Christian Arden adds to pub portfolio with Barnes site, third in the pipeline:Restaurant, bar and hospitality operator Christian Arden has added to his pub portfolio. Arden has taken on his first site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, The Tree House in Barnes, south west London. The pub will reopen as The Crossing in August following a joint £450,000 refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars. It is Arden’s second south London pub, his other is The Rectory in Clapham, with a third pub in Kennington in the pipeline. The kitchen will be overseen by chef Antony Demetre from Arbutus and Vermuteria in Coal Drops Yard – and his team of young chefs. Arden, who was founder and chief executive of Po Na Na and later managing director of Chicago Rib Shack, said: “I have wanted to open a pub in Barnes for some time and was delighted when the Tree House became available. The pandemic delayed plans but, on the flipside, it gave me the opportunity to finesse them and collaborate with Anthony.” Set over two floors, the pub will feature a beer tap wall behind the bar. At the front of the pub there will be fixed seating for up to 40. There will also be a new garden terrace for 60 with an outdoor kitchen comprising a grill and rotisserie as well as a wood-fired pizza oven. Upstairs will become a comfortable dining and event space for 60 people with its own private bar. The menu will feature plant-based, fish and meat dishes using British ingredients. Outdoor-cooked pizzas and flat breads will be available in the evening and at weekends. Richard Campbell, regional operations director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “It’s great to have Christian on board. He has a fantastic reputation in the hospitality industry, having run his own Michelin-starred restaurant, built a highly successful group of late-night venues and turned around many other businesses. He is now returning to his passion – top-end pubs with a reputation for superb service.”
Lebaneats set to open 25 sites across UK as part of expansion plan: London-based Lebanese grab-and-go concept Lebaneats is set for a major expansion, with plans to open an additional 25 sites across the UK over the next couple of years, Propel has learned. The owners also plan to open franchises across Britain “to provide more access points to customers to indulge in the goodness of our food”. Having launched in 2009, the company operates five sites across central London as well as a kitchen in Chiswick. Lebaneats is now gearing up for further expansion because it wants to introduce the concept to audiences outside the capital. The plans to join the franchisee market were slowed down in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the company said it has “marched forward” through it. Lebaneats said: “We have grown by innovating on strategies, donating food to front-line NHS staff and providing healthy food options to our customers, which has been the ethos of Lebaneats from the day we opened. Having found our feet in very challenging times, we want to expand, create more jobs and allow our customers to indulge in the goodness of our food. We have remained agile and responsive to a fast-changing landscape, reaching our customers in new digital ways. We now look forward to build this momentum further into 2021 as we maintain our mission of promoting good authentic food and healthy eating at affordable prices and celebrating life by building the fastest growing Lebanese takeaway brand of the future.”
Honest Burgers to launch concept incubator scheme, launches summer pop-up at Laine pub: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, is launching a concept incubator scheme, Propel has learned. Launching in The Yard at Backyard Cinema, Wandsworth, the initiative seeks to help the company’s employees with their own F&B concept ideas. Co-founder Phil Eles said: “We’ve been talking about it for years and, finally, thanks to our lovely friends from Backyard Cinema in Wandsworth, we’re launching the Honest X Incubator to our teams. We started Honest in a field with very little money and even less experience and we want those origins to always play a big part of Honest in the future. That’s why, now, if you work in Honest, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your own concept to us with the opportunity of a pop-up run (aiming for late autumn) in our newly built stall in The Yard at Backyard Cinema. Going to be a learning curve for all I think.” At the same time, the business is operating a summer pop-up at Laine Pub Company’s Fortune of War pub in Brighton. Honest Burgers has taken over the kitchen of the Kings Road Arches pub, where the businesses have collaborated to create the Brighton beach burger – a classic Honest beef patty, topped with salted caramel beer-candied bacon, oak-smoked Mayfield cheese, shoestring fries, garlic mayo and a pickleback slaw alongside homemade rosemary salted chips. Nathan Takoor, restaurant manager at Honest Burgers Brighton, said: “Laine makes our ‘Burger Beer’ house lager and supplies our Duke Street restaurant too, so we’ve become good friends over the past year. We’ve been looking to reach new areas of Brighton and Laine has a really vibey pub on the beachfront.” Laine Pub Company managing director Dan Hills added: “Just like us, Honest started in Brighton and is a company that shares a similar ethos to us.”
Stay Original Company secures £8.7m of government loans: Somerset-based boutique hotel and pub group Stay Original Company has secured £8.7m of government loans, Propel has learned. The company, which owns and operates five freehold coaching inns throughout the south west, secured a £4.7m from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and £4m from the Recovery Loan Scheme with the aid of Cynergy Bank. The new facility has been used to refinance multiple loans from the group’s existing lenders, and provided both “a significant cost saving to the company and funding to support further capital expenditure plans”. Founded in 2011 by Rob Greacen and James Brooke-Webb, Stay Original Company operates The Swan in Wedmore, The White Hart in Somerton, Timbrell’s Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, The King’s Arms in Dorchester and The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury. Steve Crosswell, relationship director, Cynergy Bank, said: “Cynergy Bank is delighted to have concluded this transaction with Rob and James of Stay Original. Their group of coaching inns is of a high, premium quality and located in affluent areas – exactly the kind of assets that are meeting high volumes of consumer demand. We very much look forward to working with them as they add to this high-quality portfolio.”
Pizza Punks to open in Leeds for fourth site: Pizza, music and cocktails concept Pizza Punks is to open in Leeds. The company is opening the site in Bond Street later this summer for its fourth site after securing the former MOD Pizza premises. The concept gives customers the option to create their own pizza by putting as many toppings as they want on a sourdough base for the same price, while also offering wine on tap, tank beer, cocktails, freak shakes and locally brewed coffee. Along with pizza, the menu also features fresh pasta. Owner Brad Stevens said: “We offer customers the freedom to make the experience their own because pizza is the new punk and there are no hard and fast rules with it. Our attitude is all geared towards helping our customers have the best time when they visit our restaurants. Leeds will be no different and we are looking forward to having a new customer base that will join the Pizza Punks movement.” Pizza Punks currently has sites in Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle. Stevens also operates Mamasan, the south east Asian bar and brasserie concept, which has sites in Glasgow and Liverpool.
Fledgling plant-based quick-service restaurant concept Ready Burger closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £2m: Ready Burger, the fledgling plant-based restaurant concept founded by boxer Anthony Joshua’s former personal chef, has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising £2m. The company – founded by Adam Clark, who worked for Joshua during five of his world title fights, and entrepreneur Max Miller – was aiming to raise £1.5m in return for 19.61% equity, giving a pre-money valuation of £6.9m. The business has now closed the campaign with 843 investors pledging the £2m. Ready Burger operates a site in London’s Crouch End and is set to open a second site in Finchley Road this summer. Propel understands Ready Burger is planning to open another two sites this year before expanding into other major UK cities towards the end of 2022. It is thought the business will start opening franchise sites in 2023 and plans to have a 40-strong estate by 2024. The company is believed to be targeting turnover of £3.4m by the end of the year with an Ebitda of £211,000, with revenue rising to £48.7m by 2024 and Ebitda of £6.8m. The pitch stated: “Fast food that’s better for your health, better for the planet and better for your wallet. Ready Burger brings plant-based fast food to the high street. Inclusive, technology focused, and with all the taste, speed, experience and striving for the price of McDonald’s. Ergonomically designed kitchens and front-of-house areas are set up to enable us to produce thousands of items a day, serviced from our central distribution centre. Integrated web-app ordering, in-store ordering kiosks and an innovative delivery solution means customers will have their food in under 30 minutes. From automated stock control and back-of-house order fulfilment systems to HR and scheduling, we can monitor each store through our portal, while stock gets automatically distributed to our outlets making Ready Burger scalable and franchise-ready.”
Kibou Restaurants eyes two to three new sites a year: Kibou Restaurants, the Japanese concept led by Regent Inns founder and chief executive David Franks, is planning steady expansion over the next couple of years, as it looks to add two to three sites every 12 months. Last week, the company announced it would open its third site later this year, in Bristol, after it secured the former Nettle & Rye site in King’s Road, Clifton Village, for an opening this October. It already operates sites in London’s Battersea and Cheltenham. Sam Horswill, operations director at Kibou Restaurants, told Propel the business would look to grow to an eight to ten-strong estate before exploring options in regards to securing new funding. Propel understands the business had been in talks with a sector investor, but was now focused on self-funding its immediate expansion plans. Horswill said the business would look at opportunities along the M4 corridor and across the south and up to Birmingham for its next batch of openings. Franks was also previously chairman of Redcomb where, in 2019, he was instrumental in the sale of the 15-strong pub estate to Young’s.
Virtual clay pigeon shooting concept plans London launch: Clays, a new virtual clay pigeon shooting concept, is looking to launch in London, with an opening planned in the City, Propel understands. The concept, which is the brainchild of Tom Snellock, is believed to have lined up a debut site in the City, at 55 Moorgate. Clays is described as a bar that brings the sport of “clay shooting indoors and adds a twist of charm and hospitality for everyone to enjoy”. Snellock previously worked at energy tech company Limejump.
Immersive restaurant company Wonderland to open debut site next month:Immersive restaurant company Wonderland is set to open its debut site next month. The company, founded by James Bulmer, former Disney executive and chief executive of The Fat Duck Group, has partnered with Warner Bros and DC to launch Park Row in London’s Soho on Tuesday, 10 August. Park Row will be a “premium immersive restaurant” experience inspired by the stories and DC characters including Batman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Superman and The Penguin. It is the first fully immersive gastronomic DC-inspired restaurant experience anywhere in the world. Park Row will occupy an 18,000 square foot basement venue at The Crown Estate’s grade II-listed 77 Brewer Street. The venue will comprise five restaurants, offering 330 covers, and three bar areas with interiors designed to bring DC’s famous fictional environments to life, using objects, light and materials to create narratives that transport diners through the worlds of their favourite DC super heroes and super villains. Guests will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of experiences that combine storytelling with food and drink. The restaurants will be overseen by group executive chef Cláudio Cardoso, former group executive chef at Sushisamba. Innovation director Mark Garston, former head of central development at The Fat Duck, and creative director Mike Bagale, former executive chef of three-Michelin starred Alinea in Chicago, are responsible for menu development. Guests can expect historically inspired British sharing dishes at Pennyworth’s – named after Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred. The Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge is the largest restaurant featuring an international menu, cocktail bar and live entertainment every evening. A Harley Quinn-inspired restaurant “presents a fun and playful” omakase, while hidden away from the main room, Old Gotham City – a villainous speakeasy – will offer inventive cocktails alongside sharing plates. The Monarch Theatre, Park Row’s multi-sensory tasting menu experience, will be housed within two identical spaces using state-of-the-art projection mapping technology, “to explore the psychology of heroism through food”.
London-based club owner Luca Maggiora to open luxury Italian restaurant:London-based club owner Luca Maggiora is to open a luxury Italian restaurant. Maggiora, who was behind clubs such as Project and Toy Room and who also owns B-Soho pizzeria, is launching Bardo in Pall Mall East in mid-September. The restaurant will be in the newly refurbished Kinnaird House and will feature a large dining area with a walk-in wine cellar, whisky room, private dining room, private lounge and a long marble bar. Amalfi-born chef Graziano Bonacina, previously head chef at Sette in the Bulgari Hotel, will run the kitchen. The menu will include short rib of beef agnolotti with garlic chips and horseradish; and veal Milanese, patate sabbiose and roasted Datterino tomatoes. The food will be accompanied by cocktails and an extensive Italian wine list, reports Hot Dinners.
Krispy Kreme trims IPO price to $17 a share: Krispy Kreme priced its initial public offering at $17 a share, down from an earlier projected range of $21 to $24 a share. It closed at the end of its opening day on Thursday (1 July) at $21 a share, more than 23% above its debut. The brand said it planned to sell 29 million shares, raising about $500m. The number of shares was increased from earlier stated plans, but the amount raised was short of the $600m-plus previous projection. Krispy Kreme, which was owned by JAB Holdings, had said in earlier Securities and Exchange Commission filings that it planned to use part of the initial public offering proceeds to pay down debt and buy back shares. JAB Holdings indicated it would hold about 78% of the Krispy Kreme shares after the offering. It is a return to the public markets for Krispy Kreme. The business was a publicly traded company from 2000 to 2016, when JAB took the company private in a $1.35bn deal.
Big Mamma Group opens Ave Mario for third London site: Big Mamma Group, the operator behind London-based restaurants Gloria and Circolo Popolare, has opened its third London site, Ave Mario. Based in two buildings in Maiden Lane, and with an entrance in Henrietta Street, the 7,000 square foot space has seating for almost 300, two terraces, a bar featuring a 3,500-bottle wall and an inner courtyard. The business has overcome obstacles including Brexit and difficulty in bringing decor to the UK. While Gloria was inspired by Capri, and Circolo by Sicily, Ave Mario takes Florence as its starting point. Dishes include carbonara ravioli and the Cotoletta Milanese. There is also a new caviar section to the menu, using Baeri caviar from Venice. The basement features Big Mamma Group’s first counter dining experience where guests are also be able to watch the chefs at work in the kitchen. Big Mamma Group operates 20 Italian restaurants across major European cities, including London, as well as delivery-only pizza restaurant Napoli Gang.
Taster ends fundraise to drive expansion after more than doubling original target: Delivery-only kitchen concept Taster, which was founded by one of Deliveroo’s early executives, Anton Soulier, has smashed its initial £250,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube by raising a total of £592,076. As revealed by Propel in May, Taster is embarking on fundraising to increase its presence across the UK, France and Spain, and drive rapid expansion into new cities. It raised the £592,076 sum from 626 investors. Taster is offering 0.59% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £100.5m. The pitch stated: “To date, Taster has launched five highly successful digital restaurant brands with chefs and food personalities, is available in 11 cities across the UK, France and Spain, and accounts for more than 20 partners. In 2020 alone, our revenue grew 110% to €10.5m (P&L minus €4.2m) and we delivered more than one million meals. Our immediate ambition is to increase Taster’s presence across the UK, France and Spain, and drive expansion into new cities, as well as to support the launch of two new consumer brands this year. Our ultimate goal is to take Taster global through more restaurants brands and licensed partner restaurants.” Soulier’s goal is to expand from 11 European towns and cities to 40 by the end of 2021, and jump from 70 digital restaurants today to 10,000 globally by 2025. Taster will keep its existing ten kitchens in London, Paris and Madrid to test new menus and use as training kitchens for licensees – but won’t launch any others.
Staycity to open second Manchester aparthotel: Aparthotel operator Staycity will open a site in Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter this month. The nine-storey new-build aparthotel has 224 studio and one-bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. The property, which forms part of Manchester’s New Cross Neighbourhood Development Framework, offers 24-hour reception, a lounge area, pantry selling food items and a Staycafe. Staycity has taken a 25-year lease on the building. It is Staycity’s second property in Manchester, with the company having opened a 182-bedroom aparthotel in Piccadilly’s Gateway House in May 2017. A 256-bedroom property is also due to open in the city’s St Peter’s Square in October, operating under Staycity’s premium brand Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity. Staycity’s average occupancy in the UK in June hit 71%, with occupancies in Manchester performing particularly well at almost 90% for the month. Simon Walford, UK development director for Staycity, said: “Manchester is a hugely important location for Staycity, with Piccadilly being one of our best-performing properties since it opened. In normal trading times, Manchester has a strong influx of international visitors and even with the current travel restrictions in place, the city is proving a popular destination for domestic visitors.” Staycity is embarking on an intense period of growth over the next 18 months, with new locations opening last month in Heidelberg in Germany and the French city of Bordeaux. A further nine properties are opening this year and next.
Europe’s biggest privately owned hostel brand A&O makes UK debut, eyes further expansion: Europe’s biggest privately owned hostel brand A&O has opened its debut UK site, in Edinburgh – and is eyeing further expansion in Britain. The company has opened the property in Blackfriars Street for its 40th site. It has 131 rooms and 610 beds, and a large public in the courtyard. A&O chief executive and founder Oliver Winter told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Edinburgh is the perfect location for our launch into the UK and we are delighted with the new hostel as it aligns our A&O promise of affordable stays in central locations. Despite recent challenges brought on by the pandemic, we are confident travel will return and this is a huge milestone for us as a brand. In this, our 21st year of operations, we now have properties in 24 cities and nine European countries and have ambitious expansion plans and are looking at multiple locations across the UK and Ireland.” A&O acquired the site in March for £16m from London-headquartered hostel operator Safestay.
Cumbria-based bubble tea and ramen concept Deja Brew to double up: Cumbria-based bubble tea and ramen concept Deja Brew is to double up. Thomas Cheung launched the venture in Cleator Moor last year just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic. Now Cheung is planning to open a new cafe and store in Egremont. He told the Cumbria Crack: “We have been well supported since day one, there has been a real buzz about the kind of food we serve, which hasn’t been seen before in the area. We are aiming for an opening date in August for both sit-in and takeaway, very similar to our existing menu in Cleator Moor, specialising in bubble tea and ramen.”