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Wed 1st Apr 2015 - Loungers on track for 100, Keith Knowles
Loungers – we’re on track for 100 sites by end of 2016: Loungers, the Bristol-based café/bar operator founded by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, is ‘very much on track’ to reach 100 sites by the end of 2016 as it opens its 60th site, Cordero Lounge in Frome. The Frome site, which has opened today, is located in a former retail unit in the towns Westway scheme and comprises of 4,200 sq ft split over two floors with 160 covers internally and 50 covers externally. The company will next open Caballo Lounge in Epsom on the 22 April followed by the opening of its ninth Cosy Club, in Birmingham, on the 14 May and Palacio Lounge in Falmouth on the 28 May. Nick Collins, Loungers managing director, said, “It’s a great achievement for the business to reach 60 sites and we feel that Frome could be a great town for us. Our pipeline of new sites is extremely well formed now and we should see our 70th site open in September and reach our target of having 75 sites by the end of the calendar year. It is our intention to open a further 25 sites in 2016.” Net sales for Loungers’ current financial year (ending April 2015) are expected to be in the region of £48m. 

Keith Knowles returns to helm of Beds and Bars after compassionate leave: Beds and Bars chief executive Keith Knowles has returned to the helm of the company after taking compassionate leave following the loss of his wife Franca. He told staff yesterday: “We finish the year on what has been the best trading year we have had since the company was formed in 1964 by my father. What a magnificent effort by each and every one of you. Each trading period, each week you have beaten your budgets, and consistently delivered. For me, as you can imagine, the year closes with mixed emotions. I stated the year married, I finish a widower. But I think the soul Franca helped build in our business is one of the key factors in our success, in the core values we place in one another, our suppliers and customers – the communities and charities we are a part of come from her foundations. I am now back in the business. (My secretary) Monika has filled my dairy so I am active 16 hours a day, which I don’t mind at all. I hope to get around to all of you in the not too distant future – there’s lots to do. My role will be to seek out opportunities, find innovation in the way we grow, be an ambassador for us, but most of all support each and every one of you who are, after all the true figureheads of our business.” 

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