McDonald’s to begin reopening UK and Ireland restaurants for walk-in takeaway with new safety measures: McDonald’s is set to reopen the majority of its UK and Ireland restaurants for walk-in takeaway from Monday, 22 February. The company said it would follow a trial this week at a “small number” of sites with the introduction of new safety measures. McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “A month ago we made the voluntary decision to temporarily close walk-in takeaway while we reviewed our safety measures to ensure they reflect the evolving nature of the covid-19 pandemic. We identified a small number of changes to further enhance our procedures, and we are currently in the process of rolling these out to restaurants. New safety measures being introduced include visors as well as face coverings for customer facing employees, revised guidance and processes for our couriers to support their safe working and enhanced processes for managing customer and courier flow in restaurants. The well-being of our people, as well as our suppliers, couriers and our customers remains our top priority, and we are confident the new processes in place will further enhance our already robust safety measures.” Due to government restrictions, the company is unable to reopen its Scottish restaurants for takeaway.
Newmark family eyes former Dinerama site: The owner of Beach Blanket Babylon, the bar and restaurant concept, is believed to be looking to take on the former Dinerama site in London’s Shoreditch, Propel has learned. Robert Newmark, who owns Beach Blanket Babylon, which still has a site in Notting Hill, is planning to take over the site for a so far unnamed project. It is thought Newark’s son Brett has applied for a licence for the site. In October, Jonathan Downey instructed restructuring advisors to liquidate the company that operated his four street food businesses. Trading as Street Feast, the food markets came under parent company London Union, and included Dinerama, Hawker House, Giant Robot and Model Market. A pioneer of the street food market and bar model in the capital, Dinerama in Shoreditch had been described by Downey as “the best business I’ve ever been involved with”. Like many across the industry, Downey had been unable to reach an agreement for reduced rent with the landlord of the site.
Honest Burgers to open in St Albans: Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers will further add to its growing regional presence with an opening in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The company is to take on the former Carluccio’s site in the city’s Christopher Place shopping centre. Propel understands Honest Burgers will operate the site initially as a pop-up after taking a short-term lease on the unit. Last month, the circa 40-strong brand opened a new site in London, at St Katharine Docks, which at present is operating for delivery only.
Boxpark promotes McLaughlin to COO: Boxpark, the Roger Wade-led business, has promoted Ben McLaughlin to chief operating officer, after the recent departure of David Gough, Propel has learned. Previously at Stonegate Pub Company, McLaughlin joined Boxpark as operations manager in January 2018. Boxpark said over the course of three years, McLaughlin has “demonstrated his ability to lead the company’s strategy and oversee all commercial and operational aspects of the business”. The company said his promotion comes as it concentrates on its growth and the development of new sibling concept Boxhall. Gough, the former operations director at Fuller’s brand The Stable, joined Boxpark last summer to oversee all commercial aspects of the business, enhance the customer experience, and focus on training and employee development. On the promotion of McLaughlin, Wade said: “As covid-19 continues to impact the hospitality industry, we can only hope to remain positive and use this time to focus on our future plans. I am delighted to confirm Ben McLaughlin’s new position as chief operating officer – he is an extremely valued member of the team and has brought fantastic insights into the business since joining three years ago. I have no doubt he will continue to deliver great results at Boxpark as we evolve.”
Tap & Tandoor founders launch Japanese fried chicken concept: The husband-and-wife team behind Indian craft beer pub concept Tap & Tandoor has launched Karaage, a new Japanese fried chicken venture, Propel has learned. Launched in Woodbridge Road, Moseley, the new concept from Ajay and Shivani Kenth is currently available for delivery and takeaway, and offers takoyaki, samurai wings, steamed rice and Japanese fried chicken. The company plans to open a second site under the new concept, and is believed to be in advanced negotiations to take the former Valerie Café site in Resorts World, Birmingham, with the unit being on the market through Colliers International. The Kenths operate two sites under their Tap & Tandoor concept, which offers craft beer and Indian food, in Solihull and Peterborough. They also operate the street food and cocktail bar Zindiya in Moseley.
Fusion fast-food business Wrapchic secures Canterbury site: Fusion fast-food chain Wrapchic is to open a new site in Canterbury, complete with new branding. The company will open in The Parade in the cathedral city, its ninth site in the UK. The business, which also operates two sites in Dubai, said the site will feature new branding as part of the “ongoing evolution of the company’s brand”. It said: “The previously black and white branding has been injected with a pop of colours that is visible on the brand’s digital presence and with the launch of the new store can be seen in its physical assets as well. A newly introduced and refreshed menu is indicative of the dynamic future ahead for Wrapchic.” The company was launched in Birmingham by Mahesh Raikar in 2012. He said: “Our concept is unique in the quick serve food sector and brings something new and fresh to the consumer. Our existing outlets are doing extremely well in terms of footfall and profitability. The public have really taken to the concept of healthy, fresh, tasty, Indian food served in a burrito.”
28°-50° secures former Byron in Chelsea for third site: 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen, the Richard Green and Emilliano Isufi-led concept, will open its third site in London later this spring, after securing a site in Chelsea. The business, which already owns sites in Marylebone and Covent Garden, has secured the former Byron site in the King’s Road, as part of plans for further expansion in the capital later in the year. The new 80-cover wine bar and kitchen is spread over ground and lower ground floors, complete with vaults on the lower ground floor, which 28°-50° hopes to convert to private dining rooms. There will be a countertop bar seating up to 12 guests, plus a small private terrace opening on to a courtyard on the ground floor. Green, founder and owner of parent company Rivera Restaurants & Luxury, said: “We’re delighted to be coming to Chelsea and can’t wait to open the moment we can do so safely. Many of our guests in Marylebone and Covent Garden live in Chelsea so we’re delighted to bring the 28º-50º experience a little closer to home for some of them. We’re currently putting the team together and are very excited to welcome many new faces to our 28-50 family.” Savills and Miles Commercial represented landlord Sloane Stanley. Restaurant Property represented 28º-50º Wine Bar & Kitchen.
Tomahawk Steakhouse launches two virtual delivery brands in London:Tomahawk Steakhouse, the company led by north east-based multi-site operator Howard Eggleston, has launched two virtual delivery brands through its site in London’s Hoxton. Operating out of Jamie Oliver’s former Fifteen restaurant site, the group now offers the delivery brands ParmoHub and Sunday Lunch Club. ParmoHub is dedicated to the Teesside classic parmo – flattened breadcrumbed chicken breast topped with béchamel and mature cheddar, served with wagyu beef dripping chips, house salad and garlic mayo. Sunday Lunch Club includes dishes such as roasted chicken and rolled breast of lamb, plus a selection of desserts. Both brands are available through Deliveroo. Last week, the company acquired an 11th site for its Tomahawk Steakhouse brand – and first in the north west. It secured the former Bistrot Pierre unit in Stockton Heath, Cheshire. The property in London Road is undergoing refurbishment ahead of a proposed opening in May.
Jolene Bakeries to open in Islington and Shoreditch: Jeremie Cometto and David Gingell are set to open two new sites this year for their Jolene Bakery concept. The first will be in the next few weeks, in Islington’s Colebrooke Row. The next will be in the summer, in Shoreditch in Redchurch Street. Both are “bakery satellites” to their Big Jo bakery in the capital – with the intention of providing more space to sell baked goods made from the raw materials supplied by farms that subscribe to “a sustainable and soil positive regenerative system”. Cometto and Gingell are also launching an all-electric Jolene mobile truck that will deliver freshly baked goods on a daily basis, reports Hot Dinners. The duo are also behind London restaurants Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene as well as Fitzroy in Cornwall.
City Pantry appoints new managing director: City Pantry, the business-to-business catering market place owned by Just Eat, has appointed Matt Ephgrave as its new managing director. Ephgrave was previously the chief operating officer of Festicket, the world’s largest festival travel platform. In the new role, Ephgrave will be focusing on “providing businesses with a forward thinking approach for their employees’ food and well-being”. He will also focus on driving commercial growth, working closely with City Pantry’s commercial team to ensure it “continues to be the leader within the corporate catering market”. Since the beginning of lockdown, City Pantry has focused on its “Pantry Packages”, an at-home service that enables companies to deliver food and gifts directly to their employees across the UK. Ephgrave said “The past 12 months has drastically altered our view of office culture and it has been a real challenge to maintain this while we work at home. I’m really excited to be joining a team that has done so much to help companies maintain this during this difficult time – nothing brings people together more than food! The future of the office is still uncertain, but I’m looking forward to working with our clients to support them as they transition back, whether that’s through a hybrid office or a fully remote set up.”