KFC sees potential to triple in size: KFC has said it sees potential to triple in size and is predicting “buckets of growth” in the long term. At an investor day hosted by parent company Yum! Brands, KFC said 90% of its growth in the past five years has been from overseas markets, with 70% of growth coming from outside the US and China. Much of the unit growth has also been in emerging markets such as India. KFC said it plans to almost triple in size from 25,292 sites to 75,000, with a new store opening every five hours in 2021. Over the past two quarters alone, the company has opened 700 units. The strength of this growth projection is aided by “attractive unit-level returns for franchisees, a flexible real estate strategy” and opportunities in emerging markets globally, including Africa, Russia, the Middle East and India, according to analysis from Baird Equity Research. KFC said digital sales have increased by $5bn and make up 43% of transactions, up from about 20% before 2020. The company has made $3bn of digital sales already in 2021. KFC’s first plant-based protein, Beyond Fried Chicken, was first tested in July 2020 in select California markets and now the company is “actively rolling out” the product to eight markets globally. A spokesman said: “We’re definitely seeing customer increase interest in plant-based proteins in North America, Europe and Asia. It’s broad-reaching and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
Steamin’ Billy reports like-for-like revenue at 63% of 2019 levels on reopening week, suffers ‘loads’ of cancellations after government’s Indian variant guidance:Leicestershire-based Steamin’ Billy has reported like-for-like revenue was at 63% of 2019 levels in the first week of reopening. The nine-strong company currently has 85% of its estate operating with the remainder being open by next Wednesday (2 June). Managing director Billy Allingham told Propel the company also suffered from “loads” of cancellations on Tuesday (25 May) after the government published new guidance on avoiding areas when the Indian variant of coronavirus was prevalent. While Downing Street has since clarified the position – and Allingham said the cancellations had now stopped – he added the situation has put a “dent in consumer confidence”. Allingham said one of its biggest challenges was staffing because many employees had moved on to other jobs during the lockdown. Meanwhile, the business is using an order and pay QR code in its food pubs which has been “challenging but, overall, well received”.
Honest Burgers to open in Watford: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, is to further increase its regional presence, with an opening in Watford, Propel has learned. The company that, in March, appointed Frank Hayes, former managing director of pub company Spirit Group, as its new chief executive, has taken the former ASK Italian site in the town’s Market Street, for an opening nearer the end of the summer. The 45-strong business, which recently opened in Windsor’s Thames Street, is set to incorporate more of a zoning approach in its new Watford site as it looks to bridge from day trading to evening, in line with the more wet-led circuit where the new site is located. The business recently secured a site at the City North development next to Finsbury Park Station for an opening later this summer. It will join Rosa’s Thai Cafe at the scheme. Earlier this year, Propel revealed Honest Burgers had taken on the former Carluccio’s site in St Albans’ Christopher Place shopping centre. Propel understands Honest Burgers is operating the site initially as a pop-up after taking a short-term lease on the unit.
Marston’s to open 16th Revere site next month: Revere Pub Company, the premium arm of Marston’s, is set to expand its portfolio to 16 sites with the launch of Hartford Hall in Cheshire, in June. The pub, located on School Lane in Northwich, has undergone a £500,000 refurbishment. The former nunnery and manor house dates back to 16th century with the pub retaining its oak beams and open fires. It has capacity for 150 covers in its bar and dining space, a 200-cover garden and 20 boutique hotel rooms. Seasonal menus will focus on fresh pub classics, alongside the brand’s signature char-grilled steaks, sourdough pizzas and Sunday roasts. Drinks include a crafted cocktail list, local cask ales and an extensive wine list. The bedrooms will have amenities such as Nespresso coffee machines, White Company toiletries and complimentary Wi-Fi, with rates starting at £80 a night. Revere Pub Company head of operations Matt Bygate said: “In time for summer staycations, the new pub with rooms is a welcome addition to the Revere Pub Company family and marks the continued growth of the company.”
Bob & Berts opens first site in England: Northern Ireland-based coffee company Bob & Berts has opened its first site in England, in Lancaster. The opening on the town’s former Monsoon site, is the group’s 20th in total. The company, which is backed by BGF and employs more than 400 staff, operates 14 sites in Northern Ireland and five in Scotland. Bob & Berts, which is chaired by former Tragus Group chief financial officer Mohan Mansigani, was founded in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, and expanded into Scotland in 2018 after a £2m equity investment by BGF.
Wolfpack to open third pub in London: Wolfpack Lager, the business founded by ex-rugby union professionals Alistair Hargreaves and Chris Wyles, is to open its third pub in the capital. The company has taken the former Malt House site in Fulham, which is set to open later this summer. The pub was acquired in an off-market deal from the Jolly Fine Pub Co. Wolfpack acquired the lease from Jolly Fine and simultaneously took a new lease from Brakspear. The company currently operates Wolfpack sites in Queens Park and West Hampstead. Adam Bowers, of newly founded leisure acquisition agency onepoint2, acted for Wolfpack on the Fulham deal. The disposal leaves Jolly Fine Pub Co operating the Victoria in East Sheen and the Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon. On the Malt House, it said: “It is with great sadness we announce the closure of The Malt House. We have loved our time in Fulham but the ongoing coronavirus crisis has made it impossible for us to reopen as we had wished.”
Birmingham-based Japanese restaurant concept Takumi heading to London for second site: Birmingham-based Japanese restaurant concept Takumi is heading to the capital for its second site. The company is opening the venue in Old Compton Street in Soho. With up to 50 covers across the ground floor, the restaurant is set to launch in September. Takumi has garnered a strong following from its existing outpost in Birmingham’s Chinatown, serving a diverse array of authentic Japanese food and drink. Menu items at the Soho restaurant will include sushi, maki rolls and donburi, alongside unique takes on seafood and meat carpaccio, plus grilled and skewered meat and vegetables. The drinks menu will feature Japanese beer, tea, a variety of sake, and specially crafted cocktails. Co-owner Alex Xu said: “This is an historic site in the midst of one of London’s most exciting areas, and we are delighted to be bringing the Takumi dining experience to the capital for the first time.” Shelley Sandzer acted for the landlord while CDG Leisure acted for Takumi.
Various Eateries confirms Coppa Club Bristol launch: Various Eateries, the AIM-listed Andy Bassadone-chaired business, has confirmed it will open a site under its Coppa Club brand in Bristol. As previously revealed by Propel, the company will open its eighth site under the brand on the former PizzaExpress site in Regent Street, Clifton Village. It will open on 14 July and comprise 200 covers spread across two storeys, with the ground floor home to the main restaurant, bar and lounge and the upper floor housing a dining area and workspace. It will serve an all-day menu from breakfast through to dinner focused on European small plates, alongside sourdough pizzas, salads and more. Yishay Malkov, chief executive of Various Eateries, said: “We’re very excited to bring Coppa Club to Bristol, we’ve always wanted to open in south west England and couldn’t think of a better location than this vibrant city. We’re thrilled to be opening our venue in Clifton and can’t wait to become part of the local community. Our venues are designed to give people a home-from-home experience, a place where they can work, eat, drink, meet or relax – anytime of the day, until late.” Last month, Propel revealed Various Eateries had applied to open a Coppa Club in Brewhouse Lane, Putney Wharf. It is also in talks to take the former Georgian Hotel in Haslemere for an opening later this year. Last September, Various Eateries raised £25m through an initial public offering and said it believed there was potential to open up to 100 sites under its fledgling Tavolino brand, and capacity for more than 50 Coppa Clubs across the UK.
Whitbread to open two Cookhouse + Pub sites this month: Whitbread is to open two Cookhouse + Pub sites this month. The openings of Sandown Cliffs on the Isle of Wight and the Three Piers in Blackpool bring the current portfolio to 21 across the UK. Both sites are situated within Premier Inn hotels, but with separate entrances. The 164-cover Sandown and 215-cover Blackpool sites include a bar area, with a range of flexible seating. The menu comprises freshly prepared grilled dishes, a selection of burgers, lighter options, pub classics, Sunday roasts and desserts. There is also a range of craft beer, cask ale and cider, alongside wine. Rebecca Donaldson, commercial marketing director, Whitbread Restaurants, said: “These sites represent fantastic opportunities for us and with 2021 being the year of the staycation, we are looking forward to a busy summer for these seafront pubs.”
Just Eat to create more than 300 jobs with new worker model in Brighton: Just Eat will create more than 300 jobs in Brighton as it continues the rollout of its new worker model across the UK. The south coast city is the fourth area where Just Eat is offering its employment model that allows food couriers to enjoy hourly pay, pension contributions and certain statutory benefits such as holiday and sick pay. The model has already been launched in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, which has created almost 3,000 jobs. All workers benefit from training to deliver the best food delivery experience to customers and restaurants, are covered by relevant insurance and are provided with e-bikes/e-mopeds, helping to reduce emission levels. Just Eat UK managing director Andrew Kenny said: “We’ve reached this milestone significantly ahead of schedule and we’re excited to be rolling this out to Brighton, creating hundreds of more roles in the coming months. We believe giving couriers access to the benefits and security associated with a model like this is the right thing to do and we’re hugely ambitious to grow this further out across the UK.” Couriers will have the option to operate from a central hub, which they can also use to take breaks. Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway.com operates the working model across 150 European cities.
Just Eat is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
Barworks converts The Diner site to new format, plans King’s Cross opening:London bar and pub operator Barworks has continued the phasing out of its The Diner concept, with the conversion of its Soho-based site into a New York-inspired bar and restaurant. The company has launched Pam’s Bar & Grill in Ganton Street. The conversion leaves the business with three remaining sites under The Diner brand in the capital. At the same time, Propel understands the business is working on a new site in King’s Cross and has plans for the former Tank & Paddle site in Heddon Street, Mayfair, which was secured pre-pandemic. In March, Propel revealed Barworks was opening a bar and restaurant – Moor and Mead – in the rebranded Montcalm East hotel (formerly the M by Montcalm) in Hoxton, east London. 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 also operates 13 pubs/bars, plus Mare Street Market.
D&D London launches Mittel-European pop-up in east London: Restaurant operator D&D London has launched a summer pop-up in Stratford. Anders’ Terrace has opened in Endeavour Square, bringing a Mittel-European flavour to east London. The menu offers a taste of the Alps with dishes including currybratwurst and fries, vegan schnitzel broetchen and pork zigeuner schnitzel and fries. Anders’ Terrace also has a “bier garten” serving beer including Rothaus Pilsner. The pop-up restaurant and bar has 150 covers.
JD Wetherspoon application to take over betting shop and build roof garden at Cardiff site: JD Wetherspoon has applied for permission to take over a betting shop and add a roof garden to expand its Prince of Wales site in Cardiff. The planning application submitted to Cardiff Council stated the pub company would remove a pitched roof and install a glazed balustrade around the perimeter of the roof garden on the third floor to create an external eating and drinking area. It would also accommodate a timber structure to house a new bar and add a new staircase and disabled access lift. The expansion plans on the ground floor would see the pub take over a Coral betting shop and reconfigure the toilets in the basement and on the ground floor. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The Prince of Wales has been established in Cardiff city centre for many years and is an extremely popular pub. Our plans include adding a roof garden at the top of the pub and extending the size of the pub too. The plans highlight our commitment to investing in the pub and Cardiff itself. We will wait on the decision of the planning committee.” The Prince of Wales building has previously been a theatre, a bingo hall and a laser game centre.
Mayfair hotel operated by Luxury Collection by Marriott to undergo £1bn transformation: The Westbury Mayfair London, operated by Luxury Collection by Marriott, is set to undergo a £1bn transformation. Work is expected to start in July at the Cola Holdings-owned property and will see a partial demolition that reduces the number of bedrooms from 225 to 196. The five-plus-star hotel will have new facilities including restaurants, bars, lounges, conference and function rooms, and a new spa. Westminster council has approved the work, which also includes the extension of seven guest floors and the creation of a new floor for signature guestrooms. The front facades will be retained but enhanced while the rear of the building will be completely new. In March last year, Cola Holdings sought a buyer for three adjacent properties in London’s Mayfair district in a portfolio deal worth more than £1bn. Auctioneer Pro Auction has been appointed to dispose of the entire contents of the hotel.
Korean pub concept launches in Soho: A Korean pub concept has opened in London’s Soho. Jae Choi has launched Hongdae Pocha in Romilly Street in the former premises occupied by Japanese restaurant Ninniku. Choi told Hot Dinners he wanted to “encapsulate the ambience of retro-Korea, and the drinking culture of the working class during the 1970s and 1980s”. The menu is split into snacks, signature dishes and lunchtime-only specials. The signature dishes include Hongdae chicken – crispy soft fried chicken, Bulgogi Mushrom jeongol – soy marinated beef and mixed veg hotpot. The drinks list focuses strongly on soju with various cocktails and highballs. There is also Korean plum, mulberry and rice wine along with Korean beer.
Chef Alex Farolfi takes reins at Leeds restaurant previously operated by Matt Healy: A new team has taken the reins at The Beehive, which was run by MasterChef finalist Matt Healy and his team Seventh Course until March this year. The restaurant operation in Thorner, Leeds, has been taken over by a team led by chef Alex Farolfi, who worked alongside Simon Rogan at L’Enclume in the Lake District. Farolfi said: “My vision is to recreate classic dishes and reintroduce long lost British flavours to create a perfect, relaxed pub environment.” Farolfi also helped win a Michelin star when he worked at Grantley Hall with chef Shaun Rankin. Beehive owner Dale Wynter said: “Over the lockdown period, I was able to reflect on what feedback we had from our customers and I believe Alex is the person to get the pub where it needs to be.” The Beehive is serving small plates for the first fortnight under Farolfi. Dishes include dry-aged 4oz beef and blue cheese sliders in seeded brioche; wild pea risoni with house-made soft ricotta cheese; spring lamb croquettes served with house-made garlic emulsion; and Denholme apiary honeycomb, made from yogurt, preserved raspberry, wild bee pollen and toasted hazelnut.
Operators sought for new flagship roof terrace in Cardiff: Operators are being sought for a new roof terrace in Cardiff city centre. Thackeray Group has achieved planning consent for a 4,500 square foot roof terrace on St Mary Street. The premises comprises approximately 11,827 square foot on the ground floor, basement, first floor and second floor, plus the roof terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city. A new 20-year lease will be granted and offers are sought from restaurants, bars, food halls/markets and experiential leisure operators, although all uses will be considered. Giles Hoare, investment director at Thackeray Group, said: “We are delighted to have secured consent for this exceptional roof terrace. This unique opportunity will attract a whole raft of occupiers looking to expand as covid restrictions ease. Thackeray Group continues to actively seek further opportunities within Cardiff as one of the UK’s fastest growing core city centres.” Louie Gazdar at DCL is acting on the new site for Thackeray Group.
Carluccio’s launches ready-to-drink craft cocktail range: Carluccio’s, which is now owned by Boparan Restaurant Group, has launched a ready-to-drink bottled craft cocktail range. Available online and from its restaurants, the cocktails come in four varieties. The Honeyed Fig Daiquiri, the Amalfi Pompelmo Margarita and the Strawberry and Balsamic Sour come in a 135ml single serves. There is also a negroni, which is available in a 700ml sharing bottle.
New dining experience led by Michelin-starred Trinity alumni opens at King’s Cross hotel: A new dining experience has opened within the Megaro boutique hotel in London’s King’s Cross. The menu at Magenta’s has been curated by Michelin-starred Trinity alumni Manuele Bazzoni, which offers modern Italian food with subtle British influences to highlight the best of the seasons. Dishes include Dorset crab, crispy cannelloni and Amalfi lemon gel as well as roasted sea bass, potato crust, courgette flower and mussels. Wine, spirits and cocktails complement the food offering and celebrate the same regions. The 66-cover restaurant also features a long theatrical bar. Bazzoni, a former sous chef at Trinity in south London, has spent the past ten years developing his skills at some of the top restaurants in the country, including Le Boudin Blanc in Mayfair.
Edinburgh chefs behind at-home fine-dining pop-up to open debut restaurant:The two chefs behind Edinburgh’s at-home fine-dining pop-up Bad Seeds, Tomás Gormley and Sam Yorke, are to open their first restaurant. The two chefs – who have worked in kitchens including Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Castle Terrace and Tom Kitchin’s Bonnie Badger – will open Heron in Henderson Street, in the space previously occupied by The Raj restaurant, in July. Heron will offer farm-to-table fine dining with an a la carte menu that will change every few weeks. The restaurant will serve lunch Friday and Saturday, and dinner Wednesday to Sunday.
Bespoke Hotels-operated £18m Coventry site opens after covid delays: Hotel management company Bespoke Hotels will operate Coventry’s £18m Telegraph Hotel, which has finally opened its doors to the public. The four-star hotel’s opening had been delayed due to the pandemic, however, the outdoor rooftop bar at the Corporation Street-based venue has already proved popular, having welcomed more than 3,000 people in the past month. Telegraph Hotel general manager Amy Windsor said: “The opening of the Telegraph has been a long time coming and we have been waiting for many months for the chance to welcome our first guests to experience this very special building. After all the anticipation generated by the mid-century building restoration, now is our chance to provide the exemplary service that befits the city’s finest hotel. As we start the City of Culture year, I am sure the hotel will be one of the highlights for the many new visitors coming to Coventry for the first time.”
London-based Greek street food trader Kalimera to open debut restaurant:London-based Greek street food trader Kalimera is to open its first restaurant. Since 2015, Télémaque Argyriou has been running the Kalimera street food truck, followed by stands at Camden Market and at Mercato Metropolitano. Now Argyriou is opening a restaurant in Crouch End next month. The site in Topsfield Parade, which opens on Tuesday, 22 June, will offer modern interpretations of Greek and Mediterranean dishes with the menu including pistachio pan-fried feta, crispy filo, chilli honey, baba ghanoush; and monkfish skewers, grilled courgette, fennel, skordalia and salsa verde. Drinks will feature Greek wine from small producers, reports Hot Dinners.
Inn Collection Group to incorporate newly acquired hotel into existing site: The Inn Collection Group has acquired a hotel on the Lancashire coast that was adjoined to a property it already operates. The hotel and pub company will incorporate The Carlton Hotel into its site The Lindum Hotel, which it took on at the end of last year in Lytham St Annes. The new deal follows a number of acquisitions by The Inn Collection Group, including sites in Ambleside, in the Lake District. Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We’re excited to be expanding in this fantastic part of the north. The Carlton will be a great addition to The Lindum and allow us to further our fantastic offering to more people. This year has continued to be a year of substantial growth and this asset will help us increase our offering in Lancashire. We are also delighted to contribute to job creation and economic development across the supply chain, giving a much-needed boost within the communities we operate during these challenging times.” The Alchemy-backed group has increased its target of sites to 40 by the end of 2022. During the past month, it acquired two sites in the Lake District – The Wateredge Inn and The Waterhead Inn. The group is also set to open a 40-bedroom new-build site on Wearside in June called The Seaburn Inn. The Inn Collection Group was advised by Imogen Holland at Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway, with Neil Hart at Bradley Hall on pre-acquisition diligence.