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Tue 27th Mar 2018 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

CGA Group acquires CPL Online: CGA Group has completed the acquisition of CPL Online, the specialist provider of e-learning, business solutions and interactive services from CPL Training. The deal extends CGA’s product portfolio and technical capabilities with opportunities to develop further products and services for both its core UK hospitality customers and beyond into new sectors. Former CGA chief executive, Jon Collins as executive chairman, and current CGA retail director, Jamie Campbell, who brings a wealth of hospitality retail expertise and experience, will now join CPL Online founder David Dasher in an expanded management team. CGA Group chief executive Phil Tate said: “This is a great addition to our CGA family. CPL Online strengthens and extends our offer in UK hospitality while positioning us well for growth in new sectors and territories. We are fortunate to benefit from a strong management team, an excellent wider team in the Birkenhead offices and an extensive suite of products and services, all of which have an excellent reputation in their respective markets.” CPL Training chief executive Daniel Davies added: “This is the right sale to the right party at the right time. I am hugely proud over our achievements with CPL Online to date and I know the CGA team is the right people to build on that legacy. I look forward to working with it as we execute our exciting vision for CPL Training.”

Industry News:

Host of companies sign up for Social Strategy In A Day Masterclass: A host of companies have signed up for the Social Strategy In A Day Masterclass. They include Fuller’s, YO! Sushi, The Deltic Group, Shepherd Neame, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Burning Night Group, Antic London, Drake & Morgan, McManus Pub Company, The Coaching Inn Group, UKHospitality, Eclectic Bars, Signature Pub Group, The Duck & Rice, McMullen, Timothy Taylor, Urban Pubs and Bars, Red Mist Leisure, Boxpark, Mosaic Pub & Dining, The Wright Brothers, Dishoom, Galvin Restaurants, Kerb Food, Noble Inns, Simmons Group, Dip & Flip, Apartment Group, Graffiti Spirits Group, William Grant & Sons, Hi-Spirits, Camino, Hop Stuff Brewery, True North Brew, Namco, Pizza Union, Big Chill, Pebble Hotels, Eighty Four, Rocco Forte Hotels, Occumen, Cask Liquid Marketing, Classeq and Winterhalter. The event, which is aimed at allowing companies to develop and hone their social media strategy, features all-new content and insights to allow companies to increase brand exposure and broaden their reach. Propel has partnered with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the one-day advanced workshop that will cover everything a marketing department should be thinking about when it comes to social strategy. It takes place on Thursday, 26 April at One Moorgate Place in London. For full details click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing

Significant levels of pay disparity by gender, nationality and job function revealed in sector: Significant levels of pay disparity by gender, nationality as well as job function have been revealed in new data from recruitment company The Change Group. Analysis of pay based on candidates registered with the company in 2017 showed across all roles and nationalities there was a 7.3% gender pay gap in the hospitality sector, which equates to men being paid on average £2,000 more than women. Meanwhile, British workers are paid on average 20.3% more than employees from other EU countries, or more than £5,800 per year more, and 14.4% more than those from non-EU countries, or more than £4,300 more. Overall, front-of-house, EU workers are paid 19% less than British employees (£5,705) and those from other parts of the world are paid 12.2% less (£3,891). Meanwhile, the gender pay gap was 10.8%, with women front-of-house paid on average £3,260 less than men. There is greatest pay equality among more junior front-of-house waiters and waitresses, where the gender pay gap is only 2%. There is also a negative nationality pay gap with UK employees paid 4% less than those from either other EU or non-EU countries. The Change Group said this could be because these are among the lowest paid roles in hospitality and are often at minimum wage level. The gender pay gap rises to 11.5% back-of-house, with male chefs earning on average almost £3,000 more than women. The nationality pay gap is also higher in the kitchen than front-of-house with British employees being paid on average 15.1% or about £4,000 more than workers from the European Union, and 10.4% (almost £3,000) more than workers from other non-EU countries. The gender pay gap among front-of-house managers is the highest of all at 13.7%. Meanwhile, British hospitality managers are paid on average 12.5% more than EU employees (almost £4,000) and 10.5% more than those from other non-EU countries (£2,500). Sommeliers from all nationalities retain their pay premium among other front-of-house employees, earning on average 19.5% more. Women working in pubs and bars are paid on average 8.4% (£2,279) less than men. There is also a significant nationality pay gap in bar salaries, with UK workers being paid on average 4.8% (£1,384) more than those from other EU countries. The Change Group founder and director Craig Allen said: “We would strongly urge hospitality employers to examine salary levels for different types of employees to ensure fairness for all and that the best talent is well rewarded. This is vital to retaining and attracting talent during the continuing and ongoing candidate shortage.”

Hospitality chat app Yapster launches £650,000 crowdfunding campaign to fuel growth: Yapster, the chat app for hospitality and retail teams, has launched a £650,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fuel its growth. The company, which includes Caffe Nero among its customers, is offering a 6.5% equity stake in return for the investment. Yapster, founded by Robert Liddiard and Craig McMillan, enables “more effective and efficient communication” for companies with mobile workforces. Staff can send one-to-one and group messages, initiate flash polls, and post to the company newsfeed. The pitch states: “Deskless workers make up about 80% of today’s workforce meaning they rarely use a PC. From existing work with companies the Yapster team has found this causes a number of problems. Retail and hospitality managers believe the key benefits of using Yapster include streamlined internal communication, allowing genuine two-way conversations between head office and regions/individual locations, as well as within certain hierarchy level. Employees are more engaged in the business, reflected by lower staff turnover rates, higher productivity, and fewer unplanned absences. The app evolves with their business – we work with our customers to constantly improve the user experience and add new features. Integration with existing HR software and a dedicated admin console make the platform easy to manage.” For the year ended 31 December 2017, Yapster reported revenue of £200,000, gross profit of £13,000 and recorded an overall loss of £101,000 after operating costs of £114,000.

Seasonal developments and opportunities highlighted in first Estrella Damm food and drink trends report: Five key areas for operators to take note of this spring and summer have been revealed in the first food and drink trends report by Catalan beer brand Estrella Damm. It said the rise of wild foods and modern-day foraging has led to “forgotten food” such as wood sorrel, ramsons and lichen appearing on menus across the UK. Consumers are seeking authentic ingredients and dishes that speak of a region’s heritage and highlight local produce. Food waste is high on the consumer agenda, leading operators to offer “root-to-stem”, “nose to tail” and “pollen to petal” menus, which use all parts of the plant or animal. Meat is increasingly seen as a treat, rather than a staple, with a “quality up, quantity down” mindset becoming more prevalent in response to the ethical and environmental impact of the meat industry. Meanwhile, transparency and integrity in food and drink production are the key ingredients in earning consumer trust. Additionally, the report found Middle Eastern cuisine, health foods, scientifically-altered food, insect protein, corporate social responsibility, experiential dining, gourmet home cooking and “conscious dining” as other key trends for 2018. Estrella Damm collaborated with chef Joan Roca, proprietor of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and global trend specialists Brand Positive for the report.

Carlsberg UK signs new three-year Export partnership as campaign drives sales up 20%: Carlsberg UK is to implement the second phase of its multi-platform campaign to reinvigorate Carlsberg Export after signing a new three-year partnership with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. The company said it invested £15m in the first stage of the brand’s rejuvenation, with campaign The Danish Way driving sales up 20%. Mikkelsen will return to UK screens in May supported by increased distribution and communications and a focus on live music via Carlsberg UK’s partnership with Live Nation and O2 Academy. The company has also launched Carlsberg Tap Rotation – a new initiative to try to attract “new and younger drinkers” to encourage trade-up and drive additional spend. The move will see participating venues offer Carlsberg 1883 until June, when it will be replaced by a new Danish-style pilsner lager, Carlsberg Unfiltered. Carlsberg UK chief executive Julian Momen said: “Looking ahead in 2018, our focus is to continue to build our portfolio of premium quality beers, develop high-value relationships with our customers in a changing market, and connect with today’s beer consumer.”

BTC adds UKHospitality among new members: The British Takeaway Campaign, an industry umbrella body led by Just Eat, has added UKHospitality, the Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) and Westmill Foods as members. UKHospitality, the trade association formed by February’s merger between the British Hospitality Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, provides a united voice to the £130bn hospitality industry in the UK. Meanwhile, CESA is the largest catering equipment trade association in Britain, representing 80% of the UK catering equipment supply market, with more than 190 members and 80 years’ experience. Westmill Foods is one of Europe’s largest specialist food companies, serving the chefs and owners of Chinese and Indian restaurants and takeaways, as well as a diverse range of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, African and Caribbean consumers. The new recruits bring the British Takeaway Campaign’s membership to 15. Chairman Ibrahim Dogus said: “I’m pleased to welcome UKHospitality, CESA and Westmill to the British Takeaway Campaign. As major players in their fields they share our commitment to the continued success of our industry and our passion for skills and training.”

Company News:

Veeno reveals plans for up to 12 new UK sites: Italian wine cafe Veeno has revealed plans to expand with up to 12 new sites across the UK. Veeno has appointed Cedar Dean Commercial (CDC), the strategic lease management arm of property advisory firm Cedar Dean Group, to oversee its real estate strategy. CDC will provide lease advice, rent review and business rate services for the company as it looks to expand its presence in prime markets, in particular London. Cedar Dean Group’s CDG Leisure has already been appointed to help develop the business by identifying and acquiring new sites. Veeno was founded in November 2013 in Manchester by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino. It now has 18 sites across the UK and is targeting 80 sites by 2020. Caruso said: “We are delighted by the response from our growing customer base for our unique brand, and will be working with Cedar Dean Commercial to ensure more people will be able to enjoy our Italian aperitivo. We have no doubt that our expansion plans will be an enormous success.” Michael Macpherson, head of strategic lease management at Cedar Dean Commercial, added: “We are very pleased to be involved in Veeno’s journey as it continues to grow and develop as a business. Our team are aligned with Veeno’s long-term strategy and we are excited to support and be a part of it.” 

Mark Sargeant to open Tower of London restaurant in May: Chef Mark Sargeant is heading back to the capital to open a restaurant at The Tower of London. Sergeant, a Gordon Ramsay protégé who has made numerous appearances on television cookery shows, has partnered with CH&Co and Historic Royal Palaces for the venture. Sargeant’s Mess, which will open in May, will be an all-day restaurant and deli overlooking the Thames on the site of what was the Perkin Reveller. It will feature a classic British menu that Sargeant has created along with head chef Simon Oakley. The menu will feature cod with dripping chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce; and a crispy Gressingham duck leg with broccoli and mash. The deli will serve fresh soups, vegan salads and sandwiches. The 85-cover restaurant will have a mixture of normal and counter dining with a large terrace that will include a bar serving prosecco on tap, frozen cocktails and beer slushies. Sargeant operates four restaurants and gastro-pubs in Kent as well as running the restaurants at the Great Northern Hotel in King’s Cross. 

Oakman opens 21st site with launch of Olney pub restaurant: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has opened its 21st site – and sixth in Buckinghamshire – The Cherry Tree in Olney. The pub and restaurant has launched following a £2m conversion of a grade II-listed property that was a former residential care home overlooking Market Place. The Cherry Tree – named after the town’s Cherry Fair – is Oakman’s second opening within a month following the launch of the fourth Beech House, in Amersham. Many of the old Victorian and Georgian features such as cornicing, plasterwork, sash windows, parquet flooring and fireplaces have been renovated and reinstated at The Cherry Tree. Set within the original garden courtyard, the 100-seat restaurant features an open theatre-style kitchen. The main bar features a cherry pink Salome marble bar top while opposite the bar is the cherry-red, panelled “snug”. There is also a semi-private room with seating for up to 14 guests as well as a terrace area. Upstairs is The Hipwell Bar, which features a mix of upholstered sofas and leather wingback chairs serving a range of hot and cold drinks. Chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “When we started trading this business 11 years ago we recognised there was a huge opportunity in high-quality market towns to satisfy a strong demand for smart/casual, high-quality drinking and dining. These towns tend to reject national brands with a narrow focus. Conversely, our desire to engage with communities and to take a flexible approach to our operations makes them ideal for an Oakman inn. Olney was one of the towns listed in our original business plan and I am delighted we have made it here at long last.” 

Five Points Brewing Company passes halfway mark in £750,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: Hackney-based Five Points Brewing Company has passed the halfway mark in its £750,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to “expand its community”. The company, which is offering a 5.66% equity stake in return for the investment, will use the capital to open the first Five Points taproom at The Pembury Tavern in Hackney, which the company acquired last month. So far, 599 investors have pledged £379,780 with 24 days remaining. Funds will also be invested in new brewhouse equipment and fermentation tanks that would triple production in a bid to increase sales from two million to six million pints a year (34,000 hectolitres). A new research and development brew-kit at The Pembury would be used to develop new recipes and brewing processes. The company reached capacity in late 2016 and has been brewing some of its beer with a brewery in Belgium. The investment would enable Five Points to bring all production back to London. The fund-raise would also see the company invest in its team, expand UK distribution and develop its growing export business. Five Points Brewing Company, which has seen turnover increase from £173,000 in 2013 to £2.6m in 2017, was the first brewer in the UK to be an accredited Living Wage employer, sources electricity from 100% renewable sources and helped set up an apprenticeship scheme at Hackney Community College. Co-founder and managing director Ed Mason said: “We believe we have the potential not just to cement our position as one of London’s favourite brands but to become a truly national brand.”

Rainer Becker to open second Inko Nito site, in Soho: Rainer Becker, who is behind London restaurants Roka, Oblix, Zuma and The Arts Club, is to open the second site for its robatayaki concept Inko Nito next month. Becker, who launched Inko Nito in downtown Los Angeles last month is turning back to London for its second venue, with an opening in Broadwick Street, Soho. The restaurant, which would have room for 90 diners, is described as “Japanese charcoal grilled cooking with a Korean influence”. Dishes will include beef cheek, spicy Korean miso, pickled daikon and butter lettuce; and sweet potato in husk, chili nori butter and chives. There will also be nigaki – roasted nori with sushi rice and a choice of toppings such as Dungeness crab, avocado, wasabi tobiko and yuzu mayo. Drinks will feature a selection of sake, an exclusively Californian wine selection and Japanese beers. Cocktails will include a Nori old-fashioned and a house spritz made with watermelon, aperol, yuzu and sparkling wine, reports Hot Dinners.

Red Oak Taverns reopens 17th century Bristol pub following £800,000 refurbishment: Red Oak Taverns has reopened Bristol pub the Temple Inn following an £800,000 refurbishment that has added ten en-suite bedrooms. The project to revitalise the 17th century pub in Temple Cloud, which had been closed for a number of years, was funded by a nine-house development on brownfield land next to the pub. Red Oak Taverns co-founder and director Mark Grunnell said: “It’s great to be able to breathe life back into a historic community pub. Reopening the Temple Inn is a perfect example of the success Red Oak Taverns can achieve by working collaboratively with local authorities and communities. Over the past six years we have built our portfolio from 32 to 163 outlets, transforming many unloved pubs back into thriving concerns. We’ve achieved this through investment and working together in partnership with our licensees.” The Temple Inn is one of the 32 pubs Grunnell and Aaron Brown purchased when founding Red Oak Taverns in 2011.

London-based retro cocktail bar Little Nan to open third site, in Fitzrovia on Monday: London-based retro cocktail bar Little Nan is to open its third site, in Fitzrovia. Owner Tristan Scutt started the concept, dedicated to his late grandmother – his “little nan” – as a pop-up before opening his first venue in Deptford. Now Little Nan, which also has a bar in Catford, is launching its biggest site to date, in Warren Street on Monday (2 April). It will feature the concept’s usual kitsch royal interior as well as a downstairs dressing-up room. The new space will have more of a focus on the food with dishes including Aunt Mary’s Welsh lamb chops marinated in mustard and mint, baked Queen Mother’s Scottish salmon with white wine and dill, and Ian Beal’s wholetail scampi with hand cut chips and tartar sauce served in a basket. Drinks will feature cocktails in teapots and vases along with craft beers, wines and seasonal mocktails. Scutt told Hot Dinners: “Little Nan lived till the age of 103, her life spanned six royal monarchs and a variety of fabulous British food trends. She was the original lover of little plates for big hearts.” 

Part of east London leisure park home to McDonald’s and Hollywood Bowl Group sells for £11.5m: Part of an east London leisure park home to McDonald’s and Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, has been sold for £11.5m. Property investor AEW UK Reit has acquired 72,245 square foot of London East Leisure Park in Dagenham, which totals 149,132 square feet. The property currently houses Mecca Bingo, McDonalds and Hollywood Bowl and provides a net initial yield of 8% with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 12.8 years. AEW UK Reit has also acquired a 279,541 square foot industrial unit in Wrexham for £10m. AEW UK Reit has funded the acquisitions by drawing down £10m from its existing loan facility with Royal Bank of Scotland, which matures in October 2020. The facility amount has now been increased to £60m. Portfolio manager Alex Short said: “We are very pleased to announce these acquisitions, which now bring the company’s debt level back in line with its long-term loan to value target of 25%. The company has now completed four acquisitions so far this year totalling circa £39m providing a combined net initial yield of 8.6%. We are encouraged by the strength of our current pipeline.”

Leelex reveals further details about Spanish and Basque concept Tonica by The Distillery, in Exmouth Market: Restaurant and bar company Leelex, co-founded by Ged Feltham, has revealed further details about its new Spanish and Basque concept Tonica by The Distillery in Exmouth Market. The venue, which is due to open next month, will replace the company’s Mexican concept Cielo Blanco, which launched in 2016. Leelex already operates GinTonica at The Distillery in Portabello Road but this will be the first standalone site under the Tonica name. The new venue will be across two floors, with a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and a working still room and private space in the basement. The focus will be on gin ‘n’ tonics using “fanciful garnishes, interesting tonics, bitters, tinctures, fresh herbs, juices, jams and even liqueurs”. The food will be based on small plates with Spanish influences. The basement still will be used to create homemade spirits such as avocado vodka, a butter gin and a horseradish and rosemary vodka, which can be ordered in the bar, reports Hot Dinners. 

Subway unveils south west expansion plans: Subway has outlined expansion plans in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset with plans to increase its portfolio in the region from 83 to 95 by the end of the year. The company has plans to open new sites including Babylon Hill near Sherborne, Bournemouth, Ferndown, Gillingham, Poole, Verwood and Weymouth in 2018. Subway is looking to open 122 stores across the south west by 2022, creating 270 jobs for the region. Kevin Graham, Subway’s regional development agent for the south west, told the Dorset Echo: “We have exciting plans to grow the Subway brand across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall this year. To succeed, we need the right people, with the right blend of teamwork, leadership and work ethic to become new franchisees and help us to deliver our ambitious growth target. Location is also key – we’re constantly seeking new opportunities in new locations across the region, from high streets to retail parks, and non-traditional locations, such as petrol forecourts and convenience stores.” Peter Dowding, country director for the UK and Ireland, added the move would strengthen Subway’s position within the UK market as part of the company plans to open 3,000 outlets and create 5,000 jobs by 2020.

Mount Charles eyes part of Belfast bar for new site: Irish restaurant group Mount Charles is set to open a site in part of a Belfast bar. The company has lodged plans with the city council for change of use from bar to restaurant for part of The Apartment in Donegall Square West. It is understood Mount Charles would operate on the ground floor, with The Apartment continuing to run as a bar and separate restaurant upstairs. Mount Charles already operates five cafes under its Fed & Watered brand, including one in Exeter airport, as well as restaurant George’s of the Market at St George’s Market in Belfast. A spokeswoman for Mount Charles told the Belfast Telegraph the “fresh and exciting concept” would open in the summer.

Butcombe opens first Dorset pub: Butcombe Brewery, part of Liberation Group, has reopened The Castle Inn, near Lulworth Cove – its first site in Dorset. The company, which acquired the site in October, has relaunched the pub following a three-month refurbishment. The Castle Inn’s history has been retained where possible, with nods to the building’s traditional architecture and original design elements evident throughout the bar, extended dining room and bedrooms. It features 12 bedrooms while the new-look restaurant has a daily-changing market menu focused on grilled and seafood dishes that showcase a host of local produce sourced from within 30 miles. Jayson Perfect, managing director at Butcombe Pubs and Inns, said: “The Castle Inn is our flagship pub in Dorset, and quite rightly a local favourite, so we knew we had to preserve its distinct character and heritage during the renovation. We’ve created a gorgeous, high-quality site that fits perfectly with the surrounding countryside and coastline.” Butcombe operates almost 50 pubs in the West Country.

Nathan Outlaw protégé Tom Brown to launch solo venture in Hackney Wick next month: Tom Brown, a protégé of two Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw, is to open his debut restaurant next month, in Hackney Wick, east London. Cornerstone, a 46-cover restaurant in Wallis Road, will launch on Tuesday, 24 April showcasing Brown’s style of seasonal and produce-driven cooking using British ingredients. Sharing dishes will include raw mackerel with lime pickle, coconut yogurt and crispy garlic; ox tongue with salt cod, tomatoes and gremolata; and pear crumble with Earl Grey ice-cream. The short international wine list will be accompanied by home-infused cocktails, local craft beer and a bespoke gin. The kitchen will be in the centre of the restaurant and will double up as a counter-bar, seating 11 guests. Other touches will include a 5,000-year-old oak table, seating ten, which was commissioned after being salvaged from a river in Croatia, while the lounge at the front of the restaurant will feature high-back benches. Brown said: “Watching the transition of the restaurant from design to being built is an incredible feeling. I can’t wait to get cooking now.” Brown became head chef at Outlaw’s eponymous restaurant in Knightsbridge and also appeared on BBC television show Great British Menu, where three of his dishes made the final round.

Japanese concept Sumo to launch pan-Asian restaurant for second East Yorkshire site: East Yorkshire-based Japanese restaurant concept Sumo is to start expansion by opening a second site, this time dedicated to pan-Asian street food. The company, which launched in Newland Avenue, Hull, will open Sumo Pan Asian at the Flemingate Centre in Beverley in June. The 30-cover, 760 square foot restaurant will offers dishes similar to those found on kerbside food stalls in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo to eat in or take away. Sumo director and head chef Gary Chin told Insider Media: “We wanted to bring an authentic Asian street food experience to Beverley using the best local ingredients. Our concept is designed on the traditional street food bars of Asia, where people sit around counters and the food is freshly cooked in front of them. We will offer that relaxed, informal and very sociable feel but within a comfortable, quality restaurant environment.” Flemingate Centre manager Graham Tait added: “Sumo Pan Asian is an excellent addition to Flemingate and brings yet another new eating option to the centre.”

Deltic Group relaunches Tamworth nightclub under Atik brand following £400,000 investment: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 57 venues, has converted its Kuda nightclub in Tamworth to its Atik brand as part of a £400,000 investment. Atik has joined retro room Vinyl, which is downstairs in the Spinning School Lane venue. Atik showcases the “best in light and sound technology”, playing club hits with a regular line-up of guest DJs. Vinyl offers “guilty pleasures and pop classics”, while the entire venue has been given a fresh new look, including eight pre-bookable VIP booths with table service.

Soho Coffee Co launches spring menu with new focus on vegetarian and vegan options: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has launched its spring menu with an increased focus on vegetarian and vegan options. Almost two-thirds (60%) of the new range caters for vegetarians and 10% for vegans, as well as a wide selection for pescatarians. New items include feta, beetroot and pomegranate wrap; halloumi and chipotle focaccia melt; and wasabi and sesame-dressed tuna salad. Other menu changes include a range of premium sandwiches, hot brioche rolls with breakfast fillings, an increase in the number of salads, and the introduction of compostable packaging. Founded in Cheltenham, Soho Coffee Co opened nine stores last year to operate more than 40 sites across the UK.

Patisserie Valerie upsizes Milton Keynes shopping centre site: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has upsized its site at Centre:MK in Milton Keynes. The company has opened the 2,650 square foot cafe in Deer Walk after agreeing a deal with the complex’s joint owners, Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper. The cafe was designed by an in-house team to reflect the brand’s continental roots and can seat up to 60 customers. Patisserie Holdings chief executive Paul May said: “We are excited to continue our growth within Centre:MK – the new site will mean we can welcome more customers; both our loyal regulars and some new faces.” MMX Retail and CBRE acted for Centre:MK while Time Retail Partners represented Patisserie Valerie.

Berber & Q co-founder to launch debut cookbook: Berber & Q head chef and co-founder Josh Katz is to launch his debut cookbook in May. Berber & Q celebrates the eponymous east London restaurant with the 120 recipes taking influence from North Africa, the Levant and the Middle East, as well as a nod towards Americana and the barbecue culture of the Southern states. It is split into chapters titled mezze, fish, meat, vegetables, Sundays, sauces, desserts and cocktails. Katz said: “Cooking for me is all about simplicity, no fuss, no pomposity. The vibe of our restaurant is all about sharing good food, in a close setting with great friends and the Berber & Q book is reflective of that. Having spent the past few years travelling extensively, researching and writing, I am proud to be able to tell our story and share our recipes.” Berber & Q will be released on Thursday, 31 May.

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