Story of the Day:
Tombo co-founder – ‘We’re looking to more than double estate in next three years and strengthen wholesale division by supplying more restaurants’: Louis Sloley, co-founder of London-based Japanese food and tea specialist Tombo, has told Propel the company is aiming to more than double its existing estate in the next three years as it prepares to open its third site. Sloley also said the company would work to strengthen its wholesale division by expanding the number of restaurant businesses it supplies its products to. Tombo, which currently has sites in South Kensington and Soho, is opening the new site in Fitzrovia in mid-July. The 38-cover venue in Windmill Street is based on its Japanese-inspired poké and matcha bar in Soho. Sloley, who founded the concept with his mother Manami and whose brother Leo recently joined the team, said: “We have two channels we are focusing on. The first is our restaurant concept and hopefully, with the success of Fitzrovia, we can open more sites in London, outside the capital and eventually abroad. While we are fully focused on Fitzrovia, we’d like to open a couple more sites next year. There’s nothing holding us back but we are looking to do it gradually. I think we will be focused on London for now – it makes the day-to-day management of the sites much easier. In the short term, we will look to get to somewhere between five and eight sites in the next two to three years but we are not looking beyond that at the moment. It’s a very competitive market when it comes to securing sites but because our venues are relatively small that tends to keep us away from having to compete with the bigger companies. The second channel we want to expand is our wholesale business. Our Tombo green teas are sourced from the foothills of Mount Fuji and we supply restaurant businesses across London, including Jason Atherton’s Sosharu and also Crosstown Doughnuts.” Similar to its Soho venue, the Fitzrovia site will offer a range of poké dishes while diners can build their own bowl from a selection of bases, mains, toppings and sauces. Sloley said: “Poké is relatively new in London and is really starting to take off. The build your own bowls are proving more and more popular as diners become more adventurous with their food.” Sloley said trading across the other two sites was “really good”, with its matcha green tea ice cream proving extremely popular during last week’s heatwave.
Propel Multi-Club summer conference open for bookings, two free places for operators:
The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and party is now open for bookings. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 6 July at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, will also involve the Propel summer party in the evening. Operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on email@example.com
. The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery
, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked
. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler, The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton
, and Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin
. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona
and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns
Foodservice startups ‘increasingly reinventing traditional concepts’ to make their mark: Foodservice startups are increasingly reinventing traditional concepts to make their mark in the sector, according to an analysis of entries to Foodpreneur 2017, the competition run by shopping centre owner Intu and Virgin StartUps. There was a three-fold increase to almost half (42%) of the number of food and drink startups giving favourites a modern makeover, compared with 13% the last time the competition was run in 2015. The boom of healthy food products is another rising trend, with more than one-third (35%) of Foodpreneur entrants offering products with health-based benefits, such as no gluten or sugar, compared with 21% in 2015. A further 28% of entrants cater for a purely plant-based diet, compared with 16% in 2015. In addition, there was an increase in the number of startups intent on eliminating food waste. Eight startup food and drink businesses will open pop-up shops at Intu centres across the country this week as they compete to win six weeks of free space. Four finalists will be selected to present their business to judges Levi Roots, Clean Eating Alice, Paul Lindley and Jim Cregan. The semi-finalists are Tuk Tuk Chai, Snaffling Pig (pork scratchings), Seachips (salmon-skin crisps), Antler & Bird (cold-brew coffee), Love Corn (sweetcorn), Borough 22 (gluten-free vegan doughnuts), Cheeky Boy Sauces, and Love Cocoa. Virgin StartUp managing director Mei Shui said: “The entries to this year’s competition were our broadest and most dynamic group of foodies yet.”
Wagamama launches first picnic range to meet growing demand for summer take-out food: Wagamama has launched a new picnic range to meet growing demand for summer take-out food. The range – the restaurant’s first in its 25-year history – has been dubbed the “hipnic” by executive chef Steve Mangleshot as the hipster trend continues to influence culture and the way customers order food, reports The Sun. The menu includes seared nuoc cham tuna – a tuna steak with quinoa – and stir-fried kale and beef tataki – a lightly seared steak, thinly sliced and served chilled. A fragrant pad thai salad with chicken and prawns also appears on the menu.
Brexit employment offer will help UK hospitality to grow, says ALMR: The Brexit employment offer will help the UK hospitality industry to grow, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR). Following last week’s announcement in Brussels, the prime minister has provided details of the UK’s offer on employment rights in the context of Brexit negotiations. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Pub, restaurant, club and coffee shop operators will be relieved the detail provided lives up to the positive signals the prime minister gave in Brussels last week. We share her sentiment of not turning our backs on our colleagues and those who ensure the smooth operation of the UK’s eating and drinking out sector. Our reliance on non-UK labour to augment the thousands of jobs already filled by Britons is key to the ability to operate and grow a sector that adds £32bn in gross value each year and has created one in seven new jobs. Among the new details, we welcome in particular the assurances that registration for migrant employees will be streamlined, reducing the administrative burden for employers and simplifying the process for workers. The prime minister’s assurances that provisions will be made to help EU workers’ families live with them in the UK will mean nobody will have to choose between their job and family. There is undoubtedly a long way to go before final details are agreed but this sends the right message to EU nationals – that they are welcome to work in the UK and, as taxpayers, enjoy the advantages of the country in the same way as any other taxpayer.”
More than 11,000 British pubs have closed since smoking ban came in: More than 11,000 British pubs have closed in the ten years since the government imposed the smoking ban, according to research by pro-smoking group Forest. The Midlands has been the worst-hit region since the legislation was introduced, with 2,560 pubs closing, while London has 2,034 fewer boozers than ten years ago. This Saturday (1 July) is the tenth anniversary of the ban on smoking in an enclosed public place in England, legislation that came into force three months later than it did in Wales and 15 months after Scotland. Since then, 11,383 public houses have closed. Forest said there had been a “clear acceleration in pub closures” since the smoking ban became law, although some had refocused their offering on food, while many pubs with beer gardens or communal outside drinking areas had also survived. Forest director Simon Clark told the Daily Star: “There is very little evidence that the health of the nation has benefited significantly from the smoking ban. Smoking is a legitimate activity and pubs must be allowed to accommodate adults who choose to smoke.”
Avvio to launch world’s first artificial intelligence-powered booking platform: Booking engine provider Avvio is to launch its new platform, Allora, which it claims is the world’s first direct booking platform powered by artificial intelligence. The platform will launch in October with the aim of making the process easier for individual properties and give partnering hotels an “ongoing insight” into making changes that would directly benefit them. Avvio co-founder and chief executive Frank Reeves said the platform worked by “identifying patterns in a vast amount of data and using the insight to make predictions”. He told Hotel Owner: “(Allora) assesses all the past interactions of a hotel’s booking engine and learns with every interaction how to make each visitor type more likely to convert and with as high a booking value as possible. In an era of exponential data, hotels sit on large tranches of data they typically don’t have the manpower to crunch.”
Healthy breakfast delivery service wins Westfield’s ‘food innovator of the future’ contest: Bex Walker, creator of oat-based breakfast range Bexfast, has won a competition launched by east London’s Westfield Stratford City shopping complex to find the capital’s next big food innovator. Walker beat nine other finalists who presented their initiatives to a panel including Reggae Reggae Sauce owner Levi Roots and supper club co-founder and author Laura Jackson, who both found business success after appearing on BBC television series Dragons’ Den. Bexfast is a delivery service offering healthy breakfast ingredients and Walker will receive personal mentoring from Roots and Jackson and a kick-starter financial injection from Westfield, enabling her to launch the business. Westfield chief marketing officer Myf Ryan said: “Bex Walker’s idea stood out. Her concept really celebrated the local London food scene. I have no doubt this is a budding business of the future.”
Deltic Group appoints new property director: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 57 venues, has appointed Alex Stanhope as property director. Stanhope has joined Deltic from Holland & Barrett International, where he was head of UK estates with responsibility for the company’s property portfolio of more than 800 stores. Prior to that, he held a number of senior roles at Estates Management and Halfords and Halfords Autocentres. In his role at Deltic, Stanhope will be responsible for the trading and non-trading property functions including acquisitions and asset management. The Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “The nature of our business means property is vital to our success, and I believe the range of skills and experience Alex has developed throughout his career will mean he’s a real asset to our business.” Stanhope added: “I am really excited to be joining The Deltic Group, which is such a successful business in the late-night leisure sector. It’s a thriving, dynamic industry and I look forward to working with the team to continue Deltic’s upward trajectory.”
Azzurri Group starts expansion of pizza concept Radio Alice with second London site: Azzurri Group, which owns and operates ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama, has started expansion of its pizza concept Radio Alice by opening a second site in London, this time in Clapham. The 2,000 square foot, 80-cover restaurant has opened in Venn Street with room for another 40 diners outside and featuring an eclectic mix of leather banquettes and reclaimed school chairs. The concept is the brainchild of brothers Salvatore and Matteo Aloe, who have teamed up with Gail’s Bakery co-founder Emma King. The brothers own Berbere, which operates five pizzerias in Italy. Salvatore Aloe said: “The idea of community lies at the heart of Radio Alice and we immediately fell in love with the close-knit feel of the Clapham neighbourhood.” Casey Phillips, partner at agents Shelley Sandzer, which secured both Radio Alice sites, added: “Clapham is a great location for Radio Alice’s new home and in particular Venn Street, which already benefits from alfresco dining and is soon to be pedestrianised.” Radio Alice opened its first site in Hoxton last year. The concept is named after a 1970s Italian pirate radio station, with the venues featuring a soundtrack of songs from the decade.
Tim Martin forecasts cross-border Irish trade will flourish post-Brexit as £13m Dublin investment is unveiled: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has insisted cross-border trade with Ireland will flourish following Brexit as he unveiled his company’s biggest investment ever. The company will invest £13m into building a hotel and pub in Dublin. The new 98-bedroom complex will be Wetherspoon’s largest and will provide 200 jobs. Development work on a row of derelict properties in the centre of Dublin will begin in February 2018, with the pub and hotel set to open in early 2019. Martin told This Is Money: “Trade and investment will continue, inside or outside the EU, as the Brexit campaign has emphasised. The biggest investors in the UK in the catering industry, for example, are American – Starbucks, McDonalds and others – and the EU and UK have no trade deal with America. Wetherspoon has four pubs in the Belfast area and four in Dublin and plans to open more pubs in both cities. Cross-border trade and investment will continue after Brexit, as the Irish and UK governments have made clear.” Announcing the investment yesterday, he said of the Dublin site: “We are looking forward to developing the site into a fantastic pub and hotel. It will be the biggest single investment undertaken by Wetherspoon and will result in our largest hotel alongside a superb pub. Our pubs in the Republic of Ireland are thriving and we are confident the pub and hotel will be a great asset to Dublin and act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the city.”
Urban Pubs and Bars launches Neighbour Bar & Restaurant in Kentish Town: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has launched Neighbour Bar & Restaurant in Kentish Town, north west London. The venue offers seasonal food, wine and “carefully crafted drinks” in a nod to the “vibrant social community on its doorstep”. The brasserie-style menu features summer dishes such as sea trout with pea salsa, charred baby gem and anya potatoes alongside an extensive list of small plates such as fried chicken with paprika aoli and kale, and fritto misto with salsa verde. A full brunch menu is available daily from 11am, and from 10am at weekends. The bar offers organic and biodynamic wine by the glass, a boutique range of premium spirits, and locally brewed craft beer. Downstairs, Jukes serves classic cocktails with “speakeasy vibes” and features private booths set into the arches and a dark wood and red neon decor to “strike a chord with NW5’s late-night drinkers”. Pring told Propel: “Neighbour is a spot for daytime meets or after-work drinks, a hangout for pre-Forum beers or casual evening meals, a space to celebrate with mates or dine intimately with the family.”
Vapiano shares to be offered at €23 in IPO: Shares in Vapiano are set to be offered at €23 each in its initial public offering (IPO). Bonn-based Vapiano had marketed the shares in a range of €21 to €27, reports Reuters. The IPO will raise as much as €184m (£162m), of which €85m will be from new shares. The aim of the IPO is to help fund the expansion of Vapiano’s Italian-themed restaurants. The subscription period ended on Monday (26 June) with shares expected to start trading in Frankfurt from Tuesday (27 June). Vapiano had sales of €460.4m in 2016 and generated Ebitda of €28.6m. Barclays, Berenberg and Jefferies are acting as joint global co-ordinators for the IPO, together with Unicredit. The company opened its first restaurant in Hamburg in 2002. In March, Vapiano signed to open an 11,000 square foot site at the former George Hotel in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street.
Chick ‘n’ Sours founders to launch fast casual concept CHIK’N in Baker Street next week: Carl Clarke and David Wolanski, founders of London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours, are to launch new fast casual concept CHIK’N in Baker Street next week. The ethical fried chicken restaurant will open on Thursday, 6 July offering chicken sandwiches and all-day breakfasts. The chicken sandwiches will consist of crispy-fried, buttermilk-brined chicken breast served in a soft potato roll, including versions with sriracha sour cream and kimchi coleslaw, and a barbecue version. Sides will include nacho-style fries, chopped wedge salads, and Chick ‘n’ Sours regulars disco wings and tenders. There will also be a series of guest fries, starting with CHIK’N Tiki Sandwich (hot sauce, buttermilk mayo, lettuce, pineapple, bacon and cheese). Apart from chicken, the breakfast menu will offer cheese, egg and sausage sourdough breakfast muffins, bacon and maple syrup hot cakes, hash browns, cheesy beans and breakfast shakes. The drinks list will include soda, beer and hand-spun thick milkshakes. A CHIK’N spokesman told Hot Dinners: “We want to serve healthy, well-fed chickens to hungry, happy people.” In practice this means organic, free-range chickens fried in rapeseed oil within energy-efficient friers. Wolanski and Clarke launched Chick ‘n’ Sours in Haggerston in 2015, opening a second site at Seven Dials last September.
London-based Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer to start expansion with second site, in Shoreditch: London-based Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer is to start expansion by opening its second site in the capital, this time in Shoreditch. Husband-and-wife team Darren Atwater and Martha Gall will open the new site in Bethnal Green Road in July having launched the concept in Clerkenwell in February 2016. The new East End venture can seat up to 12 people but will mostly be aimed at the takeaway market as it offers pizzas by the slice for the first time. Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer offers thin-crust, Pacific West Coast-style pizzas that use a dough that has been proofed for three days and a sauce crafted the traditional Neapolitan way using nothing but sweet, uncooked San Marzano tomatoes. Atwater, an alternative newspaper publisher from Vancouver, and Gall, a marketer who used to call Toronto her home, launched Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer after living in London almost a decade and growing tired of waiting for a pizza house to open that “combined great pizza with a wide selection of draught beer”.
Pho bids to open first East Midlands site, in Leicester city centre: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho has submitted a licence application to open its first site in the East Midlands. The company has lodged the application for a venue in the Highcross Centre in Leicester city centre, which would be the brand’s 24th site. A Pho spokeswoman told The Hinckley Times: “We don’t consider ourselves a chain of restaurants but a group of independently run restaurant businesses under the same brand. We’re very passionate about what we do and everyone in the HQ team is hands-on, having been with the company for almost ten years.” Pho was founded by Stephen and Juliette Wall in 2005 after they fell in love with Vietnamese food on a visit to the country. Their first restaurant was in London’s Clerkenwell. Pho currently has 22 restaurants with a unit set to open at the £440m Westgate Oxford development in the autumn.
Waney family to open Greek restaurant in Fitzrovia: The family behind renowned London restaurants Roka, Oblix, Zuma and The Arts Club are to launch their next venture in July. Peter Waney, who co-founded Roka and Zuma with his brother Arjun, will open 150-cover Greek restaurant Meraki in Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, following a deal brokered by agents Restaurant Property. Waney has signed a 15-year lease at a rent of £140,000 per annum for the 4,600 square foot site, which includes two outside terraces and a bar. Dimitrios Siamanis, who has cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants Zafferano in Belgravia, The Square in Mayfair, and Alain Ducasse’s The Grill at the Dorchester Hotel, will be Meraki’s head chef. His menu will feature a selection of chargrilled meat and whole fish, as well as a seasonally changing choice of mezze dishes, alongside Greek wine and craft beer, and cocktails made using the country’s spirits, liqueurs, herbs and citrus fruits. Restaurant Property founding director David Rawlinson told Propel: “Central and eastern Fitzrovia is as much in demand as other prime parts of the West End. This is due to rental expectations being about half that of Soho or Mayfair!”
Brothers behind Alderley Edge Chinese restaurant Yu open new bao bar concept in Manchester: The brothers behind Chinese restaurant Yu in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, have opened a new bao bar concept in Manchester with plans for a national roll-out. Victor and Vinny Yu have launched Taberu – “eat” in Japanese – inside a former Lloyds Bank branch in King Street, fusing flavours and ingredients from the Far East. The brothers said they plan to open two more Taberu sites in Manchester, with aspirations to roll it out nationally. The concept specialises in bao – Chinese steamed buns – filled with a choice of meat, vegetables and sauces for diners to mix and match. Pan-Asian noodle dishes, fresh salads, snacks and drinks including smoothies and Chinese teas are also available, primarily to take away, although there are a small number of tables for diners to eat in. Yu launched in Alderley Edge in November 2015.
Simple Health Kitchen starts expansion by opening second site, in Baker Street: London-based healthy eating concept Simple Health Kitchen has started expansion by opening its second site in the capital. Personal trainer and former Newcastle Falcons rugby player Bradley Hill founded Simple Health Kitchen after a life-threatening illness turned his attention to diet and nutrition. Having opened the first site in Watling Street in St Paul’s, he has now doubled up with a venue in Baker Street. The seasonally updated menu includes a turkey and cranberry burger, sweet potato falafel, and a variety of salads made on-site. There is also a range of protein pots, snacks and low-calorie desserts, as well as cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Simple Health Kitchen has also launched a healthy cocktail range, skinny champagne, and gluten-free beer.
Papa John’s renews partnership with holiday park operator Haven: Papa John’s has renewed its franchise licence with holiday park operator Haven. The partnership began in 2013 and Papa John’s now operates in 24 Haven parks across the UK, including sites in Cornwall, Norfolk, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Yorkshire. Papa John’s business development manager Anthony Round said: “We are delighted to be associated with Haven’s exciting and established brand. Holiday-makers and owners can continue to enjoy our concept.” Haven head of food development and franchised brands Chris King added: “Retaining Papa John’s as a key business partner in 24 of our parks means our patrons can continue to choose another popular ‘ingredient’ to help deliver their perfect family escape!” There are more than 350 Papa John’s sites in the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets.
Australian lifestyle brand The Dayrooms to launch brunch cafe concept in Notting Hill: Australian boutique lifestyle brand The Dayrooms, which operates a store in Westbourne Grove, London, is to launch a brunch cafe concept in another Notting Hill street. The Dayrooms Café will open in Kensington Park Road on Thursday, 6 July specialising in Melbourne-inspired brunch and coffee. Created by head chef Andrei Anechitei, the all-day menu will feature dishes such as bagel royale with green hollandaise sauce, poached eggs, flaked smoked salmon and beetroot puree; and baja prawn corn tacos with coleslaw, avocado, pineapple salsa, lime crème fraiche and jalapeno sauce. Coffee will come from Ozone Coffee Roasters alongside blended juices, smoothies and milkshakes, including the Super C smoothie made from raspberry, orange, soy, banana and green tea. There will also be a succinct wine list as well as Australian craft beer and cider. The Dayrooms was founded by Zumrud Mammadova and Aytan Mehdiyeva to provide a “UK stage for rising stars and emerging young Australian talent”. They told The Handbook they had already set their sights on several further openings in London this year, with one in Holborn at the end of the summer.
Dublin-based chef to launch pasta with a twist concept in Fitzrovia: Dublin-based chef Grainne O’Keefe is to launch a “pasta with a twist” concept in Fitzrovia. O’Keefe and business partner George Wells will open Saucy in Tottenham Court Road in mid-to-late August. The 30-cover venue will offer a healthy range of options to eat in or take away, while the pasta in any dish can be swapped for spiralised vegetables. Pasta will be made on-site daily with options such as squid ink linguine and a gluten-free option. Saucy will open for breakfast, offering protein balls, bircher muesli, natural yogurts, and in-house smoothies, juices and granola. Coffee will come from speciality roasters Mission Coffee Works. O’Keefe told Hot Dinners: “I’ve always been drawn to London’s amazing food scene, and we feel Saucy belongs here. Our lunch menu is a blend of classic Italian pasta dishes with more modern elements thrown in using less conventional ingredients. The menu consists of a three-step process, in which the customer will choose which pasta to match with their sauce, and finally pick from a range of optional extras. To accompany our lunch menu, we have artisan cheese and charcuterie boards.”
Fledgling pub company to reopen former Greene King site in Derby next month: Fledgling pub company Darwin Kitchen and Free House is to reopen a former Greene King pub in Derby next month. Darwin Kitchen and Free House will relaunch The Golden Pheasant on Wednesday, 12 July following a £1.2m revamp, creating 40 jobs. The Chellaston Road pub, which Greene King operated under its Hungry Horse brand, will have a new locally sourced menu while the refurbishment will restore many of the building’s original features. Darwin Kitchen and Free House bought the pub from Greene King two months ago. Easton Andrea, who co-founded the company in February this year, said the establishment would be the first under the new concept and he wanted it to be at the centre of the community. He told the Derby Telegraph: “We’re going to introduce this pizza oven – it’s going to be the very best. It’s being hand-built in Italy and shipped over here. We are going to have fresh food and fresh produce, using local suppliers and meat sourced from Derbyshire butchers.” A Greene King spokesman said: “As a leading pub operator and brewer, we are committed to running high-quality community pubs. To be able to continue to invest in our estate, from time to time we have to make the difficult decision to sell pubs. After careful consideration, we decided to put The Golden Pheasant on the market and have now sold it as a going concern.”
Motel One to open second Manchester city centre budget hotel, third site secured: German budget hotel operator Motel One is expanding in north west England by opening a second venue in Manchester city centre. The new site, at the Royal Exchange in Cross Street, will comprise 302 guest rooms featuring an industrial theme reflecting the city’s history in the textile trade. Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange will feature the operator’s One Lounge and Bar concept, offering space for guests to work or relax in comfortable surroundings. Motel One told BDaily it had already secured a third site in Manchester for development as the group looked to continue its expansion in the city.
Pipers Crisps partners with Liberty Richter to launch into US: Pipers Crisps, stocked by a range of sector operators, has signed a partnership with the Liberty Richter division of World Finer Foods, a marketer of imported and domestic speciality foods in the US. Lincolnshire-based Pipers, founded by three farmers in 2004, produces hand-fried crisps dressed with sustainably sourced seasonings. Co-founder Alex Albone said: “We source all our flavours from passionate producers across the world. They all share our vision of producing Britain’s finest, premium potato chips.” World Finer Foods president and chief executive Susan Guerin added: “Pipers is a young and exciting brand with great values and a strong, loyal customer base in the UK. We think their brand attributes, not to mention their delicious chips, will resonate with US consumers as well as with all trade channels and foodservice customers.” Liberty Richter will market and distribute four flavours – cheddar and onion, sea salt, black pepper and sea salt, and cider vinegar and sea salt.