Doughnut Time to hit dozen with latest London launches as it eyes further sites:Australian chain Doughnut Time has launched its latest London site, in Finsbury Avenue Square. The brand is catering to busy workers in the City from its food truck, Beverly. Doughnut Time will follow this by opening its 12th site in the capital, in Upper Street, Islington, on Saturday (4 May) as it looks to open more permanent sites as well as pop-ups. Owner Tom Anderson said: “Our London-wide roll-out continues at pace. We’re delighted to bring our food truck Beverly to City workers in Finsbury Avenue Square and can’t wait to bring all the hype and hysteria around Doughnut Time to the great people of Islington too. We now have a dozen stores and agreements in place to open many more in the coming months. We’re continually looking for additional permanent sites as well as pop-up locations across the capital.” Doughnut Time is known for its pop culture-inspired doughnuts such as the Bueno Mars and Snicki Minaj. Damian Griffith founded Doughnut Time in 2015. It operates 23 sites in Australia. The company also operates the world’s first doughnut academy above its flagship Soho store.
Paul looks at further opportunities for Express model as it prepares to open second site: French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul has said it is looking at further opportunities for its Express model as the company prepares to open a second site. The shop will open in Tottenham Court Road on Monday, 13 May and follows the launch of the format in St Pancras in May last year. Next to Warren Street tube station, the 58 square foot Express shop will focus on quick service by offering a shorter breakfast and lunch range with new, hot grab-and-go options such as porridge, savoury croissants, sausage rolls and soup. Paul UK operations director Gary Cowles said: “We are excited about the scalability of this concept and we’re looking at further opportunities to roll out this model.”
Greggs boss see remuneration fall to little more than £1.5m: Roger Whiteside, chief executive of bakery business Greggs, saw his total remuneration fall to little more than £1.5m in 2018, according to the company’s annual report. Whiteside received a total of £1,503,441 for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £1,625,493 the previous year. This consisted of £549,120 salary, £123,552 pension, £12,483 in taxable benefits, £406,349 annual incentives and £411,937 in long-term incentives. Whiteside received a bonus of 74% out of the maximum 125% of his salary. Under the company’s remuneration policy, Whiteside’s maximum bonus in 2019 will be £706,992, with total remuneration of £2,062,777. Meanwhile, finance director Richard Hutton saw his total remuneration fall to £722,441 in 2018, compared with £774,197 the year before. This consisted of £313,689 salary, £41,397 pension, £17,193 taxable benefits, £167,133 annual incentives and £183,029 in long-term incentives. Hutton received a bonus of 53.3% out of the maximum 90% of his salary. Hutton’s potential maximum bonus this year is £290,790, with total remuneration of £973,337. Whiteside and Hutton both received a salary increase of 3% on 1 January in line with the base increase of the company’s workforce generally.
Hickory’s Smokehouse to open in Poynton: American-style smokehouse and barbecue brand Hickory’s is to open a site in Poynton, Cheshire. The venue will launch on the site of former pub The Vernon Arms and will be the brand’s tenth venue, with other sites in Chester, West Kirby, Burton Green, Wall Heath, Rhos-on-Sea, Castle Bromwich, Southport, Worcester and Gresty Green. Once fully refurbished, the Poynton restaurant will feature an open kitchen, chef’s bar and dining areas for 150 guests. There will also be a children’s cinema room and dedicated bar. The outside area will also undergo a makeover to include a veranda and courtyard, while Hickory’s hopes to develop a community nature trail and dipping pond on land that hasn’t been open to the public before. Hickory’s Smokehouse owner Neil McDonnell said: “South Manchester has been on our wish list of locations for some time. Our sister sites across the north west have been embraced by their communities so coming to Poynton is exciting for us all.” McDonnell founded Hickory’s in Chester in 2010 following extensive research into the American barbecue and smokehouse sector.
Barrow-based operator goes into liquidation: Barrow-based Five (UK), which operated four venues across the Cumbrian town, has gone into liquidation. The company, which was founded in 2005, was behind Circus Circus, Bar Five/The Nines, The Knights, and The Derby. Its directors were Jeffrey Athersmith, Graham Edwards, Graham Rushton, Jon Wheeler and Anthony Hoggan. The company previously rented Circus Circus from landlord Furness Building Society, owned The Knights, and rented The Derby and Bar Five, which has been sold to Simon Crompton for £175,000. Five (UK) ran The Derby in Dalton Road until earlier this year and Land Registry documents show the pub is now leased by Gorette Wormall. A statement at the time of liquidation revealed the company had a £140,000 mortgage on The Knights in Dalkeith Street. It is currently on the market for £225,000. The company owes more than £50,000 in tax and VAT bills. Assets available to pay back creditors currently amount to £21,603, reports the North West Evening Mail.
The Dancing Moose acquires Bill’s site in Salisbury for fifth venue: Dorset-based bar and restaurant operator The Dancing Moose is to expand into neighbouring Wiltshire for its fifth site after acquiring the Bill’s venue in Salisbury. Bill’s has confirmed it will close its outlet in Blue Boar Row next month. A spokesman told Spire FM: “We can confirm the Salisbury restaurant will close on Saturday, 25 May and the site will be transferred to The Dancing Moose Pub Company at the end of May. As a group, we are continually reviewing our restaurant estate and, as part of our planned renovation works, we have made the decision to focus our efforts on our other restaurants.” The Dancing Moose describe itself on its website as “good food, good liquor, good people and good times”. It operates sites in Ashley Cross, Bournemouth, Penn Hill and Wimborne.
Bob & Berts to double Scottish footprint with three openings in 2019: Northern Ireland coffee company Bob & Berts, which is backed by the BGF, is to double its footprint in Scotland by the end of the year by opening three sites. The business will add outlets in Kirkcaldy, Ayr and Stirling to its venues in Falkirk, Dunfermline and Dumfries. Bob & Berts is on track to deliver turnover of £8m and is looking at other market towns for further openings. The company raised £2m of patient capital from BGF in August 2017 to fund its entry into Scotland and support growth in Northern Ireland, where it was founded in 2013. Bob & Berts founder Colin McClean told Insider: “We are pleased with the performance of our stores in Scotland, which has reinforced our belief there is demand for high-quality, independent food and coffee shops in traditional high-street settings. Our aim has always been to offer something different to the large coffee chains – in terms of branding, food selection and interior design. We look forward to taking this into Kirkcaldy, Ayr and Stirling in 2019.” BGF investor and Bob & Berts board member Gemma Hamilton said: “Bob & Berts has developed a strong identity and quality offering for its growing customer base, setting itself apart in a competitive market. The expansion of the business across Northern Ireland and Scotland is testament to the culture and philosophy that’s winning over high-street customers.” As previously reported, Bob & Berts aims to have 20 outlets across Scotland by 2022, employing about 400 people.
MOD Pizza launches rewards app: MOD Pizza, the Sir Charles Dunstone-backed concept, has launched a rewards app featuring a click-and-collect function. Customers receive a stamp for every pizza or salad purchased, with six stamps rewarded by a free side and the next six stacking up to earn a free pizza. Customers can also locate their nearest MOD restaurant and book a table, while users receive a free soft drink for every friend they refer to the app. Last month, MOD Pizza opened its tenth UK site, in Coventry, while it is understood the company has funding in place to open ten further sites this year. Founded in 2008 by husband and wife Scott and Ally Svenson in Seattle, there are now more than 300 MOD restaurants in the US and UK.
Kashmiri Aroma gets go-ahead for fifth site, in former Bradford pub: Yorkshire-based curry house brand Kashmiri Aroma has been given the go-ahead to open a fifth site in the county, in a former Bradford pub. The company has been granted permission by the city council to convert The Turf, which sits at the junction of Keighley Road and Emm Lane. Managing director Tariq Mahmood said refurbishment work would now take place with hopes the restaurant will open in June or July. He told the Telegraph & Argus: “We have been looking to open a restaurant in Bradford for a long time. We want to be part of the curry capital.” The Turf opened in 1894 and underwent a £150,000 refurbishment in 2012, when it was owned by Wear Inns. Kashmiri Aroma has restaurants in Ilkley, Halifax, Wakefield and Sheffield.
CH&Co secures new private equity backing: Independent caterer CH&Co has secured investment from a new private equity backer to help fund strategic mergers and acquisitions. Equistone Partners Europe has invested in CH&Co, which was originally backed by MML Capital Partners in 2015. CH&Co will continue to be led by chief executive Bill Toner and its management team, who together retain a material shareholding in the company. MML, which said it had achieved a three times return on its investment, backed Toner and his team to merge the businesses of HCM and CH&Co. The company went on to complete further mergers and acquisitions including Brookwood Partnership, Harbour & Jones and Concerto Group. Ed Baker, who will join the board on behalf of Equistone Partners Europe alongside Dominic Geer, told Insider Media CH&Co was “well positioned to continue its impressive expansion”. Toner added the Equistone investment would provide CH&Co with the “financial support to fund further strategic mergers and acquisitions of the type we have successfully used to date to grow the business and diversify our customer base”. Geer, Baker and Tristan Manuel led the investment on behalf of Equistone, which was advised on the transaction by Houlihan Lokey. Chris Robinson, of Canaccord Genuity, and Edward Stead, of Pinsent Mason, advised CH&Co’s shareholders.
Plant-based pizza concept to launch in Chelsea: A plant-based pizza concept is to launch in Chelsea, south west London. Humble Pizza founder Navid Mirtorabi has agreed a deal with Sloane Stanley for a site in King’s Road. The 1,200 square foot venue will have space for 21 covers with its design a contemporary take on the classic Italian cafe that became iconic in London’s West End in the 1950s and 1960s. The interior pairs pink Formica with cherry wood details, mosaic flooring and mid-century lighting and accessories. Mirtorabi said: “Humble Pizza presents a creative plant-based modern menu focused around pizza topped with fresh flavours. The King’s Road location plays to the brand’s strengths of being young and fashionable.” Sloane Stanley property director Hannah Grievson added: “Humble Pizza is a trend-led concept providing a new experience and another layer of diversity for King’s Road.” Savills and Miles Commercial represented Sloane Stanley. Humble Pizza represented itself.
No1 Lounges brings Clubrooms brand to London Luton: No1 Lounges, which operates pay-on-entry lounges at airports across the UK, is to open its 12th site and first at London Luton. The lounge will open in July under its Clubrooms brand next to the main departure area. No1 Lounges also operates at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh airports. Its arrival at Luton comes at a time of rapid expansion for the company, which recently opened lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. The addition of Clubrooms is part of London Luton’s £160m transformation, which has focused on upgrading its terminal including an expanded retail and dining space featuring 48 new shops and restaurants. No1 Lounges founder and chief executive Phil Cameron said: “We are excited to launch at Luton airport and can think of no better way to introduce the No1 experience to its passengers than with our premium Clubrooms brand.” Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer at London Luton airport, added: “In addition to our Aspire executive lounge, Clubrooms will deliver a luxurious pre-flight experience.”
Come Dine With Me winner launches debut restaurant, in Shoreditch: Come Dine With Me winner Craig McAlpine has launched his debut restaurant, in Shoreditch, east London. McAlpine’s victory in the Channel 4 show’s first series in 2005 saw him change careers to become a private chef and launch his own catering business. Now he has opened Ember in Brick Lane offering small plates cooked over open embers following more recent posts as head chef at The Yacht London on Victoria embankment and consultant executive chef at Hotel Indigo in Leicester Square. The 36-cover restaurant’s menu is split into earth, land and sea sections, with dishes including ember-baked celeriac hummus with olive oil, hazelnuts and kale, and whisky-cured, hot-smoked salmon with celeriac and green apple remoulade. McAlpine celebrates his roots through a drinks list focusing on single malt whisky and South African wine.
Signature Living buys out Liverpool hotel investors as it moves away from fractional sales model: Aparthotels developer and operator Signature Living has used capital to buy out overseas investors in its James Street hotel in Liverpool. Signature Living relied on the common fractional sales model to acquire the hotel in 2014, which saw it sell individual rooms to investors. Now, with the 63-bedroom hotel a commercial success, the company has activated a five-year buy-back option to secure sole control of the asset. A recent independent valuation estimated the property’s worth at more than £16m. Signature Living chairman Lawrence Kenwright told The Business Desk: “Our business growth and success in recent years has allowed us to repay and offer significant returns to investors. This is a landmark moment for Signature Living and we are now firmly focused on our national expansion with ongoing hotels in Belfast, Manchester, Preston, Cardiff and Bristol.” Signature Living is looking to use a similar strategy to buy out the remaining investors across its property portfolio, including Liverpool hotels Arthouse and the Shankly as well as Cardiff’s Coal Exchange.
Craft beer events company We Are Beer passes halfway mark in £300,000 crowdfunding campaign: Craft beer events company We Are Beer has passed the halfway mark in its £300,000 campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering 11.32% equity in return for investment, which gives the company a pre-money valuation of £2.35m. So far, 161 investors have pledged £155,130 with 16 days remaining. We Are Beer operates craft beer festivals in London, Bristol and Edinburgh, with a fourth launching in Birmingham in July. The company aims to use funds to launch Bigfoot – a national festival where “music meets craft beer and world-class food”. Last year, We Are Beer’s events attracted more than 16,000 visitors, a 50% year-on-year growth since 2016, while the company saw turnover of £781,000 and Ebitda of £102,000 in 2018. The company said it had also seen 4.9 times growth in brand partnership revenue between 2016 and 2018. The pitch states: “We are looking to accelerate the growth of our audience and brand by launching Bigfoot – the first national camping festival to show equal love for live music, artisan beer and world-class food. We are raising £300,000 to get this festival off the ground, book the headline music acts and secure our location for 2020. Once in overfunding, we’ll be able to expand our growth plans for our current events as well as the new Beer Central festival in Birmingham, which will tap into the burgeoning Midlands beer scene.”
Former Tom Aikens chef launches bar restaurant in Victoria: Chris Zachwieja, who worked for Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, has launched bar restaurant The Soak in Victoria. The venue has opened at the Grosvenor Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road focusing on fermentation, soaking, steeping and brining – for cocktails as well as food. Dishes include Sussex peas with Yorkshire sheep yogurt and grelot onion, and Scottish ox cheek bourguignon with mushroom, lovage oil and potato. The venue also hosts acoustic and DJ sets and has a licence until 2am. Zachwieja told Hot Dinners: “The menu is inspired by the trend for pickled and fermented foods and my love for these techniques and intense flavours.”
Welsh government invests £2m in Newport hotel and rooftop restaurant project:The Welsh government is to invest £2m in a four-star hotel project for Newport, which is due to open this summer. The package is a mix of grant and loan funding from Visit Wales and the Welsh government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment programme, which will provide £100m of capital support for regeneration projects across Wales in three years. Newport City Council has worked with Garrison Barclay, which has taken a long lease on the Chartist Tower. Work is under way to transform the building into a four-star Mercure-branded hotel with 154 bedrooms, gym, sauna, breakfast room and rooftop restaurant. The development will include retail, leisure and office space, with the rooftop restaurant on the 15th floor. Cllr Debbie Wilcox told Insider Media: “We have been working closely with Garrison Barclay to help this exciting project come to fruition.”
Freehold of Waterloo hotel hits market: The freehold of the Days Hotel London-Waterloo has been put up for sale. Christie & Co has been instructed to market the property in Zone 1 on behalf of LPA receiver Smith & Williamson. The hotel currently operates under a Days Hotel franchise agreement and comprises 162 en-suite bedrooms. Jeremy Jones, head of brokerage – hotels at Christie & Co, said: “The Days Hotel London-Waterloo represents a rare opportunity to acquire a substantial freehold hotel in the heart of London with significant repositioning and redevelopment potential. London’s global investor appeal remains as strong as ever in the hospitality space. The opportunity to acquire a freehold hotel with a variety of asset management opportunities will appeal to a range of buyers.”