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 in future periods. The company has a number of company-owned and franchised cafes that are still closed or operating in a required limited capacity, which has a material negative impact on the royalty revenues.” Hard Rock Cafe UK, which operates sites in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Glasgow, and opened an outlet in Newcastle last month, provided the update as it reported turnover for the year ending 31 December 2019 increased to £30.8m, compared with £23.5m the previous year. Restaurant revenue rose 23.4% and merchandise sales were up 43.0% against the prior period. It made a pre-tax loss of £1.2m compared with a profit of £2.9m the year before. No dividend was made to the parent company during the period. The directors stated: “With the opening of the Piccadilly store (with a higher selection of merchandise items), the company saw the retail average spend increase by 3.4%. In food and beverage, average spends were higher too, albeit at a lower percentage of 1.3%. This is an encouraging sign for our long-term future projection on the potential of this unit.” Parent company Hard Rock International celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and marked the start of the celebrations by announcing a five-year partnership with football star Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador while its original London cafe, in Old Park Lane, is marking the occasion with its menu at 1971 prices for one day, on Monday (14 June).
Heartstone Inns reports sales up 16% in first two weeks of indoor reopening against 2019 levels, focusing on adding accommodation: Heartstone Inns has reported sales up 16% in the first two weeks since indoor reopening against 2019 levels. Managing director James Birch told Propel the company was focusing, in the medium term, of adding more accommodation to its eight-strong pub estate. The company invested £1.2m in the estate in 2020. A total of 20 bedrooms have been added in the past 18 months, giving 42 in total. The Cockhaven Arms in Devon had four bedrooms added – giving 14 in total – along with a new restaurant and function room. Meanwhile, ten bedrooms have been added to the Charlcombe Inn near Bath while, this year, the company has completed a development project at the Walhampton Arms in Hampshire, which added a further six bedrooms, giving 11 in total. In the first quarter of 2020, Heartstone Inns sold eight pubs for £4.6m, including seven to Punch Pubs & Co. Birch said: “Heartstone has always been managed and capitalised in a conservative manner with a low level of debt-to-asset ratio. This combined with the strategic decision in mid-2019 to sell eight of our smaller pubs put us in a robust financial position enabling us to continue our investment programme and to plot our way carefully and calmly through the impact of the pandemic.” The company benefited from the various government support schemes while its bank, HSBC, allowed the business to retain the cash from the pub disposals and it did not need to apply the cash to loan repayments. It comes as Heartstone Inns reported sales were down 61% – 49% for the retained pubs – for the year ending December 2020, to £4.1m, as a result of its pubs being closed for 19 weeks during the peak trading period and a swathe of trading restrictions in the remainder of the year. The company reported pub Ebitda of £0.4m representing a margin of 8.9%, compared with 15.2% the previous year. Company Ebitda stood at a loss of £0.1m. The company benefited from its extensive pub gardens and the introduction of a web-based ordering and payment system. Operationally, the company performed particularly well during the early part of the year and in the summer months, helped by the Eat Out To Help Out scheme in August. Net debt at the year-end was £4.1m, which represents a net debt ratio of 18.8%.
Ramsay applies to open Street Burger site in Reading: Chef Gordon Ramsay has applied to open a site under his fast-growing Street Burger concept in Reading. As previously flagged up by Propel, Ramsay has applied to take on the former Giraffe site in the city’s The Oracle scheme. Last week, Ramsay announced he was to open the biggest site to date under his fledgling Street Burger brand at The O2. The new site will open on the former Byron site in The O2’s main Entertainment District next month and will become the sixth opening under the burger brand. Propel previously revealed the chef was in talks to take the former Byron site in Upper Street, Islington, as he looks to open ten sites in the UK by this summer, with “dozens” of locations under review. Last month, he opened Street Burger branches at the former Byron site in Kensington High Street, west London; on the ex-Gourmet Burger Kitchen venue in Covent Garden; and in Woking. Propel reported last week the chef and restaurateur had applied to open a site under the name Bread Street Cafe on the former Limeyard unit in Ealing High Street.
Papa John’s set for further UK growth in next few months after delivering six more sites: Papa John’s has opened six new stores in locations across the UK in the past month and is set to add more to its 450-plus portfolio in Britain over the next few months. The company has opened outlets in Swinton in Manchester, Daventry, Market Harborough, Bradford, Brighouse in Yorkshire, and Totton in Hampshire. Papa John’s UK senior operations director Justin Gilbert said: “Our goal is to offer Papa John’s in more and more locations across the UK. Despite the challenges of the past year, sales for the new outlets are already strong. The new stores are all run by different multi-unit franchisees that are hungry to expand their portfolio of sites. We are expecting to open multiple more outlets over the next couple of months too. As well as launching in high street locations, we are working on innovative initiatives to partner with a range of leading leisure venues, sports stadiums and holiday parks.” Papa John’s has also recently introduced the option for delivery to selected outdoor locations around the UK. Customers visiting the park or the beach can now find the closest delivery spot to their location.
Papa John’s UK features in the Propel Blue Book database, which is now available to Premium subscribers. It ranked 36th most profitable UK foodservice company with a profit of £2,820,000 in its most recent year, converting 3.9% of turnover to pre-tax profit. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up. 
Fat Duck operator – pipeline of opportunities remains strong, working on new business development initiatives: The company that operates The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has said its pipeline of opportunities remains “strong” and is working on new business development initiatives. SL6, which is also behind The Hind’s Head in Bray, said the easing of lockdown had removed a “significant business uncertainty for the group”. Given the current restrictions and lockdowns, SL6 said it expected to make a loss in its financial year ending May 2021. The group took advantage of the various government support schemes and sold an unused property to maintain its cash resources. Director Ronnie Lowenthal said: “The pipeline of opportunities remains strong and the group is working on business development initiatives that could bring significant new income to the group. These opportunities include projects to continue to build the group’s capability to deliver exceptional restaurant experiences and unique food as well as other product innovations.” Lowenthal provided the update as SL6 reported turnover fell to £9.6m for the year ending 31 May 2020, compared with £13.4m the year before after its sites were closed for more than two months following the start of the pandemic. The company reported an Ebitda loss of £600,000 against a £1.4m profit the previous year. The business made a pre-tax loss of £619,000 compared with a profit of £17,000 the year before. No dividend was paid. The Fat Duck, which has held three Michelin stars since 2004, was established by Heston Blumenthal in 1995 within a 450-year-old pub in Bray. The chef sold his stake in the group to Lowenthal in 2008.
Wetherspoon moves staff across country to work at covid-hit pub near G7 summit: JD Wetherspoon has moved staff to a pub in Cornwall, allegedly from as far away as Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after an outbreak of covid forced employees to self-isolate for ten days. The pub company brought management staff from across the country to The Towan Blystra pub in Newquay, which is five miles from Newquay Airport where attendees and staff flew in for the G7 summit that started on Friday (11 June). Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can confirm that four members of staff have tested positive for covid-19 at The Towan Blystra on Cliff Road in Newquay. In accordance with NHS guidelines, these employees are required to self-isolate for the requisite ten-day period. As a precaution, 19 other members of staff who may have come into close contact with the employees who tested positive have also been asked to self-isolate for ten days.” Gershon said Wetherspoon is working closely with Cornwall Council, Public Health England and other relevant authorities and have followed their advice in relation to the cases. He added: “We have not been asked to close the pub and it remains open. In order to support the pub, given the number of employees self-isolating, additional experienced Wetherspoon managers and staff from a number of our pubs, both in Cornwall and beyond, have worked at the pub since 4 June.”
McDonald’s wins planning row over English-only digital screen at drive-thru in Wales: McDonald’s has won a planning row over using English wording on a digital screen at a drive-thru restaurant in Caernarfon, Wales. Gwynedd Council refused permission for larger screens at the restaurant last year on the grounds that all public signs in the county are required to be in Welsh and English. But the council backed down after McDonald’s argued the site already included bilingual signs on its self-service ordering facilities. Gwynedd Council said in a statement: “The latest application from the company includes a variety of signs that will be bilingual and one electronic sign, which will be in English, the information on which can be amended regularly.” The Welsh Language Society – Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg – opposed the decision to grant permission. Elfed Wyn ap Elwyn of the society said: “The lack of Welsh in the private sector is a huge problem – we need stronger language rights and the Welsh language standards must be extended to the private sector.”
Park Holidays UK gearing up for ‘strong rebound’: Sussex-headquartered holiday park group Park Holidays UK has said it is gearing up for a “strong rebound” this year. It comes as the company, which has more than 40 sites across the UK, reported revenue dipped to £145.4m for the year ending 31 December 2020, compared with £157.2m the previous year. Pre-tax profit climbed to £22.1m, up from £20m the year before. A statement filed with its accounts said the closure of holiday parks in mid-March to early July, and again in November, caused a “significant and unprecedented” reaction in business activity. It added: “Recovery was strong during the second half of 2020 but revenue overall has been significantly reduced during the lockdown period. Based on the second-half performance of 2020, the group expects a strong rebound in the holiday parks market.” Last month, Park Holidays bolstered its portfolio with nine sites from Bridge Leisure. Park Holidays UK, which was founded in 1984, was acquired by private equity firm Intermediate Capital Group in 2017 and is headquartered in Bexhill-on-Sea. Sky News recently reported bankers had been appointed to oversee a strategic review that industry sources expect to trigger a sale of Park Holidays UK this year.
Just Eat rebrands corporate ordering business: Just Eat has rebranded its corporate ordering business City Pantry as Just Eat for Business. The company said the move “recognises the exciting opportunity to leverage Just Eat’s scale to support the office catering marketplace at a time when the country and businesses are emerging from lockdown and returning to the office”. The move is marked by a new Just Eat for Business logo showcasing one unified brand, while also focusing on the business-to-business expertise of the City Pantry team. Just Eat for Business, which feeds more than 30,000 people at more than 600 companies every week, will continue to operate in the same way by connecting offices and corporate customers to restaurants and caterers across the UK with the same vendors and delivery drivers. The rebrand marks the first step in this journey, with further integrations in the Just Eat platform planned for the coming months, and companies able to access business orders through the Just Eat website or app. Just Eat UK managing director Andrew Kenny said: “The move will further support the business’ growth and our mission to deliver fantastic food delivery experiences to businesses across the UK, as one brand.” City Pantry was acquired by Just Eat in 2019.
Just Eat is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Hotelier Peter de Savary puts Cheltenham property on market for £1.95m guide price to focus on rest of portfolio: Peter de Savary has put his boutique hotel The Bradley, in Cheltenham, up for sale for a guide price of £1.95m. The hotelier operates the property in Royal Parade as part of his Havana West portfolio and is selling it to focus on his other sites. The grade II-listed property is being marketed by Colliers and Knight Frank. The Bradley was privately purchased by the de Savary family in 2015 and underwent a comprehensive restoration with the property now housing ten bedrooms. There is also potential to add a further two bedrooms. A spokesman for Havana West said The Bradley had been brought to the market in order to focus on the other properties in the portfolio – The Beachcroft Hotel; Beachcroft Beach Hut Suites; The Cary Arms and Spa; Cary Arms Luxury Cottages; The Eastbury Hotel; The Merry Harriers; and the Parkway Hotel and Spa.
Milestone Group opens food hall in Liverpool: Sheffield-based The Milestone Group has opened a food hall in Liverpool’s Metquarter, with the scheme creating more than 130 jobs. The food hall has been branded as the General Post Office and serves as a nod to the former use of the building as Liverpool’s head post office, it is located at the Victoria Street entrance, adjoining an Everyman cinema. The 11,000 square foot venue offers a variety of cuisines under one roof, championing independent regional operators and offering support and incubation for the “best this emerging food scene has to offer”. Tenants include Patty B’s Burgers, Thai 25, Jail Bird Nashville Fired Chicken and Monkey Board Coffee. The Milestone Group operates four sites in Sheffield including craft beer and pizza restaurant Craft & Dough and The Milestone gastropub. It is also set to run the Cambridge Street Collective food hall, which forms part of the Heart of the City development programme in Sheffield.
Food delivery business serving small and rural towns raises almost £600,000 to expand nationwide: A food delivery business serving small and rural towns in the West Midlands and Wales has raised almost £600,000 to expand nationwide. Shrewsbury-based Zoom Food – whose partners are a mix of local, national and international operators, including Subway and KFC – has raised £595,084 from 332 investors during a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. The company, founded in 2017 by Kevin Williams and Dave Hamlet, was aiming to raise £200,000 and was offering 3.17% in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £9.3m. The pitch stated: “Zoom is a hyperlocal, last-mile, delivery service delivering food, convenience and retail goods within one hour. Currently operating in the West Midlands and Wales, and having experienced rapid growth throughout 2020, we have big plans for a national rollout in 2021. We feel we are perfectly poised to expand across the UK’s under-served rural towns and cities and shake up the on-demand delivery industry. We are raising funds to invest throughout the business. This includes expanding the size of our fleet for our 2021 rollout, increase marketing budget to expedite customer acquisition and order growth, and expand the sales team to grow store on-boarding.”
New Turkish cafe concept opens in London: A new Turkish cafe concept has opened in London. OTE – standing for Original Turkish Eatery – is inspired by the Esnaf Lokantasi – the informal cafeteria-style restaurants that cater for local tradesmen and workers on their lunch breaks. OTE has launched in Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia and, with a cafeteria-style format, it invites customers to fill its signature moulded tray with four main components: a “base” such as Bulgur rice, a main dish, a meze dip and a meze salad. Alternatively, customers can choose from a selection of set Esnaf boxes such as the Kofte Box – a traditional Turkish meatballs recipe from the Aegean Sea areas; Pilav rice; Cacik, Turkish yoghurt with cucumber & herbs; and Antalya Piyaz, a Turkish white bean salad with onion and olive oil. Freshly baked pides and a number of sides and extras are also on offer. Food is available for grab and go, delivery and there are a small number of covers for eat-in. OTE director Tuğba Açıkel said: “Our mission is to rewrite a narrative on Turkish food in London.”
Greek street food restaurant concept launches in Liverpool: A Greek street food restaurant concept has opened in Liverpool. Laros is the brainchild of Nikolaos Fylladitakis, who has worked in the hospitality industry for many years. The restaurant and takeaway hybrid in Bold Street imports the majority of its ingredients directly from Greece. The menu includes chicken or pork gyros and chicken, pork or lamb souvlaki. There’s also a range of salads including a classic Greek salad, a Politiki cabbage-based salad and Cretan Dakos salad with tomatoes and olives. The drinks menu features a selection of Greek soft drinks, beer and wine. Fylladitakis said: “Laros means delicious and this is what we promise – high-quality, healthy, authentic Greek street food.”
New Coventry restaurant to double as training school for young people: A company that specialises in training will launch a restaurant in Coventry this week with the aim of offering 100 young people the opportunity to begin a career in hospitality. PET-Xi Restaurants has taken the former Drapers bar site in the city centre and will reopen it as Metropolis on 17 June. The site has been given a 1920s Art Deco makeover and will operate as a training ground for young people who are not in employment, education or training. Metropolis head chef Sean Woodall is experienced in training and working with young people, and will be joined by Kate Maguire from Holiday Inn as general manager, plus an experienced management team comprising Fleur Sexton and Dave Lewis of training company PET-Xi. Sexton, who is the managing director of PET-Xi, said: “Our aim is for the restaurant to be a real destination with the city, as well as be an excellent restaurant that has the benefit of being a training ground for young people who may need help, guidance and training. Metropolis will provide a life-affirming opportunity for unqualified young people not in education, employment or training to gain qualifications, experience and turn their lives around.” Woodall has designed a menu with ten main course options – with every dish being offered in traditional, vegan and vegetarian options. All trainees will gain experience in positions such as chef training, sous chef training, kitchen porter, waiting, customer service, bar work and marketing.
Former Bancone chef launches bagel shop concept: Louis Korovilas, the former Locanda Locatelli and Bancone chef who opened Tavolino last year, has launched a Jewish-style bagel shop. Korovilas has opened Dusty’s Deli within Mercato Metropoltano in Elephant & Castle. The menu includes a traditional Reuben sandwich with salt beef, melted Emmental cheese, pickles, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. There is also a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel drizzled with lemon, dill oil and topped with chives. The “green bagel”, a vegan option, comes with avocado, crispy shallots, sweet pickled shallots and Russian dressing. It is a change from the Italian cooking Korovilas has made his name with, but he said it has “always been a dream” to open a bagel shop. “I love the simplicity of it – it’s delicious,” he told Harden’s.
Greene King to open new Shropshire pub next month following six-figure investment: Brewer and retailer Greene King is to open a new pub in Shropshire next month following a six-figure investment. The Riverside Inn in Cound, near Shrewsbury, has been renovated and restored as a traditional country pub and will create up to 70 jobs. Greene King bought the site last year and is opening it as part of its Chef & Brewer brand. General manager Chris Kendall said: “We want The Riverside Inn to be an integral part of the Shropshire community again.”
Liverpool-based bar and restaurant operator to double up with Leeds launch:Liverpool-based bar and restaurant operator, & Company, is to double up with an opening in Leeds. The business is launching the venue in the grade II-listed 10-12 East Parade on Friday, 18 June. The bar and restaurant will offer all-day dining as well as drinks and feature an outdoor courtyard. Helen Gibbons, head of operations at & Company, said: “We’re excited about bringing our offering to Leeds, just in time for a summer that’s sure to be one to remember after this challenging period.” & Company currently operates a site at Mann Island in Liverpool.
Aparthotel operator Supercity secures York site: Aparthotel operator Supercity has secured a new site in York. The company has agreed a deal with North Star to develop a luxury aparthotel in Micklegate. The aparthotel will replace vacant commercial units on the street, which previously housed a van hire centre and a restaurant. Due to open in 2023, construction of the property, which will include a bar and restaurant space, will begin this summer. Supercity chairman Roger Walters said: “The development will blend beautifully into York’s famous gateway street, and we look forward to bringing our stylish hallmark interiors and warm service to this great city.” Over the past 12 years, Supercity has grown to six aparthotels across London, Manchester and Brighton. In December, the company secured £10m to grow its portfolio across the UK.
Coventry’s first permanent indoor street food venue opens: Coventry’s first permanent indoor street food venue has opened. Factory has launched in FarGo Village. Three of the biggest units in the Creative Quarter have been combined to create the 340-seat open-plan dining experience “with an industrial vibe reflecting the history of the space”, which was used as a car radiator factory by Coventry Motor Fittings for 60 years from the turn of the century. There is also a roof terrace and covered canopy with initial capacity for 70 diners to enjoy eating outdoors while covid and social distancing measures remain in place. This will rise to 300 once restrictions are lifted. Five street food traders, which will be rotated, are located at the venue. The initial line-up features Birmingham-based burger concept Stripclub Streetfood, Hereford-based The Grub Shed, Solihull-based pizza concept Dough & Flow, and two Coventry-based traders – vegetarian concept The Paneer Wrap Street Food Company and Get Us Baked, run by The Brownie Box by Emily. The £360,000 renovation at FarGo Village has, in part, been funded by Arts Council England and the Cultural Capital Investment Fund, which includes an allocation from the Getting Building Fund from the government, through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.