Turquoise adds five former branded sites to estate, eyes further expansion:Turquoise Kitchen, the Turkish concept from the group behind The Real China, has added five sites formerly operated by national restaurant brands to its estate, as its eyes further expansion, Propel has learned. Over the past few months, the now 11-strong group has secured the former Carluccio’s in Pinner, the former ASK in Saffron Walden, the former Cote in Harpenden, the ex-Bill’s site in Marlow, and the ex-Wildwood site in Letchworth. Propel understands Turquoise Kitchen is in the process of securing sites in towns such as Welwyn Garden City, Kingston and Dorking. The company is backed by HJ Tenger Holdings, which operates The Real China buffet brand, pan-Asian buffet concept Kungfu, and Tang’s, an even larger Chinese buffet format. Turquoise, which offers charcoal-grilled meat, mezze, salad and Turkish pizza, is aiming to capitalise on a lack of mass-market national operators specialising in Turkish cuisine. The business is working with property adviser DMR to find sites in affluent towns across the UK.
You Me Sushi appoints Peter Cossar as managing director: You Me Sushi, the London-based restaurant and takeaway concept, has appointed Peter Cossar, formerly of Starbucks and Papa John’s, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Cossar was previously UK operations director at Papa John’s International for almost two years. Previous to that he spent almost four years as a regional operations director at Starbucks UK. Founded in 2008, You Me Sushi opened its first site in Marylebone, with a second branch opening two years later at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. It has since opened a further five sites across the capital in Gray’s Inn, Tottenham Court Road, Earl’s Court, Chiswick and Brent Cross. It is understood to have lined up a further opening in Twickenham.
Yard Sale Pizza lines up Balham opening: Yard Sale Pizza, the restaurant and delivery concept that includes sector investor Paul Campbell as non-executive director, has lined up its seventh opening in the capital, after securing a site in Balham, Propel has learned. The Johnnie Tate-led business has secured the former The Crust Co site at 63 Bedford Hill, for an opening later this year. The company opened its debut restaurant in Clapton in 2014. It also has branches in East Dulwich, Hackney Road, Leytonstone, Walthamstow, and Finsbury Park.
McDonald’s orders review into workplace-safety policies after TV report about sexual harassment allegations: McDonald’s has ordered a review of its workplace-safety policies and programmes following a US television report about sexual harassment allegations at a number of restaurants. Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said he had asked for a review across the global system by four members of the brand’s executive team – Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA; Ian Borden, president of McDonald’s international; Heidi Capozzi, global chief people officer; and Katie Fallon, chief global impact officer. In an open letter on the company’s website, Kempczinski said: “We intend to understand current best practices, solicit the input of franchisees and crew, and define a set of global brand standards that we can communicate later this year.” It comes after a “CBS Sunday Morning” programme chronicled women who had either filed discrimination charges or sued McDonald’s corporate restaurants or those of franchisees after “persistent and unwanted harassment from male co-workers”. Kempczinski said: “Far from shying away from them, in the case of the sexual harassment allegations detailed in the ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ story, I want to recognise these individuals and acknowledge their courage. Any person who steps forward to report concerns or issues deserves our utmost respect. Let me say plainly: every single person working under the Arches must have a safe and respectful work environment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is an affront to everything we stand for as a system. It has no place in any McDonald’s restaurant, and it will not be tolerated.” In 2019, McDonald’s expanded its policies for dealing with sexual harassment in its corporate stores, adding a hotline for employees to call to file anonymous reports.
Ex-Pret chief customer officer joins Cote board: Barnaby Dawe, the former global chief marketing officer for Just Eat and ex-chief customer officer at Pret A Manger, has joined the board of Cote, the circa 90-strong French brasserie chain backed by the Partners Group. Dawe, who left Pret at the end of 2019, joins Cote as an “operating partner”/non-executive director. He joined Pret in 2018, in the newly created role for the brand of chief customer officer. He has previously held senior positions at Sky, The Sun, The Times, Heart and Channel 4 before joining Just Eat in 2015. On Tuesday (2 March), Propel revealed Cote had further strengthened its management team with a number of new appointments, including James Sherrington as its new chief financial officer.
FB Holdings to open Indo-Persian restaurant concept: FB Holdings, which is behind the rapidly growing Dirty Wild Wings concept, is to launch an Indo-Persian, fine-dining concept called Qavali, in Birmingham, later this year. Named after a style of Sufi devotional singing and originating from the Arabic word “qual”, meaning “to speak”, Qavali, which will open on the former Coast to Coast site in Brindleyplace, will offer a range of dishes inspired by Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Indian cuisine. The 8,479 square foot site will provide seating for up to 250 people once complete. Deni Sharankova, marketing director at FB Holdings, said: “Birmingham has an extremely varied culinary scene, and we feel Qavali will be able to bring something different and new to foodies throughout the city. Our menu will be full of rich new dishes that have been inspired by a diverse region, which for many remains relatively unexplored in terms of cuisine. Qavali will provide a high-dining experience within an environment to match and will help further broaden the horizons of our future guests.” Other brands within the FB Holdings portfolio include Indian street food establishment Indico, which currently operates in The Mailbox in Birmingham and Shirley; JAQKS Chicken & Chips, with sites across the Midlands; Jamaya, a Caribbean/jerk chicken concept at the Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull; Bulls Street Burgers, serving-up classic burgers and sides; and recently launched Japanese fried chicken concept Karaage.
Former Grind operations director to launch multi-experiential site in One Marylebone next month: Restaurateur Alex Ghalleb, a former operations director at coffee and cocktail brand Grind, is set to open a multi-experiential offer called Chameleon in the grade I-listed One Marylebone venue next month. The site, which was previously a church built in the 1820s, will include a Tel Avivian sharing-style outdoor restaurant and tented lounge when it launches on Friday, 23 April. Other experiences set to launch later in the year include a silent cinema, magical wellness sessions, a futuristic fitness experience, dance classes and a private members’ space at basement level. Ghalleb, who is also a former managing partner of Gold in Notting Hill and an ex-general manager at Soho House, said: “We’re excited to be bringing something new to London. Chameleon is a space that offers a vibrant assortment of experiences, all to be enjoyed under one roof.” The restaurant will comprise nine greenhouses offering seated tables for up to 30 people. Israeli chef Elior Balbul will come from Tel Aviv to head the kitchen. There will also be a cocktail and mezze offer and live performances will take place in the evenings when restrictions are lifted. The private members’ club is set to open in the autumn with capacity for 400 people and will include a restaurant, cocktail bar and private dining rooms that can be opened up to create a nightclub.
Wing Wing to open third site next week: London-based Korean crispy chicken specialist Wing Wing will open its third site on Monday (8 March), in Charing Cross Road, Chinatown. The site will be the company’s flagship branch and will serve Korean-style fried chicken, draught beer and have karaoke rooms to use when permitted. The initial opening date means Wing Wing will only be open for takeaways and deliveries. Wing Wing takes inspiration from Korean food and popular culture, with a dining offer focused on “Chimaek” – a combination of chicken and maekju, the Korean word for beer. Wings come in a variety of flavours – each piece cooked to order and hand-brushed with a signature glaze – and sit alongside burgers, wraps, rice boxes, and salads on the brand’s menu. Wing Wing was also the first UK brand to have “bottoms-up” beer dispensers that allow customers to serve themselves beer at the table. The Chinatown London restaurant, spanning 2,500 square foot across three floors, joins its sister operations in Hammersmith and Tavistock Square.
Camberwell Arms team to open ‘London-style’ pizzeria Mike’s in April: The team behind The Camberwell Arms pub and Frank’s Cafe is launching “London-style” pizzeria Mike’s in Peckham, south London. Headed by chef Michael Davies, Mike’s pledge is to add anything to a pizza “to make it delicious with no taboos attached”. The pizzeria, which opens in the Copeland Park/Bussey Building complex in April, said it would take the various styles of making pizza across the world but add a London twist. The team said: “If the only rule is making the most delicious thing you can think of then who says what should or shouldn’t be on a pizza.” The restaurant will have room for inside and outside dining with takeaway and deliveries available too. Mike’s will also offer a selection of small plates, a weekend brunch menu and a seasonally changing range of natural wine and locally brewed beer.
Online delivery marketplace offering home-cooked food from trained chefs launches £300,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand: Online food delivery marketplace Cook My Grub, which offers home-cooked food from trained chefs, has launched a £300,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand. The company is offering 9.09% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £3m. Cook My Grub is operating in Berkshire, serving customers in Maidenhead, Marlow, Slough and Windsor. Further roll out of the service is planned with launches in Reading, Swindon, west London and parts of the Home Counties through 2021. The pitch states: “Finding time to cook is a luxury many people don’t have! As a result, many people end up resorting to frozen meals. We believed a digital platform was needed to help those people connect with qualified home chefs. Cook My Grub was conceived to provide a healthy and sustainable alternative for people unable to cook wholesome meals at home. Each customer is presented with a wide selection of cuisines to choose from. These meals can be ordered on the day or pre-ordered several days or even weeks in advance. For home chefs, we set up their own ‘virtual restaurant’, which gives them the flexibility to decide when, what and how much they cook. The funds raised will be used to support further growth by increasing marketing, scaling-up operations and growing the technology teams. The company’s goal is to grow and consolidate the home-cooked food market by organising a currently unorganised sector.”
Prezzo owner Cain International exploring $250m SPAC: Cain International, which last month acquired Prezzo from its administrators through a pre-pack arrangement, is reportedly exploring raising about $250m for its debut special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). According to Bloomberg, the investment firm, led by Jonathan Goldstein, is set to pursue a New York listing for the blank-check company. A spokeswoman for Cain declined to comment. Cain, which operates in Europe and the US, is focused on investments in the real estate, hospitality, lifestyle and leisure sectors. In October, the firm hired former Walt Disney Co executive Nick Franklin as a Los Angeles-based senior managing director. Last month, the Karen Jones-chaired Prezzo announced 22 of its 178 restaurants would not reopen, resulting in 216 people leaving the business as part of the administration process. Cain acquired the debt and equity of Prezzo in December last year.