Zambrero – Australia’s largest Mexican food franchise to launch in the UK:Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise with more than 200 restaurants globally, is to launch in the UK, Propel has learned. Founded in 2005 by then-medical student Dr Sam Prince, Zambrero offers a fresh, modern interpretation of classic Mexican food. Through its humanitarian initiative, Plate4Plate, Zambrero is also tackling world hunger by donating a meal to someone in need for every burrito or bowl purchased. Since the inception of Plate4Plate, more than 46 million meals have been donated so far by Zambrero’s network of restaurants in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the US. Zambrero’s expansion into the UK marks the next phase in its goal to donate one billion meals. Led in the UK by chief executive Emily Teh, Zambrero is understood to have lined up a site in London’s Kentish Town for its debut opening here.
Stonegate support for Ei Publican Partnerships to continue to June: Stonegate Pub Company has announced it will continue its support for Ei Publican Partnership publicans with rent and trade credits throughout April, May and June. The support builds on the financial assistance given to publicans in the form of significantly reduced rents and trade credits, together with government grants including the restart grants of between £8,000 and £18,000 as pubs prepare to reopen. Tied publicans operating substantive agreements in England, will receive rent and trade credits until June, maintaining rent credits of up to 90% prior to outdoor areas opening on 12 April. After that, Stonegate will provide trade credits equivalent to 100% of the value of the rent until 16 May. Trade credits will continue at 75% of the value of the rent until 20 June. In addition, publicans will further benefit from special promotional pricing on wines, spirits and minerals. For publicans in Wales, existing rent credits of up to 90% are being maintained, pending confirmation from the Welsh government on the reopening timetable.
Former Jamie Oliver staff members win £500,000 compensation pay-out: Former staff members at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group have won a £500,000 pay-out in compensation after his restaurant company collapsed. Oliver was forced to close his chain of Jamie’s Italian restaurants in 2019, and he appointed KPMG as administrators. As a result 1,000 members of staff were left out of work and creditors faced an £83m loss. Now 196 members of former restaurant staff have won a tribunal claim after the company was found to have fallen short of the Trade Union Act, which requires employers to consult with employees before any closure, reports The Mirror. As staff members were not consulted, it was found the act had been breached. However, the company administrators cannot afford to pay the compensation out of the administration meaning the cost will fall to taxpayers. The compensation will be paid to employees by the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which is part of the Insolvency Service, a government agency. The RPS can then make a claim against the companies in administration. Oliver paid about £1m himself to make sure staff were paid until his businesses fell into administration. He previously described the fall of his empire as “very, very painful”. It was revealed in October 2019, he had paid himself £5.2m months before the collapse.
Five Guys secures former YO! and PizzaExpress sites for 2021 pipeline: Five Guys UK, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, has secured two further sites in Glasgow and Walthamstow for its 2021 openings pipeline, Propel has learned. The circa 100-strong brand has secured the former YO! Sushi in Glasgow Fort scheme and the ex-PizzaExpress in Walthamstow High Street. Earlier this week, Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert said the brand was going to open up to 50 new sites in Europe this year, including up to 25 here. The company has further openings lined up in Chichester, Stevenage Leisure Park, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, Brixton and Edinburgh St James for later this year. Propel understands the group has also lined up a further opening in Manchester, on the site of the Yorkshire Building Society in the city’s Piccadilly area.
M&B suffers shareholder revolt over pay plans and chairman’s election: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) suffered a shareholder revolt as a fifth of investors voted against the company’s pay plans. Meanwhile, a quarter opposed the re-election of chairman Bob Ivell. The group revealed 17.5% of investor votes at its annual general meeting on Wednesday (24 March) were made against its remuneration policy. While the policy was approved, with 82.5% of investor votes cast in favour, a further 62,000 withheld votes also failing to back the plans. M&B also revealed significant votes made against the re-election of a number of its directors, including chairman Bob Ivell. He has held the role since 2011, much longer than the nine-year cap recommended under the UK Corporate Governance Code. M&B stated: “The UK Corporate Governance Code contains best practice recommendations in relation to corporate governance yet acknowledges that, in individual cases, these will not all necessarily be appropriate for particular companies. Accordingly, the code specifically recognises the concept of ‘comply or explain’ in relation to divergences from the code and the company has explained the circumstances of these appointments in detail in its 2020 annual report.”
Chopstix expands partnership with Welcome Break with second hybrid unit opening: Chopstix, the pan-Asian quick service restaurant concept, has expanded its partnership with roadside services provider Welcome Break, with the opening of a second hybrid unit near Sheffield. Launched at Woodall North Services, just outside of Sheffield, the second hybrid unit with franchisee Welcome Break, brings the total of Chopstix franchise stores up to 20. Maximising space by putting Welcome Break’s own breakfast brand “The Good Breakfast” in the mornings until noon, the unit switches after breakfast to Chopstix. The switch is achieved, in part, through the use of digital LED signage. The two companies launched the first hybrid unit earlier this year at the Fleet North Services. A third hybrid unit will open at Cardiff Gate Services this May. Chopstix managing director Jon Lake said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with our partners at Welcome Break over the past year to innovate and create this hybrid concept. We feel this is a real game-changer for them and, potentially, other partners to utilise technology and design to maximise the trading day while retaining the integrity of the Chopstix brand.” Welcome Break commercial director Martyn Brett-Lee added: “With many more customers visiting our locations over the coming months, we are pleased to expand our partnership with Chopstix. Our hybrid solution allows us to offer more customer choice in an innovative way.”
New World Trading Company to open in Plymouth: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company (NWTC) is to open a site in Plymouth, Devon, Propel has learned. The company is set to take over the former Las Iguanas site in the city’s Royal William Yard scheme. It is thought the site will become the second to open under the group’s Club House format. The business already operates a Club House site in Liverpool. In November, the company secured a site in the Northgate development in Chester for an opening under its The Florist brand. Due to open in spring 2022, construction of the long-awaited Northgate cultural and leisure development began in July last year. The Florist is part of NWTC’s portfolio of 29 restaurants, which includes The Botanist, The Club House and The Oast House brands. Last October, Propel revealed the company was set to double its presence in Sheffield, with the opening of a site under its The Trading House concept in the city. The Jesper Friis-led business has secured a site in Charter Row as part of the Heart of the City 2 development. It is thought this site will open under the name The Furnace. The company is also understood to be in talks on sites in Ipswich and Cardiff.
Barworks to open bar and restaurant within Montcalm hotel: Central London bar and pub operator Barworks is to open a new bar and restaurant in the rebranded Montcalm East hotel (formerly the M by Montcalm) in Hoxton. Called Moor & Mead, the new venue’s name is rooted in the history of the area, blending the Moor from local institutions such as Moorfields Eye Hospital with the Mead as a nod to its breweries. The link-up with the hotel, which is operated by Marriott International, is a first of its kind partnership for the Marc Francis-Baum-led group, which operates 13 pubs/bars plus Mare Street Market and four sites under The Diner name in the capital.
PizzaExpress announces two-year exclusivity partnership with Deliveroo:PizzaExpress has renewed its partnership with Deliveroo with a two-year exclusive deal across UK and Ireland, as well as new marketing initiatives. PizzaExpress first partnered with Deliveroo in 2016, and customers are now able to order from its pizzerias on Deliveroo in 105 UK towns and cities. In total, under the new partnership, 290 PizzaExpress restaurants will be available on Deliveroo. PizzaExpress is also adopting Deliveroo’s new “Signature” service to enable customers to order delivery directly via the PizzaExpress website and social channels. PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley said: “Over the past year, in particular, thousands of new customers have discovered the delight of having our pizzas delivered to their door. The early results of our new partnership are already evident with the past two weeks producing our highest ever sales weeks with Deliveroo.”