skegness Golf Centre in Addlethorpe. Coastfields Leisure has already recruited a Skegness Golf Centre golf professional and will seek seasonal staff from the local area in the coming months. Lloyd Silvester, managing director at Coastfields Leisure, said: “Our new acquisitions are in close proximity to some of our existing parks and will enable us to further grow and strengthen our offering to customers, with both properties having the scope for further development in the future. While our parks currently remain closed in line with the government guidelines, we saw a significant increase in demand last year as people looked to holiday in the UK, and we expect this trend to continue.”
Piper restructures senior team ahead of seventh fundraise: Sector investor Piper, which backs sector companies Turtle Bay, Hickory’s Smokehouse and Flat Iron, has restructured its senior team as it prepares to raise its seventh fund. Dan Stern, who has led the recent sale of healthier snack brand Proper and on investments such as Neom, Wattbike and The Thinking Traveller, has been promoted to partner. This follows the promotion last year of Peter Kemp-Welch to joint managing partner. Kemp-Welch has led the Piper investment team as a partner for the past seven years. Piper has also added Harry Williams to the team. Williams will be responsible for sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities, as well as supporting the investment and due diligence process. The new structure changes follow “strong” exits from Mindful Chef, Forthglade and Proper, a successful fundraise at Bloom & Wild and the new investments in Wattbike and The Thinking Traveller. Piper’s most recent fundraise, PPE VI, closed on £125m in October 2016. Chris Curry, managing partner, said: “During an extraordinary year for everyone, we’ve been busier than ever and felt it important to continue strengthening our team for life post-covid when we anticipate an increased number of opportunities driven by the acceleration of some longer-term trends, which we have been following for a while. We are delighted to welcome Harry and promote Peter and Dan and we look forward to investing our seventh fund in the next generation of innovative consumer brands.”
Lucky Saint secures £3.5m from fundraise: Alcohol-free beer brand Lucky Saint, founded by Luke Boase, has secured £3.5m from a fundraise. The brand that launched in 2018 has shareholders that include venture capital fund JamJar and Warburtons’ chairman Jonathan Warburton. Lucky Saint said the no-alcohol beer category is set to be worth £450m by 2024 and is the biggest sub-category this year, valued at £172m. It said January 2021 saw revenue up 215% year-on-year, despite zero sales from the on-trade with retail and e-commerce sales up 610% year-on-year. Boase said: “I started out with a mission to reward those who aren’t drinking with the beer they deserve. Two years on, receiving the backing of such an esteemed group of investors is the culmination of the incredible work that our team has done to grow through such difficult times. We remain as excited as ever about the future.”
EasyHotel acquires site in Barcelona for 75-bedroom hotel, set to open at end of 2022: EasyHotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchiser of “super budget” branded hotels, has acquired a site in Barcelona for a 75-bedroom hotel that it plans to open by the end of 2022. The site, which is located in the historic Saint Andreu district, will be the group’s second owned hotel in the city after opening its first in July last year. EasyHotel chief executive Francois Bachetta said: “This acquisition builds on the success of our established owned 204-bedroom Barcelona Fira hotel. It also marks EasyHotel’s fourth project in Spain; the group operates a franchised hotel in Malaga and is set to open another franchise hotel in Madrid-Atocha in 2022. Despite the recent impact of restrictions on travel, we see significant long-term opportunity for the EasyHotel brand as we continue to expand our presence across continental Europe and look forward to announcing further developments for both our owned and franchised portfolio as the year progresses.”
Elior UK appoints new marketing and corporate communications director:Contract caterer Elior UK has appointed Michal Seal as marketing and corporate communications director. Seal joins from UK-based travel hub foodservice company SSP Group, where she was UK & Ireland commercial director, responsible for driving commercial value including leveraging technology, developing strategic partnerships and bringing new products to market. She is a member of the Elior UK board and will be responsible for leading the marketing and communications function. Elior UK chief executive Catherine Roe said: “As we enter a new era for hospitality, we are working hard to drive transformation and develop products and services that are attractive to our both our existing and potential clients and customers. Michal’s commercial insight and experience makes her an invaluable addition to the Elior UK board.” Seal added: “I look forward to building on the excellent food credentials within the business as it renews its focus on innovation. There is huge scope to bring my commercial experience, particularly around leveraging technology in the industry, to support Elior in future proofing the business as consumer behaviour evolves.”