Whiteside – delivery channel is our primary way into trading in the evening: Roger Whiteside, chief executive of Greggs, has said the business is going to use the delivery channel as its primary way into trading in the evening. Speaking after the group’s interim results, Whiteside said he expected delivery would keep growing as more people view it as the most convenient channel. He said: “Combining delivery with walk-in customers makes addressing that part of the day much more viable for us more quickly. Pre-ordering is a market trend we believe will support, in particular, our ambition to grow sales in the evening daypart, a segment of the market where we are currently underrepresented. Delivery will also have a role to play here, giving customers convenient access to Greggs’ products wherever they are throughout the day.” Whiteside said expanding delivery means more shop capacity will be needed and more product innovation. He said the business was developing new offers in the delivery channel including sharing-box combinations and additional pizza toppings. Greggs, which operates more than 2,100 stores nationwide, now has Just Eat available across 837 stores. Revenues from company-run stores hit £488.3m in the first half. It said home delivery made up 8.5% of sales from company-managed shops in the first six months of the year, meaning home delivery accounted for £41.5m. Greggs sees scope for at least 3,000 UK sites. It expects about 100 net openings in 2021, creating 500 new jobs in the second half of the year. Commenting on the group’s update, Patrick Higgins, food and beverage analyst at Goodbody, said: “Greggs has delivered an impressive set of first half of the year results, significantly aided by the recovery in sales as the first half saw the easing of covid-19 restrictions. With revenues of £546m, the group delivered an 80% growth rate year-on-year, returning to pre-pandemic growth levels previously seen in 2019. This strong recovery in revenues was also boosted by a robust cash-flow performance, enabling the reintroduction of an interim dividend higher than before the crisis. Looking forward, we predict Greggs will continue to perform well, positioned as a sector leader among its peers, and today’s results are a sign of positive things to come for the rest of the food & beverage industry.”
Wetherspoon to open Dublin pub this month, largest investment in company history: JD Wetherspoon is opening its new pub and hotel in Dublin on Monday, 16 August. The company has invested €27.4m developing the site in Camden Street Upper and Lower, and a further €6m on the purchase of the property. A total of 200 full and part-time staff will be employed at the pub and 89-bedroom hotel, named Keavan’s Port. It is the single largest investment made by Wetherspoon in its 41-year history. The pub will be managed by Filip Mordak, who has worked for Wetherspoon since 2007, and has previously managed two Wetherspoon pubs in the Republic of Ireland – The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire and The Silver Penny in Dublin. Wetherspoon has developed a series of eight Georgian townhouses (seven of which are protected), a chapel and added a substantial modern extension featuring a 12-metre-high glazed atrium. The pub offers 9,000 square foot of customer space over two floors plus a 3,800 square foot garden across two enclosed courtyards. The 89 bedrooms will all feature an en-suite bathroom. Wetherspoon’s chief executive John Hutson said: “We are delighted to have completed the development of Keavan’s Port. We believe the pub and hotel will be a great asset to Dublin and will hopefully act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the city.”
Soho Coffee Co to expand online presence: Soho Coffee Co, the privately owned coffee company led by Penny Manuel, is expanding its online retail business following a successful launch in October 2020. The company has further developed its online coffee range, with three new single origin guest coffees, a subscription service, and an extensive hardware range. The online shop will showcase Soho’s triple-certified Signature Roast coffee, Signature Decaf and five single-origin guest coffees. The site has been developed to give customers an immersive coffee experience, with extensive tasting notes, recommended brewing guides, full details of the coffee farmer co-operatives the company works with and roasting videos. All the coffees will be available as part of Soho’s new subscription offering, where customers can select either a Signature or Discovery subscription, being in full control of the frequency and quantum of their delivery. A spokesman said: “These new purchase channels add an extra dimension to the Soho brand, progressing Soho from brick and mortar stores, supporting our vision of making Soho a way of life for a broader customer base.”
Thwaites buys iconic Yorkshire Dales Inn, marks return of growth strategy: Daniel Thwaites has bought The Red Lion & Manor House, in Burnsall, on the banks of the River Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The property comprises a busy riverside pub and function business with 14 bedrooms and a large riverside garden – there are a further 11 bedrooms in the adjoining Manor House and five riverside holiday cottages with two bedrooms each. The Red Lion & Manor House will join Thwaites’ growing collection of inns and hotels – taking the collection to 22 properties. The Red Lion & Manor House has been in the Greyshon family’s ownership for the past 30 years and it is now stepping back from the business. Richard Bailey, executive chairman of Daniel Thwaites, said: “The Red Lion & Manor House is an iconic property that oozes history and charm. Located in a sensational position on the banks of the River Wharfe, close to the Dales attractions of Bolton Abbey, Skipton and Grassington, it is set on the Dales Way in the stunning rural surroundings of Wharfedale. The Greyshon family has done a wonderful job over the years of establishing The Red Lion’s excellent reputation and building a very strong business. We are proud they have chosen us to take the property forward and build on its success. It fits perfectly with our growing collection of inns and hotels and, from October, will join our other properties in the area The Lister Arms in Malham and The Golden Lion in Settle. This addition starts to draw a line under the past year and marks the return of Thwaites to its growth strategy. We continue to look at further additions to our business and will make further acquisitions of pubs, hotels and inns as suitable properties come up.”
Revolution pick up environmental award: Revolution Bars Group has been awarded the Gold Standard for Environmental Best Practice by The Green Organisation, the international environmental group dedicated to rewarding and promoting environmental best practice globally. The award, which was announced on 19 July this year, represents a major milestone for Revolution Bars Group in its vision to become the UK’s first bar group to achieve Net Zero by 2030. The award is in recognition of Revolution Bars Group’s achievement in significantly reducing its carbon footprint. Since 2017, Revolution Bars Group has delivered a 19% reduction in energy usage – equivalent to a total comparative saving of 4.9 million kWh or a saving of 1,430 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of 3.6 million miles driven by a normal passenger vehicle. In partnership with Net Zero consultancy, Energise, the energy savings were achieved across both Scope 1 and 2 emissions – or the Purchased Energy emissions, which are under the organisation’s control – and notably include the move to a certified green energy provider and the retrofitting of new, energy efficient lighting and control technologies to minimise energy consumption. “Our commitment to environmental best practice is central to our long-term business strategy and this award validates our commitment to sustainable practices,” said Rob Pitcher, chief executive Revolution Bars Group. “There is no ‘planet B’ and, at Revolution Bars Group, we are 100% committed to doing our bit to ensure we minimise our impact on the environment and achieve Net Zero before 2030.”
Fatt Pundit gears up to open second site: Indo-Chinese concept Fatt Pundit has confirmed it will open its second site in London later this month, in Covent Garden. The company, which opened its debut site in Soho’s Berwick Street in 2019, will open on the former Polpo site in Maiden Lane. Owned by Huzefa and Hamza Sajawal, two brothers from Mumbai, Fatt Pundit serves Hakka food. Hakka is an Indo-Chinese combination that melds traditional Chinese ingredients and techniques such as wok cooking with bold Indian flavours. This culinary fusion originated in Kolkata when the Hakka people migrated from the Chinese province of Canton to India. The new restaurant on Maiden Lane will be an evolution of the original Soho site, bringing “fresh dishes and a new beverage concept to the forefront, starring signature cocktails inspired by the flavours and spices of India and China, and an unusual wine list that celebrates small, organic producers from all corners of the world”. Fatt Pundit Covent Garden will be spread over two floors and boast two bar areas. Co-founder Huzefa Sajawal said: “We’re excited to be opening our second Fatt Pundit in London’s buzzy West End. It has been a rocky year for us all in hospitality, but we have been overwhelmed by the continued support from our community and are excited to be moving forward once again. In the UK, we believe Indo-Chinese culture and cuisine is still relatively untapped. We are incredibly grateful for everyone who has dined with us in Soho over the years and shared the story of Fatt Pundit and, through the launch of our second restaurant, we hope to be able to introduce even more people to the rich culture and history, the fantastic flavours and the delicious dishes on offer. We’ve been working hard to develop some exciting new dishes and have revamped our drinks menu entirely. We can’t wait to show everything we’ve been working on, and to continue to shine a light on Indo-Chinese cuisine.” Tom Crosthwaite at CDG Leisure acted on behalf of Fatt Pundit.
Caring eyes new Manchester opening: Serial sector investor Richard Caring is planning to open a further site in Manchester, following the success of his Ivy Asia concept in the city. As revealed by Propel last month, Caring is understood to be in talks to take the Armani Shop space above Australasia in Manchester’s Spinningfields Square. The 15,000 square foot store closes on 15 August. Local reports suggest the space is to become a second site for Sexy Fish, the high-end restaurant concept Caring debuted in Mayfair in 2015. However, Propel understands if Caring is successful in securing the site, he may launch a new concept on the site, one with a Greek influence has been mooted. Earlier this summer, Caprice Holdings, which is backed by Caring, opened its first international site. The company launched Nōema, a restaurant and bar, on the Greek island of Mykonos. Based in Panachra, Nōema, which is the Greek word for meaning or substance, features a 107-cover restaurant, outdoor bar, space for intimate live music sets, an indoor salon for after-dark DJ sets, an enclosed patio and a stand-alone concept store. Earlier this week, Caring confirmed he is to take on the former Revolution site in Richmond to open a second site for his Scott’s concept. As Propel revealed in May, Caring has taken on the site Whittaker Avenue for a Scott’s on the River concept he has been toying with for a while.
Tipjar hits second crowdfunding campaign target: Tipjar, the peer-to-peer tipping and tip-sharing concept, has passed its second crowdfunding campaign of £400,000 on Crowdcube, by hitting £445,517 with 32 days left, as it plans further expansion in the US. The business, which was founded by James Brown of BrewDog, is backed by Alex Moore of Rosa’s, Gary Dolman of Monzo and Simon Bocca, formerly of Fourth. The pre-money enterprise value for investment is £11m so the sum of £400,000 is worth 3.89% of the company’s equity. Since its last raise, only 11 months ago, the company said it had more than doubled their initial investors’ share price. Tipjar has now launched in more than 1,650 venues across four countries, and plans to use the funds raised to further expand into the US market where it has recently partnered with Visa to help workers who are earning less as cash payments decline. The company said that since its first raise last year, it had “received clearance from HMRC defining digital tips equivalent to cash, launched in the US with a partnership with Visa, launched in the EU, launched a dedicated tipping device ‘Tap To Tip’ and became the first tipping solution to use open banking”.
Swallow Street flagship venue of Argentine steak brand Gaucho defies West End slump: In the past 12 weeks’ trading, since being able to open indoors on 17 May, Gaucho Piccadilly has enjoyed a growth in sales growth of 22% versus the same period in 2019. This compares against a nationwide rise of 6% for the same period, according to the CGA Peach Restaurant tracker, and sits amid depressed sales, mass closure and restaurants struggling to perform in London’s West End. Gaucho chief executive Martin Williams said: “On re-joining Gaucho, I brought with me the best talent our sector had to offer in order to evolve Gaucho into the successful restaurant you see today. This includes the overall brand, its reach, the look and feel of the restaurants, the overall customer journey, and the food and drink offering. This included bringing on board Andrew Maidment (former head of Wines of Argentina) to revolutionise our wine list, and, most importantly, chef Mike Reid to transform and re-define our food menu. Mike has diversified the menu greatly by creating a move in the tone from traditional Argentine to an offering that reflects modern Latin America while ensuring the quality of the entire menu matches the ‘world-class’ level of our steaks. As a result, we have seen a demographic shift to include a young, fashionable, female demographic while simultaneously increasing the amount of traditional ‘steak afficionados’ who visit our venues. Our outstanding performance in Central London reflects our popularity and is a result of Mike and the full team’s hard work.”
Firepit Bar & Grill opens fourth site, plans further expansion: North West-based concept Firepit Bar & Grill has opened its fourth site, and plans further expansion in the region. The company, which was founded by Andrew Novak in 2014, has opened its latest site in Blackburn’s One Cathedral Square. It also operates sites in Rawtenstall, Southport and St Annes. Its signature dish is steak-on-a-stone, cooked at the table on a 350-degree lava rock, which holds its temperature to ensure it is done exactly to the customer’s liking. Novak told the Lancashire Telegraph he was eyeing up opening new restaurants in Preston, Lancaster and Warrington. Already employing 130 people in its existing four outlets, the chain hopes to take on another 100 staff as it expands. Novak said: “The Cathedral Quarter was an ideal location to open a restaurant in Blackburn. This area has been transformed following investment and, when a suitable location became available, we acted quickly to grab it. The Blackburn restaurant has had a great start to business since opening and we look forward to a busy summer. I am now keen to secure additional locations across the region to expand the business, with my sights set on opening restaurants in Preston, Lancaster and Warrington.”
The Londoner reveals six hospitality concepts: The Londoner, the world’s first super boutique hotel, which will open in Leicester Square in September, is set to unveil six unique hospitality offerings. Concepts will include Whitcomb’s (a day-to-night brasserie and bar), The Stage (a champagne-centred breakfast, tea and caviar spot), The Residence (a private club and whisky bar for residents only), Refuel (healthy snacks site, including post-workout smoothies), 8 at The Londoner (world-class Japanese rooftop dining and cocktails) and Joshua’s Tavern (neighbourhood pub and gin bar). Spread across 16 floors, the luxury urban resort will offer “an exclusive, cosmopolitan playground that unites the aristocrat and the libertine with a range of day-to-night experiences”. The Londoner’s food and beverage concepts have been created by Amir Jati, creative director at Edwardian Hotels London, and The Londoner’s executive chefs Matt Downes, Shailesh Deshmukh and Neil Armstrong.
Arc Inspirations confirms two new openings, includes first bar in Birmingham: Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of a number of fast-growing brands, has confirmed a brace of new openings, including its first venture into a new city. The Martin Wolstencroft-led business, which operates 17 venues – predominantly under its three growth brands, Banyan, BOX and Manahatta – will introduce its Manahatta brand to Birmingham, its first venue in the Midlands, in September, followed by a BOX site in Deansgate, Manchester, in October. Manahatta Birmingham will be located on Temple Street and will be the seventh site for the brand, which has venues in Leeds, Manchester, York and Harrogate. The New York-themed bar will boast two deluxe private party rooms available for hire – one including a swing. The menu features new dishes and it will also deliver super-size sharer cocktails and fizz magnums, to bring the spirit of the Big Apple to Birmingham. BOX will take an 8,000 square foot site in Deansgate and will be spread across two floors, featuring an outdoor terrace. The ground floor boasts an island bar, surrounded by 20 TV screens. The upstairs bar has plush velvet booths. It will also house two 21-foot maple wood European shuffleboard tables. Wolstencroft said: “We’re thrilled to be coming to a new city and are confident the Manahatta brand will be a popular addition to the Birmingham bar scene. BOX is currently well established in Leeds and the surrounding area, and Manchester has been a key target for some time now. We feel this is the right time to bring the brand to the city.”
Seven Bro7hers Brewery predicts 550% sales growth at its new airport pub, set to open further sites: Manchester-based Seven Bro7hers Brewery has forecast sales growth of almost 550% by 2023 after opening its Amber Alehouse at Manchester Airport. The ten-year deal with airport restaurant and bar operator HMSHost International, which is worth £30m, gives HMSHost exclusive rights to host Seven Bro7hers’ range of beers at the Terminal Two bar. Seven Bro7hers chief executive Keith McAvoy told Business Live: “Based on footfall predictions for the next three years, we anticipate we will need to more than triple our current production to just to meet the demand of the Amber Alehouse in Manchester’s Terminal Two. This year is a moment for Seven Bro7hers: lucrative commercial deals, a growing beer house portfolio and thriving direct-to-consumer web shop makes our business one of the faster growing craft breweries in the UK.” Seven Bro7hers Brewery is expanding its brewery site by taking on a second warehouse and also wants to open in various new UK locations to add to its existing sites in Middlewood Locks, Ancoats and its Salford taproom. A Liverpool beer house will open in November, and a further venue in Leeds is planned for early 2022. Sites are planned for Sheffield, Nottingham and Birmingham towards the end of 2023. The company was founded in 2014 by McAvoy brothers, Guy, Keith, Luke, Daniel, Nathan, Kit and Greg, inspired by their dad’s home-brewing in their cellar at home.
Coffee shop operator to open Italian-inspired restaurant in east London:Entrepreneur Gianluca Colini, who operates coffee shop Unity Cafe in Leytonstone, will launch Amalfi Coast-inspired restaurant Bocca Bocca on Friday (6 August). Bocca Bocca will launch on Leystonstone High Street with a menu of antipasti and pizza, with pasta being added later this summer, according to Hot Dinners. Starters will include small plates like arancini, bruschetta and homemade focaccia. Jemma Londt-James, former manager of Joy at Portobello, will be in charge at the east London restaurant. Customers can expect a seasonally changing menu as the venue will be working with a mix of hyper-local producers and top Italian suppliers. Pizzas are split into red, white and green bases and all will have the option of vegan “cheese”. The opening pizza menu includes: Vesuvio – semi-dried yellow tomatoes, fior di latte, Spirilinga nduja, olive oil and fresh basil; Lagotto Funghi – buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, British chestnut mushrooms, truffle oil and fresh basil; and Bocca Bocca – pistachio paste, fior di latte, buffalo mozzarella, mortadella, crushed pistachios, olive oil and fresh basil. A concise wine list features chardonnay from Slovenia and £6 glasses of prosecco. There will be Italian cocktails, beers and soft drinks. An alfresco dining area is expected to be added shortly.