Timothy Taylor’s remains profitable in latest financial year despite pandemic, trading ‘satisfactorily’ since reopening: Keighley-based brewer and retailer Timothy Taylor’s has reported the business remained profitable in its latest financial year despite the pandemic and has traded “satisfactorily” since reopening. The company saw turnover fall 23% to £19.6m for the year ending 30 September 2020, compared with £25.5m the previous year as a result of pubs being shut for more than three months during the first national lockdown and then subsequent regional lockdowns. Despite the disruption, the company generated a pre-tax profit of £875,000, down from £2.1m the previous year. Chief executive Tim Dewey told Propel: “Given restrictions, we had a low seven-figure operating loss for the first six months of our current financial year (October 2020-March 2021) but have traded satisfactorily since pubs reopened in April. Like everyone else in the hard-pressed hospitality industry, we are hoping the government’s vaccination strategy works to limit hospitalisations and deaths, allowing the sector to benefit from fewer restrictions and increased consumer confidence from 19 July.” In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “For the first five months of the trading year to the end of February 2020, draught sales were Read More
Enhanced Hospitality opens new Japanese restaurant in London’s St James’s:Enhanced Hospitality, the Roger Payne-led operator of the We Are Bar business and Shaka Zulu in Camden, has opened a new Japanese restaurant in London called Ginza St James’s. Opened on the former Matsuri site in Bury Street, the new restaurant “offers an authentic and exclusive Japanese dining experience”. The venue features a main dining area, two private dining spaces, dedicated counters for Teppanyaki, and Edomae Sushi, and “one of the most extensive sake lists in London”. Payne, who also owned and operated The Cuban and Chicago Rib Shack brands, is believed to have also lined up a further opening in the capital, this time in Mayfair. It is thought Payne is set to take on the Mitchells & Butlers’ former Browns site in Maddox Street, for a yet unknown new venture. It is thought Enhanced Hospitality is also planning to open a new restaurant in Bath and a new members club, restaurant, bar and workspace in Canary Wharf. Shepherd Neame rolls out stretch tents across 30 pubs: Kent-based brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame has begun rolling out the latest investment in its pub estate – bespoke stretch tents, for alfresco Read More
Simmons Bars secures five new sites as it targets 30-strong estate within two years: Simmons Bars, the London-based, Lonsdale Capital Partners-backed group, has secured five new sites, Propel has learned. The company is also nearing completion on neighbouring properties at two of its existing venues, with an eye to expanding the current trading spaces. The new acquisitions will take the bar group to 20 sites with an intention to have a 30-strong estate in the next 12 to 24 months. The openings will take place over the next four months with openings in Bank, Brick Lane, Putney, Tottenham Court Road and Old Street. Chief executive Nick Campbell, who founded the group in 2013, told Propel: “The industry has just been through its toughest period in history. We were stopped in our tracks with little support from the government and no real idea where we were headed next. We had successfully opened three sites in 2019 so we wanted to continue the positive momentum coming out the other side of lockdown. I really want Simmons to be an integral part of getting London’s nightlife scene back to a state of normality so hopefully by providing new venues, new employment and new Read More
Gusto to return to expansion trail with ‘new look’ site in Nottingham: Premium casual dining group Gusto Italian is to return to the expansion trail with the opening of a “new look” restaurant and bar in Nottingham later this year, Propel has learned. The Matt Snell-led brand, which currently has 12 sites across the UK, said the site in the city’s King Street will be an evolution of the Gusto brand with “immersive pizza experience, truly open kitchen and coffee and cannoli bar”. Following this site, Gusto said it was looking to build a pipeline of openings to drive future growth. Snell said: “This will be our first site for four years and marks a new chapter for us as we come out of a very tough 18 months. Nottingham will be home to our first new look Gusto and will create an immersive guest experience that helps us redefine the landscape of Italian casual dining. We’ll be serving brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, the Gusto way.” The Palatine Private Equity-backed group currently operates in locations such as Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Last week It announced the appointment of Ann Elliott to its board as a non-executive director. Read More
Lebanese fast food concept Za’ta set for rollout, aims to grow to ten sites in next year: Za’ta, the London-based Lebanese fast food concept founded by Lebanese national, Francis Zahar, and former Pret A Manger and EAT executive Ed Grimes, is aiming to grow to a ten-strong estate in the next year – and has its sights on eventually growing international. The concept launched in Baker Street in September last year and is inspired by the recipes of Zahar’s mother, Nadia. The menu includes a selection of hot and cold mezzes, meat and vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as breakfast snacks, fair trade organic coffee and sweet treats with a focus on the famous Lebanese man’oushe. And despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, Zahar and Grimes have just started looking for a second site for the concept, which they believe has the format for a rapid rollout. Grimes told Propel he hopes a new site will open in September and is eyeing the City as well as the Gloucester Road and Kensington areas of the capital. He said: “Because we offer a more grab-and-go format, serving people who are in a bit of a hurry, Za’ta can work Read More
Rosa’s Thai Cafe secures two further London sites: TriSpan-backed Rosa’s Thai Cafe is set to further add to its presence in London, with openings in Bloomsbury and King’s Cross, Propel has learned. The company has secured the former ASK Italian unit in Grafton Way for an opening later this year, and a shell unit of Caledonian Road. Last month, the Gavin Adair-led business opened its first Midlands restaurant, at Paradise Birmingham. The company is also currently on-site at the ex-Bella Italia site in Baker Street for an opening this summer. The 24-strong group, which was founded by Alex and Saiphin Moore in 2008, also operates a handful of delivery kitchen sites. The business plans to open up to six new restaurants this year and continue to add to its delivery kitchen estate. Thomas Rose, of P-Three, acts for Rosa’s. Joe & The Juice to replace Caffe Nero in Soho: Denmark-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice is to further add to its presence in central London, with an opening in Soho. The company, which currently operates circa 50 sites in the UK, including about 40 in the capital, is understood to have secured the former Caffe Nero site Read More
Hard Rock Cafe UK management receives financial support commitment from US parent, extends Piccadilly site lease: Hard Rock Cafe UK management has said it has received a letter of support from its US parent committing financial support so it can meet its liabilities over the next year. The company has also extended the lease on its site in London’s Piccadilly until 2037 after seeing “encouraging signs” since opening in 2019. The directors said it could not yet estimate the impact of coronavirus on the business, which “had never experienced a prolonged cessation of its operations for such a significant length of time”. They expect business to return to normal by the end of 2022. They stated: “In addition, the magnitude, duration and speed of the global pandemic is uncertain. As a consequence, management cannot estimate the impact on the company’s business, financial condition or near or longer-term financial or operational results with certainty. The company has received confirmation of continued financial support from its parent to enable it to continue to operate for at least the next 12 months. The effects of further decreases in estimated future operating cash flows could result in the need to recognise additional impairment charges Read More
Hub Box reports 32% rise in like-for-like sales, targets 20-strong estate by end of 2022: Hub Box, the south west-based burger and barbecue concept led by Richard Boon, has reported like-for-like sales up 32% for the eight-week period from 12 April to 6 June 2021 compared with the same period in 2019. The company, which counts Loungers co-founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop as investors, said that while restaurant capacity was extremely constrained for the five weeks from the 12 April, due to trade being limited to outside-only and delivery, like-for-like sales had still climbed by 20.5%. In the three-week period since indoor trading was permitted, like-for-like sales have been up 49.7% with the company posting a record week last week with net sales of £400,700. The company, which opened its tenth site in Falmouth on 24 May, is due to open its 11th site in Cheltenham in the summer followed by a relocation of its Plymouth site to Royal William Yard scheme in the autumn. It is understood the company is reviewing a number of additional new site opportunities and is looking to strengthen its head office team as it embarks on a period of sustained growth that should see Read More
Company News: McDonald’s UK opens second delivery kitchen site: McDonald’s has opened its second UK delivery kitchen site, in Portsmouth, Propel has learned. The fast-food giant has opened the delivery-only unit in Partnership Park in Fratton. It comes 17 months after the company opened its first UK delivery kitchen site in Hanworth, west London, which it launched to “meet a boom in demand for home deliveries”. A McDonald’s spokeswoman told Propel: “It’s important our offer reflects the needs of the people in the local area, and the Fratton delivery kitchen has opened to help nearby restaurants meet the demand from McDelivery orders. The opening has ensured restaurants in the surrounding area can continue to provide the service and convenience our customers expect, while ensuring McDelivery customers have a great experience. The Fratton delivery kitchen is not open to the public, but the kitchen looks and feels exactly the same as all of our other kitchens up and down the country and will deliver the same great-tasting food our customers expect, prepared by our people to exactly the same standards.” The opening in Hanworth in November 2019, was part of a wider trial by McDonald’s to test different restaurant formats. Earlier Read More
Popeyes UK strengthens management team as it aims to open debut site this autumn: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick service restaurant brand, has strengthened its UK management team with three new appointments as it gears up to launch its first restaurant here this autumn. Propel understands the company has appointed Tom Byng as its chief development officer, David Carey as chief technology officer and Neil Williamson as chief operating officer. The brand’s UK chief marketing officer and head of people are expected to be appointed imminently. Byng joins from Fulham Shore, owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, where he was instrumental in growing the group to more than 70 sites nationwide in five years. He was previously director of acquisitions and estate management at Itsu for seven years. At Popeyes UK, Byng will spearhead the sourcing of its first restaurant in London and, thereafter, will be responsible for the creation of a rolling programme of acquisitions. Carey was digital director at The Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for brands including Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito. He will lead on all restaurant and consumer tech, building systems to simplify operations, enable frictionless guest experiences, Read More
Company News: Brewhouse & Kitchen making ‘big push’ to add accommodation to sites:Brewhouse & Kitchen, the 23-strong brewpub group, is making a “big push” to add accommodation to its sites as it becomes a key focus for the group. The company has just received approval from Bristol City Council for 18 bedrooms at its pub in Cotham Hill. Meanwhile, it has planning permission in place for 17 bedrooms at its brewpub in Chester and is looking to add 14 bedrooms to its property in Southbourne in Dorset. Chief executive Kris Gumbrell told Propel he was looking at more opportunities across the group and was in the process of allocating capital for projects. He said: “Some of the properties used to be hotels so we have the sites with the development potential. Having accommodation at the pubs gives us another string to our bow and it’s something we are going to be making a big push on. We are reviewing the estate to see where we might be able to add rooms and it will also be something we look at when it comes to acquisitions.” Under the plans for the Bristol pub, a roof extension would be added to create Read More
Hawthorn ‘evaluating all options’ after receiving ‘good level of interest’ following IPO plans: Mark Davies, chief executive of community pub company Hawthorn, has told Propel the business had a “good level of interest” from the public and private sector and is “evaluating all its options”. In April, parent group NewRiver announced it would explore the potential for an initial public offering of Hawthorn, following a strategic review. Speaking following NewRiver’s full-year results, Davies said the process was still ongoing. He said: “Our recent focus has been on reopening the pubs and we are now turning our attention back to the process. There’s a lot of work to be done before we advance to the next stage. We’ve had a good level of interest from both the public and private sector, and we now evaluate all those options and will provide an update in due course.” In the meantime, Davies said all the attention was turning to 21 June – in what is being dubbed Freedom Day. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” restrictions would be lifted but admitted “media speculation in recent days had been unhelpful”. He added: “The message seems to have shifted a bit in the past week or Read More
Company News: WatchHouse appoints Ross Winterflood as marketing director: Edition Capital-backed coffee concept WatchHouse has appointed Ross Winterflood as its new marketing director, Propel has learned. Winterflood joins the fast-growing, Roland Horne-led business after previously being at Yondr Group and Amazon Logistics. The seven-strong company recently opened its largest site to date in St Mary’s Axe, London, as part of plans to open six new sites by the end of this year, including its first regional launch in Bath. Propel revealed earlier this year, the London-based company was in talks with an operator in Scandinavia in regards to become the brand’s master franchisee for the Nordic regions. Founder Horne told Propel the group has ambitions to reach “triple figures” in the UK in terms of sites, by “creating genuine, authentic local hubs”, and had a long-term ambition to launch in the US. WatchHouse also plans to open sites in Bishopsgate, Seven Dials, Marylebone and Covent Garden within the next six months. WatchHouse will open its first site outside of London, in Bath, in the autumn after securing the former Radley shop in the city’s Old Bond Street. Wendy’s makes UK return: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the Read More
Pret launches click and collect trial: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed chain, is launching a click and collect trial. From Wednesday (2 June), eight of Pret’s 11 Manchester shops will be offering this new service. It follows a surge of Pret coffee subscription sign-ups in Manchester, and a successful initial trial of click and collect in the Pret shop in Media City, Manchester. Similar to online ordering through third-party delivery partners, a 50p click and collect fee will be applied to any transaction. Since May 2020, Pret has been transforming its business model to bring it to more people in different ways. This includes launching the UK’s first high-street coffee subscription service, allowing customers the chance to redeem up to five barista-prepared drinks per day for £20 a month, as well as expanding delivery partnerships with Deliveroo, Just Eat and UberEats. Pret has also launched its products in supermarkets as well as announced plans to open shops in petrol stations and Tesco stores. Subscribers to Pret’s coffee subscription can order their drinks through the click and collect service. Dan Burdett, chief customer and growth officer at Pret, said: “The brand has always prided itself on serving our customers great-quality Read More
YO! to launch first virtual delivery brand: YO!, the global multi-channel, multi-brand Japanese and Asian food group, is to launch its first virtual delivery brand, called Lucky 7, Propel has learned. Lucky 7 is a “contemporary, quality pan-Asian fried chicken brand, which will specialise in higher welfare chicken burgers, wraps and wings”. The delivery brand will launch with a trial in mid-June through delivery partners, including Deliveroo, out of 11 YO! restaurants across the UK. The menu will include Asian influenced burgers such as The Katsu Curry One, The Korean Sweet Chilli One wrap, Kimchi Buffalo wings, Smokey Sesame BBQ tenders and Sweet Miso Corn as a side along with signature fries. Pricing for the new brand is still to be confirmed. It is understood the Richard Hodgson-led business believes Lucky 7 will give the group an opportunity to maximise at-home evening sales as that market continues to grow. Cricket-based concept Sixes secures debut regional site: Sixes, the cricket-based competitive socialising concept from the founders of Mac & Wild, has secured its debut regional site, in Manchester. Propel has learned Sixes, which earlier this year secured a flagship site in London’s Great Portland Street, will open on the former Alston Read More
Qoot Restaurant Group announces closure of By Chloe UK operations: Qoot Restaurant Group, which was among a group of investors that agreed to acquire plant-based concept By Chloe out of bankruptcy in March, has announced the closure of the UK operations of the brand. Qoot director of people and talent Marco Galer-Reick told Propel: “Due to the bankruptcy of the brand parent company in the US and subsequent loss of name rights, we have made the difficult decision to close the UK operations of By Chloe. Recent developments have meant a complete reorganisation of the UK business is necessary and that near-term focus is directed on re-establishing a new brand in the US that has a viable long-term future.” He added that some jobs had been secured for By Chloe staff within its other businesses. By Chloe’s parent company, BC Hospitality Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, citing the impact of the pandemic. The company has for the past several years also been involved in a legal tangle with one of the concept’s co-founders, celebrity vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, who left the company in 2016 and has fought to prevent the use of her name with the Read More
KFC sees potential to triple in size: KFC has said it sees potential to triple in size and is predicting “buckets of growth” in the long term. At an investor day hosted by parent company Yum! Brands, KFC said 90% of its growth in the past five years has been from overseas markets, with 70% of growth coming from outside the US and China. Much of the unit growth has also been in emerging markets such as India. KFC said it plans to almost triple in size from 25,292 sites to 75,000, with a new store opening every five hours in 2021. Over the past two quarters alone, the company has opened 700 units. The strength of this growth projection is aided by “attractive unit-level returns for franchisees, a flexible real estate strategy” and opportunities in emerging markets globally, including Africa, Russia, the Middle East and India, according to analysis from Baird Equity Research. KFC said digital sales have increased by $5bn and make up 43% of transactions, up from about 20% before 2020. The company has made $3bn of digital sales already in 2021. KFC’s first plant-based protein, Beyond Fried Chicken, was first tested in July 2020 in select Read More
Wagamama to expand delivery kitchen estate in London: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned brand, is to extend its delivery kitchen estate in London, with two further sites, Propel has learned. The Emma Woods-led business will open new delivery kitchens in Walthamstow and Forest Hill, the latter of which launches next week. They will join the brand’s existing delivery kitchens in the capital in Balham, Peckham, Hackney and Bow. Wagamama also operates a delivery kitchen in Leeds. In April, TRG said the five Wagamama delivery kitchens currently in operation generated £225,000 average outlet Ebitda with over 75% return on invested capital. It said that given this track record, the company’s long-term ambitions for the brand include significant measured roll-out potential to expand both in the UK to a targeted circa 180 to 200 restaurants (from 144 today) and circa 20 to 30 delivery kitchens. In an update on Tuesday (25 May), TRG said: “Wagamama (for the circa 130 sites open in this period) traded at circa 85% of comparable 2019 sales levels, representing a circa 15% outperformance of the market reflecting ongoing strong delivery volumes and good trading from outdoor space in many locations.” Parogon reports like-for-like turnover up 54% on Read More
Company News: Former MOD Pizza UK chief executive Nelson takes the helm at Chik’n: John Nelson, formerly of MOD Pizza UK and Nando’s, has joined Chik’n, the fried chicken concept from the team behind Chick ’n’ Sours, as its new chief executive, Propel has learned. Nelson joined MOD Pizza UK, the joint venture backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, at the end of 2015, before leaving the then nine-strong business last year, after its parent company was placed into liquidation. Prior to joining MOD, Nelson was operations director at Nando’s and accountable for more than 350 restaurants. Prior to Nando’s, Nelson held several leadership positions for one of Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailers, Dixons Stores Group (formerly Curry’s), including central operations director, divisional director and customer operations manager. He replaces Jon Green at Chik’n. Green, who was previously at Prezzo, joined the David Wolanski and Carl Clarke-led concept, which is backed by Dunstone and Active Partners, at the end of 2019. Chik’n currently operates sites in Angel, Soho and Marylebone, plus operates out of dark kitchens in Battersea, Park Royal and Wandsworth. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele to make regional debut in Manchester: L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the oldest pizzeria in Italy, Read More
Patrick Dardis – potential sale of tenanted business on agenda for almost five years but now is the right time to test the water:Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel a potential sale of its tenanted business has been on the agenda for almost five years, but the market was “now right” to test the water. Dardis said if a sale of the 63-strong Ram Pub Company did go ahead, “every penny” would be ploughed into either the existing business or towards potential acquisitions – and not used to pay down debt. Speaking following the company’s preliminary results, Dardis said: “We look at the strategy every year and a possible sale of the tenanted business has always been on the agenda. It’s a fantastic little business but it’s a declining area in terms of site growth. However, these are prized assets that would sit at the top of most tenanted pub company businesses and, following a review of everything, we feel now is the time to test the water. If we do a deal, and that is an ‘if’ because we don’t need to, it will add further firepower to invest in our existing estate Read More
Murphy steps down as PizzaExpress finance director: David Murphy has stepped down as finance director for PizzaExpress UK & Ireland after over four and half years in the role, Propel has learned. Murphy has left the brand, which he originally joined in October 2014, as group financial controller, to join residential and holiday park operator Haulfryn Group as its new chief financial officer. He was previously finance director at Tesco. Earlier this year, PizzaExpress strengthened its management team with the appointments of Jo Bennett as its new chief business officer and Shadi Halliwell as its new chief customer officer. In March, Andy Pellington stepped down as the pizza chain’s chief financial officer, a role he held for seven years, after overseeing the recapitalisation of the business in autumn last year. Pellington and Murphy’s responsibilities have been taken on by Bennett. Neat Burger makes regional debut in Reading: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger has made its regional debut with an opening in Reading. Propel understands the company has launched a dark kitchen unit through Deliveroo’s Editions unit in the city. Talking to Propel in March, Stasi Nychas, co-founder of Neat Burger, said dark kitchens would be the best way for Read More
Burger King UK acquires franchisee Zing Leisure: BK UK Group, the master franchisee for Burger King in the UK, has acquired Zing Leisure for an undisclosed sum, adding 17 restaurants to its company-owned estate. The sites are spread across the UK and increases the group’s company-owned portfolio to 142 restaurants, within a total UK estate of 491 outlets. The company said as it moves into a year of growth, it is committed to organic opportunities and rolling out the brand further. The business said the acquisition was part of its wider plans to continue to revitalise the brand across the UK. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive for Burger King UK, said: “This significant acquisition is a great way to progress in what’s been a challenging year, and demonstrates our commitment to growth of the brand. I would like to thank Zing Leisure for its support along with the enormous contribution it has made to Burger King in the UK over the past 25 years. The restaurants have been run in an exemplary way and we welcome the restaurant teams as they become part of an ever-growing BK UK Group.” Burger King UK was formed after a joint venture deal was agreed Read More
Willingham – we are winning conversations on property based on covenant, financial security and reliability rather than a bigger cheque: Sarah Willingham, chief executive of listed bar group Nightcap, has said the fascinating thing about the current property market is it is like “we are starting again and winning conversation based on covenant, financial security and reliability rather than a bigger cheque”. Speaking as part of Propel’s Friday Wrap series, Willingham said: “I had a conversation with Hugh Osmond a couple of weeks back and he said the property opportunity is one of the most interesting areas of growth for the sector but it is like you have to literally throw away anything you have learnt about taking on property for hospitality and start again. It is difficult because we are so used to being up against loads of people and whoever has got the biggest cheque, putting more money for the premium, gets the property. What’s fascinating now is it is like we are starting again and we are winning conversations based on covenant, financial security and reliability rather than a bigger cheque. In my entire career that has never happened before. Landlords going into new and empty properties Read More
Wendy’s evaluating more than 20 potential franchisees in UK: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, has said the company is evaluating more than 20 potential franchisees in the UK. Chief executive said the company remains on track to open the first UK site, on its return here, in Reading on Wednesday, 2 June, which will be operated by the company. Earlier this week, Wendy’s chief development officer Abigail Pringle said there was an opportunity to open between 300 and 400 sites in the UK. Speaking to analysts after the brand’s first-quarter update, Wendy’s chief financial officer Gunther Plosch said: “The UK consumer seems to be ready for us. We have built a robust franchise pipeline. We said it in the prepared remarks about 20 franchisees put up their hands. The chief development officer said in one of the interviews in the UK that there is no reason to believe why the long-term potential of the UK for us shouldn't be 400 restaurants. Just to be clear, there's no development agreement signed for the UK. It's a belief we have, and that we'll be going after, and that's where we're going to make our investment.” The group Read More
MeatLiquor to take on Forest Hill pub, could lead to more: Scott Collins-led concept MeatLiquor has secured its first pub, the Dartmouth Arms in London’s Forest Hill, which will open at the start of July, and the business may look to open more. Propel understands the 11-strong company has taken a new lease on the pub from Stonegate Pub Company, a deal that sees Collins return to the pub sector and the brand return to its roots. The first incarnation of MeatLiquor ran as a pop-up above a pub in New Cross in its early days in 2011. The residency was so successful it led to the opening of the first MeatLiquor restaurant on Welbeck Street in London’s West End that same year. Collins previously worked for and was shareholder in the Clive Watson-led Capital Pub Company. At Capital, his role was to source, buy, design and run pubs, including The Clarence in Balham, which won the Evening Standard Pub of the Year award in 2006. Collins said the Victorian public house, which has three bars and a 30-space car park, would be getting a “MeatLiquor makeover” and customers could expect the full MeatLiquor menu with the addition of fish Read More
Gordon Ramsay Restaurants appoints Antony Perring as CFO: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants has appointed Antony Perring, formerly of Leon and Wagamama, as its new chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Perring, the former Wagamama finance director, stepped down as chief financial officer of Leon at the start of this year, after joining the then John Vincent-led business in February 2015. Previous to that, he spent eight and a half years at Wagamama. He joins Gordon Ramsay Restaurants as it looks to further expand its fledgling concepts – Street Pizza and Street Burger. The business opened its fourth Street Pizza, at Battersea Power Station, last month. At the same time, the company opened sites for its Street Burger concepts in London’s Charing Cross Road and below the chef’s new cooking school in Woking, Surrey. It has also lined up the ex-Byron site in Kensington High Street for an opening later this summer for the Street Burger concept. It is thought the chef is also in talks to take the ex-Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, for another Street Burger site. Ramsay is also believed to have made the highest offer to take the former Giraffe site in The Oracle Read More
Burger King UK to trial delivery kitchen sites: Burger King UK, the Bridgepoint-backed fast-food chain, is to begin a trial of a delivery kitchen site within the next few weeks, Propel has learned. Propel understands the Alasdair Murdoch-led, circa 530-strong, business is looking to open delivery kitchens across three locations, including Kentish Town and Wandsworth, with all set to come online before the end of the summer. It is thought the Kentish Town site will launch first. It is understood Burger King will team up with Foodstars, which provides kitchen space for food companies, for the Kentish Town and Wandsworth sites, but the third trial site will be with Deliveroo. If the trial sites are successful, it is thought Burger King will explore doing further delivery kitchen units. At the end of 2019, McDonald’s opened its first “dark kitchen” in order to establish how to meet increasing demand for delivery. The brand’s first kitchen-only location opened in Hanworth, west London, as part of a “wider trial to test varying restaurant formats”. Propel understands Nando’s also trialled its own dark kitchen site in an unnamed location, which has since closed. Starbucks franchisee 23.5 Degrees secures £17m funding package to support expansion: Read More
Tortilla enters partnership with Merlin Entertainments, adapts operational model:Tortilla is to open a site in Chessington World of Adventures Resort, through a new partnership with Merlin Entertainments, which could see the Quilvest-backed fast casual Mexican concept open further sites with the visitor attractions operator. The first site under the new partnership opens on Monday, 17 May. Tortilla’s managing director Richard Morris said the brand was thrilled to be opening in Chessington and has adapted its operational model to suit the high-volume environment. He said: “We’ve streamlined the menu and repositioned the servery to be able to serve more burritos per second than ever. This is a new model for us and, if successful, we hope to continue opening Tortilla sites of this format in more Merlin locations as well as other high-throughput locations with SSP.” Natalie Fox, commercial director at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Tortilla to our line-up – it’s going to be a great addition to the resort.” Located in the Mexicana Land, Tortilla Chessington will be centrally run and staffed by Tortilla and its employees. Tortilla, which operates circa 50 sites, is rolling out several more restaurants this summer as lockdown Read More
Wasabi strengthens management team, returns to expansion trail: Wasabi, the sushi and bento chain led by Henry Birts and backed by Capdesia, has strengthened its management team with the appointment of a new marketing director and operations director as it returns to the expansion trail, Propel has learned. Wasabi has appointed Tom Sugarman, formerly of Pret A Manger, as operations director. Sugarman spent nine years at Pret, most recently as its UK shops director. Meanwhile, the 43-strong Wasabi has appointed Sam Bourke, formerly of ETM Group and The Restaurant Group, as its new marketing director. Bourke joins the business after more than four and half years as director of sales and marketing at ETM Group. The appointments of Sugarman and Bourke follows that of Kate Lucas, who joined the business earlier this year in the new role of managing director for the group’s grocery business. Wasabi said it was in a strong position to grow as covid restrictions ease and the consumer economy recovers. It has now reopened 39 of its sites and said it was “building a confident new openings programme for 2021 and beyond”. It opened one new site in February – London Bridge, which it said was Read More
Maray appoints new chairman as it prepares for expansion: Liverpool-based Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar concept Maray has appointed Lucy Noone Blake as its new chairman as it prepares for expansion. Noone Blake joins the three founders – Thomas White, Dominic Jones and James Bates on the board of the business, bringing with her 18 years’ experience in hospitality in front of house, operations and marketing roles at companies such as Hawksmoor and Arc Inspirations. Maray, which is backed by Rosa’s Thai Cafe founders Alex and Saiphin Moore, said Noone Blake’s appointment will lead its “rapid expansion into exciting new territories”. This will include the opening of new concept, Sabich, at GSG Hospitality’s Duke Street Food and Drink Market when it reopens on Monday, 17 May, the impending opening of the One O’Clock Gun, its new pub on the city’s Albert Dock, as well as its first launch outside of Liverpool, in Manchester. Bates told Propel: “We’ve been looking for a site for in Manchester for so long, so we know the rumours have been swirling and it’s great to be able to confirm. Lucy is Manchester-based, as is Dominic, so it all feels very natural as a next Read More
Poké House makes UK move with Ahi Poké deal: Milan-based, fast-casual brand Poké House is to make its debut in the UK after acquiring the Ahi Poké business. Off the back of the acquisition of the six-strong, London-based Ahi Poké, the company plans to launch seven venues in the capital by the summer, with the first Poké House restaurant planned to open in Notting Hill, in June. Poké House currently operates 30 sites across Italy, Portugal and Spain, and employs more than 400 people. It said it plans to expand into city locations, shopping malls, outdoor kiosks and dark kitchens in the UK. The deal comes a few days after Poké House closed a €20m (£17m) Series B funding round led by Eulero Capital, with backing from FG2 Capital and reinvestment from Milano Investment Partners. The proceeds from the investment are intended to fuel and accelerate the international expansion of the company, with the acquisition of Ahi Poké representing a key step in a broader plan to open 200 new stores across Europe. Matteo Pichi, co-founder and chief executive of Poké House, said: “We realised early on that poké could be a product with great potential but, at the same Read More
KFC UK system sales up 16% in first quarter, second largest increase of all markets: Yum! Brands has reported KFC system sales in the UK rose 16% for the first quarter, ended 31 March 2021, compared with the previous year when many of its stores were shut for some of the period as a result of the pandemic. The increase was the second largest in all of KFC’s markets as the business continues its recovery – the highest was in China, at 24%. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales in the quarter increased 8% with US like-for-like sales up 14% – system sales worldwide rose 16%. The company said about 2% of its international restaurants and less than 1% of its US sites remained temporarily closed at the end of the quarter. Operating margin increased 8.4%, driven by like-for-like sales growth, lower bad debt expense and unit growth. KFC opened a gross of 409 new restaurants in 50 countries during the period. Operating profit was up 34% to $300m. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut system sales in Europe, including the UK, were down 23% – the continent accounts for 8% of Pizza Hut’s system Read More
Prezzemolo & Vitale lines up a fourth London site: Family-run Italian operator Prezzemolo & Vitale (P&V) plans to open its fourth site in London, in Wimbledon, Propel has learned. The company is set to open on the former Le Pain Quotidien site in Wimbledon High Street. Founded in Italy 30 years ago by husband and wife team Giuseppe Prezzemolo and Giusi Vitale, the brand offers Sicilian and Italian delicacies, including takeaway ready-made meals, sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese boards. Its debut London site was at the Mercato Metropolitano market in Southwark. It has since moved out of the market and opened sites in Chelsea, Borough and Notting Hill. The Chelsea site features a coffee bar and wine cellar, which offers “classics and rarities” as well as Giù Giù, P&V’s own-brand wine. The company also operates seven shops in Palermo, Sicily. Business behind George’s Great British Kitchen concept wound up: Adel Investments, the company behind fish and chip restaurant concept George’s Great British Kitchen, has been wound up after accruing estimated debts of more than £442,000. The company operated sites in Liverpool, Nottingham, Newcastle and Leeds. The business was wound up last month, after going into liquidation earlier this year, and all Read More
Everards managing director calls for tax reform during update of past 12 months:Stephen Gould, managing director of Leicestershire-based brewer and retailer Everards, has called for “a long overdue opportunity to deliver lower taxation for beer duty, property rates and VAT for pubs” as he gave a 12-month update on how the business has fared during the pandemic. Gould explained the business has sold 14 pubs for an undisclosed sum to community pub company Hawthorn and 71% of its sites began trading again on Monday, 12 April. Meanwhile, continued investment has seen Everards develop a new home based at Everards Meadows that will open in June. It will house its offices, breweries (main and pilot), shop and a beer hall – creating 57 new jobs. It has created a public park on land owned by the business with planning permission sought for a further six-acre area to be developed into a mixed-use scheme incorporating a hotel, offices and bespoke buildings developed for education, health and well-being uses. Gould said: “The past 12 months have been intensely challenging for the hospitality industry. I would like to thank our employees, business owners, shareholders, bank, advisers, brewing partners, suppliers, trade associations and the government Read More
Sumosan founder launches Israeli-Japanese dining concept with backing from Cain International: Cain International, the privately held investment firm led by Jonathan Goldstein, has partnered with Janina Wolkow, restaurateur and founder of multi-award-winning contemporary Japanese restaurant Sumosan, to launch JiJi’s, a new Israeli-Japanese dining concept. The debut site will launch in London’s Islington Square development in June. Heading up the kitchen will be executive chef Bubker Belkhit, who has worked with Wolkow for more than 20 years and was instrumental in the creation and ongoing success of Sumosan. JiJi’s will also sell branded merchandise, including homemade sauces, selected condiments, apparel and books. Wolkow said: “Inspired by frequent travels to Tel Aviv, Jiji’s will demonstrate how Japanese and Israeli cuisines can complement each other perfectly. We’re thrilled to be working with Cain International and it’s fitting we’re launching this new concept in Islington, the centre of the casual dining scene in one of the world’s most international cities.” Goldstein added: “Having collaborated with Janina to bring Sumosan to our development at Courchevel 1850, where it has been exceptionally well received, we were very pleased to work with her in making this exciting dining concept a reality. Pent-up demand has resulted in levels Read More
Company News: Neame – we hope to be profitable by June: Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Kent-based brewer and pub retailer Shepherd Neame, has said that on the back of the company being able to reopen more than 200 pub gardens and seeing more than 50% of those trading in line or significantly ahead of last year, he hopes the business will return to profitability in June. On Wednesday (21 April), the company reported a rise in bottled beer volume growth by 25.7% and tight cost control had restricted underlying monthly cash burn to circa £1.5m to £2m while its pub estate was closed. Neame told Propel: “The early signs have been good. Of the more than 200 pubs we have been able to reopen, 50% are trading in line or significantly ahead of the same period last year. Consumers are much more confident, more relaxed and there is plenty of goodwill for pubs. On that basis and that April will see us incorporate significant start-up costs, which will be a challenge, I expect us to be cash neutral in May but, come June and the reopening of the rest of our estate on 17 May, I hope we will Read More
Patisserie Valerie appoints Hughes-Ward as new finance director: Patisserie Valerie, which is backed by Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital, has appointed Jenni Hughes-Ward, formerly of sofa.com and Links of London, as its new finance director, Propel has learned. Hughes-Ward, who spent over two and a half years as finance director at sofa.com, replaces Richard Purvis, who left the business earlier this year. Purvis joined Patisserie Valerie in summer 2019 from Tulip Food Company, where he spent more than two years as finance director. Last year, Causeway merged Patisserie Valerie and Bakers + Baristas to create a “high-quality patisserie and coffee group” with more than 125 locations in the UK and Ireland. The new entity is led by group chief executive James Fleming. Causeway Capital said the merger would enable both businesses to benefit from shared baking, coffee and customer service resources as well as new product development. Prezzo promotes Challenger to chief operating officer: Prezzo, the Cain International-backed restaurant chain, has promoted Dean Challenger to chief operating officer, Propel understands. Last March, Karen Jones-led restaurant chain Prezzo expanded the remit of the finance director Challenger, under the new role of chief services officer. He already had IT, procurement, risk Read More
Company News: Tortilla appoints former Azzurri Group MD Jason Thomas as COO: Tortilla, the Quilvest-backed fast casual Mexican concept, has appointed Jason Thomas – formerly of Azzurri Group, Shake Shack and Loch Fyne Restaurants – as its new chief operating officer. Thomas was previously a managing director at Zizzi and ASK Italian operator Azzurri. He most recently worked as a business director for AlShaya in the Middle East, and for a year and a half headed up Shake Shack in the UK. He was also previously an operations director at Loch Fyne Restaurants. Tortilla managing director Richard Morris said: “Having worked previously with Jason at Loch Fyne, I know he’s the right cultural fit for the business, and will be able to get stuck into the many exciting projects we have planned for this year and beyond.” The company also confirmed previous Propel reports it was to open in Exeter, in High Street, and Edinburgh, at the St James Place development. The 43-strong group is also set to open in Windsor, in the town’s Peascod Street, and add to its dark kitchen’s estate with an opening in the Deliveroo Editions in Manchester next month. The brand said it was also Read More
Company News: Corbin & King reports FY turnover passes £50m before pandemic hit, first week of reopening ‘better than anticipated’: London restaurant operator Corbin & King has reported turnover increased beyond £50m in its financial year before the pandemic hit while the first week of reopening had been “better than anticipated”. The company saw turnover of £53.1m for the year ending 31 December 2019, compared with £44.2m for the nine months ending December 2018. The shorter accounting period reflected the alignment of the company’s accounts with parent Minor International, which bought Graphite Capital’s stake in December 2017. Ebitda for the year ending 31 December 2019 stood at £2.7m, compared with £7.5m in the prior period. Operating loss before tax increased from £2m to £3.9m while pre-tax losses were up to £5.4m from £3.1m. A £13.2m loan owed to Minor International, which was payable in May 2020, remains outstanding. In his report accompanying the accounts, co-founder Jeremy King said: “We have taken a number of steps to preserve cash and support trading and these have included but not limited to rent relief and deferral of payments by majority of landlords; suspension of any unnecessary capital expenditure; and launching a new revenue channel, Read More
M&B appoints Anna-Marie Mason as managing director of pubs division: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the Phil Urban-led company, has appointed Anna-Marie Mason as managing director of its pubs division, Propel has learned. Mason has been with the company for almost eight years, beginning as a retail director, before spending the past five years as director of brand marketing. Before joining M&B, she spent nearly three years as marketing director of Game Digital. In her new role, she will oversee M&B’s circa 500-strong Pubs Division, which includes its Ember Inns brand; the group’s Suburban segment Sizzling Pub & Grill; and High Street segment O’Neill’s and similar unbranded pubs. She takes over from Nick Crossley, who left M&B earlier this year, to become chief executive of Turtle Bay, the Caribbean restaurant brand backed by Piper. Various Eateries begins building Coppa Club pipeline: Various Eateries, the AIM-listed Andy Bassadone-chaired business, has begun building its site pipeline for its Coppa Club brand, with openings in Bristol and Haslemere on its radar, Propel has learned. It is understood the 11-strong company, which also operates the Tavolino concept, has secured the former Georgian Hotel in Haslemere for an opening later this year. At the same time, Read More
Wendy’s lines up first out-of-town site for UK return: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, has lined up its first out-of-town site for its UK return, in Essex, Propel has learned. The company, which plans to open five sites in the UK this year, with a target of eventually operating about 20 company-owned branches in Britain, is understood to be in advanced talks on taking a site at Thurrock Shopping Park. It is thought it could even be the location of its first UK drive-thru. The company plans to enter the UK with company-owned and operated restaurants in 2021 and, in its second phase, will launch in priority areas with multi-unit franchisee operators. It has already secured sites in Reading and Oxford, and is believed to have a strong pipeline of locations in place in the UK, including some drive-thrus. It recently applied for planning to open a site in Croydon, close to East Croydon Station. In March, the company said it plans to open ten sites in the UK next year, and that it had secured multiple locations and was engaged with several potential franchisees. Wendy’s chief executive Todd Penegor said: “We continue to make Read More
Incipio Group to open first bricks and mortar Pergola site in Canary Wharf: Incipio Group, operator of venues including The Prince and Lost In Brixton, is to transform Percy’s, its current nightclub in High Street Kensington, and open the first bricks and mortar site under its Pergola concept in London’s Canary Wharf. Propel understands the Edition Capital-backed business has secured the former Giant Robot site for Pergola on the Wharf, which will open in June. The new venue will feature a wraparound terrace with capacity for 200 guests – the terrace will also be heated for colder months. Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows will ensure guests can continue to enjoy panoramic views of the city and plenty of natural daylight, while green planting throughout the venue will bring the outside in. There will be three different bars offering a selection of expertly made cocktails, alongside an extensive list of beer, wine and soft drinks. The total venue capacity is 700. As well as a year-round in-house food offering, Pergola on the Wharf will house a separate kitchen dedicated to hosting a rotating series of guest chefs showcasing “innovative dishes by street food traders from London and beyond, shining a spotlight on new Read More
Company News: Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken begins national expansion with Essex franchise deal:South west-based operator Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken is to begin its national expansion after signing a franchise deal to open in Essex, Propel has learned. The nine-strong company, which is led by Carl Traill and backed by HBM Investments, will open the first site under the new agreement with franchisee Joe Bhangal in Billericay later this summer. Propel understands the Billericay site will be the first of ten stores planned in the Essex area over the next three to five years for the brand, with openings lined up in Colchester, Chelmsford, and Southend-on-Sea. The company is also believed to be in advanced talks with franchisees for the south Wales, Birmingham and Hertfordshire regions. Traill told Propel that Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken was actively recruiting multiple site franchisees across the country and had mapped out 85 regions in which the brand could expand into. He said: “Aside from trying to stay afloat over the past year, we have also been busy examining opportunities to grow the business. We are in discussions with a number of multiple franchisees, who can support five sites and above, across the country, including two Read More
Company News: Arc Inspirations ‘extremely encouraged’ by very strong demand for forward bookings, two new sites in pipeline: Martin Wolstencroft, chief executive of Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of a number of fast-growing brands, has said the business is “extremely encouraged by the very strong demand we are seeing through forward bookings through the summer and towards Christmas”. Of the group’s 17 premium bars, 13 will reopen on Monday, 12 April, when outside trading recommences. The company said these venues were experiencing “very high demand, with many fully booked in that first week and with good bookings visibility for the first five weeks”. It said it was also “seeing very strong demand” from the 17 May, when indoor trading recommences, and all 17 of its venues reopen, and from the 21 Junewhen all restrictions are due to fall away in England. It comes as the company reported a record year in the 12 months to 29 March 2020, with turnover up 11% to £30.1m. The company said it conservatively estimated the impact of the covid-19 crisis on this financial period was £1.5m, in lost sales. As a consequence, the group recorded adjusted Ebitda of £2.9m. This was lower than the Read More
Boom: Battle Bar accelerating growth and signing up franchisees weekly as it seals The O2 deal: Boom: Battle Bar, the adventure bar concept from the team behind adventure park franchise Flip Out, is accelerating its growth, Propel has learned. Boom: Battle Bar, which is aiming to become the UK’s biggest competitive socialising concept, said it was signing up new franchisees on a weekly basis. It has just signed a deal at The O2 Arena, where negotiations were extended to include an additional 7,000 square foot lounge on top of the original planned 10,500 square foot space. The combined spaces were the previous performers’ lounge and former banqueting restaurant, Water Margin, which is spread over two floors. As well as including Boom: Battle Bar’s games of axe throwing, augmented darts, beer pong and shuffleboard, The O2 site will have several Japanese-style karaoke booths. Boom: Battle Bar chief executive Elliott Shuttleworth said: “The Boom brand is set to become the leading competitive socialising offering in the UK. We have secured some of best prime retail space that has meant we have had to invest a huge amount of money to accelerate our growth plans. We have had incredible demand for Booms from Read More
Anglian Country Inns looking to return to expansion trail in September in ‘big year’ rebuilding the business: Anglian Country Inns, the pub and restaurant operator led by James Nye, is looking to return to the expansion trail in September as the business rebuilds post-covid-19. Nye told Propel that Anglian Country Inns aims to pay down part of the £3.3m it secured through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) last June in the next six to 12 months, while it is close to the disposal of its Water Lane cocktail bar and restaurant in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, which will leave the business with eight sites. Nye said: “I think we have a big year coming up as we rebuild the business, but I am very optimistic for the future. We were planning a refinance of the business before covid, so we had new deals in place, which meant our covenants were easier to meet. Our planned capital expenditure became survival capital in the form of a CBILS but it has enabled to get us through. But that refinancing work has been critical in positioning the business to now not only pay back the CBILS, but to also start expanding again.” Read More
Albion & East to launch crowdfunding campaign for next stage of growth: Albion & East, the Imbiba-backed, London-based bar business, is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign, as it looks to fund its next stage of growth and open its first site in north London, Propel understands. The four-strong, Sarah Weir-led, business is set to launch the fundraise early next month via Crowdcube, with an initial target of £500,000. The business currently operates four bars – Martello Hall in Hackney, Canova Hall and Cattivo in Brixton and Serata Hall in Old Street. A fifth bar, Allora Hall, will open on the former Monkey Nuts site in Crouch End, in May, which will mark the company’s debut in north London. Propel understands Albion & East has a further two sites in the pipeline for 2021 and it wants to accelerate growth by acquiring new sites over the next three years. One of these sites is set to open under a “experience-led concept – an urban distillery and tasting room”. It is thought to have a site in the pipeline for this concept, with a target opening in late 2021. It is also thought the funds raised will also go towards the Read More
Starbucks franchisee 23.5 Degrees hits 80 stores with King’s Lynn launch, plans 300 by 2027: Starbucks’ first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees, will open its 80th store on Friday (26 March) in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The opening is part of an ambitious expansion programme for 23.5 Degrees, which has a strong pipeline of approved stores and plans to reach 300 stores by 2027. Managing director Mark Hepburn said: “The past year has been challenging but opening this Starbucks store demonstrates our commitment to our ambitious growth plans.” 23.5 Degrees opened its first Starbucks store, in Liphook, Hampshire, in February 2013. Despite the pandemic, 23.5 Degrees opened seven drive-thru stores in 2020. The business aims to reach 100 stores by March 2022. 23.5 Degrees is seeking both freehold and leasehold drive-thru opportunities on main arterial routes, close to major retail destinations or on large industrial estates. These opportunities should be able to be designed into three standard sized units – 1,500, 1,800 and 2,200 square foot. They can either be modular or traditionally built. 23.5 Degrees will also consider retail park and drive-to destinations, as well as high street units in prominent high footfall locations with a minimum size of Read More
Zambrero – Australia’s largest Mexican food franchise to launch in the UK:Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise with more than 200 restaurants globally, is to launch in the UK, Propel has learned. Founded in 2005 by then-medical student Dr Sam Prince, Zambrero offers a fresh, modern interpretation of classic Mexican food. Through its humanitarian initiative, Plate4Plate, Zambrero is also tackling world hunger by donating a meal to someone in need for every burrito or bowl purchased. Since the inception of Plate4Plate, more than 46 million meals have been donated so far by Zambrero’s network of restaurants in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the US. Zambrero’s expansion into the UK marks the next phase in its goal to donate one billion meals. Led in the UK by chief executive Emily Teh, Zambrero is understood to have lined up a site in London’s Kentish Town for its debut opening here. Stonegate support for Ei Publican Partnerships to continue to June: Stonegate Pub Company has announced it will continue its support for Ei Publican Partnership publicans with rent and trade credits throughout April, May and June. The support builds on the financial assistance given to publicans in the form of significantly reduced rents Read More
US fried chicken brand Popeyes plans UK launch: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick service restaurant brand, has announced plans to enter the UK this year, with the goal of opening 350 new restaurants in Britain over the next ten years. The brand, which was founded in Louisiana in 1972 and currently operates circa 3,400 restaurants across 29 countries, will enter the UK market as part of an agreement between PLK Europe, a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which also owns Tim Hortons and Burger King; Austrian-based, family-owned international conglomerate Ring International Holdings and hospitality-industry veteran Elias Diaz Sese. He is a former executive of RBI and is a shareholder and a director of Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland. Until October 2019, he was president for UK, Ireland & Scandinavia at the Kraft Heinz Company. He spent more than 15 years at RBI across a number of senior positions around the world. Sese told Propel there were three reasons why Popeyes was launching in the UK – the brand, the product and the people. He said: “The chicken sector in the UK has been growing over the past few years, but we believe there is a space Read More
Tim Martin – we’ve taken £51.7m CLBILS as a ‘precautionary measure’, hopes business will be profitable again in June: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has told Propel the company has secured a further £51.7m from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) as a “precautionary measure”. Speaking after the company’s interim results where it reported a 53.9% decline in like-for-like sales in the 26 weeks to 24 January 2021, with revenue down by 53.8% to £431.1m, Martin said he hoped the business would be profitable again in June. He said: “Any business now will build in some sleeve, if they can, for unforeseen events. At Wetherspoon, we say ‘everything depends on the virus’ – but also on government action. If we are open by June without restrictions we, and the industry, will be profitable from that point. The vaccine looks promising, so touch wood. We’re trying to get through the point about transmission – as are many others in the trade – to Sage and the government, but they’ve got cloth ears, unfortunately.” Martin said the company was starting to look at some property opportunities that had arisen from the pandemic but added: “Like others, we’re nervous about government Read More
Five Guys UK examining drive-thru opportunities: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, is exploring opportunities to open its first drive-thru sites in the UK, Propel understands. The circa 100-strong brand, which recently opened a new site on the former Frankie & Benny’s unit in High Wycombe, is believed to be in talks on two or three possible sites for its drive-thru debut in the UK. Its move into drive-thrus will come on the back of the success of its “kerbside” pick-up option, which it launched in Britain in May, and so far operates from 21 sites, including the new High Wycombe outlet. Over the course of the pandemic, drive-thrus have become one of the most hotly contested parts of the UK property market as businesses including Greggs, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Tim Horton’s have looked to up their presence in the category. Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, which plans to re-enter the UK market this year with up to five new openings, has also expressed an interest in launching drive-thru sites in Britain. Five Guys also has openings in Chichester, Stevenage Leisure Park, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands and Read More
Holmes – we will come out of this a lot more purpose-driven business: Azzurri Group will come out of the crisis a more purposeful and value-driven business, chief executive Steve Holmes has said. Speaking at the Propel Multi Club conference, Holmes said the TowerBrook Capital-backed company’s online meetings had resulted in broader topics being discussed including around the environment, carbon reduction and mental health support, which he expects the company to invest more heavily on and move the agenda on. He said: “We’ve become a lot closer as a business, which is ironic as no one has been able to meet up. In times like this, you can’t over-communicate but you can under-communicate so we have been talking a lot to our teams. Borne out of the fact we are having a lot more conversations with everybody across the whole organisation, it feels a lot flatter than it was before and we are having real conversations with our people across all our brands about the things that really matter. When you have them face-to-face regularly, it seems easier to make a positive difference. There has been a real sense of community, the teams have rallied, supported each other, and supported Read More
Whiteside – we may need to consider a second brand at some time in the future:Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside has told Propel the food-to-go operator may need to consider acquiring a second brand at “some time in the future”. He told Propel: “We have no plans to acquire a second brand given the long runway of growth still in Greggs although our strategic roadmap does acknowledge we may need to consider that at some time in the future.” The 2,058-strong company has increased its overall growth target for its estate from 2,500 UK shops to 3,000 at a rate of about 100 net openings a year, although Whiteside said this could be accelerated if attractive sites became available sooner, and was confident further opportunities would arise in central London, city centres across the UK and in transport hubs. Whiteside said: “People are worried city centres won’t be busy as we recover from the pandemic, but they will still be busy, maybe not as busy at first. There are also opportunities to secure sites at a good level, which wasn’t there before.” He also saw retail parks as an area for future expansion. He said: “There are about 1,300 retail Read More
Qoot Restaurant Group among investor group that agrees to buy By Chloe out of bankruptcy but won’t get to use name: Qoot Restaurant Group, which operates a number of fast-growing brands in London, is among a group of investors that has agreed to acquire plant-based concept By Chloe out of bankruptcy, although they won’t get to use the name. By Chloe’s parent company, BC Hospitality Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, citing the impact of the pandemic. The company has for the past several years also been involved in a legal tangle with one of the concept’s co-founders, celebrity vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, who left the company in 2016 and has fought to prevent the use of her name with the concept. The group of buyers, which also includes Bain Capital Double Impact Fund, Kitchen Fund, Lion Capital and Simple Capital Management, agreed to pay $333,000 and assume debts for By Chloe, which before the pandemic had grown to 14 sites in the US, Toronto and London. The investors had already provided $3.25m in bankruptcy financing to enable the company to continue operating. Under terms of the acquisition agreement, the new owners would be allowed to continue Read More
Propel Premium subscribers to receive access to Propel Multi Club Conference video on Wednesday: Propel Premium subscribers will receive access on Wednesday (17 March) to the video of the first Propel Multi Club Conference of the year. Premium subscribers should email anne.steele@propelinfo.com now to receive their code on Wednesday to view the conference. Speakers include Graeme Smith, managing director at AlixPartners; Dan Warne, founder of Sessions Market; Yishay Malkov, chief executive of Various Eateries; Victor Lugger, co-founder of the Big Mamma Group; Alex Reilley, chairman of Loungers; Salima Vellani, founder of host kitchen business KBox Global; Philip Turner, founder and chief executive of Chestnut Group; Neat Burger co-founder and head of operations Stasi Nychas; and Sarah Willingham, chief executive of bar company Nightcap. There are also two panel sessions. Fledgling concepts talk about evolving and growing in a covid-impacted world featuring Grace Regan, founder of SpiceBox; Carla Casadei, founder of Young Vegans; Oliver Hyde, founder of Flour Pot; Morten Jensen, founder of Light Bar & Market; and Marco Reick, director at Qoot. Meanwhile, leading sector players look at what comes next for the industry featuring Simon Wilkinson, chief executive of Byron; Steve Holmes, chief executive of Azzurri Group; Zoe Bowley, Read More
Company News: ETM Group secures £2.5m CBILS loan, early delivery sales ‘extremely promising’: London-based gastro-pub and sports bar operator ETM Group, led by brothers Ed and Tom Martin, has reported it received £2.5m through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme last year and has forecast, with the ongoing support of landlords and suppliers, its accounts can be prepared “on an ongoing basis”. The company also reported it has received a £250,000 insurance compensation for forced closure. It added: “The group has also again taken all measures to preserve as much liquidity as possible including applying for all the latest government and local authority grants. The group has continued to innovate and explore alternative revenue streams. Digital marketing and online bookings have been enhanced. An order at table app was launched within weeks of the lockdown and in partnership with third parties its first delivery service was launched in November 2020. Order at table purchases accounted for the majority of sales at some sites and early delivery sales have been extremely promising.” The company reported it produced turnover of £31.5m (2019: £31.5m) in the year to 23 February 2020. The company opened the sports bar Redwood at London Bridge Station in Read More
Tomahawk Steakhouse repays money it borrowed from staff to fund wages and adds 20% ‘thank you’: Tomahawk Steakhouse, the company led by north east-based multi-site operator Howard Eggleston, has paid back the money it borrowed from staff to help pay their wages – with an additional 20% as a thank you. The company previously asked furloughed employees to sign an agreement to lend 10% of their wages each month to cover their pension and national insurance contributions and insisted every single employee had chosen to sign up to the agreement. It wrote to staff saying it has a “short-term cash flow issue and it requires your help and support”. It said as it must make the national insurance and pension payments itself the “only viable alternative is to ask for your agreement to a loan arrangement”. It added the interest-free loan would be repaid “once the lockdown is eased sufficiently for the company to trade”. A spokeswoman told Propel: “As part of the voluntary agreement signed by all of our staff, we promised any monies loaned would be returned as soon as we were financially able. Following the Budget announcement last week, we are delighted to have been able to Read More
Honest Burgers appoints Frank Hayes as new chief executive: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, has appointed Frank Hayes, former managing director of pub company Spirit Group, as its new chief executive. Propel revealed last year Hayes, who was most recently managing director of Northgate, the commercial vehicle rental and disposal company, had joined the board of Honest Burgers as a non-executive director. Honest Burgers said Hayes had extensive leadership experience in both hospitality and other sectors, including 13 years at Yum! Brands and three years at Spirit Group. Hayes, who had led Northgate in the UK and Ireland since June 2017, was also previously commercial director at Wyevale Garden Centres and a consultant with Burger King. At Spirit Group, he was responsible for the food-led half of the managed pub company, which at the time had circa 2,000 pubs. He supported the sale of the business to Punch in 2006. The arrival of Hayes sees Gary Mann take on the newly-created role of chief commercial officer at Honest Burgers. Mann served as managing director for “three rapid growth years prior”. Meanwhile, David Foulis, its finance director of three years, is leaving the business this month to “pursue other opportunities”. Read More
Megan’s to transform derelict 1930s cafe in Clapham into latest site: London-based cafe and deli concept Megan’s is to convert a derelict 1930s cafe in the heart of Clapham Common into its latest site, Propel has learned. Terrace by Megan’s, which will be the company’s 11th site, will open in Rookery Road for take out on Friday, 2 Aprilbefore opening fully later that same month. The site will offer an outdoor dining restaurant and takeaway deli serving all-day brunch, lunch, dinner and takeaway picnics. The menu at the new site will be slightly different to the brand’s other restaurants, with the company launching its sourdough pide pizzas. Megan’s, which is led by Sarah Hills, is also understood to have applied to open further sites in Chiswick and Dulwich Village. Adam Handling promotes Nicola Gartenberg to executive director as he prepares to spend more time in kitchen: Nicola Gartenberg, previously operations director at Adam Handling Restaurant Group, has been promoted to executive director, and appointed to the board, with Handling planning to spend more time in the kitchen. Gartenberg joined the company four years ago, overseeing the openings of most of the restaurant group portfolio, and has been instrumental in helping the Read More
Chipotle to open Clapham site: Chipotle is to further add to its UK presence, with an opening in Clapham, as it looks to target further sites in the capital’s “villages”, Propel has learned. The company, which operates more than 2,600 sites across the globe, has secured the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Northcote Road for an opening this summer. Chipotle, which operates seven sites in central London, plus a delivery kitchen unit in Collindale, is also thought to be in talks on a site in East Dulwich. On the Clapham site, Fintan Harte, European property and development manager at Chipotle, told Propel: “Chipotle is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. We are excited to bring our real food to the Clapham community with our new Northcote Road restaurant opening this summer.” Last month, Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive of the US brand, said the company was ready to move forward with its UK business. The company, which is led in Europe by ex-Costa Coffee managing director Jim Slater, made its debut in the UK in London Wall in 2015. Paul Tallentyre, at Davis Coffer Lyons, Read More
The Zetter Group set for expansion after takeover: London-based hotel and restaurant operator The Zetter Group is set for further expansion, after being acquired by hospitality investor Orca Holding for an undisclosed sum. The Zetter Group was founded by owners Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan 18 years ago, and comprises The Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell and The Zetter Townhouses in Clerkenwell and Marylebone. Orca Holding said it now intends to retain and grow The Zetter Townhouse brand and is “actively looking” to open more properties in London and other key cities across the UK and Europe, such as Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam. Benyan said: “We are extremely proud of the culture of The Zetter Group, the hospitality brands we created and the impact they had on London’s vibrant hotel, restaurant and cocktail scene. The fact Orca Holding is passionate about The Zetter brand and has such exciting plans for its future, is great news for all involved and we wish it every success.” Laith Pharaon, chief executive of Orca Holding, said: “We see huge growth and development potential in The Zetter Group. This has been a difficult year for most hotels but the properties were previously achieving great success in Read More
YO! appoints Xenia Walters as new chief financial officer: YO!, the global multi-channel, multi brand Japanese and Asian food group, has appointed Xenia Walters as its new chief financial officer. Walters, who replaces Edward Knighton, who stepped down from YO! at the end of January, has also been appointed an executive director of the company’s board, effective from Monday (8 March). YO! said she brings with her more than 20 years’ extensive experience working in a variety of senior roles with international groups “gaining broad financial, business and international experience”. Most recently she held the role of group chief financial officer of SDL, the listed professional services provider, where she helped drive the successful transformation and merger with RWS Holdings, creating the world’s leading language service and technology group with a market capitalisation of circa £2.4bn. Prior to SDL, Walters held chief financial officer roles in a number of private equity-backed businesses including Frank Recruitment Group, Oxford International Education Group and INTO University Partnerships. Earlier in her career, she held senior roles at Regus, including UK chief financial officer and group financial controller. Richard Hodgson, chief executive of YO!, said: “Xenia has an impressive track record of helping businesses navigate Read More
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 Read More
Cote strengthens management team, Sherrington appointed CFO: Cote, the circa 90-strong French brasserie chain backed by the Partners Group, has further strengthened its management team with a number of new appointments, including James Sherrington as its new chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Sherrington stepped down as chief financial officer at Drake & Morgan earlier this year after three years in the role and six years with the Bowmark Capital-backed, London-based bar operator. Sherrington, who joined Drake & Morgan from Caprice Holdings and the Birley Group where he was the finance director, takes over from Strahan Wilson, the former EAT chief financial officer, who is leaving Cote after more than four and a half years with the company. Propel has learned Simon Chester, ex-purchasing and supply chain director at Wagamama, has joined Cote as supply chain director. The company has also hired Amy Strawbridge, former brand director and head of people experience at Virgin Group, as its new people director. During her ten years at the Virgin Group, Strawbridge led the employee experience function as part of the company’s global brand team. Cote, which appointed Lisa Buckley, formerly managing director of Wagamama, as its new managing director at the end Read More
Wingstop secures five new UK sites, ups regional expansion play: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out US chicken brand Wingstop across the UK, has secured five further sites, including three in prominent shopping schemes across the country, Propel has learned. The company has agreed a “trilogy” deal with landlord Hammerson to open three new regional locations at its Bullring (Birmingham), the Oracle (Reading) and Cabot Circus (Bristol) schemes. Following the opening of its tenth UK location in Gloucester Road, South Kensington, late last year, Wingstop UK is now set to open sites in the former EAT at the Bullring, the former Chick-Fil-A at the Oracle, and the former Dorothy Perkins in Bristol’s Cabot Circus. With plans to reach 20 locations in the UK by the end of 2021, Wingstop is also set to open this year in Canary Wharf and Kingston-upon-Thames, where the brand will be occupying the former Pizza Hut located in Kingston town centre. The brand, which operates more than 1,500 locations worldwide, is expected to announce further regional openings in the coming month. Tom Grogan, director of Lemon Pepper Holdings, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this significant three site deal with an institutional partner Read More
YO! appoints new chairman: YO!, the global, multi brand Japanese and Asian food group, has appointed John Walden, formerly of Naked Wines, Holland & Barratt and Argos, as its new chairman, as the company sees “significant opportunities” to further progress its multi-channel strategy. Eric Nicoli, who joined YO! as chairman in 2015 following the acquisition of the company by Mayfair Private Equity, is stepping down to pursue other interests. YO! said Walden has been at the “forefront of multi-channel, consumer-driven retailing for more than 20 years”. As well as advising consumer-facing businesses and private equity investors through Inversion LLC, the US based retail focused management and strategy consultancy he founded 13 years ago, he has extensive board experience of multi-channel consumer focused businesses in the UK and US. Previous roles include chairman at Naked Wines, where he oversaw the sale of Majestic Wines and its enhanced focus on the US market, and executive chairman at Holland & Barratt following the acquisition by LetterOne. From 2012 to 2016, he was managing director of Argos and then chief executive of its parent company Home Retail Group, where he led the digital transformation and sale of Argos to Sainsbury’s. During his time at Read More
St Austell Brewery pubs MD leaves business: Steve Worrall has left his position as managing director of pubs, inns and hotels at Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery, Propel has learned. Worrall joined St Austell Brewery as retail director in 2017 and went on to become managing director of pubs, inns and hotels following the introduction of a new leadership structure at the start of last year. The company said chief executive Kevin Georgel would be “taking a more direct role in leading St Austell Brewery’s pubs, inns and hotels business going forward”. Georgel said: “I would like to personally thank Steve for his dedication and significant contribution over the past four years – we wish him and his family the very best for the future. Going forward, I will be taking a more hands-on approach in leading the direction of our pubs, inns and hotels business. We have iconic pubs, in some of the best locations in the south west, and fantastic teams to help steer us forward into our next exciting chapter. I’m looking forward to realising the full potential of our pubs when we’re able to reopen, as we continue on our road to recovery.” St Austell owns more Read More
Fireaway set for further rapid expansion by doubling estate in 2021, heading international: Fast pizza brand Fireaway is set for further rapid expansion, and is also heading abroad. The company, launched in London in 2016, now has 55 outlets across the UK and that number will double by the end of 2021. A total of 25 new branches are opening in the next 27 weeks while a further 20 franchise agreements have been signed and locations for them are being sought. In addition, master franchisees have come on board in Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Founder and chief executive Mario Aleppo said eventually he would like to see several Fireaways in every city in the UK. He also believed global growth for the concept was “unlimited”. Aleppo opened the first branch in Mitcham, and the company’s initial expansion was largely coincidental. He said: “Our pizzas went down very well with our customers right from the start. Within a few weeks one of my regulars asked if he could become a franchisee and within six months he’d opened a branch in Streatham. It started with a new franchise opening every six months. A year later it was Read More
Goodbody – open offer puts M&B ‘on the front foot’, may be ‘start of a full privatisation’: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has argued the confirmation of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) open offer will see the business begin recovery operations “on the front foot” yet controlling group, Odyzean, will increase its shareholding and “this may be the start of a full privatisation”. Ruddy said: “M&B confirmed [on Monday, 22 February] terms of its pre-emptive open offer and gave an operational update. The Odyzean Group will be the controlling holder, and, as per the release last week, it will take up its entitlements under the open offer and subscribe for additional shares that come available under the Excess Application Facility. The statement notes it will work with management to ensure the strategy and structure of the business are appropriate to optimise its long-term success and will include consideration of the speed and nature of the existing Ignite investment programme and opportunities for acquisitions and partnerships. To this end, it notes it may need to raise additional capital through the issue of new shares at least 12 months after the date of this announcement. The Odyzean Group states it would prefer the Read More
Issa brothers make new bid to seize control of Caffe Nero: The billionaire brothers behind Asda are attempting to seize control of Caffe Nero with a raid on the coffee company’s £350m debt pile. Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who last week completed a £6.8bn acquisition of Britain’s third-biggest supermarket, are in talks with Alcentra and Partners Group to buy loans totalling £180m, reports The Sunday Telegraph. City sources said the “aggressive move” would leave Caffe Nero cornered if it were to default on its debts. Talks “were moving at quite a pace” and are delicately poised and there was no certainty a deal, which would be made in partnership with TDR Capital, will be agreed. Banking insiders said lenders believe after a year of lockdowns Caffe Nero could breach its covenants this summer. Ownership of the loans would position the Issas to make a bid for control through a debt-for-equity swap if Caffe Nero is then forced to restructure its borrowing. Sources close to Caffe Nero insisted the company does not expect to breach banking covenants this summer. One insider said the Issas had previously approached bank lenders including HSBC, Santander, Lloyds and Rabobank to acquire their debts but were Read More
Premium fried chicken concept The Bok Shop secures new investment for expansion: The Bok Shop, the Brighton-based premium fried chicken concept, has secured £1.2m of new funding as it looks to add ten new sites over the next two years. The three-strong business, which was founded in 2017 by Jamie O’Mara, Howard Kaye, Saul Burman and Matthew Dimmack, secured the funding from an unnamed private equity firm. The company currently operates sites in Brighton, Croydon and Eastbourne. It will start its roll out with the opening of a 100-cover site in Southampton’s West Quay this summer. Future sites will range from 30 to 100-cover restaurants to counter-style takeaway and delivery sites. O’Mara said: “We never in our wildest dreams thought we would be sharing what we created at our little shop in Brighton with the rest of the UK. It’s been a hard slog filled with failures and success, amplified by the pandemic, but all in the name of growth, both as individuals and as a company. We feel there is a gap in the market for a quality chicken-inspired offer like ours – what Honest Burger has done to burgers, or Pizza Pilgrims has done with pizza, we want Read More
Prezzo restaurants in Mayfair, Wembley and Edinburgh among 22 to shut after pre-pack administration: Prezzo restaurants in London’s Mayfair, Wembley and Marble Arch will be among those to close after the business was acquired through a pre-pack administration last week, Propel has learned. The Karen Jones-chaired group, which is backed by Cain International, announced last week 22 of its 178 restaurants would not reopen, resulting in 216 people leaving the business as part of the process. The sites that will close are in Aberdeen (Marischal Square), Aylesbury, Bridgnorth, Chislehurst, East Dareham, Edinburgh, Harbourne, Hitchin, Isle of Wight, Marble Arch, Marlborough, Mayfair (Hertford Street), Milton Keynes (Kingston Centre), Norwich, Preston, Ruislip, Saffron Waldon, South Woodford, Swindon, Welwyn, Wembley and Weston-super-Mare. Last week, Cain International, the privately held investment firm operating in Europe and the US, acquired Prezzo from its administrators through a pre-pack arrangement. The action protected the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 team members’ jobs. It will continue to be led by its existing management team. Cain International acquired the debt and equity of Prezzo in December last year. As at 10 February 2021, Prezzo’s restaurants had been able to operate for just 25 weeks out of the previous 52 Read More
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 Read More
Deliveroo pencils in 8 March to unveil float: Deliveroo is poised to fire a formal starting gun on its stock market flotation early next month. The company and its advisers have pencilled in Monday, 8 March to publish an expected intention to float announcement, meaning shares in Deliveroo could start trading just weeks later, reports Sky News. Insiders at Deliveroo cautioned 8 March was not yet a definitive date and the timetable remained subject to change. The deal will bring to the public markets a company that has become one of Britain's most valuable tech businesses, with a likely market value of up to £7.5bn. Deliveroo, run by founder Will Shu, has appointed half a dozen investment banks to work on the flotation. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will lead the company's stock market debut. It comes just weeks after Deliveroo raised a further $180m from investors. The company recently announced plans to expand into a further 100 towns and cities across the UK, enabling it to reach an additional four million people. The float will come after Lord Hill, the former EU commissioner, completes a review of London's listings regime with the objective of attracting high-growth technology companies to Read More
THE INNOVATIVE INITIATIVES OF THE UK BASED RECRUITMENT COMPANY GORDON CHARLES IN THE GLOBAL LABOUR MARKET Unquenchable love, unquenchable passion for work, endless hours of work in order to achieve the expected result, creativity and innovation! Indicatively, these words reflect the groundbreaking energy and action of the English employment company Gordon Charles to enrich the services it offers to employers and employees of the world labour market and to provide them with groundbreaking means and methods, that will motivate them to adopt the company’s motto of "bringing people together". In particular, as revealed in an interview with the Business Travel blog by the head of the innovative initiative, Associate Director of Gordon Charles, Mrs. Maria Davies, << in October 2020, the new project called the Gordon Charles Alchemists was launched. This is a global first in the job market as after thorough research I performed to find out if there is something similar globally, I was very happy to conclude that Gordon Charles Alchemists is the only tool which enables all those interested to be a part of the global job market to enrich and support their offering with a personal two- to three-minute video in order to “sell themselves” or their business. Without hiding her enthusiasm for this Read More
Brighton Pier Group receives £1.4m business interruption insurance payout:Brighton Pier Group, which owns and trades Brighton Palace Pier, as well as 12 bars and eight indoor mini-golf sites nationwide, has reported it has received a £1.4m business interruption insurance payout. The company stated: “As announced on 2 November 2020 (together with the company's final results for the 52 weeks to 28 June 2020), the group has lodged claims with its insurers for business interruption losses arising from closures of the group's venues. The High Court judgement on 15 September 2020 found the group's ‘Marsh resilience’ insurance policies are capable of responding to covid-19 business interruption claims. Furthermore, the group's advisers have indicated the Supreme Court ruling on 15 January 2021 does not change the fundamental principle these policies can respond to claims, subject to appropriate discussion and agreement over the quantum of the arising losses and any applicable policy caps. The group has to date received from its insurers interim payments totalling £1.4m in respect of these losses. While these payments do not satisfy the entirety of the group's claims, they nevertheless support the group's overall liquidity which continues to be strong. The company will provide further updates as appropriate. Read More
Wendy’s lines up Oxford site; begins franchisee search: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, is lining up a site in Oxford as part of its plans to re-enter the UK market. The company has applied to the city council to open a site in the city’s Magdalen Street, in the premises that formerly housed shoe shop Schuh. Wendy’s has already secured a site in Reading as it makes a new attempt to break into the British fast-food market. Meanwhile, Propel understands Wendy’s has begun the search for suitable UK-based franchisees. The company plans to enter the UK with company-owned and operated restaurants in the first half of 2021 and, in its second phase, it will launch in priority areas with multi-unit franchisee operators. The business is believed to be working with franchise consultancy Platinum Wave on its franchisee search, while it has retained Savills UK to aid its site selection. In July last year, Wendy’s announced it would return to Britain, 20 years after it closed its UK outlets to focus on its North America base. The company opened restaurants in the UK in 1992 but pulled out seven years later due to high real estate Read More
Honest Burgers lines up Windsor opening, shareholders inject further funds into business: Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers will further add to its growing regional presence with an opening in Windsor, Propel has learned. The company has secured a site in the town’s Thames Street for an opening later this year. Earlier this week, Propel revealed the circa 40-strong business had taken on the former Carluccio’s site in St Albans’ Christopher Place shopping centre. Propel understands Honest Burgers will operate the site initially as a pop-up after taking a short-term lease on the unit. It comes as the group’s annual accounts showed its shareholders had injected £2.7m into the business at the end of last year. It said the funds were intended to aid the group in taking advantage of new opportunities and enable it to deliver its rollout plan. Last year, the company secured £3.5m via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and agreed a revised covenant position with its banks to July 2021. The accounts said the company anticipates a renegotiation of this over the spring. In the year to 26 January 2020, Honest Burgers saw a 32% uplift in turnover year-on-year, up £9.7m to £40.4m, while Ebitda before exceptional Read More
RedCat Pub Company continues to strengthen head office team, including new MD: RedCat Pub Company, the new investment vehicle from ex-Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, has continued to strengthen its head office team, including the appointment of Kamran Aziz, formerly of Wessex Taverns and Oxford Hotels & Inns, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Aziz has been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. He entered the pub industry in 1996 with Wessex Taverns and then embarked on a 25-year period in pubs and hospitality. RedCat, which on Tuesday (9 February) announced the appointment of Chris Hill, the former head of New World Trading Company, as chief executive, has made a further four appointments alongside that of Aziz. Donald Stevenson, former group property director at Greene King, becomes RedCat’s property director, while David Brown, who spent 18 years at Greene King, including time as its corporate finance director as well as interim group finance director, becomes the new vehicle’s investment advisor. The business has appointed a further two advisors, with David Pearson, who was a partner for more than 20 years at Clifford Chance, the international law firm, taking the role of general counsel; and Read More
McDonald’s to begin reopening UK and Ireland restaurants for walk-in takeaway with new safety measures: McDonald’s is set to reopen the majority of its UK and Ireland restaurants for walk-in takeaway from Monday, 22 February. The company said it would follow a trial this week at a “small number” of sites with the introduction of new safety measures. McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “A month ago we made the voluntary decision to temporarily close walk-in takeaway while we reviewed our safety measures to ensure they reflect the evolving nature of the covid-19 pandemic. We identified a small number of changes to further enhance our procedures, and we are currently in the process of rolling these out to restaurants. New safety measures being introduced include visors as well as face coverings for customer facing employees, revised guidance and processes for our couriers to support their safe working and enhanced processes for managing customer and courier flow in restaurants. The well-being of our people, as well as our suppliers, couriers and our customers remains our top priority, and we are confident the new processes in place will further enhance our already robust safety measures.” Due to government restrictions, Read More
Hop acquired through pre-pack administration for £80,000: London-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop was acquired by a new vehicle set up by founder Paul Hopper, via a pre-pack administration for a total consideration of £80,000, Propel has learned. Hopper told Propel last month: “Due to the ongoing impact of the covid-19 pandemic, we appointed advisers in late 2020 to explore all options for the brand. It became clear that, unlike many other great brands in our sector, a company voluntary arrangement was not an option due to the inflexible stance on rent concessions taken by several of Hop’s landlords. As a result, FRP Advisory led a robust and independent accelerated mergers and acquisitions process in December/January and several bids for the business and/or assets were received.” An administrator’s report showed 15 parties had an interest in the five-strong business, which led to three offers, including one from Hopper. The administrators concluded Hopper’s bid, through new vehicle Cau Lau Holdings, provided the greatest return to creditors due to it being the highest offer received and that it ensured all employees retained employment. The total consideration of £80,000 paid, included £79,000 for equipment and £750 for the brand, goodwill and any associated trademarks Read More
Company News: Five Guys appoints Rob Murray as new finance director: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, has appointed Rob Murray, formerly of MOD Pizza and Carphone Warehouse, as its new finance director, Propel understands. Murray previously spent five years as finance director of MOD Pizza UK, which went into liquidation last year and was also backed by Dunstone. Murray was also previously head of finance at Carphone Warehouse. Propel revealed last month Holly Elliott had stepped down as group finance director of Five Guys. The better burger brand has strengthened its 2021 UK openings pipeline, with the recent addition of a number of leisure park-based sites. The circa 100-strong brand has secured the former Frankie & Benny’s sites in Crest Road, High Wycombe, and at the Gate Leisure Park, Chichester, for openings later this year. The company has also taken on the ex-Pizza Hut site at Stevenage Leisure Park, Hertfordshire. It is also believed to have taken the former Chiquito site at Teesside Park, Stockton-on-Tees. Last month, Propel revealed Five Guys had secured a site in London’s Brixton. It has also secured a site at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, which is due Read More
Casual Dining Group administrators anticipate lease assignment process to be completed by July: AlixPartners, the administrators of Casual Dining Group, has said it anticipates the lease assignment process of 154 sites will be completed by July. Last summer, private equity company Epiris paid £18m to buy the bulk of Casual Dining Group, operator of the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas brands, out of administration, paying £9m up front with a further £9m deferred until assignment of its leasehold portfolio. In an administrators report update, 32 individual leases and 12 sites based at various Center Parcs with a total consideration of £5.7m have so far been assigned successfully. The report stated: “The deferred consideration is not yet payable however the administrators anticipate this process will be completed by the anniversary of the administrations.” As part of the sale, the administrators granted a Licence to Occupy (LTO) for 154 sites while Epiris and the newly formed The Big Table group negotiated ongoing occupation arrangements with the relevant landlords. Of the remaining LTO properties to be assigned, 86 are at advanced negotiation stage with an aggregate value of more than £8m and assignments are expected imminently. Heads of terms are still Read More
Former EAT chief executive Andrew Walker joins Farmer J board: Andrew Walker, the former chief executive of EAT, has joined the board of all-day market concept Farmer J, as a non-executive director, Propel has learned. Walker stepped down from EAT in 2019, after the circa 90-strong business was acquired by rival Pret A Manger in a deal valued in excess of £60m. Walker, who was previously UK managing director of Pret, spent three years leading EAT, turning the business around in that time, including overseeing more than 12 months of consecutive like-for-like growth before its sale. Farmer J, which is backed by Imbiba, currently has four sites in London, and has been linked to a further opening at London Bridge station. Soho House submits application for second Manchester opening: Soho House Group has submitted a licensing application to open another concept in Manchester, as part of Allied London’s £1.2bn regeneration of the Old Granada Studios property in the city. The Nick Jones-led business had previously submitted plans to open a 210-bed hotel and restaurant under its Mollies Motel & Diner concept at the scheme. It has now submitted a separate application for floors seven to nine of the scheme. It Read More
Just Eat Takeaway.com unveils €1bn convertible bond offer: Just Eat Takeaway.com has launched a two-tranche convertible bonds offering, totalling €1bn. The company said it was offering two tranches of bonds, due August 2025 and February 2028. The notes will be issued at between 101.50% and 103.75% for the 2025 tranche and 100% of nominal value for the 2028 tranche and will be redeemed at 100% of nominal value. The 2025 bonds will not bear interest, while the 2028 bonds will be offered with a between 0.125% and 0.625% per annum interest rate. The company plans to use the funds for general corporate purposes and to increase its financial flexibility, allowing Just Eat “to act on strategic opportunities that may arise”. The business is expecting further order growth acceleration in the first 2021 financial quarter after three consecutive quarters of the same thanks to its growth strategy, investment in legacy Just Eat markets, and covid-19 tailwinds. The company said it is intending to continue heavy investment and prioritising market share over adjusted Ebitda. It stated: “The company believes that a stronger balance sheet provides additional financial flexibility to act on strategic opportunities that may arise.” Other uses of the proposed funds Read More
Handmade Burger Co name set to be resurrected: The Handmade Burger Co name is set to be resurrected after the company behind Thai chain Lemongrass acquired the intellectual property for the brand, Propel has learned. Topbright is believed to be planning to bring back the Handmade Burger Co brand, after the business fell into administration for the second time in three years at the start of 2020. It is thought the company, which includes backing from Nasim Kayani, whose family previously operated the French brasserie concept Cafe de Amis in Covent Garden, has already agreed a deal to take on the brand’s former site in Sheffield’s Meadowhall scheme. It is also thought to be trying to agree deals on the former Handmade Burger Co sites in Reading, Leicester, Lincoln and Birmingham. Propel understands Topbright is also the current backer of the south east-based, Thai chain Lemongrass, which it is believed to have acquired last year. Lemongrass currently has ten sites across the south east, and had been looking for investment pre-pandemic to fund further growth. Burger Chain, the previous owner of the 18-strong Handmade Burger Co brand, was placed into administration, with all sites closing in January last year. Leonard Read More
Deliveroo appoints chief marketplace officer: Deliveroo has appointed Eric French as chief marketplace officer, Propel has learned. French will have responsibility for the newly-created Marketplace Org within Deliveroo. He will have responsibility for the rider operations, customer care, restaurants, grocery and Editions functions. He will report directly to chief executive Will Shu, and also sit on the executive team. French joins Deliveroo from Amazon, where he worked for more than 15 years, holding a variety of finance and operating roles. Most recently, he was the vice-president for Amazon’s US Consumables business. In this role, he had responsibility for category leadership, product, technology, and private brands across the household, beauty, baby, and personal care product lines. The appointment comes at a time when Deliveroo is growing rapidly. The company now works with 140,000 restaurants and 110,000 riders across 12 markets. The company is focusing on areas including expanding its Editions delivery-only kitchens globally; working with more restaurants and grocery stores; and investing in new tools to help restaurants grow their business. A Deliveroo spokeswoman said: “We are excited Eric has joined in this new and important role at the company. He brings a huge amount of valuable knowledge and experience. He Read More
Bowley – it was a really tough journey for us last year but we have come out of it a lot stronger: Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress, has said 2020 was a really “tough journey” for the 56-year-old chain, but it has come out of it “a lot stronger”. Last year, the business secured a restructuring deal, which included a recapitalisation of its debt. It also underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which saw 73 sites closed, and saw its management team bolstered with David Campbell, who led the turnaround at Wagamama, joining as chief executive, and former Asda chief executive and ex-Wagamama chairman Allan Leighton, becoming chairman. Talking on Propel’s Lessons & Learning for Lockdown Three video, Bowley said: “Where we are now from where we were at the end of last March, we are in a pretty good place with a much stronger balance sheet, thanks to the recapitalisation last November. Our toughest financial days are probably behind us, but it was a really tough journey for us last year and I think we have come out of it a lot stronger. We’ve also had some exciting additions to the team in David and Allan, and recently a Read More
Caring confirmed for new venture at former Porsche Garage in Mayfair: Serial sector investor Richard Caring is set to open a new restaurant venture in Mayfair, after it was confirmed he had secured the former Porsche Garage in North Audley Street. Propel revealed last year Caring was in talks to take the space, with rumours it could be a new location for his Le Caprice restaurant, which closed last year. However, it is thought Caring could be planning a new Greek-influenced restaurant for the space. It has also been confirmed Caring has secured a new lease on the former Le Pain Quotidien site at 201-203 Kings Road, Chelsea. Propel revealed earlier this month the site will be operated as an Ivy Asia, next door to Caring’s existing Ivy Chelsea Garden. Davis Coffer Lyons advised landlord Grosvenor on the former Porsche Garage site and Martins Properties on the Chelsea site. Propel reported earlier this month that Caring, who backs Caprice Holdings, the Ivy Collection and Bill’s, was believed to have secured the La Brasserie site in Brompton Road, which closed in 2017, for a yet unspecified, new restaurant project. He currently operates two Ivy Asia sites in St Paul’s and Manchester Read More
Subway appoints Nigel Doughty to oversee UK and Ireland business: Global sandwich franchise Subway has appointed Nigel Doughty, the former managing director of Paul UK, to oversee its circa 2,500-strong UK and Ireland business, Propel has learned. Doughty replaces Colin Hughes, formerly of Pret A Manger and EAT, as the brand’s country director for the UK and Ireland. Doughty joins Subway after more than ten years with the Middle East-based Alshaya Group, where he was vice-president of its food retail division – premium casual brands. Prior to that, he spent four years as managing director of Paul UK. He has also had stints at Maison Blanc and Costa Coffee. Hughes, who also served as a non-executive director at Barburrito for two years, had led Subway in UK and Ireland since the summer of 2018. Pre-covid, the business has been rolling out its new-look Fresh Forward store format across its UK and Ireland estate. JD Wetherspoon – Guardian article stating company ‘looking to buy smaller pubs on the cheap’ is ‘completely untrue’: JD Wetherspoon has said statements by The Guardian that said the company was looking to “buy smaller pubs on the cheap amid the covid crisis” and “is targeting pubs Read More
Cote appoints Lisa Buckley as new managing director: Cote, the circa 90-strong French brasserie chain backed by the Partners Group, has appointed Lisa Buckley, formerly of Wagamama, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Buckley joins the Jane Holbrook-chaired business, after almost five years at Wagamama, where she was most recently UK operations director. Previous to that she spent nine years at the Casual Dining Group (now The Big Table Group), including a stint as operations director for Bella Italia. Buckley is reunited with former Wagamama chief executive Holbrook, who took over as Cote’s executive chairman in September, replacing ex-The Restaurant Group chief executive Andrew Page. Holbrook’s appointment coincided with global private markets investment manager Partners Group acquiring the French brasserie chain via a pre-pack administration. Alex Scrimgreour, who stepped down as Cote chief executive in October after 12 years of leading the business, took up the role of chief executive at cinema operator Everyman this week. Papa John’s introduces new flexible franchising formats in UK: Papa John’s is introducing new flexible franchising formats in the UK. Following the continued success of its franchised high street stores, Papa John’s is now aiming to expand its reach by providing even Read More
Hawthorn has at least £250m available for acquisitions, more than doubles planned capex spend in third quarter: Hawthorn, the community pub arm of NewRiver, has at least £250m available for acquisitions and has more than doubled its planned capex spend in its third quarter – investing a total of £9.4m. Speaking ahead of NewRiver’s trading update on Thursday (21 January), Hawthorn chief executive Mark Davies told Propel: “Hawthorn’s overwhelming priority is to protect our people and to protect our pubs. We’re continuing to support our pub partners to help them stay afloat and to ensure they can thrive again and bounce back when their pubs reopen. We more than doubled our planned capex spending for the quarter, investing a total of £9.4m on 270 projects, increasing our average spend per-project by almost 60%, and adding an extra 61 additional sites to our investment programme with a clear focus on outdoor scheme investments and creating more capacity. We also expect to acquire more pubs in 2021. Hawthorn is a dynamic, ambitious company with a proven track record of acquiring pub portfolios, and we have circa £250m of cash and available liquidity to the business, with additional funds available when required.” Davies Read More
London-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop acquired by new vehicle: London-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop has been acquired by a new vehicle set up by founder Paul Hopper, after going through a sales process, Propel has learned. Hopper, which launched the business in 2015, set up Cau Lau Holdings to oversee the acquisition, although as yet it is unclear how many of the group’s five sites will transfer to the new vehicle. Hopper told Propel: “Due to the ongoing impact of the covid-19 pandemic we appointed advisors in late 2020 to explore all options for the brand. It became clear that unlike many other great brands in our sector, a company voluntary arrangement was not an option due to the inflexible stance on rent concessions taken by several of Hop’s landlords. As a result, FRP Advisory led a robust and independent accelerated mergers and acquisitions process in December/January and several bids for the business and/or assets were received. Ultimately an offer submitted by Cau Lau Holdings was successful. All existing Hop employees will be retained as part of the transaction. I’m really pleased to have agreed a way forward for the Hop brand and our incredible team. It was Read More
Coffee#1 co-founder to launch coffee concept: James Shapland, the co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, is to launch a coffee concept called Coffi Lab, Propel has learned. In line with the growth of Coffee#1, Shapland is currently seeking sites for the new concept in neighbourhood centres and high street market towns across south Wales and the south west. Propel understands Hannah Gillard, current finance director at SA Brain. will become the managing director of the new venture from next month. Coffi Lab, which is working with property advisor EJ Hales to find suitable sites, plans to be “a heart-warming, authentic retail coffee brand in a neighbourhood setting”. Shapland co-founded Coffee#1 in 2000 and went on to grow it to 15 sites across Wales and the south west, with an annual turnover of £5m a year, before selling it for an undisclosed sum to SA Brain in 2011. Caffe Nero paid almost £30m to acquire a majority stake in Coffee#1, which now operates more than 100 sites, in February 2019. Domino’s Pizza UK merges digital and marketing teams, appoints new CMO:Domino’s Pizza UK is bringing its digital team under the remit of marketing for the first time as it looks Read More
Deliveroo secures $180m of new funding ahead of proposed IPO: Deliveroo has secured $180m (£132m) in new funding, pushing its valuation to more than $7bn (£5.1bn) ahead of its long-anticipated float. The delivery firm’s latest funding round was led by existing investors Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company. It comes after the company announced plans to expand into about 100 new towns and cities across the UK in 2021. The company said the new funding would contribute to expanding its Editions delivery-only kitchen sites worldwide and its on-demand grocery service. It also plans to extend its Plus subscription service to “new geographies” and offer its Signature service to restaurants, which enables customers to order for delivery via businesses’ own websites. The company said “new initiatives” would also support its delivery riders. Will Shu, Deliveroo’s founder and chief executive, said: “At Deliveroo, we are always focused on developing the best proposition for consumers, riders and restaurants. This investment will help us to continue to innovate by developing new tech tools to support restaurants, to provide riders with more work and to extend choice for customers, bringing them the food they love from more restaurants than ever before. We Read More
Caring eyes new openings, lines up former La Brasserie site in South Kensington: Serial sector investor Richard Caring has lined up at least three new openings, including plans to open on the former La Brasserie site in London’s South Kensington, Propel has learned. Caring, who backs Caprice Holdings, the Ivy Collection and Bill’s, is believed to have secured the La Brasserie site in Brompton Road, which closed in 2017, for a yet unspecified, new restaurant project. Propel has learned he has also secured the former Le Pain Quotidien site next door to the Ivy Chelsea Garden in the Kings Road, to open an Ivy Asia. Caring currently operates two Ivy Asia sites in St Paul’s and Manchester and is thought to be looking at further opportunities to expand the concept, either as standalone sites or adjacent to existing Ivy Collection restaurants. Propel understands Caring is also closing in on announcing what he plans to launch on the ex-Porsche Garage site in Mount Street, Mayfair. He is still working on plans to reopen the former Princess Garden of Mayfair site in North Audley Street, which he acquired in 2016. It had previously been earmarked for a Caprice Café concept but may Read More
Morris – we are in the eye of the storm like never before, signs on Edinburgh site:Richard Morris, managing director of Tortilla, the Quilvest-backed fast casual Mexican concept, has said the business was managing the ongoing challenge of covid “better than most” in the industry, but believes “we are now in the eye of the storm like never before”. Morris said: “Last year was unprecedented for everyone in the hospitality sector and the new year has started out even more challenging. We are fortunate our business was able to adapt to the restrictions of the pandemic, with a large focus on delivery. While we’re not through it yet, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and are gearing the business up for an exciting pipeline of opportunities.” In preparation, the company has appointed current finance director Andy Naylor to the new role for the business, of commercial director, while making a number of additions to its operational team. The company said Naylor will oversee all areas of business development, working alongside franchise partners and reviewing the “many alternative revenue driving opportunities”. Chris Nunn, currently the brand’s financial controller, has been promoted to head of finance, and Read More
Company News: Creams to open debut Wales site this month: Dessert parlour operator Creams is to open its first site in Wales, and 91st in total. Set to open in Cardiff’s Queen Street on Monday, 25 January, the company-owned store will initially offer takeaway and delivery only via Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats, opening for dine-in when restrictions allow. Creams chief executive Adam Mani said: “Despite the challenges of 2020, I am immensely proud the brand has been able to continue with its expansion plans.” Creams successfully pivoted its business in 2020 through the introduction of an online experience for delivery and click and collect. In October, the group reported a record-breaking October with sales of more than £4m across the estate. The brand has also opened three new stores since March 2020 with another five or six planned for the first quarter of 2021. Creams was founded in 2008 by Balal Aqil and Mani. The brand employs more than 1,400 staff and works with a variety of franchise partners across the UK. Wadworth hires executive development chef to relaunch and manage food offer within managed estate: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has hired Andrew Scott as executive development chef Read More
PizzaExpress appoints chief business officer and chief customer officer:PizzaExpress, the David Campbell-led business, has appointed Jo Bennett as its new chief business officer, and Shadi Halliwell as its new chief customer officer. Bennett joins from Hilding Anders Group – the international sleep group with about 1,200 stores and sales in more than 60 countries – where she was group chief financial officer. Before this, she was a director of KKR Capstone, chief financial officer of retailer Jacques Vert Group, and worked in the operations group of TPG Capital. Halliwell was most recently chief marketing officer of Three UK, and from 2014 to 2017 was group marketing and creative director of Harvey Nichols. She also played a leading role in the marketing success of O2 for 15 years, most recently as head of brand and marcomms. Bennett and Halliwell will report to PizzaExpress chief executive Campbell, and will join managing director Zoe Bowley and people director Kate Daines on the PizzaExpress executive committee. Campbell said: “I am thrilled Jo and Shadi are joining the team. Their respective track records speak for themselves, and I am sure, alongside the already strong team at PizzaExpress, they will ensure that 2021 ends up as Read More