Vapiano decides to franchise outside of London: Vapiano, the Italian fresh casual dining restaurant group, is looking for entrepreneurial franchise partners as part of its expansion across the UK. The internationally successful group has two restaurants in London and a third opening in Soho in June. It is also in advanced negotiations on a number of sites in the capital. Vapiano is now looking to franchise its restaurants outside London in major cities across the UK. The company’s UK and US managing director Phil Sermon said: “Vapiano operates 141 restaurants worldwide, of which approximately two-thirds are franchised. The model has worked extremely well and we believe now is the time to replicate it across the UK. Our aim is to open many new restaurants in the UK in the coming years and while we aim to concentrate on London, we believe that there are superb franchise opportunities in the rest of the UK. We are looking for hands-on operators who have an excellent knowledge of their local market and the willingness and ability to build up a successful business there.” Vapiano Franchising International CEO Mario C. Bauer added: “Our existing franchisees across the world have enjoyed outstanding success with their individual restaurants. A good example is Sweden, where two franchise partners have made a great success of their eight restaurants. We have worldwide success stories from Sweden to Taiwan and from Switzerland to Australia. We are confident that entrepreneurs in the UK will view a franchise with Vapiano as an excellent opportunity to be part of a successful and growing restaurant group with a worldwide presence.”
Former Ha! Ha! Bar and Grill operations director to launch new bar concept at Punch pub: Mick Horan, the former operations director of Ha! Ha! Bar & Grill and the Living Room chain, is to launch a new bar concept called The Study Room at a Punch Taverns pub in a £450,000 co-investment. The partnership is converting The Nag’s Head in Lancaster to the new brand. Horan said: “This is a new venture for me and I wanted to work with Punch Taverns and use my background in the industry as a platform to move this site forward and create a new brand where our quirky personality can shine through. Considering the site’s great location, I can see the potential to maximise on this and create an offer where the provenance of products is important. There will be major work conducted throughout the bar to create a more upmarket venue with stylish furnishings and a premium service, whilst remaining good value and student-friendly. We will be introducing an exciting range of craft beers, cocktails and wines and our food menu will made fresh using local suppliers.” Refurbishment work at the venue will last six weeks and it is expected to reopen towards the end of April.