Tattu appoints advisors for growth plans: Contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu has started working with advisors to map plans for growth, Propel has learned. The company, which was founded in 2015 by brothers Adam and Drew Jones, is understood to be working with advisor Clearwater International on options that could include bringing in a strategic partner to help it with plans for expansion in the UK and overseas, with the US a possible destination. The group operates sites in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, with the latter 160-cover restaurant opening earlier this year. It is currently on-site on a fourth restaurant, in Edinburgh. After the success of its initial three openings, it is understood the business has received a number of enquiries from landlords to join and anchor schemes across the UK. Tattu launched in Manchester in 2015 with a second site opening in Leeds city centre in June 2017. The Birmingham restaurant opened in The Grand development in Barwick Street. The ground-floor space hosts a bar and private dining rooms while there is a main restaurant downstairs. Speaking to Propel last year, Jones said: “Every restaurant we open is unique and at this stage we are keeping growth in-house – we’re not going to develop into a chain. Obviously the next step is to head south and we would love to open in London if we can find the right opportunity as there’s a market for our style of food. After Manchester, most of our bookings – about 25% – come from London, most likely from people coming to Manchester or Leeds for business.”
The Chestnut Group sees ‘plenty of other opportunities’ as it acquires tenth site:Philip Turner, founder of East Anglian-based pub and restaurant company The Chestnut Group, has told Propel there are plenty of opportunities in its heartland as the company acquired its tenth site. The Chestnut Group has bought The Crown in Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, from Richard Sunderland for an undisclosed sum. The traditional inn features 11 bedrooms and a restaurant offering a daily fish board menu with five or six fresh fish and seafood dishes. Turner said nothing would change for the foreseeable future but the company was looking at ways to enhance the offer such as adding further bedrooms. He added: “I have ten places around the region I’m looking at and the area where The Crown is near is at the top of that ten. I had known about the property for a long time but didn’t think it would necessarily be an acquisition opportunity. However, the opportunity came to us and we moved quickly to secure it. It’s a fantastic property and we want to protect everything about it.” Turner said the company would continue to invest in its existing estate to make sure it “didn’t get left behind”. This includes refurbishing The Eight Bells in Saffron Waldron, which will reopen on Monday (22 July), while the Black Lion in Long Melford has been repositioned with new branding and a new menu. Meanwhile, The Weeping Willow in Barrow has been given more of an “urban feel”. Regarding The Crown deal, Sunderland said: “It has been a remarkable journey over the past 16 years and we are extremely proud of all we have achieved with The Crown. The decision to hand the ownership over to The Chestnut Group is a natural one and we look forward to working closely with them in the transition period to ensure the best outcome for our colleagues and guests.” Turner founded The Chestnut Group in 2012.
Caravan to launch ‘Romani’ restaurant concept in Chelsea for first west London site: London-based bar and coffee-roasting concept Caravan is to launch new restaurant concept Vardo in Chelsea in early autumn. It will be the brand’s first west London site, with the restaurant housed in a new three-storey stone and glass pavilion in Duke of York Square, beside the Saatchi Gallery. The circular structure will offer 360-degree ceiling-to-floor windows that fully retract into the floor to allow a “seamless indoor to outdoor experience”. Vardo is named after a Romani travelling wagon of the 1800s, with the ethos of “no boundaries” as the wagons “travel the globe collecting produce and spices along the way”. The all-day menu will focus on “back to basics” using low and slow cooking techniques. Dishes will include charred aubergine with saffron buttermilk dressing, and lamb cutlets with green harissa and tahini. Active Partners-backed Caravan operates five London sites – in King’s Cross, the City, Exmouth Market, Bankside and Fitzrovia. Last month, Caravan appointed Jane O’Riordan, former group strategy director at Nando’s, as chairman. O’Riordan has also been chairman of Turtle Bay and Flight Club.
Just Eat promotes Corfield to chief operating officer in senior team shake-up:Just Eat, the market place for takeaway food delivery, has promoted Graham Corfield to chief operating officer as part of a senior team shake-up, Propel has learned. Corfield, who was previously UK managing director, will oversee and co-ordinate trading and new business across all markets to ensure the company works in the “most joined up, effective way possible”. At the same time former UK commercial director Andrew Kenny has been appointed UK managing director. A replacement for Kenny is currently being sought. Just Eat interim chief executive Peter Duffy said: “I am delighted to confirm Graham Corfield’s appointment as chief operating officer. Graham joined the business in 2011 and, as UK managing director for the past six years, has overseen countless success stories for us including driving UK order growth, evolving the Just Eat brand to be the nation’s favourite takeaway destination, and championing our restaurant partners to drive their success.”
Stonegate reports 23% sales growth on ‘Super Sunday’ of sport: Stonegate Pub Company has reported record sales from the bumper day of sport last Sunday (14 July). Coinciding with the England cricket team’s “super-over” victory to land the World Cup at Lord’s, Novak Djokovic winning Wimbledon and Lewis Hamilton triumphing in the British Grand Prix, Stonegate saw 23% growth in run rate sales. The company recently invested heavily in pre-booked sales and enhanced customer experiences during live sport. On this occasion, Stonegate also ran a free bacon sandwich mechanic across its portfolio and helped drive a 51% sales uplift on Sunday morningcompared with previous Sunday sessions, along with a competition for two Formula One fans to win a day at the Red Bull Factory, driving hundreds of pre-booked covers. Stonegate head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “Sport is a huge part of our programme this summer and it’s great to see the season continue at pace! Our customers remain at the forefront of everything we do and it’s encouraging to see there’s still no better place to watch live sporting events than in a bar or pub with others.”
Pot Kettle Black secures fourth Manchester site: Manchester-based cafe concept Pot Kettle Black has secured a new site in the city. Founders Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan have agreed a deal with Moda Living to open an outlet at the mixed-use Angel Gardens development. Pot Kettle Black is taking circa 3,000 square feet of space on a ten-year lease. The brand’s first outlet opened in 2014 at Barton Arcade with a second store opened on the ground floor of Number One Spinningfields last year. A fourth is set to open at Manchester airport in 2020. Flanagan said: “We have long held aspirations to open another site in the city. With its best-in-class facilities, community focus and passion for health and well-being, we knew Angel Gardens was the perfect spot for Pot Kettle Black.” Moda Living managing director Johnny Caddick said: “With a shared focus on health and well-being and a commitment to quality and service, Pot Kettle Black is a great fit for us. With its events, coffee, cocktail and all-day brunch menus, it has quickly established itself as a Manchester institution.” The 35-storey development will open in October and include 466 apartments for rent, 30,000 square feet of amenities and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
Domino’s chief sees mounting pressure from ‘aggressive’ third-party delivery firms but questions long-term viability: Domino’s Pizza chief executive Rich Allison has said “aggressive activity from third-party delivery aggregators” is putting pressure on its like-for-like sales in the US but he doubts the viability of their long-term business model. Domino’s domestic like-for-like sales were up 2.1% for the second quarter ended 16 June 2019, the slowest pace in seven years. Allison said he didn’t expect the pressure from third-party delivery firms to “slow any time soon” but he doubted they would continue to cause headwinds too much further in the future. He said: “We have significant questions about the viability of their business model. We continue to believe this is extracting profitability out of the restaurant industry. Ultimately it will come down to whether franchisees are making more or less money on those platforms. We don’t expect pressure from these third-party aggregators to subside but there will be survivors in this business and some of these aggregators won’t be around in the future.” Allison emphasised the importance of the company’s fortressing strategy and added opening more stores close to each another would be a “critical component” to improving long-term customer service, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Allison said Domino’s would roll out GPS tracking technology later this year as part of a pilot programme in 27 corporate-owned stores in Phoenix, Arizona.
Pure comes of age with Liverpool Street station site: Pure, the healthy food-to-go concept in which Whitbread has a 51% stake, has opened its 21st site, in Liverpool Street Station. Pure has opened at Unit 54, Broadgate Link, which is the fourth station site for Pure adding to venues in Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge stations. The launch also follows openings this year in Hammersmith, Paddington and London Bridge. Pure founder and chief executive Spencer Craig said: “We have the market-leading breakfast-to-go menu so there’s no better place for a Pure than in one of the UK’s busiest stations. We want to be where our customers want us most. We look forward to sharing our delicious food on the go and friendly service with a new audience.” Liverpool Street Station is the third-busiest railway station in the UK and is operated by Network Rail. It serves more than 130 million journeys a year.
SSP opens Haferkater site at Frankfurt central station, plans further launches:UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has brought Berlin-based porridge cafe concept Haferkater to Frankfurt central station, with further openings planned. The store is in the pavilion, close to platform five. Haferkater specialises in freshly cooked porridge served with a variety of toppings to take away. The menu also includes lunch options ranging from homemade salads and quinoa bowls to wraps and pastries. Jan Kamp, director of business development and properties at SSP, said: “The founders of Haferkater have established this traditional Scottish dish as a popular breakfast alternative. Haferkater is one of the latest additions to our brand mix and is yet another example of how we are constantly developing our business.” Levin Siert, co-founder and managing director of Haferkater, added: “Porridge stands for the lifestyle of a health-conscious, young urban generation. Our customers value wholesome, natural food.” SSP now operates seven sites at Frankfurt central station and plans to open further Haferkater stores at other locations. Haferkater has six outlets in various German cities, with more in the pipeline.
Park Holidays UK reports turnover passes £150m: East Sussex-headquartered holiday park group Park Holidays UK has reported turnover passed £150m and it is investing in glamping facilities to take advantage of the increasing popularity of that form of camping. The company saw turnover increase to £154,814,000 for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £148,178,000 the year before. Ebitda was up to £45,381,000, compared with £41,450,000 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down to £31,836,000 compared with £33,115,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. During the period the company added two parks in Essex to its portfolio –Martello Beach Holiday Park in Clacton and Dovercourt Holiday Park in Harwich. In 2018, Park Holidays UK entered into a second series of sale and leaseback agreements secured on the freehold element of six additional parks in addition to the refinancing of four of the sale and leasebacks that took place during 2017. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The holiday fleet has seen continued investment over the past year, which has further improved the quality of units available for holiday lettings. This has driven a strong increase in repeat bookings and an improvement in online review feedback and ratings. The company introduced lodge units to the hire fleet of various parks during 2018, which was positively received by customers and has led to further investment in additional lodges for the 2019 season. While demand for caravan and lodge accommodation shows no sign of waning, glamping is beginning to make its mark on the leisure industry and, with that in mind, the company has invested in 40 ‘camping pods’ that will be introduced to four parks during 2019.” Park Holidays UK was founded in 1984 and has 30 sites across the south of England. The company, which was acquired by private equity firm Intermediate Capital Group in 2017, is headquartered in Bexhill-on-Sea.
McDonald’s adds DoorDash as it ends exclusive US partnership with UberEats:McDonald’s has ended its exclusive partnership with UberEats after adding DoorDash to its McDelivery programme. McDonald’s, which launched nationwide delivery with UberEats in 2017, said it would begin testing DoorDash delivery at 200 restaurants in the Houston area from Monday, 29 July. UberEats, which serves about 9,100 McDonald’s restaurants, will remain a partner in the Texas region and across the US. McDonald’s said the move to add an additional third-party delivery provider was made to expand its reach. “Our intent is to clearly expand with DoorDash beyond Houston,” Bill Garrett, senior vice-president of operations, told Nation’s Restaurant News. In May, DoorDash logged a 189% year-on-year jump in sales compared with 32% at Uber Eats and 6% at Grubhub, according to Second Measure, a firm that analyses US consumer spending. Garrett said adding DoorDash was no reflection on UberEats’ performance in Houston or in the US. He said: “We are really happy with our partnership with the folks at Uber.” Once the DoorDash pilot phase is under way, Garrett said McDonald’s would “gather learnings” before rolling out to more cities to ensure a second delivery partner doesn’t add “additional complexity to teams”. Last month Propel revealed DoorDash was considering launching in the UK and had met a number of leading restaurant operators as part of an exploratory visit to scope out the market.
Matt Healy to open Leeds gastro-pub this month for third site: Matt Healy, runner-up in MasterChef: The Professionals, is to open a gastro-pub in Leeds this month for his third venture. Healy and his Seventh Course business will launch The Beehive in Thorner on Saturday, 27 July. The group has previously opened restaurants Matt Healy X The Foundry, which launched in the city’s South Bank area in May last year, and Grön Kafe in Oakwood, which began trading in September. Dishes at The Beehive will include a modern take on traditional pub food such as chargrilled sirloin steak, The Beehive’s own burger and whole baked sea bass. Healy told The Business Desk: “We have already achieved a lot in a year and that’s simply because we’re passionate about expanding and enhancing the dining scene in Leeds – whether that’s in suburbs such as Thorner and Oakwood or the city centre. We’re proud to take on such a well-known building like The Beehive and look forward to offering something new. This is an exciting new milestone on our journey.” Healy was runner-up on the 2016 series of MasterChef: The Professionals.
Louvre Hotels Group puts eight European sites on the market including two in UK: Louvre Hotels Group has brought eight hotels located across Europe to the market. All hotels are close to a city centre or major motorway route and operate under a mix of Louvre Hotels’ brands. The UK hotels are Première Classe Coventry North (48 rooms, long leasehold with 94 years remaining – £1.75m), and Campanile Hull (48 rooms, long leasehold with 119 years remaining – £920,000). The two hotels in the Netherlands are Campanile Zevenaar (53 rooms, freehold – €1.55m), and Campanile Leeuwarden (49 rooms, freehold – €1.35m). The remaining hotels are Tulip Inn Turin – Moncalieri in Italy (100 rooms, freehold – €3.1m); Campanile Elche in Spain (76 rooms, freehold – €1.65m); Domicil Berlin by Golden Tulip in Germany (70 rooms, operating lease – €1,15m) and Liegeplatz 13 Kiel by Première Classe in Germany (22 rooms, operating lease – €480,000). The freeholds and long leaseholds are available subject to franchise agreements. The majority of the sites offer meeting spaces and on-site food and drinks facilities. Agent Christie & Co is inviting offers on a group, sub-group or individual basis. Anna Friedrich, associate director at Christie & Co, said: “Bringing these eight hotels to the market is an exciting venture for us, leveraging our pan-European brokerage team. Due to their locations, size and potential, we anticipate strong interest from regional operators, not only in the respective hotels’ countries but also from the wider European market.”
Birmingham-based Nepalese restaurant to double up: Birmingham-based Nepalese restaurant Jojolapa is to double up in the city. Owner Sanju Shrestha will open the site in St Mary’s Row, Moseley. Shrestha has taken over the lease of a property that previously housed Coach House bar and cafe. Jojolapa’s menu includes Nepalese momos – a Tibetan-style dumpling with Nepalese spices filled with chicken, pork or vegetarian options – and jumbo prawn kebab. Shrestha told Birmingham Live: “The building is so beautiful and when I heard it was available I knew it was perfect for our second site. There’s not much we need to do to the interior, it’s basically my chefs taking over the kitchen.” The building’s co-owner, Tariq Zaman, ran restaurant Deolali at the site for several years. He said: “Jojolapa has taken over the lease, which I’m thrilled about. There are plenty of Indian restaurants around this area but Nepalese food is something different.” Jojolapa closed its long-standing location in Newhall Street in Birmingham city centre last year. It reopened in Frederick Street, replacing restaurant Portofino.
Kent-based coffee shop shuts Ashford site: Kent-based coffee shop The Nutmeg is to shut its Ashford site because it isn’t “viable”. The family-run business will close the High Street outlet, which opened two years ago, on Saturday (20 July). Its branches in Hythe and Tenterden remain open. The Nutmeg serves coffee as well as homemade cakes and bakery items. In a Facebook post, the company stated: “We would like to thank all our customers over the past two years but we have come to the tough decision it isn’t a viable option for us to keep this branch of The Nutmeg open.”
Watneys hits £400,000 crowdfunding target: Watneys Beer Company, formerly known as Brands Reunited, has hit its £400,000 target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company is offering 18.29% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £1.78m. So far, 314 investors have pledged £432,077 and the campaign is now “overfunding”. Shaun Goode and Nick Whitehurst founded Brands Reunited in 2015 to “relaunch heritage beer brands to the craft sector”. Watneys was brewed in London from 1837 until disappearing in the 1980s. The company said it had seen total sales of £900,000 since launch, with sales to the year ending February 2018 of £428,000. The company said it had seen average year-on-year growth of more than 130%, with more than 400,000 pints sold in the past 12 months. Funds would be used to strengthen the company’s sales team; invest in format development, sales and marketing to build off-trade distribution; and targeted export sales of 10% within three years. The pitch states: “Our focus is to make Watneys a national brand once more and build a portfolio of strong regional craft brands. We also own the rights to Federation from the north east and Matthew Brown from the north west. Last year saw the launch of Headliners, our modern craft range of keg beer. We derive almost all our revenue from sales to pubs. This is a key channel to build brand awareness and value before looking to move into the off-trade and grocery markets.”
Team behind Hinckley-based ale and cider house lodge plans for second site:The team behind Hinckley-based ale and cider house Elbow Room has lodged plans for a second site. An application has been submitted to Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council to convert part of the Co-op in the nearby village of Burbage. The 753 square foot venue in Church Street would be called The Crafty Elbow and fitted out in a Scandinavian style. It would also operate as a cafe in the afternoons and have capacity for about 60 people, reports Insider media. A planning statement accompanying the application said: “We believe The Crafty Elbow will add to the vibrancy and choice of leisure facilities in Burbage.”
Fledgling company Frank & Bird opens second Newcastle site following £1m investment: Fledgling pub company Frank & Bird has opened its second site in Newcastle. The company, which operates The Brandling Villa in South Gosforth, has reopened The Punch Bowl in Jesmond. The pub, which had been empty since 2015, has undergone a £1m makeover in a move that has created 24 jobs. Upstairs, Frank & Bird has created a 60-capacity live music and comedy venue, Bobiks, named after a Soviet space dog that ran away before it could be blasted into the unknown. The Punch Bowl mixes the split-room look of a traditional Newcastle pub with Russian art, electronic toilets and a model railway whizzing around the walls. Frank & Bird managing director Dave Carr described the venue as “Bet Lynch meets David Lynch” with influences from his travels around the world. He told Chronicle Live: “We want to be part of the community. We want the people of Jesmond to feel the same way about this pub as they do in Gosforth about The Brandling Villa – and they might learn some Russian too!”
EasyHotel opens revamped Old Street site: EasyHotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has opened its newly renovated 89-bedroom flagship site in Old Street, central London. The company has invested circa £7m in the project, which includes 15,500 square feet of office space that had been pre-let to global flexible office operator Knotel. EasyHotel chief executive Guy Parsons said: “Old Street is just the latest hotel in our busy opening programme as we expand EasyHotel across the UK and Europe. We were the first super budget hotel brand and, despite other players entering the market lately, our growth is evidence we remain the best.”