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Mon 10th Apr 2017 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Caffè Nero launches first mobile payment and loyalty app: Caffè Nero has launched its first mobile payment and loyalty app in a bid to take its blue stamp card into the digital age. The app, which can be used in all Caffè Nero stores across the UK and Ireland, will provide a digital version of Caffè Nero’s blue paper stamp card, which has been in circulation since 1997 and rewards customers with their tenth coffee free. The card is used by nine million customers yearly, collecting in excess of 50 million stamps. The new Caffè Nero app will be the first UK coffee app to go beyond “top-up”, offering the ease of straight-through payment, automated loyalty stamp collection and digital receipts – in one quick scan. Yoyo Wallet, the UK’s most used mobile wallet, partnered with Caffè Nero to build and power the app. Existing Yoyo Wallet app users will also be able to pay and collect their loyalty stamps at every Caffè Nero store. Caffè Nero said, as well as improving the in-store customer experience, the partnership with Yoyo Wallet would allow it to identify every customer at the point-of-sale. This provides insight into purchasing behaviours, while also informing the app’s personalised engagement and rewards experience. Existing Yoyo Wallet app users will also be able to pay and collect their loyalty stamps at every Caffè Nero founder Gerry Ford said: “Making our loyalty card available on our customers’ phones while also including an integrated payment system is a win-win. It still rewards customer loyalty and makes paying fast and easy. We believe this will be a great step forward for our customer experience.” The app also helps to tackle the industry-wide issue of lost loyalty with five million Caffè Nero loyalty stamps and 500,000 coffees thought to be going unredeemed each year. Furthermore, according to a new survey by Yoyo Wallet, more than 87 million loyalty cards are lost every year. Yoyo Wallet co-founder Alain Falys said: “We have every confidence the move from the paper loyalty card to the app will contribute to a significant increase in customer loyalty for the retailer, driving a huge spike in loyalty stamp redemption.”

Industry News:

Propel teams up with Mastering Multi-Units to host local site marketing webinar, free to Propel Premium subscribers: Propel has teamed up with Mastering Multi-Units (MMU) to host a webinar for operators called "Local site marketing – how can I use it to drive profitable sales?" The webinar, which will be the first in a series, will be held on Friday, 12 May from 2pm-3.30pm. It will be hosted by MMU co-founder Andy Bull, who has 30 years of experience developing and implementing marketing and sales initiatives across the leisure and hospitality sectors with organisations including Compass Group, Moto Hospitality, Butlins, Alton Towers, and recently, as vice-president marketing intelligence at SSP Group. The webinar aims to explain what local site marketing is and how multi-unit managers use it to drive profitable sales. It will explore the sales formula and its two core elements – number of transactions and average spend – to identify the metrics that help operators understand how effective their teams are at “up or suggestive selling” to customers. It will also apply the “five Ps” of marketing (place, promotion, price, product, people) to practically deliver local site marketing activities that make a difference. The webinar is free to Propel Premium subscribers and costs £40 plus VAT for non-Propel Premium subscribers. To book, email or call 01444 817691. Details of how to join the webinar will be sent to participants prior to the event.
Propel launches US Restaurant Franchise Forum: Propel has partnered with World Franchise Associates to launch the US Restaurant Franchise Forum. The event, which takes place on Friday, 28 April at One Moorgate Place in London, will see leading US operators present to their UK counterparts about franchise opportunities in Britain. The first five high-profile US foodservice franchisors to present at the event have been confirmed as Panda Express, the largest Chinese quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain in the US, with 1,800 sites; Little Caesars, which is the third-largest pizza QSR restaurant chain in the US, with 4,250 sites; Wingstop, the fastest-growing US QSR chicken brand, with 1,000 sites; Wienerschnitzel, the largest hotdog QSR brand in the US, with 350 locations and fast-emerging Indian QSR/fast-casual brand Chutney’s Indian Grill. Registration for the event is from 9am to 10am. It is for operators only with tickets priced £65 plus VAT. To book places, email or call 01444 817691.

Hospitality must be at forefront of discretionary rates relief, says ALMR: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned licensed hospitality businesses ineligible for sector-specific relief, particularly restaurants, must be at the forefront of the government’s plans for discretionary business rates relief. The ALMR has also urged the government to finalise and implement the scheme at the earliest opportunity to provide clarity and support for businesses. Following the announcement of a £300m discretionary rates relief fund available to local authorities in the Spring Budget, the Department for Communities and Local Government has been consulting on administration and implementation of the scheme. The ALMR has submitted its response and chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The government took some much-needed steps to help support pubs with their rates bills, introducing sector-specific relief. There are still, however, a considerable number of licensed hospitality businesses, particularly restaurants, not eligible for relief. The ALMR has been urging its members to contact their local authorities and MPs to ensure restaurants are at the forefront of decision-makers’ minds when it comes to the discretionary relief. The ALMR’s submission has emphasised this and called on the government to follow up its positive initial support by providing relief for those other businesses that need it most. This is particularly important considering a massive number of appeal decisions remain outstanding, combined with the fact businesses have already received their bills but many will be unsure whether they will receive discretionary relief. The government needs to move quickly to bolster confidence for businesses and support those hard-working companies currently at a disadvantage.”
Luke Johnson to sell Herefordshire village pub, warns ‘unsustainable’ tax burden will lead to more rural closures: Sector investor Luke Johnson is to sell his pub in the Herefordshire village of Cradley and has warned the “unsustainable” tax burden will lead to many more pubs closing, especially in rural areas. Johnson bought the freehold of The Red Lion four years ago for £200,000 but is now looking to offload the pub, which is currently shut, after “running out on patience”. Writing in his Sunday Times column, Johnson said: “Sometimes you just have to accept defeat, and move on. So it proved for me recently, in the case of The Red Lion pub. Pubs typically fork out about 40% of their overall takings in tax – VAT, business rates, national insurance, excise duties, corporation tax and so forth. This is an unsustainable burden, and will lead to many more shutting, especially in rural areas. The manager left suddenly last month, and once more The Red Lion is shut. I have run out of patience. I shall try to sell the building and hope that someone else can make a go of it. I was probably too hands off and did not invest enough. City bars will still prosper, with craft beers and high-quality food, but that urban business model does not work in countryside locations. Ever rising tax and regulation, on top of changing tastes, are killing the independent local. It is a shame that somehow we do not value these enduring national symbols a little more.” 

Waitrose to offer customers restaurant-style dining experience: Supermarket company Waitrose is to offer customers a restaurant-style dining experience in the evenings. The company is launching a “Supper Club” at its new store in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, where customers will be able to have a restaurant quality meal created by chefs from its three cookery schools. Customers will be able to choose from a three-course menu, including nibbles and drinks. Waitrose will be transform the store’s mezzanine level cafe for eight evenings throughout April and May and is taking bookings for the 50 places available each evening. Music and ambient lighting will feature while people dine and tables will be laid out for both couples and larger groups. This is the first time the concept has been launched at a new store after it was trialled for a short period last year in its Newbury and Salisbury supermarkets. Waitrose cookery schools manager Karen Himsworth said: “This aims to deliver the next level of in-store dining at Waitrose, building upon concepts like our sushi bars and wine bars. We want to make our stores a food destination in the evenings as well as in the day. We realise a supermarket might not spring to mind when people are thinking about dining out in the evening, but we want that to change. We will look at next steps after we have finished the initial eight dates, but our aspiration is for this to continue at Haywards Heath and to explore how we might introduce at in other branches across the estate.”

Company News:

Nottinghamshire-based Ridge and Furrow Inns enters voluntary liquidation: Nottinghamshire-based Ridge and Furrow Inns, the company set up by former Ever So Sensible Group operations and marketing director Scott Whittaker, has moved into creditors’ voluntary liquidation. The company, formed in 2011, has closed its two pubs – The Lambley in the village of Lambley and The Wilford Green in Wilford, Nottingham – as a result. The pubs are owned by Star Pubs & Bars, which said it was working to ensure both sites would be reopened “as soon as possible but there was a process that needed to be gone through first”. Ridge and Furrow Inns jointly invested £385,000 with Star Pubs & Bars to refurbish The Lambley in 2014, having taken on The Wilford Green two years previously following a joint £350,000 investment. In its latest available accounts to 30 November 2015, Ridge & Furrow owed almost £100,000 to creditors. Whittaker worked for Mitchells & Butlers for almost seven years before joining Ever So Sensible Group in June 2001 where he stayed until setting up Ridge and Furrow Inns.
200 Degrees targets ten-strong estate by end of year as it opens first Welsh site: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees is targeting a ten-strong estate by the end of the year as it opens its first site in Wales. The company, founded by Rob Darby and Tom Vincent in 2012, has opened its sixth site, in Cardiff, creating 15 jobs. 200 Degrees has invested £250,000 transforming the unit in Queen Street that was previously home to HK4 Group’s Base + Barley concept. The coffee shop seats 90 people with a dedicated barista school due to open at the end of the month. As well as having ten shops by the end of the year, 200 Degrees aims to launch new coffees and an online subscription service. Vincent said: “Cardiff is a great capital city with a strong independent coffee scene and we would like to add to it with our own particular style. We’ll be open early for breakfast and stay open until 8pm, we think that’s part of encouraging people to go to coffee shops in the evening.” 200 Degrees has two venues in Nottingham as well as one each in Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester.
Ascot Inns opens US-style pizzeria in Reading through Star Pubs & Bars partnership: Ascot Inns, the multi-site operator led by Vince Healy, has opened US-style pizzeria Thirsty Bear in Reading. The venue has opened at the Wynford Arms in King’s Road following a £500,000 investment in partnership with Star Pubs & Bars. The pub had been empty since closing in May 2015. Downstairs has been opened up to create a bar with an open plan pizza kitchen and dessert kitchen with coffee stations. The upstairs accommodation has been converted into a lounge with Wurlitzer jukebox, while a roof garden has been created on a roof extension with seating for 45 people. Thirsty Bear offers hand-tossed, New York-style pizza cooked in a brick oven, alongside calzones, pasta dishes and salads. It also operates a delivery service. The bar offers 30 bourbons, wine, gin and Cask Marque-approved ales from British breweries. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “It’s great to be able to reopen the Wynford Arms and complement the regeneration of the surrounding area. Vince has many years of experience in hospitality. We are delighted he is working with us to secure the pub’s future and are confident the Thirsty Bear will bring something distinctive and different to Reading.”
Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant Lima opens first site outside UK with Dubai launch: Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant Lima has opened its first site outside the UK, in Dubai. Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez and his partners, Gabriel and Jose Luis Gonzalez, have launched the restaurant in City Walk – their third venue in total after their two sites in London. Lima Dubai, which is within the Fine Dining Courtyard at City Walk, has capacity for more than 200 diners, spread over the restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace area. The expansive space is decorated in a “colorful yet rustic style, embracing the light, warmth and charm of the Americas” and sourcing materials directly from Peru. Lima opened its first site in Fitzrovia in 2012 and is the UK’s first and only Peruvian restaurant to win and retain a Michelin star. It was followed by Lima Floral in Covent Garden two years later.
Richard Corrigan to open standalone bar at Mayfair restaurant in June with Dead Rabbit collaboration: Richard Corrigan, whose company Richard Corrigan Restaurant Holdings operates three restaurants in London, will open standalone Dickie’s Bar in June at Corrigan’s Mayfair. The venture is a collaboration with award-winning mixologist Gregory Buda, of New York cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit, and Drinksology founder Richard Ryan. Ingredients at Dickie’s Bar will be largely sourced from Corrigan’s garden and farm, Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan, Ireland, to create a “unique list of cocktails and home-infused sodas and tinctures”, alongside an extensive list of Irish whiskies. The menu has been designed by Drinksology as a storybook, telling the tale of Dickie’s Bar, the characters behind it and the journey of ingredients from farm to glass. The restaurant in Upper Grosvenor Street is being altered to include a separate entrance. Corrigan said: “I decided to work with Greg because he has a true talent. He is experimental with flavour but has a lot of respect and understanding for the ingredients he uses. It was a natural fit and progression.” Buda added: “We are well on our way to building a bar programme that will be on a par with the incredible food coming out of the kitchen.”
Bubble and squeak-inspired concept increases equity offer in £100,000 crowdfunding campaign to open permanent restaurant: Bubble and squeak-inspired concept Bubble&, which has operated at festivals and markets, has increased its equity offer in its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open its first permanent restaurant. The company, founded by Rupert Smith and Marita Lietz, is now offering a 22.22% equity stake in return for the investment having initially offered 16.67%. So far, 68 investors have pledged £21,320 with seven days remaining. The largest investment to date is £5,000. The funds will be used to open a permanent restaurant in Southsea, Hampshire, but the company is already looking to open “multiple” sites across London and the south east. Smith said: “After speaking with a number of potential investors, we’ve decided to increase the amount of equity we are selling within this round of funding. For those of you who’ve already invested, this will mean that the amount of equity you own in Bubble& will increase. Our valuation is now £350,000.” The pitch states: “The investment will fund capital expenditure on the kitchen, bar, furniture, construction works and our pre-opening costs, which include professional fees such as lawyers, rent and costs during fit-out and architects. The plan is to expand the concept to have multiple restaurants in the south east and London, and become a nationally recognised brand. We will be aiming towards a five-to-ten-year sale/exit.”
Jamie Oliver to open first restaurant in Portugal: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is to open his first restaurant in Portugal. Oliver is bringing his Jamie’s Italian brand to the country’s capital, Lisbon. The restaurant, which is expected to open in the autumn, will be located in the Príncipe Real neighbourhood, in a property that used to house a branch of Deutsche Bank and a store known as Lisbon Lovers. The decor of the 500 square metre venue will be similar to other Jamie’s Italian restaurants, with “candles, dim lighting and a cocktail bar at the entrance”. The project’s head of marketing Helena Farinha told RTP: “It is the perfect place to host a cosmopolitan and international project such as this. Jamie loves to work on the atmosphere of his restaurants and prefers warm, comforting materials.” Oliver opened the first Jamie’s Italian in Oxford in 2008 and it has grown to more than 60 restaurants worldwide.

7Bone applies for licence to open site in Tunbridge Wells: Better burger brand 7Bone, which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital (KPC), is lining up a site in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The company has applied to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for a licence to open the restaurant in an empty unit in Monson Road, reports Kent Live. 7Bone’s menu includes corn dogs, cheese steaks and buffalo chicken, alongside burgers such as The Robert Johnston (aged beef patty with cheese, truffled garlic mushrooms and truffle mayo), and The Dirty Linda (chicken-fried halloumi with American cheese, dirty slaw and 7bbq sauce). The drinks menu includes imported beers and “dirty cocktails”. 7Bone’s other restaurants are in Bournemouth, Camberley, Reading and Southampton while it has also applied to open sites in Eastbourne and Hove. KPC co-founder Jason Katz previously told Propel: “We think the management team has what it takes – it is focused on regional growth and has a product that can stand up to any other provider. The burger market is enormous and we are backing a brand we believe can take share in a competitive market.” 

Dishoom to open fourth London site, in Kensington: Bombay-style cafe Dishoom is to open its fourth London site, in Kensington. The company is opening the 7,500 square foot restaurant at Barkers Arcade in Kensington High Street later this year, reports Hot Dinners. Cousins Shamil and Kavi Thakrar opened the first Dishoom restaurant in Covent Garden in 2010, along with the business’ two other founders, Adarsh and Amar Radia. Its other London sites are in Kingly Street, King’s Cross and Shoreditch while it opened its first venue outside the capital last year, in Edinburgh.

Cairn Group to start expansion of Jalou bar concept with York sister site: Newcastle-based hotel and bar operator Cairn Group is to start expansion of its Jalou bar concept by opening a second site, this time in York. The company acquired The Parish bar, set in a grade II-listed 11th century church, in August. It will reopen as Jalou on Friday (14 April) following a £1.1m refurbishment, creating 30 jobs. A second bar has been constructed inside the building, alongside a VIP area on the mezzanine level, and new flooring and decor. Jalou, which opened in Newcastle in 2011, is known for its cocktails and R&B music. Cairn Group director Naveen Handa told The Business Desk: “Jalou is a brand I am so passionate about and, as a result of its popularity in Newcastle, we were keen to bring the concept to York’s vibrant leisure scene. We are making a significant investment in the venue while keeping its employees and creating many new job prospects. We will look to grow Jalou’s presence over the coming years and bring this great brand to more cities across the UK.” Cairn Group owns and operates more than 60 hotels, bars and restaurants across the UK.
Adria Wu starts expansion of Maple & Co with King’s Cross opening: Canadian chef Adria Wu has opened her second site under the Maple & Co umbrella, in King’s Cross. Wu, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, has launched Maple & King’s in Pancras Square following the debut site, Maple & Fitz, which opened in Fitzrovia in 2015. The new venue offers breakfast and lunch on weekdays, with pop-up supper clubs on select evenings. A first for Maple & Co, the new brunch menu sees Maple & King’s open at weekends, while is also has a smoothie bar and gluten-free bake shop. The concept offers superfood cocktails, including a cold-pressed beetroot mojito and raw coconut matcha colada, to complement dishes such as gluten-free rhubarb and pomegranate oat pancakes with coconut yogurt and maple vegan butter. The decor features matt copper touches, reclaimed oak and marble, and grey leather banquettes, while a 33-cover mezzanine overlooks Pancras Square and an alfresco sun trap seating 12. Wu said: “We have been overwhelmed with support from our customers in Fitzrovia and I’m so excited for this next chapter for Maple. King’s Cross has become such a dynamic area in recent years, with some of the biggest brands in the world sitting alongside independent startups. I look forward to becoming part of such a lively community.”
JD Wetherspoon to open £2.5m Hull hotel in June: JD Wetherspoon is set to open its £2.5m hotel in Hull city centre on Friday, 23 June. Plans were submitted two years ago to build the hotel above the Admiral of the Humber in Anlaby Road by converting unused office space. The development will also see the pub refurbished with new carpets and decor. Wetherspoon has created 22 en-suite bedrooms, with the only external changes involving cladding and changing the windows from single to double glazing. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Hull Daily Mail: “The Admiral of the Humber is a well-established pub in the city and we believe the hotel will be a great addition. As well as being good for the pub, we also believe the new hotel will be a great asset to Hull too.”
Taco Bell applies to open Poole site: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has applied for a premises licence to open a site in Poole, Dorset. The company has lodged the application with Poole Council to open the venue in a vacant unit in High Street that was previously occupied by London Menswear, reports the Daily Echo. It would be Taco Bell’s 15th UK outlet as it looks to expand across the south of England. The company opened a 67-cover site in Southampton at the end of November, where staff being recruited for Poole are expected to initially train. Founded in 1962 by a former US Marine, the Taco Bell chain serves more than 36.8 million people a week in 6,500 outlets worldwide.
Electra representative steps down from Hollywood Bowl Group’s board following sale of stake in company: The Electra Partners representative on the board of Hollywood Bowl Group has stepped down after the private equity firm sold its stake in the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator. Bill Priestley has resigned as a non-executive director with immediate effect after Electra Partners sold its 17.8% stake in Hollywood Bowl Group for £40.7m. Electra Partners sold 26,702,364 existing ordinary shares at a price of 152.5p per share. Hollywood Bowl Group said a search for a new independent non-executive director would start shortly. Chairman Peter Boddy said: “Bill has made a significant contribution to the board’s debates and the development of the company since Electra’s investment in 2014 and we wish him the best for the future.”
Merseyside-based operator Mikhail Investments to open fourth site: Merseyside-based operator Mikhail Investments is set to open its fourth site. The company, led by Andrew Mikhail, is launching Khepri restaurant and nightclub in Court Road, Southport. It is refurbishing the former Furniture Emporium site ahead of opening the new venue later this year, reports The Champion. A message on the Khepri Facebook page states: “A new concept is coming to Southport! Details will be released in the coming weeks.” Mikhail Investments also operates the Bold Hotel and Irish-themed pub Punch Tarmey’s in Southport, along with the Eccleston Arms Hotel in St Helen’s.
We Are Spectacular launches separate company to focus on social media sector: Brand, marketing and digital agency We Are Spectacular, led by former Pret A Manger and YO! Sushi head of marketing Mark McCulloch, has launched separate company Spectacular Social to focus on the rise of client requirements in the social media sector. Mark Weir has joined as managing director to lead the business. He has handled Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s social media for the past six years and previously ran social media campaigns for Jose Cuervo, Kraken Rum and Wahaca’s Mexican-American restaurant concept DF/Mexico. We Are Spectacular is also celebrating after winning seven new clients, including Cote-owned Jackson & Rye and Limeyard as well as Small Batch Coffee, and 15 projects in the past month. McCulloch said: “I am truly stunned at the quality of clients, brands and projects we are working on. It is testament to the hard work the team has put in over the past five years. For someone as talented as Mark Weir to join us to lead Spectacular Social is exciting. We worked with Mark on social media projects for Fuller’s Inns and Costa Coffee International lately and were blown away by him. I am delighted we have a star striker in place to help build an exciting new business with the vision of disrupting every marketing plan in food, drink and hospitality for the better.” In May 2015, McCulloch merged his central London-based Spectacular Marketing business with design agency Aquanota to create We Are Spectacular.
Intu plans restaurant quarter at West Midlands shopping centre: The owner of the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley is planning a 100,000 square foot food and leisure extension as part of a £110m investment programme in the West Midlands complex. Intu, which bought out its Australian joint venture partner last year to take on sole ownership, is beginning a seven-year plan to improve and refresh the 1.6 million square foot centre. The creation of a restaurant quarter – in addition to its existing fast food and coffee offer – is part of Intu’s ambitions to move the shopping centre more upmarket. Plans could be submitted for approval by the end of this year. Savills and JLL have been appointed as the joint agents, reports Property Week. In February, Intu told investors it had “several projects” that would help to deliver its new strategy, including “right-sizing a number of anchors and major space user and repositioning the catering and leisure offering”.
KFC to curb use of antibiotics in chicken supply in US restaurants: KFC, which is owned by Yum! Brands, is planning to curb the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply. The company is giving its US poultry suppliers until the end of 2018 to stop using antibiotics important to human medicine. KFC US president Kevin Hochman told Reuters: “We recognise that it’s a growing public health concern. This is something that’s important to many of our customers and it’s something we need to do to show relevance and modernity within our brand.” The policy applies only to KFC in the US and its 4,200 restaurants supplied by some 2,000 domestic chicken farms. KFC’s antibiotic policy is set on a country-by-country basis. Hochman said the policy change would add some incremental cost that KFC plans to manage rather than pass on in the form of menu price increases. Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell chain previously committed to serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in all US restaurants by the end of last month. Its Pizza Hut division has the same rules for pizza toppings. McDonald’s stopped serving chicken raised with antibiotics considered important to human medicine last year while Chick-fil-A is going a step further, vowing in 2014 to switch to poultry raised without any antibiotics at all by the end of 2019.
Abokado to support Project Waterfall: Healthy eating chain Abokado, which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital, is supporting Project Waterfall during UK Coffee Week by donating 10p from every coffee or hot beverage sold across its 29 stores. The company is running the initiative until Sunday (16 April) to raise money for Project Waterfall, which aims to bring clean drinking water and sanitation to coffee growing communities. In addition, Abokado is encouraging its customers to donate £1 for a chance to enter its “Feel Great” competition to win a week’s worth of free coffee. The money raised from this will also go to Project Waterfall. Director Mark Lilley said: “My wife Lindsay and I created Abokado 13 years ago from a passion to help people lead happier and healthier lives. I feel UK Coffee Week shares the same values and we couldn’t be happier to be getting involved again this year. I hope that our customers will dig deep to help us support this very worthwhile cause.”
Essex-based restaurateur to start expansion by opening second site, in Brentwood: Essex-based restaurateur Tony Manconi is to start expansion of his Turkish concept Pivaz by opening a second site, this time in Brentwood. Manconi, who launched the concept in Epping in July last year, is opening the new venue in High Street on the site of the former Blockbusters shop. He is currently refurbishing the property ahead of a planned opening in May, reports Essex Live. Pivaz is described as a “fragrant and romantic dining experience complemented by an extensive menu and delectable wine list”. Heavily influenced by Manconi’s homeland tradition, the food comprises hot and cold mezze options for lighter lunches, and fish and meat for mains along with an array of vegetarian dishes.
StreetDots project wins award: A project to convert a tired shopping mall food court into a vibrant street food hub that supports up and coming chefs has landed a top award. Taste Buchanan, a joint venture between street trading platform StreetDots and Land Securities, was the overall winner at the Revo Opal awards that celebrate the best in commercialisation programmes across UK retail destinations. StreetDots said the accolade showed the increased value the property industry is placing on food and beverage operators as drivers of footfall and placemakers. The space on the second floor of Land Securities’ Glasgow shopping centre Taste Buchanan has been transformed with painted picnic tables and fake grass flooring to reflect a festival atmosphere. Resident street food brands are encouraged to fly-post the walls to create a history of the space. Up-and-coming street food traders are invited to take two to three-month residencies in one of its five customised hot food kiosks that are complemented by a bar and two retail carts that also host a changing mix of vendors.
Drake & Morgan to open The Bothy in West India Quay next month: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, will open The Bothy in West India Quay next month. The 11,522 square foot venue, which will open on Monday, 8 May, is spread over two floors – a ground floor bar and lower ground floor restaurant, providing a total of 200 covers. In addition, a large riverside terrace, complete with its own external bar, provides al fresco seating for a further 200. The original warehouse features, including the timber beams, exposed floorboards, flag stone flooring, cast iron columns and deep-founded brick walls, have been retained and restored. These are mixed with soft furnishings and modern lighting. The upper ground floor will include a statement, central oak bar while downstairs there will be an open kitchen and cocktail bar. The Bothy will have an all-day menu as well as small plates and sharing boards. An extensive wine list sits alongside premium spirits, craft beers and cocktails/mocktails. Managing director Jillian MacLean said: “West India Quay has become a drinking and eating destination and has been on our radar for some time. Following our recent successful opening of The Pagination across the water in Canary Wharf, I am looking forward to welcoming our customers to The Bothy”. As previously announced, Drake & Morgan will open four bar restaurants this year – three in London, at West India Quay, Cannon Green and Principal Place, plus one in Manchester at St Peter’s Square.

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