Last-minute restaurant deals app Wriggle returns to Seedrs in bid to raise £600,000: Last-minute restaurant deals app Wriggle has returned to crowdfunding platform Seedrs in a bid to raise £600,000 for its next stage of growth. The company, which was launched in Bristol in 2014 by Rob Hall, acts as a restaurant discovery tool and offers users same-day discounts to fill excess capacity. It is offering 10.45% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £5,140,320. At time of going to press, the campaign was already 85% funded after 155 investors pledged £510,555. The pitch states: “Wriggle is a market-leading eat-out transactional platform in three cities – Bristol, Brighton and Cardiff – with a model currently generating more than 20,000 transactions per month (March 2019). After keeping things tight and proving our model, Wriggle is ready to scale up and attack our vision of creating a national consumer champion, supporting the best eat-out establishments across the country. This round of investment is to achieve three things. Firstly, geographic growth with launches in new cities across the UK. Secondly, to grow revenue within existing cities. We have only just begun in existing markets and will continue to go deeper. As an example we estimate our largest market, Bristol, is currently one-26th of its total opportunity, so there’s plenty of room for growth. Thirdly, we will substantially grow our tech team as we look to build a suite of tools to help the eat-out industry market itself – each providing additional subscription revenue opportunities.” In 2016, Wriggle raised almost £450,000 on Seedrs having raised £160,000 on the platform in 2014.
Junkyard Golf seeks venues as it aims to ‘remain at forefront of competitive socialising sector’: Crazy golf operator Junkyard Golf is actively seeking venues across the UK as it “aims to remain at the forefront of the competitive socialising sector”. The company is looking to establish itself in “all major cities”. It currently operates sites in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Oxford. Co-founder Matthew Lake told Insider Media: “We spent the first year focusing on market testing with short-term leases and honing the brand into something that would appeal to a broad customer base before pushing on to find permanent venues. During that journey a new leisure sector emerged, coalescing around operators such as Swingers, Flight Club and us.” Lake said Junkyard was “mapping out” its next phase of expansion, with its sights set on two further London venues and all major UK cities. He added: “We are actively looking for property in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield and Bristol, giving more people across the country the chance to experience what we have to offer. Our aim is to make crazy golf epic but, more than that, we want Junkyard to be a sensible and sustainable business with a solid growth plan that has a meaningful and long-term impact on local economies. The competitive socialising sector is here to stay – our challenge will be to remain at the forefront.” In March, Propel reported Junkyard Golf had appointed advisor Clearwater International to review options for its next stage of growth.
McMullen to open new-build pub in Milton Keynes for 14th Destination Inns site:Hertfordshire brewer and retailer McMullen is to open a site in Milton Keynes. The company is developing a new-build waterside pub at Campbell Wharf, which will have views over the Grand Union Canal, as well as the new 111-berth marina. It will become the 14th Destination Inns site in the portfolio following the recently built Kings Mead in Ware and Old Beams in Shenley Lodge, Milton Keynes. Joint managing director Heydon Mizon said: “We are delighted to bring another fabulous pub to Milton Keynes, where we previously built one of our Chicken & Grill pubs, The Prince George. We have been looking for another venue for some time. Each pub is uniquely designed and this one will draw inspiration from its glorious surroundings. Construction is expected to start in 2020 after approval of the detailed plans, with the pub set to open eight months later.” McMullen operates 39 tenanted and 87 managed sites.
Rudy’s expanding to Birmingham with fourth site: Neapolitan pizza concept Rudy’s, which is owned by Mission Mars, the north west-based operator behind Albert’s Schloss, is to open its fourth site, in Birmingham. The company will launch the 85-cover venue at an undisclosed location in the city centre this summer. Rudy’s opened its debut site in Ancoats, Manchester, in 2015 and has added a site in the city’s Peter Street and a venue in Liverpool. Rudy’s makes its dough on-site each day, taking 24 hours to double ferment and 60 seconds to cook. The business was acquired by Mission Mars in 2017.
Delivery-only kitchen concept founded by former Deliveroo executive opens first three London sites: Delivery-only kitchen concept Taster, which was founded by one of Deliveroo’s early executives Anton Soulier, has opened its first three sites in London. The company has opened kitchens in Battersea, Bermondsey and Hackney. Taster offers three pan-Asian brands – Mission Saigon (Vietnamese), O Ke Kai (Hawaiian poke bowls) and Out-Fry (Korean fried chicken). Taster works with third-party online food distribution channels such as Deliveroo and UberEats. Founded in 2017 by Soulier, Taster also operates in Paris and Madrid. He believes there is “huge potential” for a new breed of delivery-only “restaurants” that will change the way Brits enjoy lunch and dinner. He said: “Restaurants often don’t have the infrastructure for delivery – customers order and they’re disappointed with how long it takes to prepare, with the packaging or with how fresh the meal is. We can challenge all these points head on and deliver incredible, authentic pan-Asian food to our customers within 20 minutes. By removing the logistics and costs involved in running a fully functioning restaurant, we ensure all our energy is focused on the quality of the product, the sustainability of the packing, and the delivery time.” Taster has secured more than $4m in funding from European investors including Local Globe, Heartcore Capital and Deliveroo, with Soulier focusing on expanding the concept throughout Europe, starting with London.
EatsMeatsWest to open second site for Chinese concept, two more planned: Independent Manchester operator EatsMeatsWest is to open a second site for its casual dining Chinese concept, WowYauChow, in Rochdale this month. The company is converting its meat-themed CockaDoodleMoo restaurant to WowYauChow, which was launched in Altrincham last year. There are plans to open a third site, in Stockport, by the end of the summer and a fourth in Swinton in early 2020. The concept offers a diverse menu of British Chinese favourites and Chinese street food, combined with craft beer and cocktails. Managing director Henry Yau said: “We have been well received in Altrincham and we’re excited to offer the same experience to the people of Rochdale, allowing us to continue our mission of introducing Chinese casual dining to my home city of Manchester and beyond – offering a fun and casual environment in which to enjoy Chinese food while aiming to raise the bar and keeping Chinese food relevant and on trend.”
Goodbody to further downgrade Domino’s Pizza forecasts following ‘disappointing’ first-quarter results: Goodbody is set to further downgrade its forecasts on Domino’s Pizza after its “disappointing” first-quarter results. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 245p, leisure analyst Rachel Fox said: “Group system sales were £324.4m, up 4.3% year-on-year with UK and Republic of Ireland system sales up 4.8% to £299.3m. The key UK division reported like-for-like sales growth of 3.1% year-on-year, broadly in line with our expectation for the first half of 2019. Like-for-like order volumes were down 2.7%, with items per order up 0.7% and price up 5.1%. Online sales growth remained strong in the UK, up 8.5% year-on-year. The Republic of Ireland had like-for-like sales growth of 6.8%. International system sales were disappointing, down 2.0% on a reported basis to £25.1m. As a result, it is again tightening its capital deployment to these markets. The poor performance in international was widespread, with Switzerland like-for-likes down 8.4%, Iceland like-for-likes falling 4.6%, and Norway system sales down 1.0%. The German performance is noted as being solid. The group has opened four stores in the UK in the first quarter and closed one and has opened three stores since the end of the period. The group notes store openings continue to be affected by ongoing franchisee discussions but notes there is a healthy pipeline of stores. Overall, this is a disappointing first-quarter statement. While at a headline level the like-for-like growth of 3.1% looks in line with expectations, we think the mix is concerning, driven by price being up 5.1%, order volumes declining 2.7% and item per order up just 0.7%. We currently forecast 30 UK store openings in FY19 (weighted towards the second half) and don’t expect to make changes to our assumption at this time. Additionally, the weaker-than-expected international performance is concerning given guidance to break-even this year following a difficult FY18. As we flagged in our most recent note, we thought a break-even out-turn for this year would be unlikely and we currently forecast a loss of £1.1m this year. We will likely downgrade our full-year expectations on the back of this update since we believe international losses could be similar to last year (circa £4m). This would drive a downgrade to our FY19 profit before tax of circa 3% to £94m. Trading on 13 times EV/Ebitda with limited earnings growth and another downgrade, we see little scope for a re-rating of the shares and retain our ‘Hold’ recommendation.”
San Carlo to open champagne bar in Manchester Selfridges: San Carlo Group is to open a champagne bar at the Trafford Centre, Manchester. Based inside Selfridges, the venue will specialise in champagne, prosecco, wine and cocktails, including more than ten types of sparkling wine available by the glass. The drinks list will be complemented by charcuterie and shellfish plates. San Carlo Group managing director Marcello Distefano told the Manchester Evening News: “We haven’t held back on the design. We aim to create a place that elevates the champagne bar experience and offers somewhere stylish and extraordinary to enjoy a moment of relaxation.” San Carlo Champagne Bar, which opens this summer, will take the Distefano family’s portfolio to 21 restaurants and bars in the UK, including Bottega and Gran Cafe at Selfridges Manchester. The Trafford Centre venue, located in the newly refurbished accessories hall on the lower level of the department store, will be San Carlo Group’s sixth partnership with Selfridges following the opening of rooftop restaurant Alto at the London store last year.
Swansea-based Burger King franchisee opens ninth drive-thru with tenth being built: Swansea-based Burger King franchisee Unionburger has opened its ninth drive-thru in Wales, with another site under construction. The new-build restaurant – Unionburger’s 11th in total – is next to Parc Trostre retail park in Llanelli, with the opening creating 40 jobs. The launch follows a Unionburger drive-thru opening at Newport Leisure Park in July last year. Unionburger director Chris Baker said: “We are delighted with the location of our purpose-built restaurant. We continue to review locations with the aim to secure further sites.” Huw Thomas, director of retail and leisure at Cooke & Arkwright, who agreed the deal with landlord M&G Real Estate on behalf of Unionburger, added: “The location for the drive-thru has been carefully selected so Burger King is well positioned to cater for visitors as they enter and leave the retail park. Unionburger continues to grow its business in the region through the Burger King franchise. Another drive-thru is being built in Barry and we are actively looking for other sites in South Wales and the Borders.” M&G Real Estate was represented by Stockford Andersen and McMullen Wilson.
Burslem-based operator takes on third Sunset Taverns site: Burslem-based operator Shane Ratcliffe has taken on his third site in the town with Staffordshire and Shropshire pub group Sunset Taverns. Ratcliffe has partnered with Dave Berrisford, who operates The Shoulder Of Mutton on the outskirts of Stoke, to run the former Chillz Bar in Burslem, which is being transformed into The White Hart 80s and 90s Bar. Renovation of the Westport Road venue includes a new dance floor, lighting and DJ booth. There are also plans to install retro arcade machines and table football to sit alongside the pool table and darts board ahead of the opening later this month. Ratcliffe also runs Ye Olde Crown and the Duke William in Burslem, which are owned by Sunset Taverns. He told Stoke Live: “An 80s and 90s bar is something Burslem is missing. There are 80s music bars in Hanley and Newcastle, so why not have one here?” Sunset Taverns, which is based in Shrewsbury, also own pubs in Tunstall, Hanley, Hartshill and Wetley Rocks.
Red Dog Saloon to launch Nashville hot chicken concept in Hoxton Square this month: Red Dog Saloon is to launch Nashville red-hot chicken concept Louie’s in the basement below its restaurant in Hoxton Square, east London, this month. Louie’s will open on Thursday, 23 May offering a menu focusing on a Tennessee speciality. Unlike lightly seasoned chicken from Louisiana or New Orleans, Nashville fried chicken is served “red hot”. Coated in buttermilk, seasoned with paprika, garlic and brown sugar, and fried in cayenne-infused hot oil, the chicken has a “distinctive deep red colour and a fiery, crispy coating”. Customers will be able to create their own bespoke serve – from the cut of chicken to the level of spice – served with sides such as coleslaw and pickles. Red Dog Saloon founder Tom Brooke said: “This is an exciting time to be introducing Nashville fried chicken to London for the first time. Louie’s will serve red-hot chicken like nowhere else in the city.” Red Dog Saloon offers barbecue-style ribs, wings, pulled pork and burgers that are cooked using aromatic hickory wood in US-imported smokers. The brand operates two other London restaurants, in Soho and Clapham, and one each in Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton.
Crussh brings CBD oil to the high street as part of summer menu: London-based healthy food and juice brand Crussh has become the first food-to-go retailer on the British high street to offer cannabidiol (CBD oil) to its customers. Crussh will add the naturally occurring compound found in hemp to any coffee as a booster as part of its summer menu. The company has also introduced two Indian-inspired summer fit bowls – chicken tikka salad and plant-based spiced chickpea salad. There is also a chicken and chorizo hotpot, mocha protein power, Barebells protein bars, cans of Remedy Kombucha in raspberry lemonade, apple crisp, and ginger and lemon flavours, and Biomel coconut gut shots. CBD is one of numerous compounds called cannabinoids that naturally occur in hemp. It doesn’t contain the psychoactive part of the plant, known as THC, which cannabis contains. There are numerous studies testing the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating ailments ranging from mild anxiety to epilepsy.
Black and White Hospitality takes on Birmingham city centre hotel: Black and White Hospitality has taken on a Birmingham city centre hotel. The company has been brought in by Downing to manage day-to-day operations at the 186-bedroom DoubleTree by Hilton hotel while providing strategic management advice to “optimise the venue’s profitability”. The first DoubleTree by Hilton in Birmingham, it will also include Marco Pierre White-branded restaurant Mr White’s English Chophouse. Comprising an investment of £25m, the former Thistle Hotel is in the Snow Hill area of the city. Part of the refurbishment includes the addition of two floors and a rooftop terrace. Black and White Hospitality founder Nick Taplin said: “Our track record speaks for itself and we’re naturally delighted to add the new DoubleTree by Hilton to the portfolio. We work alongside some of the world’s leading brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, Wyndham Destinations and, of course, Marco Pierre White. We already manage other DoubleTree hotels and know the brand well – it’s a perfect fit for our expertise at Black and White.”
Luke Thomas’ Coffee Collaborative secures M&B deal: The Coffee Collaborative, co-founded by young chef and entrepreneur Luke Thomas, has signed a deal to supply all 127 Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) Premium Country Pubs. The move follows a trial at ten M&B pubs. The “fourth-wave” Coffee Collaborative will now supply M&B with its Imagination coffee blend. The Coffee Collaborative is led by Thomas and coffee experts Andy Grelak and Paul Kemp, who have more than 40 years’ combined experience in the industry, and brand design agency Mystery. Thomas said: “I was immediately drawn to the concept of collaboration and taking a truly refined craft coffee proposition, making it accessible to everyone and injecting it with creative energy and collaborations across food, music and the arts. While our launch at V Festival proved the strength of the concept, the trial with M&B has proved our brand’s hugely positive impact on consumers.”
Freehold of two Fife hotels let to Travelodge on market for £5.4m: The freehold of two hotels in Fife let to Travelodge have been put up for sale for a total of £5.4m, reflecting a 6% gross initial yield. Allsop is marketing the opportunity for the pair of properties, which are in Kingseat Road, Dunfermline, and Bankhead Park, Glenrothes, with a total of 100 bedrooms. The hotels have a total passing rent of 343,872 per annum with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 19 years. The lease is subject to five-yearly uncapped Retail Price Index rent reviews.