Comptoir Group chief financial officer resigns: Comptoir Group, the owner and/or operator of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has announced chief financial officer Mark Carrick has resigned. Carrick will remain with the company until the end of October “to ensure an orderly handover of his role and responsibilities”. Comptoir Group said the board has begun a process to identify a successor and a further announcement would be made in due course. Last week, the company announced trading for the 26-weeks to 30 June 2019 “was in line with management expectations and ahead of the same period in 2018”. It operates 25 managed restaurants and four franchise sites.
Koh Thai appoints Sykes as group COO: Koh Thai, the tapas chain, has appointed Jeremy Sykes, formerly of Wagamama and Boston Tea Party, as its new group chief operating officer, Propel has learned. Sykes, who has been a business consultant for the past three years, spent almost 15 years at Wagamama as a regional director. He also spent just under 18 months as director of operations at Boston Tea Party. He joins up again with former Wagamama chief executive Steve Hill at Koh Thai. Established in 2009 in Bournemouth, Koh Thai currently operates 12 restaurants across Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire. Last year, Buenos Aires Restaurant Holdings, announced a share merger with High Road Restaurants Group BidCo, owner of Koh Thai, to form a multi-branded restaurant group.
Inn Collection Group reveals plans for new-build Sunderland seafront site: The Inn Collection Group, which is backed by Alchemy Partners, has revealed plans for a 40-bedroom new-build inn on Sunderland seafront. The group has agreed terms with the city council’s development company to purchase an unused site for a three-storey venue in Seaburn, with plans expected to go before the authority’s planning committee shortly. The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are delighted to have secured a prime seafront site in Sunderland at an exciting time for the city as it gears up its coastal regeneration plans. Seaside towns and cities are riding high on the renaissance tide across the UK. There is real opportunity and optimism here in Sunderland to create a seaside destination of choice, and we look forward to being a part of the journey.” Sunderland City Council leader Cllr Graeme Miller added: “This additional accommodation will complement the Grand Hotel and Roker Hotel, and will contribute to the vibrant seafront location we know Seaburn can be. We are delighted The Inn Collection Group recognises the vast potential of the area.” The proposed development accompanies new strategic direction from The Inn Collection Group to develop a completely freehold estate as it continues to roll out “buy and build” growth plans, to more than double its ten-strong portfolio of pubs with rooms by 2022. The group will continue to seek out new development opportunities in the Lake District and Yorkshire as well as within its north east England heartland. If given the go-ahead, construction work is expected to start by the end of the year and open by December 2020. The new-build inn is part of a £1.5bn city-wide investment programme that will see the seaside, city centre and residential areas of Sunderland transformed through council-driven development projects.
Leon lines up third US opening: Natural fast food brand Leon has secured its second US site. The company, which is currently on site with its second US opening in New York Avenue, has secured a further site in Washington DC, Propel has learned. The group, which made its debut in the US last year in L Street, has secured a site at 1350 I Street. On its launch in the US, Leon mooted that it would look to open up to 20 more sites within the next three years. The company is further strengthening its presence in London, with a pair of openings, in Wimbledon and on the South Bank over the summer. The company, which last month signed a five-year exclusivity agreement with motorway services operator Roadchef, will open new sites at Southbank Place and in Wimbledon Hill Road. Earlier this year, Propel reported up to 20 new restaurants are planned over its current financial year – more than half of them overseas. In the UK, this will include a restaurant in Leeds.
Admiral Taverns appoints head of property: Admiral Taverns has appointed Andrew Hallam as head of property. Hallam, who has more than 25 years’ industry experience, was previously a director at Hallam Project & Property Consultancy. Prior to that he has held senior positions in the property team at Mitchells & Butlers and more recently led the property team at Tesco, where he was responsible for property development and acquisitions within its hospitality division. Hallam will report to Admiral Taverns property and strategy director Andy Clifford. The company has made a series of recent investments in its property division, underpinning the group’s ambitious growth and investment plans for its estate of circa 800 community pubs. Alongside Hallam these have also included further additions to the group’s surveying team, which saw regional surveyors Sally Sheil and Phil Hoddinott recently join. Clifford said: “Andrew brings with him a great breadth of leisure and consumer retail property expertise, which will be invaluable as we continue to deliver on our ambitious investment programme for our estate, which has seen us invest more than £8m in our last financial year and more than £25m over the past three years.” Hallam added: “Having spent more than ten years working alongside managed pubs and restaurants I’m really looking forward to working in the tenanted sector, helping the team to champion sustainable community pubs and the licensees behind them.”
Soho House set to head to Rome: Membership club Soho House is set to head to Rome. Private investment firm Cain International is to provide a €120m development bond to Italian development firm Barletta Group to support the expansion of the Soho House and Rosewood Hotels brands in the Italian market. The facility has an initial 42-month term, reports Property Funds World. Soho House Rome is to be developed on a site currently owned by Barletta Group in the heart of San Lorenzo. The site will comprise a 32-bedroom hotel, 40 serviced apartments, two restaurants and a Cowshed spa. It is due to be completed in 2020. Soho House is also due to open a site in Milan next year. Barletta Group has also agreed the acquisition of the Palazzo Dona’ Giovannelli, a 14th century residential property, in the Cannaregio district of Venice. This will be converted into a 46-bedroom five-star hotel under a management agreement with Rosewood Hotels. Due to complete in late 2021, this will be the second Rosewood Hotel in Italy.
Greene King disposes of Nottingham pub: Brewer and retailer Greene King has sold The Crown in Nottingham. The pub, located at the junction of Middleton Boulevard, Western Boulevard and Wollaton Road – known locally as Crown Island – has been acquired by a local investment company in a deal brokered by agent Everard Cole. The new owner intends to continue operating the pub and has retained the Greene King tenants. Believed to date to the 1930s, the ground floor of the two-storey property features an open plan trading area, with a large central bar servery, split into various areas and has seating for about 130 people in total. There is accommodation on the first floor and a large beer garden at the front of the building. Everard Cole director Jon Heald said: “The pub courted a tremendous amount of interest and we received numerous offers. Historically, the pub has traded very well and it’s encouraging to see the pub is set to continue and not developed into some alternative use.”
Indian restaurant operator opens third site as he doubles up in Tiverton: Tiverton-based Indian restaurant operator Maroof Ahmed has opened his third site after doubling up in the Devon town. Ahmed has launched Nawab in Bridge Street in a premises formerly occupied by restaurant Ma Karm Thai. He decided to open a second site in Tiverton because his other restaurant – The Ganges in Bampton Street – was “very busy”. He told Devon Live: “It is exciting to have a second location in the town. Nawab offers a more modern Indian menu than The Ganges – seafood and lamb chops for example.” Ahmed also operates the Royal Spice in New Milton, Hampshire.
Tattu reveals further details for forthcoming Edinburgh restaurant: Contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu has revealed further details about its forthcoming Edinburgh site – its fourth to date. Opening in October the 140-cover split-level restaurant will occupy the ground and basement level of the newly refurbished Mint Building in West Register Street. Tattu Edinburgh will pay homage to the relationship between “traditional and contemporary”; complete with a Chinois-style interior that features antique furnishings partnered with polished marble walls and reflective finishes. As well as its signature dishes, the Edinburgh menu will also include a number of exclusive plates, including dedicated tempura and raw sections. Tattu managing director Adam Jones said: “As a cosmopolitan city where ‘traditional meets contemporary’, Edinburgh completely resonates with Tattu and the kind of unique experience we want to create for our diners.” Earlier this month, Propel revealed Tattu has started working with Clearwater International on options that could include bringing in a strategic partner to help it with plans for expansion in the UK and overseas, with the US a possible destination. Tattu currently operates restaurants in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.
Crazy golf operator Caddies gets go-ahead for second site, in Derby: Crazy golf operator Caddies has been given the go-ahead to open its second site, in Derby. The concept was launched in Southend in May last year. Now Caddies has secured permission from Derby City Council to convert the former Sports Direct store in St Peter’s Street, reports Insider Media. A statement submitted to the council on behalf of the applicant said: “The unit is currently vacant with an unappealing and oppressive frontage and the building is unutilised and adds nothing to the vibrancy of the area. The proposal represents a sustainable city centre enterprise that will provide economic investment, job creation and an innovative leisure establishment that attracts a wide and diverse clientele.”
Center Parcs to extend apprenticeship programme: Holiday park operator Center Parcs is extending its apprenticeship programme to have at least 150 apprentices across the business in 2020. It comes as Center Parcs marked its first apprenticeship graduation, which saw 92% of the graduates achieve a distinction or merit. A total of 36 apprentices graduated at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest with a Level 3 team leader apprenticeship, alongside an Institute of Leadership & Management Level 3 diploma in management. A total of 20% of the apprentices have either been promoted, or moved roles as a result of their new skillset. Center Parcs has been working with HIT Training since 2017 to run the Level 3 team leader apprenticeship standard. Center Parcs performance and development manager Tracey Anderson said: “We are so proud to be growing our own talent, and the results of this apprenticeship course speak for themselves. We now have 36 incredible individuals working across the business who can inspire and tutor others with what they have learnt after 18 months of tailor-made training.” HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker added: “We are committed to delivering inspirational training across the hospitality sector and I am excited to announce the partnership with Center Parcs will continue in 2020, with at least 150 apprentices being in place across the business.”
Diageo reveals location of new global headquarters in London: Diageo is moving its global headquarters from London’s Park Royal to Soho, nearly halving the space its 900 employees occupy. The company will move to 16 Great Marlborough Street in spring 2021 when its current lease expires. The business plans to create a “more agile working environment” for its staff in its new city centre headquarters. This will cover 105,000 square foot, compared with its current 200,000 square foot of space. Ahead of Diageo’s move, the building will be completely refurbished with its staff included in the design process. As well as office space, the new building will contain a customer collaboration centre and a “brand experience”. It will also include a retail space open to the public, selling the company’s brands. Diageo chief executive Mairéad Nayager said: “We are excited to be bringing our people together at last under one roof and closer to our consumers. We intend to create a world-leading workspace for them, designed to meet the needs of Diageo today and in the future. Our new headquarters will provide the most inclusive of working environments for all of our people and enable us to retain and attract the best talent in the future.” JLL advised Diageo while the landlord, Lazari Investments, was advised by Knight Frank and CBRE.
Five Guys to open Bromley site next month: Better burger brand Five Guys will open a site in Bromley, south west London, next month. The company will open the venue at a former Argos store in Market Square on Monday, 5 August, reports MyLondon. It is one of a series of openings planned by Five Guys with sites in Cambridge, Plymouth and Worcester among those lined up. The company is also thought to be in negotiations on two more central London sites. Earlier this month, Five Guys JV, the UK joint venture between Sir Charles Dunstone and Five Guys founders Janie and Jerry Murrell and their three sons, reported turnover rose 23% to £149.6m in the year to 28 December 2018.
UK-registered food delivery startup acquires Ukrainian counterpart: Menu Group, a UK-registered food delivery startup operating in Armenia, Georgia, and Belarus, has completed the acquisition of Ukrainian counterpart The deal will see Menu Group enter the Ukrainian market and provides it with access to‘s business operations in the country, which covers 29 cities and more than 1,500 restaurants. Following the acquisition, Menu Group plans to integrate its own logistics system with to‘s. In the next year, Menu Group will deliver food in at least five Ukrainian cities using a hybrid business model, combining a market place and its own delivery chain. First launched in Armenia in 2012, Menu Group has raised $6m from angel and early-stage investors. Additionally, Menu Group is on track to raise $10m towards launching operations in Kazakhstan and other countries in the region.
Everards launches first phase of food, drink and leisure development:Leicestershire-based brewer and retailer Everards has launched the first phase of its food, drink and leisure development. Everards Meadows in Leicester is opposite Fosse Shopping Park and features 70 acres of green space, Rutland Cycling store and a second site for coffee shop Jenno’s. The next phase, which is under way, will see Everards’ new headquarters, brewery and beer hall built along with further retail, food and drink phases. Work is due to complete next summer.
Mowgli gears up for Cardiff and Leicester openings: Indian street food concept Mowgli, which is backed by Foresight Group, is gearing up for two openings. Founder Nisha Katona will open a site in Church Street in Cardiff this week followed by Leicester’s St Martins in mid-August. Mowgli operates two sites in its home city of Liverpool and two in Manchester, alongside restaurants in Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield. Katona is also set to open a venue in Bristol in October after acquiring the PizzaExpress restaurant in Corn Street while an outlet in Preston is also in the pipeline.
Lake District hotel and restaurant goes on market for £1m: A Lake District hotel and restaurant has gone on the market for £1m. Geoff and Debra Armstrong are selling Westlakes Hotel & Restaurant in Gosforth through agent Christie & Co. The property, which occupies a Georgian property built in about 1830, features ten bedrooms as well as a dining room for up to 28 people, including non-residents. There is also a residents’ lounge and bar, dedicated conference room hosting up to 28 delegates, plus outdoor seating for a further 42 people. Debra Armstrong said: “We bought this hotel 14 years ago for a change in lifestyle. The conference room has been an excellent addition to the business and brought a different stream of business during the day, which has worked very well.”
North east-based operators get go-ahead to open second Italian restaurant: North east-based operators Arben and Kushtrim Gegaj have been given the go-ahead to open a second site for their Italian restaurant Due Fratelli. They have been granted a premises licence by Newcastle City Council for the former Orion bingo hall in Westerhope. The building in Stamfordham Road, which was also previously a cinema, will now be converted into a restaurant, reports Chronicle Live. The Gegajs have owned and operated Due Fratelli in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea since 2012.