Cabana seeks new investment: Cabana, the Brazilian barbecue group founded by Jamie Barber and David Ponte, has appointed advisers as it reviews options to secure new investment. As reported at the weekend the seven-strong group is working with KPMG to assess funding options, which could include a further internal fund-raise or, more likely, securing a new investment partner. Propel understands the company spent last year doing a lot of “heavy lifting”, including speaking to landlords and rebalancing its offer to ensure the business was more robust. It is thought that although trading remains challenging and it may explore exiting one or two sites, like-for-like sales have been good. The business closed three sites last year – in Islington, Brixton and Newcastle. Speaking to Propel earlier this year about changes to the concept’s offer, Barber said: “There was obviously a significant bias towards meat but we have rebalanced that to incorporate more vegan and vegetarian dishes and taken a more flexitarian approach. It has paid off and we have seen an uplift in performance.”
Boost Juice Bars reports Ebitda boost and substantial narrowing of losses in ‘transitional’ year: Boost Juice Bars, which operates circa 30 sites and is backed by the BGF, has reported an increase in Ebitda and a substantial reduction in losses following a transitional year in which it closed loss-making stores and negotiated better deals for marginal sites with landlords. Turnover was down 1% to £10,184,897 for the year ending 26 September 2018, compared with £10,299,618 the previous year. Ebitda before onerous lease charges increased to £435,344, compared with £424,947 the year before. Operating losses reduced to £213,032, compared with £920,057 the previous year after a depreciation and impairment charge of £625,147 and an onerous lease expense of £23,229. Pre-tax losses were down to £218,824, compared with £926,032 the year before. Gross margin improved to 75.79% compared with 75.26% the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company is now opening “dual concept” sites in which a Boost Juice Bar and its sister brand Shake Lab are placed side by side in the same unit to “drive operational efficiencies, minimise premises costs and maximise return on investment”. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company invested in the period to improve its resilience to the fluctuating market conditions. Peterborough Boost was closed in the period and in Oxford and Birmingham the Boost shops were relocated and reopened as Devil and Angel dual concept stores. The company spent a significant amount of time discussing the profitability of its portfolio with landlords. As a result, we have negotiated favourable outcomes in several locations, be that a reduction in rent, the return of a rent deposit, support with relocating a shop within a scheme or a capital contribution to a refit. Just as important as store openings is the profitability of our existing estate. We will continue our discussions with landlords to obtain better deals at our marginal sites and have exercised the break clause at our Boost site in Kensington High Street, with the store closing in November 2018. This has been a transitional year for the company against an incredibly tough backdrop. With the full-year effect of these changes to come, the company has taken important steps towards creating a sustainable position in 2019 and beyond.”
Costa expands Middle Eastern franchise partnership: Costa Coffee, now owned by Coca-Cola, has expanded its Middle Eastern franchise partnership with Alghanim Industries. Since the partnership was formed in 2013, Alghanim has opened more than 75 stores in Kuwait. The new deal means Alghanim now has development rights to Costa Coffee in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, making it the largest Costa franchisee by territory. Costa Coffee and Alghanim have revamped the menu to reflect Kuwaiti tastes and preferences, including local specialities such as Spanish latte and cardamom-infused Turkish latte. Both companies have introduced a number of sustainability initiatives, established a barista training centre, arranged pastry collaborations with celebrity chefs, upgraded store designs and opened a concept store at Al Hamra Tower, where customers can enjoy speciality coffee and an expanded food offering. The strategy will power the expansion efforts in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar. Costa Coffee chief executive Dominic Paul said: “Our vision is to inspire the world to love great coffee and in Alghanim we have an innovative and exciting partner that will help us unlock the next phase of growth in the Middle East.” Alghanim group chief executive Omar Alghanim added: “We are thrilled to grow with Costa Coffee and build on our success in Kuwait. We’re ready to hit the ground running in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.”
Incipio Group to open ‘hidden’ rooftop bar in Brixton Village with food delivered by runners: Incipio Group, which received £5m from entertainment and leisure investor Edition Capital earlier this year to open six sites in the next 18 months, is to open a “hidden” rooftop bar in Brixton Village. The company will launch Lost In Brixton on Thursday, 1 August offering food direct from the market, music, local draught beer and a Latin American-inspired cocktail menu. The 440-capacity bar will feature a retractable roof and “secret staircase” and has been developed in a hidden corner of the market. Lost In Brixton will break from the typical dining format, with food delivered straight from the market to the space. Using the new Tablesnapper app, guests will be able order from traders in Brixton Village and Market Row, with runners delivering it. Launched in 2015, Incipio Group aims to transform dead spaces into large, social venues concentrated around food and drink. So far it has launched Pergola Olympia London, Pergola Paddington, The Prince in West Brompton Crossing, Feast in Hammersmith and W12 Studios in White City. The funding secured from Edition Capital, which values the business at £20.5m, is being used for large-scale sites in Wimbledon as well as the Brixton site, with venues also planned for Fulham, Mayfair and Putney. Later this year Incipio Group will open its first site outside London, in Birmingham.
Moonshine Bars to start expansion of Munich Cricket Club concept: Moonshine Bars has confirmed it will expand its Bavarian concept, Munich Cricket Club, by relocating its Victoria venue to a flagship site while opening another London venue in Canary Wharf. The company, led by father-and-son team Tom and Robbie Gill, will relocate to a flagship venue in Victoria on Thursday (4 July). Munich Cricket Club will take over a site in Abbey Orchard Street formerly occupied by Pitcher & Piano that will replace its short-term lease, which opened around the corner in Victoria Street in April 2016, with a “larger, more exciting offer”. Moonshine Bars, which operates The Rose gastro-pub in Chelsea and The Loose Box Bar & Kitchen in Westminster, is also set to open a site for the concept at the former La Tasca unit in Canary Wharf. The venue will feature a traditional Munich beer hall, ski chalet and beer garden. Davis Coffer Lyons executive director Paul Tallentyre, who secured the sites, said: “Munich Cricket Club has become an immensely popular venue due to its extensive German beer and exuberant atmosphere and oompah bands. Tom and Robbie are extremely talented operators and these are two great opportunities for them to continue growing the business.”
Zip World strengthens management team by appointing operations director: Adventure tourism operator Zip World has strengthened its management team as it gears up for expansion. Greg Evans, former executive director of operations at Horizon Nuclear Power, has been appointed operations director. Zip World founding director Sean Taylor told Insider Media: “Greg’s experience will be crucial in taking the Zip World business to the next level. As we expand beyond our North Wales heartland and bring the brand into new parts of the UK, having someone with that wealth of operational experience is vital.” Evans added: “I am excited to support the management team as it takes its extraordinary experiences to new sites across the UK as well as continuing to develop its existing sites in North Wales.” In March, Zip World appointed former Punch chief executive Giles Thorley as chairman. Earlier this year, the company sold a minority shareholding to private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital, which valued the business at £45m.
Fledgling Birmingham-based restaurant group to open debut site with more to follow: Fledgling Birmingham-based restaurant group Craft Dining Group is to open its debut site – with more to follow. Founders Sam and Emma Morgan will launch Craft Dining Rooms at the city’s International Conference Centre following a seven-figure investment. The restaurant will “bring together the best produce from across the UK” and open on Monday, 15 July offering 150 covers in a main dining room, central bar and two private dining rooms. A drinks trolley will carry cocktails made from British gin and vodka and a predominantly British wine list. The kitchen will be led by Nick Evans, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Harvey’s in Bristol and Northcote Hall. Meanwhile Tom Wells, who has worked for Tom Aikens and Australian chef Luke Mangan, has joined the group as chef director. The Morgans said they planned to work alongside some of the best British culinary talent for a number of restaurant openings across the city they would announce “later this year”. Sam Morgan said: “We are thrilled to open Craft Dining Rooms in the heart of Birmingham at an incredibly exciting time of growth and change for the city. Our Craft restaurants will represent many traditions of British culinary history and showcase artisan producers that make British food what it is.”
Subway tests low-calorie frozen milkshakes and ciabatta sandwiches: Subway is testing low-calorie frozen milkshakes and ciabatta sandwiches in the US. The company is rolling out the milkshakes to 1,000 sites across six markets from Monday, 22 July. They will be made with low-calorie Halo Top Creamery ice cream. The 16-ounce shakes, which contain no more than 350 calories, come in three flavours – vanilla bean, chocolate and strawberry. Len Van Popering, Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer, told Nation’s Restaurant News: “This is the first time we have invested in a frozen beverage programme with an eye towards national roll-out. We are passionate about creating new menu items for our guests that can’t be found anywhere else.” Subway has also introduced a line of ciabatta sandwiches featuring fresh mozzarella and three new sauces and added Hubert’s Lemonade as a permanent drink option.
Former Bone Daddies head chef and Ella Canta manager to open pasta workshop and restaurant in Old Street: Elia Sebregondi, former Bone Daddies head chef and sous chef at Kiln, and Enzo Mirto, ex-general manager of Ella Canta, are to open a pasta workshop and restaurant in Old Street, London. The duo, who are both from Naples, will launch Officina 00 in September offering regional Italian pasta created in a “theatre kitchen” in front of diners. There will also be freshly baked sourdough and Italian pastries, while the drinks list will feature Italian red and white wine on tap and by the bottle alongside a range of Italian cocktails, reports Hot Dinners.
Multiple operator Appetite For Life scoops three accolades at Ei Group awards:Appetite For Life, the seven-strong company founded by Rob and Alison Thompson, scooped three accolades at Ei Group’s annual awards. As well as picking up the best multiple operator prize, the Thompsons scooped the pub of the year title for The Tap On Tower Street, Harrogate, and the best drink offer. The couple impressed the judges with their “efficient operating processes and exceptionally high standards”. They praised The Tap On Tower Street for its “welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and eclectic drinks range”. The venue offers more than 60 gins, 30 rums and 20 tequilas and mezcals, alongside craft beer and homemade non-alcoholic cordial. The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Old Thorns Hotel in Hampshire. Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said: “The standard of entries to our awards this year was exceptionally high with so many of our publicans going the extra mile to make a real difference in their communities. We are delighted these awards provide us the opportunity to shine a light on some of the passion and energy our publicans put into running their businesses, and reward them for their efforts.”
 
DoubleTree by Hilton opens Starbucks concession at Kingston-upon-Thames hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton has opened a Starbucks concession within its hotel in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. The Starbucks offer is available to the public as well as hotel guests. Customers can sit in the neighbouring Hawkers Bar & Brasserie or take their drink away. Hotel general manager Adam Flint said: “We are ideally situated for coffee-lovers to pop in and pick up their Starbucks drink.”
Ex-Nobu chef launches latest Yuu Kitchen residency: Former Nobu chef Jon de Villa has launched the latest residency for his south Asian concept Yuu Kitchen. De Villa, who has also worked at Bone Daddies and Zafferano, has opened the restaurant at Icebar London in Heddon Street in partnership with Stephen Lowe. A staircase leads into a basement bar and restaurant, which features a back-lit, 25-foot dragon. Continuing the theme from Yuu Kitchen’s original restaurant in Spitalfields, the team has again collaborated with artist Lun Wong by commissioning bespoke artwork. South east Asian food is at the core of the Yuu Kitchen menu and, while Japanese flavours feature heavily, the menu also pays homage to de Villa’s Australian heritage. The menu features bao buns including twice-cooked braised pork belly and soft-shell crab. Other dishes include 12-hour braised pork belly with crispy pigs ears, and chicken inasal.
French hotel group Mama Shelter to launch first London site: French hotel group Mama Shelter, which has properties in 11 cities, is set to open its debut site in London. Mama London will open in Hackney Road in October on the former site of the RE Hotel. It will feature 195 rooms in three sizes – Small Mama, Medium Mama and Large Mama. It will also offer an underground suite, with all rooms featuring double beds, free Wi-Fi and movies, and 49-inch televisions. As at other Mama Shelter sites, the hotel will feature a large lobby and other communal spaces for guests to work in outside their rooms. Mama London will also feature an in-house restaurant and a couple of karaoke rooms, London The Inside reports. According to its website, Mama Shelter currently offers 1,668 rooms and 12 restaurants in 11 cities and six countries. It was founded by the Trigano family and has sites in Belgrade, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Lyon, Marseille, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro and Toulouse.
CAMRA welcomes Heineken’s decision to sell 150-pub package as going concern: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has welcomed Heineken’s decision to sell a package of 150 former Punch pubs as a going concern. Propel revealed last week Heineken was selling the portfolio as a single package, with a value of circa £55m to £60m. CAMRA national director Ben Wilkinson said: “Having decided to dispose of these pubs, we welcome Heineken’s responsible decision to market them as going concerns and seek a different pub operator to take them on. Most important, though, will be the intention of the purchaser. Communities deserve rapid assurances from any new operator that they are committed to the future of these pubs rather than asset-stripping. Academic research shows local pubs help people live happier lives, have more close friends, and stay more connected with their communities. It’s essential these pubs, many of them at the heart of their area, are given a fair chance to thrive under new ownership.”
Compass appoints managing director for business and industry: Compass Group UK & Ireland has appointed Morag Freathy as managing director for business and industry (B&I). Freathy joins from workplace catering company Eurest, where she was managing director. She has also worked for Prezzo, Pizza Hut and Whitbread and will bring a “consumer-focused approach to the B&I sector at Compass”. She said: “Workplace culture is changing and with it comes the need for greater flexibility and innovation. Now, more than ever, our offer needs to be able to compete with the high street as we see our consumers moving away from the traditional hot lunch and enjoying a grab-and-go option, often from outside the building. This challenge drives us to think more dynamically and my focus for our B&I business will be on ensuring we do just this, harnessing the skills and knowledge of our excellent teams.” Compass Group UK & Ireland managing director Chris Garside said: “Workplace catering is changing at a rapid pace and Morag’s consumer experience and focus will help us to consistently deliver what our customers want.”
Staycity appoints development partner to spearhead Italian expansion: Aparthotel operator Staycity has appointed real estate company Coldwell Banker Commercial to spearhead its Italian expansion. Coldwell Banker Commercial will act as exclusive developer in the territory, finding and assessing suitable sites, overseeing design and rebuild, and handling lease contracts. Potential cities earmarked for exploration include Milan, Rome and Florence. The appointment comes as Staycity prepares to open its first property in Italy, in Venice. The Staycity project will be handled by Veronica Sagliaschi, part of Coldwell Banker Commercial’s hospitality team. Staycity group development director Barry Hickey said: “Veronica and the team have demonstrated a strong understanding of our business and the opportunity for Staycity in Italy. Their considerable market knowledge and expertise will assist Staycity greatly.” With the aim to operate 15,000 apartments by the end of 2023, Staycity is undergoing one of its most active expansion periods, with 200 staff being recruited as it opens sites in Berlin, Edinburgh and Paris before the end of 2019.
Vegetarian self-service concept Tibits launches summer menu at London sites:Vegetarian self-service concept Tibits has launched a summer menu at its two London sites. The offer features 20 new dishes including chirashi sushi, Burmese sweet potato and coconut curry, and soba noodles with tempeh and pineapple. There are also additions to the cocktail menu such as passion fruit margarita and strawberry mojito. Tibits, which was founded by brothers Christian, Daniel and Reto Frei in Switzerland in 1999, made its London debut in Heddon Street, Mayfair, in 2008 followed by an opening in Bankside in 2017. Tibits also operates about ten sites in Switzerland.
Steve Croswell joins Cynergy Bank: Steve Crosswell, former commercial banking director in Metro Bank’s hospitality and leisure team, has joined Cynergy Bank in a similar role. Croswell said: “I am excited to join Cynergy at a time of rapid growth. We have big plans to grow our commercial business and build on what has been an exceptional first half of the year for Nick Van Loosen and Brendan Flaherty in the hospitality team.” Mark Dearman, head of commercial banking and bridging finance at Cynergy Bank, added: “I am delighted to have Steve join us. He has a wealth of experience in the hospitality and leisure sector and will be a great fit in an already strong team.”