Piri Piri Express to quadruple number of sites in 12 months following Know Collection investment: Merseyside-based Piri Piri Express is to quadruple its number of sites in the next 12 months following investment from Liverpool-based operator Know Collection. Piri Piri Express, which focuses on chicken with Portuguese spices alongside ribs, burgers, starters and desserts, has takeaway and delivery stores in Aintree, Magull and Southport and has mapped out expansion into towns and cities across the UK. Steven Hesketh, chief executive of Liverpool-based Know Collection, said: “Convenience, speed and great taste are at the core of what every millennial wants – and Piri Piri Express epitomises what is great about this type of offering. It’s a period of exponential growth for Know Collection and Piri Piri Express was a natural choice when it came to taking a burgeoning business and helping it flourish.” Piri Piri Express was founded three years ago by Paulo Alves. He said: “If you were to take the trajectory of what we’ve done in the past three years and fast-forward, that would not be misleading in terms of what we want to do in the next five years. It’s a line of good, consistent growth.” Know Collection operates 14 businesses, including cafe bar concept Love Thy Neighbour, The Richmond Aparthotel, and female-only spa Nourish. Earlier this month, the company began a £250,000 refurbishment of its Bridge Street Townhouse boutique hotel in Chester.
Allsop seeks offers above £4m for Temple freehold let to Simmons: Agent Allsop is seeking offers in excess of £4m for a freehold property in Covent Garden let to Simmons Bars, which operates 12 bars in London. The site in Milford Lane is wholly let to Simmons Bars for 20 years expiring May 2037 on a passing rent of £170,000 per annum. There is rent deposit equivalent to six months’ gross rent in the sum of £102,000. Allsop stated: “We are instructed by the vendor as sole selling agents to seek offers in excess of £4m reflecting a net initial yield of 4% assuming standard purchaser’s costs.” A purchase at this level would reflect a capital value of £1,208 per square foot.
Wine Inns reports pre-tax profit more than quadruples despite ‘challenging year’: Wine Inns, which runs bars and nightclubs in Belfast and is led by Patrick Hunt, has reported pre-tax profit has more than quadrupled despite a “challenging year”. The company saw turnover increase slightly to £13,966,276 for the year ending 31 December 2016 compared with £13,940,707 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit was up to £243,007, compared with £54,569 the year before. Gross profit margin increased to 33%, compared with 32% the previous year. Wine Inns stated: “The company experienced a challenging year in difficult economic conditions. While the directors expect a difficult trading year ahead, they will continue to seek every opportunity to increase turnover and profitability where possible.” The company, which also operates the Winemark off-licence chain, will launch its latest site in the city – The Doyen – on Thursday (28 September). It has invested more than £1.5m to refurbish the former King’s Head restaurant and bar in Lisburn Road.
Windmill Taverns makes it a family affair for fifth site: Family-owned Windmill Taverns is to open its fifth site in south east London on Friday, 20 October, the company’s first opening in ten years. The new site will be called Mc & Sons, a traditional real ale Irish pub with a Thai twist located between Blackfriars Road and Borough in Union Street. The 80-cover floor space, with £15 average spend per head, will aim to take customers back in time with stripped-back reclaimed furniture, wooden benches and recycled classic pub pieces sourced from all over the UK and Ireland. Frame-to-frame archives and family portraits will adorn the walls telling the story of Windmill Taverns’ founders the McElhinney family through the generations, bringing the brand to life. The new generation of the family has brought with it a south east Asian heritage of its own thanks to head chef Lailar, wife of Johnny McElhinney, who will provide expertise in Thai food.
Black Sheep Brewery appoints former Punch director as chairman: Yorkshire-based Black Sheep Brewery has appointed former Punch director Andy Slee as its new chairman. Slee will take over from Paul Theakston, founder and current chairman, who will remain on the board as a non-executive director. Slee has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry and has been a non-executive director at Black Sheep Brewery since 2016. He has worked for a number of brands, including Coca Cola, and most recently as external affairs and central operations director at Punch. Slee said: “I hope to draw on my extensive experience from working with a number of large brands within the industry and build this into the future of Black Sheep. Theakston added: “Andy possesses extensive industry experience working with large corporations and breweries, which will support the board and management team immensely. I am looking forward to working with him and the board as we continue to develop the Black Sheep brand.”
Online brewing industry market place BrewBroker launches £380,000 crowdfunding campaign: BrewBroker, which describes itself as an online market place for the global brewing industry, has launched a £380,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering a 25% equity stake in return for the investment. The aim of BrewBroker is to enable businesses to search, sell and buy brewing services from one other. It likens itself to Airbnb and Uber by “taking an established industry at a certain stage and disrupting it using a sharing economy model”. BrewBroker said contract brewing allows that opportunity in the beer sector, with the huge rise in consumer demand leading more breweries to contract-out production or sell excess capacity to maximise efficiency. BrewBroker said providing a “simple digital platform to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between two parties” would “transform the way the industry operates”. The company was founded last year by drinks marketing expert Toby Chantrell and Ben Morgan-Smith, a digital industry veteran. They have been advised by Craft Beer Rising founders Chris Bayliss and Daniel Rowntree. The pitch states: “A total of 59 breweries and suppliers have registered their interest through our website to use the platform including West Berkshire Brewery, which has a new contract brewing operation. The funds will be used for platform development – launching in the first quarter of 2018, sales and marketing, and staff and operational costs. After 24 months perfecting the model in the UK, we’re planning another raise for a global roll-out. The development of BrewBroker has been completely self-funded to date (£70,000). There is no debt. We anticipate exit opportunities after operating for five years, to a wholesaler, logistics company, brewery or online market place such as Amazon.”
Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts to open second London site with launch of Dabbawalas in Mayfair: Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is to open its second London site. The company, which brought Jamavar to Mount Street in Mayfair in December, will launch Dabbawala nearby next month. The restaurant is named after the dabbawalas of Mumbai, men who traditionally used the city’s railway network to deliver home-cooked meals across the city. It takes its design lead from the trains on the network, being long and thin in shape with seating inspired by an old first-class railway coach. Jamavar’s executive chef Rohit Ghai will lead the kitchen serving food from Mumbai and its surrounding areas with a focus on family recipes passed down by his mother, as well as the lunch boxes co-founder Samyukta Nair enjoyed during her time at school in Mumbai. Much of the food will be sharing dishes based on Indian dabbas –tiered tiffin-style lunchboxes used to carry the food during delivery, which in turn leant dabbawalas their name. Dishes will include misal pav, a vegetable curry with crunchy toppings; biryani-style sea bass and scallop tawa pulao; whole spiced spit-roasted chicken; and Kerala-style fish stew. A dessert bar will also feature, where diners can watch offerings such as double ka meetha – a kind of bread pudding – made in front of them. Nair told the Evening Standard: “The idea is to capture the mood and flavours of modern-day Mumbai along with the spirit of old Bombay. We also want to highlight the close association between Britain and India as it was the British who built the railways in the first place.”
M&B appoints CBRE on estate: Mitchells & Butlers has appointed CBRE to provide portfolio management services across the estate. Under the terms of the five-year contract, CBRE will also provide specialist transaction support and other call-off contract work. Paul Copeland, senior director in advisory and transactions services at CBRE, told Property Week: “It is a pleasure to be awarded this prestigious contract, which reinforces the comprehensive offering of our advisory and transaction services, providing clients with a consultative approach to guide them through complex operational business issues that result in the need for real estate support. This, coupled with our bespoke knowledge of specialist markets, makes us the ideal fit for Mitchells & Butlers and we look forward to working collaboratively with the client to ensure the best outcomes.” Last week, Mitchells & Butlers reported like-for-like sales up 0.8% in the eight weeks to 16 September, with food up 1.5% but drink down 1.2%. It added the market had turned “more challenging” in recent weeks, although total sales had increased 2.9% in the year to date.
Former PizzaExpress training manager opens first Papa John’s restaurant, plans further sites: Former PizzaExpress training manager Johney Rai has opened his first Papa John’s site, in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Rai and business partner Baljit Singh Kissy said the opening was “just the start” and they plan to build a Papa John’s portfolio during the next few years. Rai, who worked for PizzaExpress for more than 20 years, said: “As well as time spent as head chef I had various roles including managing the training and development for every team member in 16 countries. However, this meant being away from my family, travelling abroad for up to seven months of the year so it was time for a change. A chance conversation with my friend and now business partner Baljit, who had also worked part-time at another pizza company, led us to research the market. We explored different brands and I even considered setting up on my own but when we tried Papa John’s pizza we liked what we tasted and the rest is history! We look forward to delivering to the community of Shipley, as well as expanding with the opening of more stores in the near future.” Papa John’s, which was founded in the US in 1984, has more than 350 sites across the UK and more than 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
Korean barbecue concept Olle launches in Chinatown: Korean barbecue concept Olle has launched in Chinatown London and is the brainchild of Charles Seo, founder of Japanese restaurant Kyoto Soho. The new 1,307 square foot restaurant has opened in Shaftesbury Avenue, with 80 covers and a menu of Korean barbecue dishes, Japanese and American wagyu beef, Iberico pork, seafood and Korean stew cooked in stone bowls. A variety of Korean beers, alongside wine and soft drinks are also available. Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at West End landlord Shaftesbury, said: “Korean food has been taking the UK by storm and we are excited to welcome this debut Korean barbecue concept. The punchy flavours of Korea are sure to be a hit with Chinatown London visitors, who flock here for authentic east Asian experiences in the heart of London’s West End.” Seo added: “Chinatown London’s draw as a world-class food destination makes it the ideal place for us to launch our concept. Our menu, devised by Korean head chefs, offers authentic Korean food in a contemporary setting, adding a modern touch to the traditional Korean cuisine experience.”
JD Wetherspoon to ban plastic straws: JD Wetherspoon is to stop the use of plastic straws in its 900 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland by the end of this year. In addition, and with immediate effect, straws will no longer be automatically added to drinks, although they remain available for customers if requested. From January 2018, all the company’s pubs will use biodegradable paper straws. JD Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “These changes are part of an overall commitment from the company to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste produced. We believe Wetherspoon pub-goers will welcome this.” Wetherspoon joins a growing number of operators to ban or restrict the use of plastic straws, including Laine Pub Company, Oakman Inns, Mitchells & Butlers brand All Bar One, The Alchemist, and Liberation Group.
Twisted Bars to open Ticket Office Bar at Ilkley station for second site: Twisted Bars, founded by Yorkshire entrepreneurs Adam Lewis and Paul Glendinning, is to open Ticket Office Bar next to Ilkley train station for its second site. The company is investing £250,000 to transform the venue into a 3,000 square foot, high-end cocktail and drinks bar. Ticket Office Bar will open later this year, creating 25 jobs. Twisted Bars managing director Adam Lewis said: “I have lived in and around Ilkley all my life and am aware of the fantastic food offerings available in the town but have watched the bar scene virtually disappear. Ticket Office Bar will be largely drinks-focused with a small food offering to complement. There will be a minimum age policy, delivering classic cocktails with a twist, focusing on the drinks and experience side of hospitality.” Lewis, who also owns Yard bars in Ilkley and Malton, joined forces at the end of last year with Glendinning to launch Everybodys All Day Social in Guiseley under the Twisted Bars banner. The company said it was looking to rapidly expand by opening a further eight sites in Yorkshire in the next eight-to-nine years.
Bahraini chef makes UK debut with Chelsea restaurant: Bahraini chef Roaya Saleh has made her UK debut after opening a second site for her Villa Mamas concept. Having launched the concept in the Saar district of Bahrain six years ago, Saleh has opened a 50-cover restaurant in Elystan Street, Chelsea. The menu focuses on traditional Bahraini dishes alongside recipes influenced by Saleh’s travels around the world. Dishes feature tandoor-cooked flatbread, lamb and feta kofta and mezze sharing plates. Drinks include wine by the glass and Bahraini-influenced cocktails. Saleh’s homemade jam is available to buy alongside spices and hand-woven Bahraini baskets, while a stairwell to the rear of the restaurant leads diners to a hidden courtyard. Saleh said: “It was my dream to open a restaurant that felt like an extension of my home and kitchen, to preserve my heritage and share my family recipes and stories. Having opened Villa Mama’s in Bahrain six years ago, London feels like the next adventure for me.”
Joe & The Juice lodges plans to convert former Oddbins site in Chiswick: Denmark-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice is looking to add to its London estate by opening a venue in Chiswick. The company has lodged plans with Hounslow Council to convert the former site occupied by drinks retailer Oddbins on the corner of Turnham Green Terrace and Chiswick High Road. The application is seeking permission for a basement extension to the site as well as a first-floor rear extension to create an additional residential unit, reports ChiswickW4. Joe & The Juice offers freshly prepared juices, shakes, coffee and sandwiches. Founded in Copenhagen in 2002, Joe & The Juice has more than 200 venues across Europe and the US, including 24 in and around London and earlier this month it signed for a site in Fulham Road. Oddbins closed its branch on New Year’s Eve after 30 years in Chiswick.
Gordon Ramsay to launch US television show aiming to save failing restaurants in 24 hours: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is to launch a television show in the US that aims to save failing restaurants in 24 hours. Entitled Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back, the project will follow the chef as he travels across the US to help restaurants on the verge of shutting down. Working out of a truck converted into a mobile kitchen, Ramsay will dive into the business’ inner workings, find the root of its problems, and give its owners the tools they need to succeed while a 24-hour clock runs down. Television station Fox has committed to an eight-episode order of the unscripted reality series, reports CinemaBlend. Ramsay also recently concluded his first season of the US version of The F Word – itself a remake of a British show Ramsay similarly headlined for five seasons.
London-based Vinoteca to open sixth and largest site next week: Vinoteca, the London-based wine bar, restaurant and shop founded by Brett Woonton and Charlie Young, will open its sixth and largest site next week, in Bloomberg’s new European headquarters. Vinoteca City, located in Bloomberg Arcade, a covered pedestrian walkway that links the two Bloomberg buildings, will offer an ever-changing seasonal menu served alongside a global wine list. The corner-site restaurant, which will open on Monday, 2 October, will be set over two floors, comprising three dining spaces. The 4,400 square foot ground-floor dining area will accommodate up to 90 covers, with additional seating for 40 people on the outdoor terrace. The main dining area will feature a tiled central bar, mixed-level seating, geometric mirrors, aged brushed-brass pendant lights and a dedicated wine shop offering bottles from the restaurant’s own cellar. A private dining area seating 30 will also be housed upstairs on the mezzanine level, with views over the restaurant and several glass wine cabinets highlighting the restaurant’s collection. The kitchen, led by head chef Kieren Steinborn, will serve modern European and British cuisine. The menu will accompany a wine list incorporating premium varieties from all over the world as well as a selection of craft beers, spirits, dessert wines and cocktails.
Pret A Manger launches autumn menu: Pret A Manger has launched its autumn menu, which includes the introduction of US favourite the pumpkin spice flat white coffee to the UK for the first time. The menu features three new vegan soups – butternut squash dhansak, vegan chilli soup, and kale, lentil and roasted spice, while two meaty soups – the coconut chicken curry, and pork and lentil ragu – have also returned. Other items include chicken, basil and red pepper toastie, and ham hock and sprout macaroni cheese. Meanwhile, two vegan chef’s specials – avo, olives and toms baguette, and the avocado and Chipotle chickpeas salad wrap – will return to Pret’s fridges for a month from Tuesday, 3 October, following a customer vote on Facebook during the summer.
Thai Leisure Group fined £32,500 for dead mouse and droppings at Chaophraya site in Liverpool ONE: Thai Leisure Group has been fined after mouse droppings and a dead mouse were found at its Chaophraya site in the Liverpool ONE leisure complex. An inspection by Liverpool council enforcement officers in March 2016 revealed mice droppings throughout the restaurant. Thai Leisure Group was fined £32,500 after admitting breaches of food and hygiene laws, the Liverpool Echo reports. Jonathan Ball, prosecuting, said: “Officers looked in the rear of the upright dessert fridge and discovered a dead mouse in the area housing the motor. Officers subsequently discovered two glue boards with a number of decomposing mice attached within the ceiling void above a food preparation area. Officers viewed the situation as serious enough to warrant a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice on the basis there was an immediate risk to health. The voluntary closure form was signed by the manager on-site. The premises closed with immediate effect.” Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh apologised and said he was “appalled” by what was found. He added: “The offence took place 18 months ago and since then we have been reinspected by the council, achieving a four-star rating and two independent audits with 90%-plus scores. We are entirely confident the restaurant now achieves the highest standards of food hygiene our customers expect.” Thai Leisure Group is the sixth Liverpool ONE tenant to be hit with a large court fine over food and hygiene laws this year after YO! Sushi, Nando’s, Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas and the now closed Red Hot Buffet were also prosecuted.
Domino’s positions brand as ‘official food of everything’ in new television campaign: Domino’s is positioning its brand as the “official food of everything” in a series of new television advertisements. The company has worked with agency VCCP on the campaign. The series of ads is designed to illustrate the versatility of a freshly-ordered Domino’s Pizza by featuring humorous “real-life” situations, such as teenage nerds who try to be cool and awkward family encounters. VCCP, which won the account in April, said the new ads portray the brand as not just about getting fast food but also bringing people together to celebrate events as well as enjoying everyday life. Domino’s is also promoting the brand messaging on dating app Tinder as part of a push towards its key 16 to 34-year-old target audience. Domino’s sales and marketing director Tony Holdway told Campaign: “We’ve worked so closely with all our agency partners to deliver a really fresh, impactful campaign that shows what Domino’s and pizza is all about in our customers’ lives.”
Taco Bell to ditch drive-thrus in US in favour of new fast-casual Cantina concept: Taco Bell is ditching drive-thrus in the US to build between 300 and 350 of its Cantina concept restaurants that serve alcohol. The company currently has seven Cantinas in the US, although it plans to open four more by the end of this year. It is looking to launch Cantina restaurants in cities including Pittsburgh, Boston and New York in the next five years, reports Business Insider. The concept features trendy decor, DJs blasting music, and tapas-style appetisers. All sites serve at least one local beer, while the regular Taco Bell menu is also available. Between 55% and 70% of Taco Bell revenue comes from drive-thrus but Taco Bell said it believed pivoting to a fast-casual format would bring in new customers. It added it decided to start serving alcohol after realising customers visiting its drive-thrus were “using its beverages as mixers anyway”.
Kwizzbit reports 300% growth in four months, appoints Francis Patton to board: The founder and chief executive of interactive pub quiz platform Kwizzbit has said his business has grown 300% in the past four months, while Cask Marque chairman Francis Patton has become non-executive director on the Kwizzbit board. Mark Walsh appeared on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den on Sunday night (24 September), failing to get £80,000 investment in return for 10% equity. However, Walsh said since the episode was filmed in May, Kwizzbit had been installed in a further 200 venues towards a target of one million players by 2020. The company has also received funding worth £40,000 from the Business Enterprise Fund and UK Start-up Loans. Patton has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality sector including spells at Allied Breweries and Punch, and non-executive roles at the Society of Independent Brewers and British Institute of Innkeepers.
Manchester-based El Capo opens second site, in Nottingham: Manchester-based South American-themed restaurant and bar El Capo has opened its second site, in Nottingham. Owner Pete Skelton is staggering the opening with drinks now available before the food menu is launched on Thursday, 12 October. He has transformed the former Rum House in Broad Street into the new venue. It has been second-time lucky for Skelton after he was refused permission by the city council earlier this year to convert the former Coco Lounge in George Street. Skelton launched El Capo, which sells tequila, cocktails, tapas and street food, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter three years ago.