Turtle Bay secures Northampton site: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay has secured a 10,000 square foot site in Northampton as the brand continues its expansion. The company has signed a new 20-year lease at a rent of £60,000 per annum for the site in Gold Street, at the former Groove Nightclub, following a deal brokered by agents Restaurant Property. The venue offers 6,350 square feet on the ground floor as well as a 4,100 square foot basement. The opening date has yet to be announced. Restaurant Property head of sales Matthew Englender told Propel: “Northampton is one of the fastest-growing towns in the UK with a fantastic heritage and an increasing student population. There are other more obvious developments within the town. However, we worked closely with local developers to uncover this gem on behalf of Turtle Bay. The footfall in Gold Street mirrors some of the busiest locations in London and Turtle Bay is likely to benefit from the relocation of the University Students’ Guild nearby.” The Piper Private Equity-backed company was launched by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 37 sites across the UK, having opened its first restaurant in Milton Keynes in 2010. Turtle Bay will open a restaurant in Plymouth in September, while it has also secured sites in Winchester and Durham.
Malt company blames fall in beer consumption as revenue and profits drop: Essex-headquartered malt company Bairds Malt has seen profits fall after reporting a £15m plunge in revenue, blaming a reduction in export volumes and beer consumption in the UK and Europe. The company, which operates five production facilities across the UK, saw revenue decline to £189.7m for the year ended 30 September 2016, compared with £205m the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. UK and Ireland revenue fell from £179.2m to £168.6m, while sales to the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and the Asia Pacific market were all down. Pre-tax profit for the group fell from £5.2m to £3.6m, while Ebitda dropped to £11.6m compared with £13.4m the previous year. The company said beer consumption in the UK and Europe declined during the year, which continued to apply pressure to malt contracts because of excess capacity for brewing malt in the continent. However, the company did see a rise in its overall volumes into the brewing sector, driven by increased volumes with two major customers. It said: “The prospects for 2017 deliveries are indicating the business will maintain its brewing volumes with increased volumes into the craft beer sector.” In the whisky industry, Bairds Malt hailed growth in volumes thanks to an increase in demand and ‘as a result of continued focus on quality product with quality service”. The company suffered a reduction in its export volumes in 2016, with one customer experiencing reduced demand for its products, and Bairds Malt said its absolute margin was lower because of “competitive pressures in the malting division on processing fees as the company sought to replace the loss of a customer contract”. However, the company reported a “solid performance” in its merchanting division in England and Scotland.
YO! Sushi to open Tottenham Court Road site this summer: YO! Sushi is to open a site in Tottenham Court Road, London, this summer. The new 2,500 square foot restaurant, which will be the company’s 97th worldwide to date, will have more than 70 covers and feature external and takeaway areas. A spokeswoman told Propel the restaurant, which is expected to launch at the end of August, would be “loud” and carry the new branding introduced by the company earlier in the year. Last week, chief executive Robin Rowland said the company’s like-for-like sales had increased 6.5% in the past year. YO! Sushi, which is backed by Mayfair Private Equity, currently has 75 restaurants in the UK, four in the US and 17 franchised operations in the Middle East and in other international airports around the globe. In the year to 29 November 2015, the company had turnover of £84m with Ebitda of £11m.
JD Wetherspoon to sell Edinburgh pub: JD Wetherspoon has appointed agents CBRE and Savills to sell The Alexander Graham Bell in George Street, Edinburgh. The pub measures 6,800 square feet (632 square metres), all at ground-floor level. It is held on a lease at a current rent of £230,000 per annum and benefits from a premises licence permitting the sale of alcohol until 1am daily. The Alexander Graham Bell is well-known as part of George Street’s long-established bar and restaurant circuit. Nearby venues include Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas and Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures. A spokesperson on behalf of the joint agents said: “The Alexander Graham Bell represents an excellent opportunity to acquire sizeable, fully fitted premises with the benefit of a late licence in one of central Edinburgh’s most prestigious locations. Given the scarcity of flagship licensed leisure opportunities in Scotland’s capital, we anticipate strong interest from a broad variety of occupiers.” CBRE and Savills have also recently been appointed by JD Wetherspoon to handle the sale of The Milan Bar in Croydon, The Widow Frost in Mansfield, The Isaac Wilson in Middlesbrough, The Squire Knott in Oldham and The Running Horses in St Helens.
Hammerton Brewery launches debut pub, in Islington: London-based craft brewer Hammerton Brewery has opened its debut pub. In April, Propel reported the company, founded by Lee Hammerton, had agreed a deal with Ei Group to acquire the lease of the former Wig & Gown in Holloway Road. The brewer is based in Islington, brewing small-batch beers with the aim of re-establishing the Hammerton name. Founded in 1868, it ceased brewing in the late 1950s with the brewery demolished. In 2014, Lee Hammerton resurrected the family business and its beers, including Islington Steam Lager, N7 IPA and Pentonville Oyster Stout. The company has now opened the House of Hammerton following the popularity of its regular taproom events. Potlikker Southern Kitchen is running the food menu offering corn dogs, devilled eggs, caramel chicken wings, and a sandwich of the week. Hammerton is an Arsenal fan so the pub is likely to become a popular watering hole before home games. He said: “Our regular taproom openings at the brewery have served as a great window for us to receive feedback from our customers on what they think about our beers. We have limited space at the brewery site and the open days affect production. So we are very pleased and excited to (launch) our first pub, especially as it is so close to our brewery.”
Craft Beer Co extends Limehouse pub after site ‘massively exceeds expectations’: The Craft Beer Co, which operates seven sites across London and one in Brighton, has opened the first floor of its venue in Limehouse, east London, and launched a food menu after trade “massively exceeded expectations” since the venue opened in December. Dishes include a range of starters and small plates designed to accompany the drinks offer, with mains including pan-fried fillet of mackerel and Moroccan-spiced chickpea salad alongside traditional pub favourites such as fish and chips. Craft Beer Co managing director and founder Martin Hayes said: “Initially we planned to develop the first floor after bedding the business in for a year but demand has accelerated that decision. As the first multiple operator to come into the area, I was cautious when forecasting how we might trade. As well as being a progressive area, we also took a different approach to the look and feel of the place, favouring a 1950s and 1960s feel, so there were a few unknowns. But it’s fair to say we’ve been delighted with trading figures and the welcome we’ve received from the community.” Close to Limehouse DLR station, the pub previously traded as the Railway Tavern before its conversion into The Craft Beer Co Limehouse.
Sutherland family launches £5.5m fund-raise to build Highland distillery: Dunrobin Highland Distillery has launched a funding round with an investment target of £5.5m and is seeking investment partners to help fund its plans to build a multimillion-pound distillery in the grounds of Dunrobin Castle. The distillery is the vision of Elizabeth Costin Sutherland, daughter of Lord and Lady Strathnaver, who said: “With respect for my family and the local community’s rich history and tradition, we aim to produce premium single-malt whisky and gin in the Scottish Highland way. We also aim to boost tourism by creating a distillery experience for visitors to Dunrobin Castle. Our focus is on premium ingredients and traditional distilling, which is why we have focused our efforts on sourcing and growing our products locally.” The distillery will utilise local resources, including barley and botanicals from Dunrobin Farm and water from a mountain spring on the Sutherland Estate, while it will malt and mill a portion of its own barley. The facility will include a visitor centre and bottling plant. The Sutherland family built the Clynelish whisky distillery in the 19th century, which it later sold. The 700-year-old Dunrobin Castle attracts almost 100,000 visitors a year. UK-based consultancy Lazarus Consulting is handling the fund-raise.
Franchisee opens fourth Papa John’s site, in Trowbridge, eyes ten more: Franchisee Mo Abid has brought Papa John’s to Trowbridge in Wiltshire by launching his fourth site in total as he eyes ten further openings. Abid said: “Prior to joining Papa John’s I ran a college for international students in London. However, the sector was changing and I was looking for a new opportunity. I purchased the Newbury franchised store in 2013 (and it is) doing particularly well, with sales four times what they were when I started out! This success enabled me to purchase a further two Papa John’s in Bristol, plus contribute to the latest Trowbridge opening. I’m planning to capitalise on the company’s continued UK expansion and open a further ten Papa John’s stores.” Papa John’s business development manager Anthony Round said the company was recruiting franchisees across the UK with particular interest in applications from individuals “interested in opening multiple stores”. Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus stores in the UK.
Wagamama launches second Leeds site: Wagamama has opened a second site in Leeds, this time at The Village, the 65,000 square foot leisure extension at the White Rose Shopping Centre. Other restaurants at the development include TGI Friday’s, better burger brand Five Guys, The Restaurant Group-owned Tex-Mex brand Chiquito, Cote’s all-day American dining brand Limeyard, and Pizza Hut’s first new restaurant in more than six years. An 11-screen Cineworld IMAX cinema is due to launch later this year. Earlier this month, Wagamama confirmed it would open a site at the £42m Bretonside development in Plymouth. In late June, the company reported UK like-for-like sales increased 8.2% for the year ending 23 April 2017. Group turnover increased 15.8% to £266.1m primarily due to the continued expansion of its restaurants in the UK. Its UK sites, which account for 96.8% of company-operated restaurant turnover, increased turnover 15% to £255.2m, compared with £222m the previous year. Wagamama’s other Leeds site is in the Trinity shopping centre.
Albion and East Group to start expansion in September with second site: Albion and East Group, which is supported by The Imbiba Partnership and was formerly known as Ruth & Robinson, is to start expansion in September by opening its second site. Canova Hall will launch in Ferndale Road, Brixton, on Monday, 18 September. The 4,579 square foot bar and restaurant has been designed by Red Deer and will focus on the building’s history as a workers’ canteen. Split over basement and ground floor, the market-style venue will offer a relaxed workspace environment with hot-desking, fast Wi-Fi and coffee during the day before transforming into a late-night venue. All food will be made fresh on-site including pasta and pizza dough. Customers will be able to use a cocktail trolley to mix their own drinks or “book a bartender”, who will create cocktails at their table. As with Albion and East Group’s debut site, Martello Hall in Hackney, Canova Hall will feature an on-site gin distillery, which will allow the company to produce larger batches of gin and extend their flavour profile. Albion and East founder Sarah Weir said: “This is such an exciting project with so many amazing people involved. Brixton is a close-knit and vibrant community, like Hackney, and we are privileged to become part of it.”
Anglo-American bagel-brioche concept Sub Cult opens in City of London: Anglo-American bagel-brioche concept Sub Cult has opened a site at Finsbury Avenue Square, British Land’s new street food space at Broadgate. Sub Cult joins Italian restaurant Wolf, bhangra burger brand BaBa G’s, eggs-centred diner Yolk, and crab burger concept Claw. Offerings include Skandi Sub (oak-smoked salmon and peppered cream cheese), and Sub-Conscious (spiced vegan patties, raw veg chop, oyster sauce, pickled ginger and toasted sesame). Sub Cult serves signature and weekly seasonal specials from 7am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, with breakfast subs until 11am. Coffee comes from Climpson & Sons and soft drinks by Karma Cola. The unit can seat 15, alongside alfresco seating and a takeaway option. Sub Cult, founded by Ben Chancellor and Gareth “Gaz” Phillips, has been operating in Maltby Street, Leather Lane and Brockley markets since 2014 from a 1970s camper van called the Soul Roller. CODE Hospitality has invested in Sub Cult and is advising and supporting the company on future growth.
Hollywood Bowl Group opens 57th site, at the O2: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, has opened its 57th site, at the O2 in Greenwich, London. Located on the site that was previously Brooklyn Bowl, the 32,000 square foot, 12-lane venue has created 20 additional jobs. Three of the lanes are exclusive VIP lanes, any of which can be pre-booked. The site features a Hollywood Diner, with decor celebrating all things Americana. There is also an American pool area, amusements, and two bars offering beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks. Chief executive Steve Burns said: “It is a fantastic addition to the UK’s premier entertainment venue and we have already received some great feedback from customers.”
PF Chang’s to make UK debut next month with Covent Garden launch: US-based Asian casual dining chain PF Chang’s is to make its UK debut next month by opening a site in Covent Garden. PF Chang’s Asian Table will launch in Great Newport Street on Friday, 4 August offering 138 covers set over two floors as well as a cocktail bar. The company is describing its offering as “brunch with an Asian kick”, with dishes such as the Everything Bao (smoked salmon and boiled egg with basil horseradish in a honey lotus bun), and Lobster Benedict (toasted muffin topped with herb lobster mix, poached egg and hollandaise sauce). Other dishes from former Nobu chef Deepak Kotian will include Mongolian beef seared with spring onions and garlic, and fish and lotus “chips”, Hot Dinners reports. PF Chang’s dishes popular in the US will also be on offer at the Covent Garden site, including chicken lettuce wraps and dynamite shrimp. The bar will be run by London-based drinks consultancy Fluid Movement and offer barrel-aged cocktails. Arizona-headquartered PF Chang’s was founded in 1993 by Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang and has grown to more than 200 restaurants in the US with sites in 20 other countries, while other markets labelled as “coming soon” on its website include Germany and Egypt.
Freshii extends Applegreen partnership in Ireland as it doubles sites: Canadian-based health brand Freshii is to extend its partnership with forecourt retailer Applegreen by doubling the numbers of sites at the company’s motorway services in Ireland to four. Freshii will open outlets in Applegreen Lusk on the M1 southbound and Applegreen Midway on the M7 in Portlaoise. The deal will take the number of Freshii restaurants in Ireland to 11. Freshii Ireland chief executive Dave O’Donoghue said: “We have been delighted with the success of our initial Applegreen offerings in Lusk North and Enfield West. Lusk and Enfield have been just over a year and have far exceeded everyone’s expectations.” Applegreen head of operations Conor Lucey added: “The healthy eating option, Freshii, in Lusk North and Enfield West have proved extremely popular to date and we’re delighted to be able to offer more of what our customers want to further sites, with a focus on healthy eating in a food-to-go environment. We strive to have an exciting and expansive range of food offerings to ensure we’re satisfying all our customer needs.” Freshii offers tossed salads, hot bowls, burritos, poké bowls, healthy wraps, soup, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and frozen yogurt.
Pan-Asian food hall Bang Bang Oriental launches in London: A huge new Asian food hall featuring restaurants, kiosks and shops with room for 450 diners in total has launched in north London. Bang Bang Oriental has opened in Edgware Road close to Colindale tube station with a focus on pan-Asian food. The stands and restaurants offer food from China, Korea, Japan, India and Vietnam, plus cuisine from less well-represented Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Bang Bang Oriental also features a Chinese massage parlour, herbal medicine shop, and nail and beauty boutiques on a mezzanine floor, plus a 300-cover dim sum restaurant called the Golden Dragon, Hot Dinners reports. There are also a number of community spaces available to locals for free hire.
McCain Foods gets approval for £100m Scarborough production site expansion: McCain Foods’ £100m plans to expand its production site in North Yorkshire have been approved by Scarborough Borough Council. As well as equipment upgrades, the renewal plans include odour reduction technology and extensive landscaping, with the project near Scarborough to be completed in four phases. Final approval for the scheme hinges on the loss of a playing field in light of an objection by Sports England, while confirmation is also needed from the Highways Agency that surrounding roads would be suitable for an increase in HGV traffic, Insider Media reports. McCain Foods employs more than 700 staff in Scarborough and buys about 15% of Britain’s annual potato crop.