Osmond’s Broadstone Acquisition Corp announces pricing of $300m IPO: Broadstone Acquisition Corp, the “blank check” company from serial sector investor Hugh Osmond, has announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 30,000,000 units (shares) at a price of $10.00 per unit. The units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol BSN.U. The company began trading on Friday (11 September) and closed the day with a price of $9.86 per unit. Each unit consists of one class A ordinary share and one half of one redeemable warrant, with each whole warrant exercisable to purchase one class A ordinary share at a price of $11.50 per share. After the securities comprising the units begin separate trading, the class A ordinary shares and the warrants are expected to be listed on the NYSE under the symbols “BSN” and “BSN WS,” respectively. The offering is expected to close on 15 September, 2020. The new company aims to find a combination target in the UK or other European markets that has been adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak but is otherwise fundamentally healthy. It is led by chairman and director Osmond; chief executive and director Marc Jonas, who co-founded Wellington Pub Company and Punch Taverns; and chief financial officer and director Edward Hawkes. Filings in the US have also confirmed the three independent directors who will sit on the new vehicle’s board. They are Rory Cullinan, the former RBS Investment Banking chief; Philip Bassett, former partner and head of investor relations at private equity firm Permira; and Ian Cormack, who had a successful City career in leading international and UK roles at AIG, Citigroup and Citibank, where he spent over 30 years.
BrewDog agrees franchise deal with Bruton Capital for ten sites in Germany: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has agreed a deal with Bruton Capital to open ten franchise sites in Germany, Propel has learned. Over the next three years, Bruton Capital plans to open the bars in the metropolitan areas of Berlin and Frankfurt am Main. The first bar under the deal will open in early 2021 in Wiesbaden. Marcus Thieme, chief executive of BrewDog Germany, said: “Bruton has a strong background in real estate investment and has also expanded into food and beverage in recent years. We are very happy to have found such a professional partner to extend our network of BrewDog bars and bring more great beer and the full BrewDog experience to the people.” Jairaj Amin, founding partner at Bruton Capital, added: “BrewDog has a high quality product, a great brand and unique position in the market. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with BrewDog  as it grows and develops its business in Germany. We see tremendous opportunities in the market place and are investing for the long term to develop exciting new BrewDog locations in Berlin, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden.” As part of this co-operation Bruton Capital will also acquire the BrewDog bar in Berlin Mitte. In the long term BrewDog is planning to recruit even more franchisees and to open 40 bars across Germany and Austria in the next few years.
Authentic Alehouses’ secured creditor updates portfolio valuation after receiving offers ‘below anticipated levels’: Crowdstacker, the secured creditor of Authentic Alehouses, is having the valuation of the portfolio updated as part of preparations to begin selling the pubs. It comes after interest and, in some cases, formal offers were made on a number of the seven pubs but at levels “below what was anticipated”. An email to investors, seen by Propel, stated: “Given the prevailing environment and a potential impact on the hospitality industry, we expect an impact on delivering the strategy. We, however, will share updated valuations and details of any acceptable offers in due course.” Three of the four previous operating pubs – The Albert Hotel in Hull, the Countess of Rosse in Shipley and The Ponty Tavern in Pontefract, were reopened over July. While initial trade remains below comparable levels last year, it is “slowly improving”. The Fountain Inn in Barnoldswick remains closed because it is in an area subject to a local lock-down and has been currently deemed high risk for staff to return. The situation is being reviewed on a weekly basis. A proposed sale of the one of the closed pubs, believed to be The Wakey Tavern in Wakefield, was in the final stages of completion but has “unfortunately been suspended”, the email said. The other two sites – the Crown Inn in Addingham and The Red Lion in Driffield – remain closed. Allan Harper-led Authentic Alehouses entered administration in March 2019 despite raising £6.4m in peer-to-peer loans via Crowdstacker. Simon Bonney and Michael Kiely, of Quantuma, were appointed joint administrators. Authentic Alehouses launched in July 2017 with a £5m crowdfunding campaign on Crowdstacker that was later doubled. Harper also led Burning Night Group, which went into administration in October 2019 after raising £7.5m on the same platform. Two months later, Burning Night Group was bought out of administration by a special purpose vehicle created by turnaround specialist Access Commercial Finance, which was a secured creditor of Burning Night Group.
Ole & Steen to complete reopenings, Nixon confirmed as permanent MD: Danish baker Ole & Steen will complete the reopening of its full 11-strong London estate on Tuesday, 15 September, with its sites at Nova, Victoria and Oxford Circus being the last to return. At the same time, it has confirmed Lee Nixon, formerly of Costa Coffee and Le Pain Quotidien, as its permanent managing director. Nixon’s confirmation as the company’s new managing director follows a successful period as interim managing director, following the departure of Simon Ward-Nicholson from the role earlier this summer. The reopening of its final two sites in the capital – it also operates a site in Oxford – follow what the company said was “a considered reopening programme, primarily focused on safety for both teams and customers, alike”. The bakery chain began its reopening programme with stores open for takeaway, click and collect and delivery, with a renewed focus on its partnerships with both Deliveroo and Karma – the food waste app. Regarding the reopening, Nixon said: “We began reopening our London bakeries in June with a meticulous focus on heightened safety measures to ensure both our customers and teams felt safe when visiting our stores. Our reopening has been overwhelmingly successful, with such a positive reaction from both returning and new customers. This has spurred us on to ramp up our reopenings and we are delighted to announce all of our stores in the capital will be back from this week. Next, we are focusing our attention on launching our new and improved app that will allow our customers to not only earn rewards but pay at their table, in order to beat the queue and enjoy a fully contactless transaction. We will also continue our growth plans in London, opening our new Notting Hill store in December. The new bakery is just two minutes’ walk from Notting Hill Gate tube station and will help us to grow our base of already-loyal west London fans. I’m also particularly excited about our Christmas offer this year as it will be our best yet. I think that after the year we’ve all had, our customers deserve something a bit special for Christmas.”
The Big Table Group launches new virtual delivery brand Stateside Diner: The Big Table Group (BTG), the Epiris-backed operator of the Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, has launched a new virtual delivery brand called Stateside Diner, Propel has learned. Currently available out of a select number of the group’s Bella Italia sites through Deliveroo, Stateside Diner offers US-style fare of hot dogs, mac and cheese, and Ben & Jerry’s. The James Spragg-led business had been embracing the virtual delivery brand growth trend over past few years, with the likes of Bang Bang Burritos and Blazing Bird being launched out of Las Iguanas sites, and an exclusive development agreement with Deliveroo seeing the creation of the Chicken on the Green concept, which is available through its Café Rouge restaurants. Its investment in these virtual brands comes with each having their own dedicated websites. Propel revealed last week that Epiris could eventually pay £18m for the bulk of the former Casual Dining Group business.
McDonald’s introduces delivery to parked cars at 24 restaurants: McDonald’s has trialled a food delivery scheme to parked cars via its app. The initiative “Click. Park.” allows pre-ordered food to be delivered to a parked car outside 24 McDonald’s restaurants. Other measures introduced within the past month include increasing the number of menu items; the introduction of portable screens in its dining areas to offer safer ordering; additional protective screens near to the self-order kiosks to create ordering booths; removing chairs and free-standing furniture to increase the size of walkways; enabling front-of-house teams to support customers in making use of table service and the My McDonald’s app when visiting; and Apple Pay can now be used to purchase food.
Hop reopens first of its five sites, new tech to help customers: London-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop has revamped its ordering journey for the reopening of its first site. Customers will be able to order food via digital screens at the Broadgate, east London, site on Monday (14 September) or by using the website. Hop founder Paul Hopper said: “I’m really excited about Hop 2.0. Our customers want decent food, fast. This new tech will help speed up service and opens up the menu to customisation, easily swapping noodles for courgetti in the pho for a lighter lunch, for example. In these times, the option to order without human interaction using the kiosks or click and collect will really appeal.” In addition to the digital overhaul, Hop reopens with a greener vision including a zero-to-waste claim thanks to its partnership with sustainable waste management company ByWaters.
Staffordshire & Cheshire Leisure Group acquires fourth The Grill Co site, further outlets in pipeline: Staffordshire & Cheshire Leisure Group has acquired the fourth site for its The Grill Co concept – and is eyeing further expansion. The company has added The Davenport Arms in the village of Marton, in Cheshire, to its portfolio. The 110-cover site will undergo a small refurbishment, transforming it into a modern country pub and grill restaurant, ready to open in October. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the group plans to accelerate growth over the coming years with more openings in the pipeline. Managing director Leon Burton told Propel the company is opening one site annually at present but hopes to increase that to two or three a year, as he feels more suitable properties will be thrown up from other operators closing. He said: “We hope to expand further throughout Staffordshire and Cheshire before a nationwide rollout of The Grill Co concept. We are working with a number of commercial landlords to find suitable properties and are also remain on the lookout for further investment.” The Grill Co also operates the Staffordshire Grill in Brewood, The Milehouse in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Cheshire Grill in Lach Dennis.
Vegetarian self-service operation Tibits shuts London sites permanently: Vegetarian self-service concept Tibits has announced the permanent closure of its two London restaurants. After a 12-year spell in the capital, the business – which operated on a buffet-style service, focusing on plant-based cuisine and zero waste – was forced to shutter during lock-down but could not reopen sites in Heddon Street and Bankside. Co-founder Reto Frei said: “Running a restaurant in London has become more and more difficult in the past three years with ever-increasing costs. It is with sadness that we will not be part of the London restaurant scene anymore. We thank our great team and loyal guests for their support in the past 12 years.” Staff were offered jobs in its Swiss and German outlets. A successor is being sought to take on the London premises.
Boparan to reopen Carluccio’s in Dublin: Boparan Restaurant Group will continue the gradual reopening of its Carluccio’s estate by welcoming customers back to its site in Dublin. The company, which paid £3.2m to acquire 30 Carluccio’s sites and buy the rights to the brand in May, will reopen the restaurant on Thursday, 24 September. The move will take the brand’s total number of reopened sites to 21.
TGI Friday’s continues free appetiser scheme: TGI Friday’s has extended its offer of free appetisers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of September due to “huge demand”. TGI Friday’s, the Robert Cook-led brand, introduced the offer of a free appetiser when purchasing a main meal as an extension of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. Diners can choose from any appetizer, including boneless hot wings tossed in Frank’s Red Hot sauce and sesame chicken strips tossed in a glaze made with Jack Daniel’s. Customers can redeem the offer by presenting it on the Friday’s rewards app before ordering.
Restaurateur to launch Maison François brasserie and wine bar at former Green’s site: Restaurateur François O’Neill will launch a brasserie and wine bar at the former site of Green’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar in St James’s, central London, on Monday (14 September). Originally scheduled to open in the spring, O’Neill will launch Maison François with head chef Matthew Ryle and Ed Wyand leading front of house – paying homage to the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace. O’Neill’s father, Hugh, launched Brasserie St Quentin in Knightsbridge in 1980 with his cousin Quentin Crewe, a former Evening Standard restaurant critic. François O’Neill took over the restaurant in 2008, turning it into Brompton Bar & Grill. Matthew Ryle, a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2018, will head the kitchen, which will open in Duke Street featuring an in-house bakery, dispensary bar and a menu of brasserie classics, hand-made pasta dishes, and fish and meat cooked over a wood-fired grill. There will also be a dessert trolley. Downstairs wine bar Frank’s will offer more than 250 bottles and a 16-cover private room. François said: “Maison François will be everything a brasserie should be – welcoming, fun and hospitable, with classic dishes made with the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – while also ripping up the rulebook when it comes to service. We’ll show great respect for the legendary restaurants we admire, while marrying this heritage with our love for the dining culture of cities across France. Brasserie St Quentin is a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the brasserie tradition.”
All-day Australian restaurant Milk Beach to relaunch next month after doubling in size: All-day Australian restaurant Milk Beach, in Queen’s Park, west London, will relaunch in early October after doubling in size. Founder Elliott Milne has taken over the neighbouring site formerly occupied by Hugo’s restaurant. Milk Beach, which opened in 2018, has renovated the combined space, which will have an enhanced evening service featuring a full dinner menu created by Australian head chef Darren Leadbeater, formerly of Wild Honey and Brunswick House. Dishes will include Cornish sprats with yoghurt tartare and Tasmanian pepper berries; and squid ink tagliatelle with crab and tomato fondue. There will be an updated all-day brunch menu, with house-roasted coffee. The refurbishment of the Lonsdale Road premises has created a new bar serving low-intervention wine, cocktails and beer on tap. As well as the larger interior, the operation will feature an enlarged outdoor seating area with heating for the colder months.
Latin American restaurant Cha Cha reopens in new London location: Latin American concept Cha Cha has relaunched at a new site. Cha Cha has moved from its Maida Vale location to set up home in the same building as vintage-inspired clothing label Sister Jane. The retail and restaurant collaboration Cha Cha x Sister Jane is a 3,000 square foot space in Notting Hill’s Golborne Road. Cha Cha is housed on the ground floor of Sister Jane Townhouse and offers an all-day brunch menu that features European cuisine with a Latin twist and, in the evening, customers can enjoy a new menu and cocktails. The Sister Jane retail space sits on the first floor. The food menu, developed by Anthony Garlando, formerly of Zuma and Pierre Gagnaire, includes acai bowls, sharing plates and main dishes from the Robata grill. Cha Cha co-founder Max Parfentieff said: “We’re thrilled that Sister Jane is part of our next Cha Cha chapter meaning our artistic nature and love of design can truly shine.”
Anatolian concept Rüya to reopen in Mayfair: Turkey-based Doğuş Restaurant Entertainment and Management, led by Umut Özkanca, will reopen its Anatolian concept Rüya in London’s Mayfair on Thursday (17 September). The venue in Upper Grosvenor Street will have a new pared back à la carte menu, an exclusive raki menu, signature cocktail list, and the launch of an Anatolian aperitivo hour. The new à la carte menu will include traditional, aged kasar cheese pide with slow cooked organic egg; and 24-hour slow cooked short rib in a Turkish chilli barbecue glaze. Rüya will also be running a discount scheme during September with 50% off all food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 person, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 5.30pm until 9pm, and also on Thursday, 17 September, to mark the reopening. The à la carte menu will also be available for delivery from Tuesday (15 September) via Supper and through collection and takeaway via the Rüya website.