Deliveroo picks bankers for potential IPO, unveiling new services: Deliveroo has appointed investment bankers to oversee a long-awaited flotation as it unveils a series of innovative features that it hopes will provide a compelling growth story for public market investors. Sky News reported the food delivery app, which last week said it was preparing to add 15,000 riders to its fleet by the end of year, has begun working with Goldman Sachs on its plans for an initial public offering. A float is expected to take place in London next year, and is likely to value the company at more than £2bn, according to insiders. Deliveroo declined to comment on Goldman’s appointment, and sources close to the company insisted there was no definitive timetable for a public listing. Further banks are expected to be appointed in the coming months. Sources said Deliveroo now had 44,000 restaurants on its platform in the UK, as well as 16 on-demand convenience and grocery partnerships with companies such as Waitrose, Morrison’s, Aldi and the Co-op. Deliveroo is now preparing to launch a series of other features aimed at strengthening its appeal to customers, restaurants and riders. These will include post-order tipping – allowing customers to reward riders after their delivery has arrived – in the UK and a number of other markets. Deliveroo also plans to offer a group-ordering function in its app. Sources said this was likely to benefit restaurants through larger orders from multiple people in the same household or office. The company is also expected to announce the launch of a service called Brought to you by Deliveroo, which will allow customers to order food from restaurants’ websites, but with the technology company fulfilling the orders’ delivery. It is said to be the first time a delivery platform will have offered such a service in Europe and Asia, and is being tested with companies including Nando’s. Stephen Goldstein, executive vice president of restaurants at Deliveroo, said: “These changes are particularly important given the current backdrop and are in addition to other support measures we have developed to help all restaurants, particularly small, independents that are the lifeblood of the industry and the high street.”
Hedge funds eye $140m PizzaExpress payday: The rescue of PizzaExpress is bringing a windfall to some, Bloomberg has reported. Hedge funds that bought credit insurance are receiving a payout from an auction to settle credit-default swaps. The initial auction set the value of the payout just shy of 100%, amounting to compensation of $142m. A panel representing CDS traders ruled last month PizzaExpress contracts will pay after the company missed interest payments on its debt. PizzaExpress is cutting rents and closing 73 of the chain’s UK restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk. Bondholders are likely to take ownership of the majority of the business while the chain’s private-equity owner, Hony, will keep the Chinese operations. Credit swaps are commonly used by hedge funds and investment firms to bet on companies running into trouble and to hedge exposure. A spokesman for PizzaExpress declined to comment on the CDS auction.
Arc Inspirations to make Birmingham debut: Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of a number of fast-growing brands, is to make its debut in Birmingham, with an opening of a site in the city under its Manahatta brand, Propel has learned. The 17-strong company has secured the former Anarchy 45 Gym site at 10-12 Temple Street for its New York-inspired cocktail bar concept. The Martin Wolstencroft-led company currently operates six sites under the Manahatta brand. Wolstencroft told Propel: “We’re delighted to be bringing Manahatta to the people of Birmingham, which marks our first site in the city. We look forward to welcoming guests once the time is right to open and introducing them to the Manahatta experience our customers know and love. Despite the challenging environment, we continue to focus on our strategy of bringing our complementary brands to new locations.” Earlier this summer Arc Inspirations announced plans to introduce its Box sports bar brand to Deansgate, Manchester. It secured planning permission for a site at 125 Deansgate and plans to open early next year.
Comptoir Group appoints Michael Toon as finance director: Comptoir Group, the owner and operator of Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has appointed Michael Toon, formerly of Casual Dining Group (CDG) and Chopstix, as its new finance director, Propel has learned. Toon, who spent 17 years at CDG, stepped down as finance director at Chopstix earlier this year, after more than two years with the Jon Lake-led group. Toon replaces Mark Carrick at Comptoir. The company announced Carrick’s resignation as its chief financial officer last month.
Advisory firm looks to launch pub company following staycation boom, strengthens hospitality team: South west-based advisory firm GJC is looking to launch its own pub company following the staycation boom and has also strengthened its hospitality team, Propel has learned. The company is close to securing its first site, in Devon, and is also looking to acquire a small pub company with a bolt-on micro-brewery in the region. Meanwhile, GJC has brought in Bruce Wakeling, former operations director at UK transport hub foodservice company SSP Group; Andy Singleton, who joins from Patisserie Valerie where he was group property director; Lee Anderson-Frogley, former head of finance at Towergate Insurance; and Kam Bains, previously of Punch, InterContinental Hotels Group and Patisserie Valerie. Speaking about the pub company venture, Bains told Propel: “We believe this area, in particular, is going to being hot on staycations for the next few years so we’re keen to maximise on this opportunity. Our focus is on a couple of food and drink concepts that are unique to that region. This is a real opportunity for us to demonstrate our expertise in the market, which is why we’re backing ourselves.” GJC chief executive Gavin Jones said: “The past few months have been devastating for the hospitality industry but I’m confident we now have a team with the right mix of experience and knowledge to support wherever we can. We are in very uncertain times right now but I genuinely believe that opportunities are to be had and we want to be on hand to support those, so much so that we’re also actively seeking out opportunities ourselves. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and using this team of experts to help start up our own pub company. This is an exciting time for us and we like everyone else recognise the challenges ahead but we’re using this as an opportunity to prove our worth.”
Restaurant Group boss involved in pay row: The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy Hornby is involved in a new pay row over plans to hand him a shares windfall, the Mail on Sunday has reported. The newspaper stated: “Hornby waived his bonus for 2019 and took a pay cut as the group battled to survive the pandemic. But The Restaurant Group will ask shareholders to approve a new executive pay scheme that would give him a fixed annual payout on top of his £630,000 base salary. If the plan is approved, Hornby will be handed a potential £787,500 share award for this year – taking the chief executive’s total maximum pay packet for 2020 to £1.3m. From 2021, his £945,000 cash bonus would be reintroduced alongside a £630,000 share award, taking his maximum potential remuneration to £2.2m.” Andrew Speke, of the High Pay Centre pressure group, said: “Companies have a moral responsibility to protect workers’ jobs over their top bosses’ bonuses. To make thousands of workers redundant and still award the chief executive a bonus large enough to have saved dozens of jobs is completely unacceptable.”
Coaching Inn Group launches new training development programme: Coaching inn and hotel operator The Coaching Inn Group has launched a new training and development programme, together with a purpose-built accompanying app. It is available to all 750 team members employed at its 18 sites. Head of learning and development Lee Melton said the new five tiered programme made it possible for any employee to progress to a senior management position. He added: “We have redesigned all of our development programmes to ensure they are suited to the current hospitality climate, and focus on the core skills needed for a learner to be able to further their career. The app has been built with transparency and visibility as the core focus and will enable the learner and their manager to be in complete control of their development programme. It is also structured to promote social and peer-to-peer learning to ensure a blended learning approach.” Melton said individuals could progress at their own pace and each programme can be tailored to each learner’s need.
Jessen ‘astonished’ by advertising crackdown in empty City: Soren Jessen, owner and operator of Square Mile restaurant 1 Lombard Street, said he was “astonished” by a City of London Corporation crackdown on his advertising efforts. Jessen received a letter from the Corporation barring him from placing more than one pavement sign to prevent overcrowding. The restrictions are being enforced despite the City being dramatically less busy than usual, and with many restaurants in the capital struggling to survive. Jessen received the notice after placing two A-boards outside his premises – advertising special offers to drive customers into his restaurant and recently launched cocktail bar. The letter cited the “Gehl model” as justification for the decision, which has a “threshold of 13 pedestrians per minute, which is the threshold at which pedestrians become uncomfortable”. Jessen told City AM: “I am astonished to be told about congestion and the Gehl model in the middle of the most abandoned City of London for centuries. What traffic? No one is around and we depend on every inch of outdoor presence we can use for safe dining or even an A-board.” Jessen’s request for outdoor seating has also been knocked back on several occasions by the Corporation, again to ensure the passageway is kept free for pedestrian traffic. A City of London Corporation spokesman said: “We are aware many City businesses are struggling at the moment but ensuring there is enough space for pedestrians to safely and comfortably adhere to social distancing regulations is vital during the current pandemic.”
Former Carluccio’s and PizzaExpress marketing head takes lead role at food waste app: Former head of marketing at Carluccio’s and PizzaExpress Paschalis Loucaides has joined food waste app Too Good To Go as managing director. Loucaides, who also founded better burger brand Cut + Grind, said: “I’m excited to join Too Good To Go and take the helm of the UK operation. Running a restaurant from scratch myself, I saw, first hand, how important it is for food businesses to manage food waste. Having previously implemented sustainability practices in some of the UK’s most-loved hospitality brands, I’m now very much looking forward to applying all the skills I have learned to help Too Good To Go reach, and exceed, its potential, and grow its support within the hospitality sector and increase our number of restaurant partners as a key objective for 2021.” The Too Good To Go app lists unsold food from businesses such as restaurants so local diners, or like-minded companies, can find, buy and enjoy it. Loucaides will work from the app’s base in Liverpool Street, east London.