Sbe to make first foray into coffee shop market with London launch: Sbe, the international hospitality group that develops, manages and operates brands, is to make its first foray into the coffee shop market with a launch in London. EllaMia will make its debut at the St Martins Lane hotel in Covent Garden on Monday, 18 November. Further openings in key markets such as New York, Doha and Dubai are in the pipeline, with more than 20 locations expected globally by 2021. Sbe founder and chief executive Sam Nazarian said: “I am proud to launch EllaMia in London – one of the culinary capitals of the world. The style and elevated atmosphere of St Martins Lane hotel is the perfect setting for EllaMia’s debut. At Sbe we constantly strive to provide extraordinary, innovative experiences and can’t wait to see our latest concept grow into a successful brand with locations around the world.” EllaMia is named after Nazarian’s two daughters. It will offer barista coffee, tea, kombucha and freshly made smoothies and protein shakes. A selection of light bites, freshly made sandwiches and savoury dishes will also be on offer. Sbe said EllaMia would be an integral part of the company’s global expansion plan of 50 hotels globally by 2021. The expansion will be across all Sbe hotel brands – SLS, Delano, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde – in key cities such as Buenos Aires, Dubai, Mexico City and Paris.
BabaBoom receives investor commitments for almost half its £400,000 fund-raising target: Fledgling kebab restaurant concept BabaBoom has already received investor commitments for almost half of its £400,000 fund-raising target. The two-strong London-based concept, which is led by Eve Bugler, is embarking on the fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs as it targets becoming the UK’s “leading quality kebab operator with 20 sites by 2025”. The fund-raise, which will launch on Wednesday (13 November), values the business at £3m. The company is targeting sites across London and the south east and seeking revenue in excess of £20m and a valuation of £40m-plus by the end of the financial year ending 2024. The company also reported record sales last week while it is set for strong profitability at its Islington site, which is only 15 months old, where it expects the previous four weeks to be at 10% Ebitda. Since opening in Battersea Rise in 2016, the business has served more than 170,000 kebabs. With both restaurants in double-digit like-for-like growth and overall company profitability secured, the company said it was raising money to open its third restaurant in a central London location. The concept has been backed by several leading entrepreneurs including Gumtree founder Mike Pennington and Entrepreneur First founder Matt Clifford, alongside industry veterans such as ex-global Nando’s chief executive David Niven and the founders of Las Iguanas, Wahaca, Be At One and Flat Iron.
After-effects of acid attack at London Fields venue leads to Calabrese House entering administration: Calabrese House, the three-strong group led by Salvatore Calabrese, went into administration after suffering a downturn in trade at its The Mangle venue following an acid attack, a new report has revealed. Despite rebranding the London Fields venue to the Hangar after the incident in April 2017, a combination of national coverage of the attack and associated damage to its reputation meant Hangar and another Calabrese venue, Wringer + Mangle – based in the same building – made operational losses. A notice of administrator’s proposal by Ben Woodthorpe and Simon Jagger, of ReSolve, revealed the trading performance of Wringer + Mangle and Hangar threatened the solvency of the company and management became reliant on profitable trading at its third venue – The Hoxton Pony – and shareholder support to continue operations. Shareholders were approached on numerous occasions to provide additional funding and ad-hoc bridging loans to meet trade supplier debt and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) commitments. This funding allowed the directors to continue group-trading activities and protect the company’s most valuable asset, The Hoxton Pony. Management decided to clear trade supplier debt and return some funds to shareholders by marketing The Hoxton Pony for sale, which was initially valued at £1.5m. An offer for the venue was accepted in August this year but a winding-up petition was filed by HMRC before the sale could complete. With shareholders unwilling to provide additional funding, the company was put into administration to protect the value of the lease at The Hoxton Pony and the winding-up petition was subsequently rescinded. Davis Coffer Lyons has been appointed to market the lease of The Hoxton Pony and the report revealed three offers had been received to date, all from third parties. The lease of Wringer + Mangle and Hangar was surrendered back to the landlord. The report showed there is no secured creditor. Preferential creditors are owed an estimated £138,285 and are expected to be paid in full, while unsecured creditors are owed about £3.5m and are expected to see a recovery of between 10% and 20%.
Puttshack strengthens management team: Puttshack, the mini-golf concept, has appointed Paul Hunter as operations director and Chris Lincoln as head of learning and development as the brand prepares for further expansion. Hunter’s previous roles include operations director at casual dining brand Prezzo and fast-casual Mexican concept Tortilla, while he was part of the senior team that led the significant growth of Richard Caring-backed Bill’s. Most recently Hunter has been a consultant working with hospitality companies overseas. Lincoln has previously held roles as head of learning and development at cocktail bar brand Be At One and student accommodation provider Liberty Living. During his time at Be At One he created the company’s training academy and accredited its own bartender certificate, which was an industry first. Led by chief executive Joe Vrankin, Puttshack made further appointments earlier this year with Roberto Moretti joining the team as chief operating officer alongside Logan Powell as chief financial officer and Sophie Evans as marketing director. The business, which completed a £30m equity raise with lead investor Promethean Investment this year, will open its third site, in Bank in the City of London, on Saturday (16 November). Puttshack has sites at Westfield White City and Intu Lakeside and will open at Intu Watford in summer 2020.
JD Wetherspoon strengthens Irish estate with Dublin acquisition: JD Wetherspoon has strengthened its estate in Ireland by purchasing HQ Bar and Restaurant in Dublin. The property, in Hanover Quay, Grand Central Square, has been acquired from Fulminis for an undisclosed sum. Wetherspoon has yet to decide whether it will open the pub immediately or redevelop the site subject to planning permission. Wetherspoon currently has one pub in Dublin, The Silver Penny, and is developing a pub and 89-bedroom hotel in the city, which is set to open in 2020. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are delighted to have purchased HQ Bar and Restaurant and look forward to reopening it as a Wetherspoon. It is an excellent property in a superb location.” Wetherspoon also runs Republic of Ireland pubs in Blackrock, Blanchardstown, Swords and Cork and has sites in Waterford and Galway due to be redeveloped. Earlier this year Martin told Propel he believes the company could have a 30-strong estate in Ireland. Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has moved a step closer in its long-running bid to turn the grade II-listed Elinor Lupton Centre in Headingley, Leeds, into a pub. The company has had its revised plans to convert the Richmond Road building approved by Leeds City Council. Wetherspoon must also now apply for an alcohol licence for the building, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post. Wetherspoon first lodged plans for a pub at the site in 2015.
Shamel joins Parkdean Resorts as chief operating officer: Mos Shamel, who stepped down as managing director of Las Iguanas earlier this year, has joined Parkdean Resorts as chief operating officer, Propel has learned. Shamel, who led Casual Dining Group (CDG) brand Las Iguanas for 16 years, will assume his new role with immediate effect. It’s thought Shamel, who worked in the hospitality sector in the US and also for Cunard before Las Iguanas, was linked to a number of other roles in the leisure and hospitality industry before joining Parkdean. Shamel stood down from 60-strong Las Iguanas in the summer to “pursue a fresh challenge outside the business”. CDG acquired the then 41-strong South American-themed restaurant group in July 2015 in a deal valued at circa £85m. Shamel oversaw the brand’s smooth transition to its new owner and continued growth, which has played a key part in the sales performance of CDG during the past four years. Parkdean Resorts chief executive Steve Richards told Propel: “We are delighted to have secured someone of Mos’ calibre to this senior role.” Parkdean is the UK’s largest operator of caravan, lodge, cabin, glamping and camping holiday resorts. The business operates 67 locations around the UK. Founded in 1999, the business was acquired by Onex Corporation for £1.35bn in 2016.
Daisy Green Collection lines up two openings: Australia-inspired restaurant group Daisy Green Collection has lined up two openings in London. The ten-strong restaurant, bar and coffee group will launch Barbie Green at London Wall Place by the Barbican next month. It will be the Prue Freeman-led group’s second site in the City of London and serve an all-day brunch and, unique to Daisy Green Collection, also offer fire-baked, Roman-style thin-crust pizza. The venue will offer seating for 40 inside and a large terrace for 100 standing. The business will follow this move by opening at the Brunel Building at Paddington Exchange. The company will open its biggest site to date on the rooftop of the building in North Wharf Road. Freeman founded the company with husband Tom Onions in 2012. Last year the business raised more than £2m on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after setting an initial £500,000 target as part of plans to grow to 17 sites by 2022. Adam Bowers, of Stonebrook London, acted on the London Wall Place deal.
BrewDog hits minimum £7m target in latest Equity for Punks campaign: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has hit its minimum £7m target for its latest Equity for Punks campaign. BrewDog launched the fund-raise in April and it has a stretch target of £50m. So far, more than 34,200 investors have pledged £7.02m. BrewDog wants to use the funds to open two breweries in China. It also wants to open a hotel, brewery and museum in London after its first hotel, the Doghouse at its brewery in Columbus, Ohio, “exceeded all expectations”. However, its key focus is to open five brewpubs, in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. In total, its six fund-raises to date have raised more than £74.0m from circa 125,500 investors. BrewDog, which will open its Australian brewery in Brisbane in January, is also set to issue a new mini-bond that will pay lenders partly in beer. The company will launch the offer on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. It will pay 6% interest per annum, which will be paid 50% in cash and 50% in beer – redeemable in its bars or online shop. The bond will run alongside the latest Equity for Punks campaign, which is due to end in April next year.
French restaurant group to make UK debut after acquiring former L’atelier site in Covent Garden: Paris Society, the French restaurant group led by Laurent de Gourcuff, is to make its UK debut. The company is joining forces with Guillaume Glipa, who has been behind the openings of Zuma, Coya and Chiltern Firehouse, to launch Louie at the former L’atelier site in Covent Garden. The property in West Street will be revamped with American chef Slade Rushing running the kitchen, reports Hot Dinners. Rushing is a five-time James Beard award nominee and his menu will “blend influences of New Orleans, London and Paris”. Paris Society is behind Girafe and Loulou in the French capital.
Cru Holdings acquires Nairn bistro less than month after selling only venue outside Inverness: Scotland-based operator Cru Holdings has acquired a new site in Nairn – less than a month after selling its only business outside Inverness. The company has bought The Classroom from Willie and Fiona Lean, who acquired the bistro in 2009. It will be business as usual at The Classroom when Cru Holdings takes over on Monday, 25 November, with all staff retained. Cru Holdings managing director Scott Murray said: “This feels like such a natural move as I feel I have so much in common with Willie and Fiona. I started Cru Holdings in 2009, the same year Willie and Fiona bought The Classroom, and we all share the same values when it comes to sourcing good-quality local produce and ensuring our staff are the heart and soul of our operation.” Fiona Lean said: “The Classroom and all the team have been such a big part of our lives for more than ten years and I’m so proud of everything we have achieved together. It will be a wrench to leave and wasn’t an easy decision. At the same time, we are delighted to find somebody who shares the same values and we’re confident The Classroom will continue to thrive as part of Cru Holdings.” Cru Holdings operates Inverness venues Scotch & Rye, Bar One, Prime, Angels’ Share, Dow’s Bar & Bistro and The Keg, as well as travel agency Inverness Travel. Last month it sold High Spirits in Falkirk to fledgling operator Knightsway Inns, which was at the time its only venue outside Inverness.
7Bone Burger Co lines up Northampton opening: 7Bone Burger Co, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, is set to return to the expansion trail with an opening in Northampton. Propel understands the eight-strong business, which was founded by Rich Zammit and Matt Mollicone, has lined up the former Mumu site in Giles Street for its next opening. The venue was gourmet burger concept Mumu’s second site when it opened at the end of 2015 after launching in Kettering the year before. 7Bone opened its first restaurant in Southampton in 2013, followed by Bournemouth the following year. Kings Park Capital took an equity stake in the business in August 2016.
Greggs reports like-for-like sales up 8.3% in past six weeks: Greggs has reported total sales were up 12.4% for the six weeks to 9 November 2019, with like-for-like sales up 8.3% for company-managed shops during the same period. In an unscheduled trading update, the company stated: “Like-for-like performance has held up well against strengthening prior-year sales. We now anticipate 2019 full-year profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) to be higher than our previous expectations. Trading performance in the fourth quarter to date has continued to be very strong, despite the strengthening comparators seen in 2018. In the year to date, total sales have grown 13.4% and like-for-like sales have increased 9.2%. Sales growth continues to be driven by increased customer visits and has been stronger than we expected given the improving comparative sales pattern we saw in the fourth quarter last year. Operational costs remain well controlled and, while the comparative sales become stronger still in the balance of the year, the board now anticipates full-year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) will be higher than our previous expectations.” Issuing an ‘Equal Weight’ rating on the shares with a target price of 1,760p, Barclays leisure analyst Richard Taylor said: “This unscheduled trading update should be taken well given concerns over risk of slowing like-for-likes as comparables toughen. Importantly, from a short-term share price perspective, the update implies two-year like-for-likes are running at 12.6% in quarter four to date. The two-year like-for-like is a focus for many investors when considering the outlook for early 2020, when comparables toughen considerably to 10.5% in the first half due to the strength in trading boosted by the vegan sausage roll. If momentum had slowed in early 2020, it was possible like-for likes could have moved to negative territory at some point, a risk that now looks less likely. There is no mention of food price inflation in the statement, which is of interest given rising pork prices is one of the company’s biggest elements of cost of goods sold. This suggests the company has done the necessary buying for 2019, albeit this could still emerge as a headwind in 2020.”
Gamechanger Pub Company reveals plans to double estate after taking on third site: Gamechanger Pub Company has revealed plans to double its estate after taking on its third site. The company, founded by Clive Coules, has opened The Chatsworth in Banbury, Oxfordshire, for its second venue with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. Formerly a wet-only pub called the Cock Horse, the property has been transformed following a £750,000 joint refurbishment that has created 20 additional jobs. The makeover has introduced multiple income streams with a kitchen and 60-cover dining area; a sports zone featuring pool, darts, and televisions showing BT and Sky Sports; and a coffee bar. Coules said: “I am a big fan of leased pubs. Our money isn’t tied up in freeholds so we’ve been able to jointly invest with Star at The Chatsworth to create a top-quality pub with broad appeal.” Neil Convery, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for the south west, added: “Clive is a highly experienced licensee and business person. His other two pubs are thriving and we’re confident of replicating that success at The Chatsworth.” Gamechanger is looking for more leased pubs in suburban and residential locations across Oxfordshire and on the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire borders. The company is interested in large sites with significant outside space and potential to sustain different revenue streams.
Wagamama closes walk-away payment app: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, has closed the walk-away payment app it launched last March following a fall in users. Created in partnership with Mastercard as a “world’s first”, the app described was as “Uber for diners” with claims it would save diners “12 minutes every meal”. Participants had their details stored securely with payment taken automatically through the app with no need for a pay button, leaving diners free to leave at the end of their meal without waiting for the bill. When using the app in a restaurant, customers could also access added benefits such as super-sizing a fresh juice for the price of a regular drink to save £1, split the bill by choosing which items they wanted to pay for, and order sides, drinks, extras and desserts direct from the kitchen. App-users could also order takeaway meals to collect from any Wagamama restaurant. A Wagamama spokesman told Propel: “The closure simply reflects Wagamama investing in new technology to serve guests better and doesn’t in any way imply we’re stepping back from innovation – quite the opposite, more will be announced in the new year. While others continue to enjoy success with apps, the fact Wagamama doesn’t participate in discounting or promotional vouchers means it has the freedom to deliver what guests want – for example, easy payment – without needing to download something to their phone.”
Ford joins Hawksmoor as head of marketing: Former Gaucho Group marketing director Matt Ford has joined high-end steak brand Hawksmoor as head of marketing. Ford spent four and a half years in his role at Gaucho, leaving the business last year as part of changes made by Gaucho’s then administrators, Deloitte UK. He previously worked for Gaucho for more than ten years as group sales and marketing manager before joining Maxwell’s Restaurant Group. He spent less than a year there before rejoining Gaucho. Since the start of this year he has been running his own business, FourD Marketing Consultancy. Last month Hawksmoor operator Underdog Restaurants reported group turnover rose to £46.9m for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £43.7m the year before. Underlying group Ebitda was up to £5.7m from £4.8m the previous year.
Ellen Chew opens Singapore bakery and restaurant at former Soho GBK:Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew has launched a Singapore bakery and restaurant concept in Soho. Chew, who is behind Rasa Sayang in Chinatown and Lobos Tapas in London Bridge and Soho, has launched Singapulah & Arôme in the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen premises in Frith Street. Singapulah & Arôme consists of a bakery by day (12-seater Arôme) and restaurant by night (50-cover Singapulah). Arôme offers bread and sweet and savoury pastries from master patissier Alix Andre, while the space transforms into Singapulah featuring hawker dishes by Singaporean head chef Lynette Zheng. Dishes include Bak Chor Mee (noodles tossed in a chilli vinegar sauce and topped with minced pork, pork belly slices, pork liver and pork balls), and Chwee Kueh (savoury rice cakes served with preserved radish, sweet-salty umami and sambal chilli). Chew told Hot Dinners: “Singapulah is a love of true Singaporean cuisine. Through my years in the UK it has been challenging to find a place to satiate my cravings for authentic hawker food and Singapulah aims to plug that gap as well as acting as a platform to share our diverse culture with Londoners.”
Wales-based sausage restaurant hits £150,000 crowdfunding target towards UK roll-out: Wales-based sausage restaurant The Sausage Revolution has hit its £150,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it looks to roll out across the UK. Simon Llewellyn launched the concept in Barry last year, with the restaurant profitable within its first 12 months of trading. Llewellyn is raising the funds as he looks to open a site in Cardiff before launching franchises in Bristol and the West Midlands. He is offering 10% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £1.35m. So far, 77 investors have pledged £157,990 with eight days of the campaign remaining. The pitch states: “The Sausage Revolution is serving one of the UK’s favourite foods. The company seeks to increase its presence in the quick service restaurant market and roll out its distinctive brand across the UK. Investment will fuel this by opening in Cardiff before launching franchises in Bristol and the West Midlands. Primary expenditure will be store logistics and marketing.”
Mercato Metropolitano opens Mayfair site: London-based Italian street food market Mercato Metropolitano has opened a site in Mayfair. The venue – the company’s second in London – is housed in grade I-listed former church St Mark’s, which underwent a £5m restoration by landlord Grosvenor Britain & Ireland in 2018. The site in North Audley Street offers 16,000 square feet of retail, dining and community space across four floors, reports Hot Dinners. In the basement is a wine bar and micro-brewery, while the ground floor features Fresco (Neapolitan pizza); Badiani (coffee and gelato); Pasta London (handmade pasta); Rawbar Mayfair (sushi and poké bowls); Jim and Tonic (gin cocktails); German Kraft Brewery (craft beer); and grocery and wine store MM Grocery. The “gallery” features bao and dumplings concept Steamy & Co; Molo (seafood buns and robata); Turkish concept Lala; Cha Cha Mayfair (cocktails and seafood); and Italian steakhouse Santo Grill and Wine. Mercato Metropolitano focuses on artisan and local producers and raises awareness of sustainability through its urban farm, cookery lessons, and cultural films, exhibitions and events. Last year Mercato Metropolitano, which operates a site in Elephant and Castle, raised more than £450,000 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to open more London sites.
Berry Bros & Rudd reports highest turnover since 2010: Wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has reported turnover increased 31.4% to £223.2m, its highest level since 2010, compared with £169.8m the previous year. It reported a pre-tax profit of £740,000, compared with £46.5m the previous year when the company sold its BB&R Spirits, including The Glenrothes brand, to Highland Distillers. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “As a group we have hit the highest sales since 2010, seeing the impact of strong underlying Berry Bros & Rudd sales growth coupled with last year’s investment into Hotaling & Co, our San Francisco-based spirits company. This performance has been achieved within the context of a challenging economic and political environment and a competitive market. Our shop at 62-63 Pall Mall is now almost two years old and has seen 24% growth in the period.” Berry Bros & Rudd can trace its roots to 1698 and first supplied the royal family with its products in 1760 during the reign of George III. The company established its operation in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in 1967.
Innis & Gunn reveals plans to open two Taproom sites a year as it publicly launches £3m crowdfunding campaign for Edinburgh brewery: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has revealed plans to open two sites a year for its Taproom concept for the next three years. The announcement came as the company publicly launched its £3m crowdfunding campaign for its new Edinburgh brewery. The Taproom concept will be rolled out across the UK after the company relaunched its Beer Kitchen pubs under the format earlier this year. The sites are generating sales uplift of about 30%. Innis & Gunn has launched its “Beer Money” crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to help finance building the largest brewery in Edinburgh for more than 150 years. The brewery, at a location to be announced shortly, will bring all production and packaging in-house and is set to open in 2021. Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, said: “Part of our strength as a business comes from the community of fans we’ve built across the globe and this is the perfect chance for them to get involved and help us put Edinburgh back on the brewing map. We’ve enjoyed 16 years of uninterrupted growth, expanded into more than 30 countries and have got a very exciting journey ahead.” In the three years since its last crowdfunding campaign, Innis & Gunn has grown turnover to more than £25m.
26 Grains to launch ‘big sister’ site in Borough next month: 26 Grains, the cafe concept founded by Alex Hely-Hutchinson, is to open its second London site, in Borough Market next month. As revealed by Propel in the summer the business, which opened its first permanent site in 2015 in Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, will open all-day concept Stoney Street – named after the street it will call home – on Friday, 22 November. Head chef Henrietta Inman’s menu will focus on “simple seasonal dishes with a produce and provenance-led cooking style”. The wine list will be short with five reds, five whites, one orange and one rosé alongside cocktails. In the evening, bottled wine will be available to take away through a hatch. Decor will include hand-built furniture, a kitchen counter offering produce to buy and a terrace. Hely-Hutchinson said: “Stoney Street will be a big sister to 26 Grains – slightly more refined, a longer menu, a coming of age.” Hely-Hutchinson launched 26 Grains as the West End’s first grains-based cafe, focusing on porridge, muesli, granola, risotto and salad.
Greene King relaunches free drink offer to designated drivers for festive anti-drink drive campaign: Brewer and retailer Greene King is running its anti-drink drive campaign again this year offering a free drink to designated drivers. Now in its tenth year, more than 1,600 Greene King pubs will take part in the festive campaign. Drivers will receive a voucher to use on their next purchase when they show their car keys at the bar and buy any 330ml bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar or 275ml bottle of Appletiser. Heineken 0.0 has also been added to the list this year. Pubs taking part in the promotion, which runs until last orders on Wednesday, 1 January, include Greene King Locals, Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer and Farmhouse Inns. Greene King commercial officer Phil Thomas said: “As a leading pub company we have an important role to play in helping to promote responsible drinking. We have seen a huge increase in the popularity of low and no-alcohol products in our pubs so we’re excited to add Heineken 0.0 as we celebrate the campaign’s significant milestone.”