Camm & Hooper to launch Grace Hall events space in City of London, sixth site: Imbiba Partnership-backed events and hospitality group Camm & Hooper will open its sixth venue, Grace Hall, in the City this autumn following a £2m investment. The venue will open in Leadenhall Street, with the former Grace and Co Bank building refurbished by Russell Sage Studios. The project aims to embrace the venue’s art deco heritage and will comprise four events spaces accommodating a total of up to 200 people theatre-style, 170 seated and up to 600 standing. Camm & Hooper’s City portfolio includes Banking Hall in Cornhill and Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate and Grace Hall will offer clients the ability to host a daytime event at one venue and the afterparty at another. Camm & Hooper managing director Claire Lawson said: “We are delighted to acquire this stunning venue, which neatly fits our portfolio and gives our clients the flexibility of a third iconic Camm & Hooper space in the heart of the City.” Camm & Hooper also operates London venues Tanner and Co, Tanner Warehouse and Six Storeys on Soho. In March, the company said it was looking to open up to three sites in the next couple of years after seeing turnover rise to £6,638,045 for the year ending 28 August 2016, compared with £5,326,556 the year before. Site Ebitda grew to £1,608,178 from £1,003,152, which was “in line with the business growth plans”.
Gareth Bale and SA Brain launch sports bar concept Elevens in Cardiff city centre: Wales and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale and Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain have partnered to launch a premium sports bar and restaurant concept in Cardiff city centre. Elevens Bar & Grill has opened at the former Dempseys bar in Castle Street and features 23 television screens over two floors, showing live sporting events. The venue also houses memorabilia including Bale’s boots from the 2014 Champions League final, shirts from Pele and Diego Maradona, and other items from sports stars including Rory McIlroy and Andy Murray. Elevens offers burgers, pizza and steak, while drinks include Bale Ale, brewed in partnership with the Real Madrid star. SA Brain chairman John Rhys said: “Elevens Bar & Grill is the result of close teamwork between us, with Gareth involved in every decision in the development process from the glassware and staff clothing to the signature burger and the specially brewed Bale Ale. Together we have created a great place to enjoy quality food and drink surrounded by money-can’t-buy sporting memorabilia. When it comes to watching sport, every major event will be shown on the latest flat-screen technology. With the ability to show up to six different events on our 23 screens at any one time, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.” Bale added: “It’s been a dream of mine to open a sports bar in my home town of Cardiff.”
Cote to open Gloucester Quays site this month: French brasserie Cote will open a restaurant in Gloucester Quays this month. The 112-capacity venue with added outdoor seating will open in High Orchard Street at a former Ed’s Easy Diner site that closed in January. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour told Gloucestershire Live: “Our new Gloucester Quays venue places us right in the heart of the action of this thriving waterfront shopping destination.” Gloucester Quays managing director Jason Pullen added: “Our vibrant leisure quarter at Gloucester Quays continues to go from strength to strength and the arrival of Cote brings a fresh new offering to our waterfront dining experience.” On Saturday (6 May), Cote announced turnover increased by 12.5% to £121,541,000 for the year ending 31 July 2016, compared with £108,042,000 the previous year. During the period the company opened 15 restaurants with a further venue under construction at the period end. At the end of April 2017, the company had 86 restaurants trading with builders on-site at another two locations. Adjusted Ebitda fell to £17.9m, compared with £20.1m the year before. Gross profit increased to £52,774,000, compared with £50,998,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit was down to £10,013,000, compared with £13,892,000 the previous year. Cote is owned by private equity firm BC Partners.
Stonegate Pub Company to open Popworld nightclub in Leeds this month, brand’s 21st site: Stonegate Pub Company will launch a site in Leeds for its Popworld nightclub brand on Friday, 26 May. The club will open following a £260,000 refurbishment of the former Baa Bar site in Millennium Square and will be the 21st Popworld venue in the UK. Popworld champions noughties nostalgia, with a soundtrack of party hits from the decade and a range of decadent drinks that include giant sharing cocktail Partini. Popworld head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “Popworld is one the most popular clubbing brands in the UK and it was only a matter of time before we brought its colourful personality to Leeds. The city’s nightlife scene is already one of the best in the country and, given the increase in demand for the brand, we can’t wait to open our doors to the people of Yorkshire!” Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues, which includes Popworld) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
Leeds-based operators open third site: Leeds-based operators Ash Kollakowski and Simon Stevens have opened their third site in the city. They have launched Water Lane Boathouse on the former site of Pour House at Canal Wharf, having acquired the building from Atlas Pub Co earlier this year. The building, which was once a shipment warehouse, has been transformed and includes an outdoor area with views of the Leeds-to-Liverpool Canal. Small Victories Sourdough Pizza and Bakery serves sandwiches and salads on the top floor, available to eat at the restaurant or take away. The ground-floor bar has a selection of beer, natural wine and gin. Kollakowski said: “I fell in love with the boathouse building when I first came to Leeds in the late eighties, it’s an absolute dream to be able to do something with this historic spot. I really hope people like what we have done. We’ve managed to expose every piece of original brickwork – and it looks great.” Kollakowski and Stevens also operate Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House in the city.
Eggs-centred concept Yolk launches permanent site in City of London: Eggs-centred concept Yolk has launched a permanent site in the City of London following a string of pop-ups. The new venue has opened in Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, featuring poached egg pots, sourdough toast and “ultimate sandwiches”, including steak bearnaise, duck bun and umami chicken. All eggs are free range, while meat has been sourced from Clerkenwell butchers Tom Hixson of Smithfield and coffee from Black Box, alongside Joe’s teas and bread from “exceptional London bakeries”. Interiors have been designed by Barlow & Barlow. Yolk’s website states: “Yolk started as a longing for the perfect eggs benedict – our own take on the greatest dish in the world. Dozens of versions later, we think we have it. Now we bring the same obsessive approach to everything we do, applying culinary science, love for tradition and our own greedy imaginations to create food of which we’re truly proud.”
Donostia Social Club owner launches The Tapas Room in Tooting: Paul Belcher, owner of Pop Brixton restaurant and street food van Donostia Social Club, has expanded his remit by launching The Tapas Room in Broadway Market, Tooting. The venue functions as a drinks store, delicatessen and eatery and features bar seating where guests can enjoy a drink alongside a complementary menu comprising Basque-inspired tapas, charcuterie and cheese. The venue also showcases drinks from sister company DSC Imports, which specialises in the distribution of Basque and Spanish wine and beer to the London bar and restaurant industry. Belcher said: “The Tapas Room allows me to further build on the passion for Basque cooking I’ve showcased through Donostia Social Club. We can expand our wine and beer offering with the new space, which gives us a shopfront for our exclusive products.”
Bourgee returning to Essex to open fourth site: Steak-lobster lounge concept Bourgee, which operates sites in Southend and Chelmsford and recently opened a venue in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is returning to Essex to open its fourth site. The company, founded by James Welling and Mark Baumann in 2014, will open the restaurant at London Southend airport, Essex Live reports. Baumann revealed the news on his Twitter feed, stating: “The Bourgee machine rolls on – Bites-Bar-Luxe lounge opening soon at London Southend airport.” The tweet included a picture of Bourgee-branded boards at the airport, revealing building work is already under way. Bourgee markets its brand as “luxury dining at affordable prices”, with all menus devised by Baumann, who is a regular on television cookery shows. All meat is cooked on a Josper grill, with diners given graphite blades imported from Germany to cut the meat without tearing. Welling previously told Propel that Bourgee would build a cluster of sites in Essex and East Anglia before gradually advancing across the country in an “organic, measured way”. The opening date of Bourgee at Southend airport has yet to be announced.
Kent-based American diner The Burger Bros opens third site, in Dover: Kent-based American diner The Burger Bros has opened its third site, this time in Dover. Owner Karl Wozny has launched The Burger Bros Bar & Grill in Market Square on the site of the former Port of Call pub. The menu includes a variety of burgers, steaks, hotdogs and deli sandwiches, as well as a Sunday roast with an “American twist”. There is also a range of craft beers and cocktails, reports Kent Live. Burger Bros’ other sites are in Canterbury and Deal.
MeatLiquor opens 11th site, at historic London ice rink: MeatLiquor has opened its 11th site in London. The venue has opened in London’s historic Queens ice rink as part of MeatLiquor’s exclusive food and drinks partnership with the venue. The 45,000 square foot Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl in Queensway, near Hyde Park, features a 200-capacity bar and 80-cover diner overlooking 12 bowling lanes. MeatLiquor offers food from midday to 11pm on weekdays and until midnight at weekends. All customers can enjoy lane-side dining, with food and drinks brought to team tables. MeatLiquor managing director Scott Collins said: “The ethos of MeatLiquor is one built on offering a destination for people who want to go out but without growing up – something Queens epitomises.” Collins founded MeatLiquor with Yianni Papoutsis in 2011, operating from a burger van. It has since opened seven sites in London and others in Brighton, Bristol and Leeds. A 12th venue is due to open in King’s Cross in the summer. The company also launched a delivery-only site at Canary Wharf in partnership with Deliveroo in March, while Collins told Propel last month the company has agreed heads of terms on three sites and could undertake its first fund-raise to “test the market” as the company continues expansion.
Owner of Nottingham-based breastfeeding cafe concept opens second site, in Beeston: The owner of Nottingham-based breastfeeding cafe concept The Milk Lounge has opened a second site, in Beeston. Charlotte Purdie launched the concept in the Nottingham suburb of Arnold last year after feeling uncomfortable when taking her son Bobby out to coffee shops. Now she has opened her second site in a former bookshop in Chilwell Road, reports the Nottingham Post. Mirroring the Arnold site, the cafe provides a changing room with enough space for pushchairs, a feeding room with a small toy corner and an en-suite bathroom, an activity room, and a bottle-warming station. It also offers professional breastfeeding support to mothers.
May Fair Kitchen team opens Leicester Square site, third venue: The team behind London restaurants May Fair Kitchen and Monmouth Kitchen has opened a third site, this time in Leicester Square. The venue is described as a “sophisticated yet unassuming restaurant that is smarter than its sister sites”. The menu takes inspiration from Mexican and Peruvian cuisine. There is also a live taco bar with inventive cocktails served from a white zinc-top bar, reports The Handbook. The team also operates the May Fair Bar, which, along with May Fair Kitchen, is based in the May Fair Hotel. Monmouth Kitchen is part of the Radisson Blu Edwardian boutique hotel in Seven Dials.
Easyhotel opens latest ‘new-look’ site, in Manchester: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has opened its new 115-bedroom hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The hotel, which is in a grade II-listed property known locally as the “Flat Iron building”, has been refurbished in the brand’s “new-look” format. Chief executive Guy Parsons said: “Manchester is a major cultural and commercial centre and the perfect location for our latest hotel. We’re delighted to be here. Our new hotel offers a combination of comfort and style without the fancy and unnecessary trappings of so-called luxury hotels. It is a formula that is working, enabling us to offer our customers a super room at a super price.” Easyhotel Manchester is the group’s latest “new-look” hotel and follows recent openings in Brussels, Amsterdam Arena and Birmingham, which opened earlier this year. EasyHotel now trades from 24 owned and franchised locations in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Belgium, Hungary, Switzerland and the UAE.
Krispy Kreme opens Intu Uxbridge site: Krispy Kreme has opened a site at Intu Uxbridge shopping centre. The venue has launched at the Middlesex leisure complex offering 16 varieties of doughnut. Krispy Kreme operations director Alex Drysdale told the Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times: “We can’t wait to spread the joy of Krispy Kreme to Uxbridge. The reception from our sampling has been amazing so we hope this is a sign of great things to come.” The company has also announced it will open a second site in Norwich, in Castle Mall, to add to the store it has at Intu Chapelfield shopping centre in the city. In March, Krispy Kreme opened its 1,000th location, and first in Peru. The company now operates stores in 31 countries, with development agreements in several others. There are more than 70 Krispy Kreme stores across Britain.
Douglas Jack – Domino’s Pizza Poland is ‘very moreish’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Domino’s Pizza Poland is “very moreish” after revealing more stores and growth. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 75p following Domino Pizza Poland’s first-quarter trading update, Jack said: “Like-for-like sales growth of 21% compares with 23% in the same period last year and 27% in FY16 overall. Like-for-like sales growth was 16% in January-February and so 21% for the period reflects a healthy acceleration in March. Our forecast for FY17E is based on 9% growth in revenue per average store and 58% revenue growth overall. We believe current trading is consistent with these forecasts. Eight new stores have opened since the year end, bringing the total to 43 in 16 cities and towns. Our forecast is based on 20 stores opening in FY17E, an increase of 57%. Management notes the new opening pipeline stretches into 2018, a reassuring underpinning of the growth plans. We believe the value in Domino’s Pizza Poland’s shares lie largely in the option value attached to rolling out an estate of stores across Poland. This option value is difficult to assess. We believe a mature 200-store estate is a reasonable medium-term target and would have a present value of 72p. The value of 400 stores would be materially greater. Domino’s Pizza Poland has proven the business case for Domino’s in Poland and is accelerating the exploitation of that opportunity. We reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation and 75p target price.”
Reel to run new-build Blackburn cinema: Independent cinema operator Reel will run a complex that will be built in Blackburn town centre. The venue will be constructed on the site of Waves Water Fun Centre, which was demolished last year following development of the Blackburn Sports and Leisure Centre. The cinema complex will be built by Blackburn With Darwen Council and leased to Reel Cinemas for 20 years. The operator will pay back the £6.5m capital cost but leave the borough with the freehold. The scheme involves a single-storey eight-screen cinema incorporating a bar and food and drink units. Parking will be free at a multi-storey car park. Works are due to start in early 2018, with a completion date of late summer 2019. Reel Cinemas owner Kailash Chander Suri told Insider Media: “I could see the potential as soon as I visited Blackburn. The new cinema will be the first of its kind in the country. There is nothing else like it. There will be a fusion of Hollywood, Bollywood and independent cinema. The theme will come out in the design too and the food and drink offer. Hopefully it will play a part in bringing people together. It will have the very latest technology, fit for the next generation. I’m also interested in what else Reel might get involved in. It’s an ideal site for leisure, close to the college and King George’s Hall and other exciting investment activity.”
Caffe Nero enters grocery retail sector: Caffe Nero has entered the grocery retail sector for the first time by making its signature Classico House Blend brand available through online supermarket Ocado. Each 250g pack of Caffe Nero Classico Whole Beans, Ground Filter Coffee and Decaffeinated Ground Filter Coffee is on offer through Ocado priced at £4.25 each. The launch coincides with a number of recent initiatives from Caffe Nero, including the launch of the first combined mobile payment and loyalty app in the coffee sector and an overhaul of its food offering to improve taste and nutrition choice. Packaging and the company’s website have also been tweaked. Caffe Nero founder and chief executive Gerry Ford said: “It is a pleasure to finally enable customers to order our coffee for home delivery from one of the UK’s major online retailers.” Bill Marney, buying manager of hot beverages at Ocado, added: “We’re delighted Caffe Nero has chosen Ocado in its foray into the British supermarket sector. We’ve seen a huge upsurge in demand for premium, fresh coffee among our consumers and we’re in no doubt many will be regular out-of-home Caffe Nero drinkers.” Caffe Nero employs more than 6,000 staff at 800 stores in eight countries. The company was founded by Ford in 1997, who remains its majority shareholder.
Numis Securities analyst raises Ebitda forecast on Cineworld with encouraging film slate in second half of year: Numis Securities leisure analyst Richard Stuber has raised the company’s Ebitda forecast on Cineworld because of an encouraging film slate in the second half of the year. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 750p, Stuber said: “First-quarter admissions for the UK industry rose 11%, boosted by Beauty And The Beast, now the eighth highest-grossing box office in history, at £70.1m. According to Digital Cinema Media predictions, Star Wars VIII may take £110m this year, which would put it in second place on the all-time top film list behind Star Wars VII. For reference, it tipped Beauty And The Beast at number three this year predicting £48m box office revenues. We had only assumed box office growth for Cineworld proportionate to screen growth in the UK – ie no like-for-like growth. We now think this was too conservative and are therefore raising like-for-like admissions to 4% this year. The success of Hollywood films is slightly less relevant in several of Cineworld’s other territories. Nonetheless, we are raising our like-for-like assumption in the rest of the world to 2%. This leads us to increase our FY17 revenue and Ebitda by 2%. Each 1% increase in group-wide admissions increases revenue by 1%. Cineworld shares have had a strong run, up 27% year-to-date. Post our upgrade, the shares are trading on 11 times 2017 EV/Ebitda, which we consider full. Our target price of 750p, based on a blend of discounted cash flow, target price-to-earnings ratio (24 times forward equivalent to the current trading multiple for global peers) and EV/Ebitda (ten times based on historic mergers and acquisitions take-out multiple) suggests 6% upside. We are very supportive of the industry segment, structural growth opportunities in the rest of the world and quality of management, but would wait for a better buying opportunity. The next catalyst will be Cineworld’s capital markets day on 24-25 May. This will involve visits to newly renovated cinemas and presentations from management.”
MGM Muthu Hotels enters Scottish market with five-property deal: MGM Muthu Hotels, part of the MG Muthu Group from India, has entered the Scottish market with the acquisition of five hotels in two separate deals. The largest of the deals was for four hotels owned by Ian Cleaver-led Highland Heritage – The Alexandra in Oban, The Ben Doran and The Royal in Tyndrum, and The Dalmally in Dalmally – that were on the market inviting offers in excess of £4.5m. MGM Muthu has also acquired the 63-bedroom Newton Hotel in Nairn, which was on the market inviting offers in excess of £4m. The final sale prices for both deals have not been disclosed. MGM Muthu Group corporate director Monicca Maran told Insider.co.uk the hotels would “embellish our need to diversify our portfolio, to extend to the community and provide the best holiday experience”. The MGM Muthu Hotels Group has 27 hotels in its portfolio – in Spain, Portugal, France, Cuba, Canary Islands, Madeira and the UK. Highland Heritage also operates Alexandra Apartments in Oban and a fleet of tour coaches. The company reported a £4.1m operating loss in its 2016 year to January after taking a further £3.29m writedown on the value of its assets, having taken a £2m impairment the prior year. Agent Colliers International acted for the seller in both transactions and said Cleaver was also selling 15th century Kilchurn Castle by separate arrangement.
Canadian-based hotel company eyes further UK expansion after securing refinancing package: Canadian-based hotel company Sandman Hotel Group is eyeing further UK expansion after securing a multimillion-pound finance deal. Sandman opened its first site outside Canada in Newcastle in 2011 followed by another in Gatwick and is investing more than £20m in its third UK venue, in Aberdeen. Now the company is scouring the UK for new sites, backed by an eight-figure refinancing package from Allied Irish Bank (GB). Sandman director Mitch Gaglardi told Chronicle Live: “We have plans to expand further in the UK – we are looking at a number of sites and have a few irons in the fire. We have been operating successfully for a number of years in Newcastle and Gatwick and the time is right to build on that. Our Aberdeen development is a serious investment and will be a legacy property for us, one that takes us into another part of the UK. Our Newcastle hotel continues to be a huge success and was a great first step into the UK for us.” Family-owned Sandman has more than 40 leisure venues across Canada.