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Mon 9th Apr 2018 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Innventure expansion on hold in high-cost environment, diversifies into holiday let and art gallery business: Innventure, the gastro-pub operator led by former Mitchells & Butlers executive Chris Gerard, has put its expansion plans on hold as it develops models that are “substantially less people sensitive”. The company has begun diversifying with the launch of a sister holiday let and art gallery business lnnventure Vacation Services. This has led to the launch of the Great House, a six-bedroom luxury Georgian manor house in Orford, Suffolk, and an art gallery. Innventure said the model would be assessed over the next two years "with a plan to trade, grow or exit with a development profit". The plans were revealed in Innventure's accounts filed at Companies House for the year ending 1 July 2017. Turnover fell 1.8% to £6,343,281 compared with £6,458,903 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell slightly to £74,290 compared with £77,855 the year before. Gross profit margin was down to 34.4% compared with 34.8% the previous year. The company stated: "The business remains at six sites. The company has this year assisted the development of a new sister company, Innventure Vacation Services, by way of a loan. This loan of £1.5m is secured on a newly developed holiday letting enterprise asset now revalued, following development, at £2.5m, suggesting a potential development profit of £0.6m. Further investment into new sites remains on 'idle' as the leisure property market remains overheated. The redevelopment of d'Arrys performed strongly following reopening but suffered from management weakness into the second half. The business shows signs of improvement going into the next year. The Wellington, however, is performing poorly and a change of management and kitchen team is urgently required going forward into 2017/18. A rating appeal remains outstanding for the Wellington, it is believed it is significantly over rated. The loan to Innventure Vacation Services leaves the cash position at the year-end at £440,000 and it is felt cash resources are sufficient to meet business requirements going forward. The business has a strong net current asset position of £1,043,000, up from £819,000 in the prior year. The business will improve its cost controls in 2018 using improved information."

Industry News:

Full speaker schedule for Finance and Investment Conference revealed: The full speaker schedule for the Propel Finance and Investment Conference has been revealed. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 24 May at One Moorgate Place, London, EC2R 6EA and is open for bookings. Ramzi Qattan, director at Christie & Co, will provide an overview of the pub, restaurant, foodservice and hotel sector mergers and acquisitions landscape, current valuations in the market and the do’s and don’ts when attempting to attract investment or sell a hospitality business. He will also provide insights on the range of businesses that are seeking to invest in the sector. Andrew Ball, partner at leisure sector specialist haysmacintyre, will give his top ten tips to maximise tax efficiency. Peter Hansen, partner at Sapient Corporate Finance, will provide an overview of mergers and acquisitions trends, give his view on where we are in the economic cycle and predict what lies ahead. Matt Smallwood, partner of the sector’s foremost financial public relations firm Instinctif, will provide his do’s and don’ts of financial PR. Richard Hamlin, partner at First Merchant, will offer expert insights on the London leasehold market and how to raise finance. Steven Kenee, of Downing, will set out how Downing LLP has provided almost £24m of funding for Oakman Inns and Restaurants over the past three years using a variety of innovative funding solutions ranging from EIS funds to bonds from its award-winning Downing Crowd platform. Darrel Connell, of sector investor Imbiba, will talk about the company’s £50m Growth Fund, which will invest in as many as four new growth companies in the leisure and hospitality sector each year. Martin Sherwood, of Enterprise Investment Partners, will set out how pub, restaurant and foodservice companies can navigate the current rules on Enterprise Investment Schemes. Sector investor Luke Johnson will give his state-of-the-sector overview in conversation with Propel managing director Paul Charity. Clive Watson, founder and chief executive of City Pub Group, will provide insights on the process of undergoing an initial public offering and the benefits of going public. Meanwhile, there will be a panel discussion with Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack; Steve Crosswell, commercial banking director, hospitality and leisure, Metrobank; Mowgli founder Nisha Katona; Burning Night Group chief executive Allan Harper; Jonathan Simon, of Business Growth Fund; and Gary Robins, head of business development, Growthdeck. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.
 
Sugar tax could be extended, warns government: A treasury minister has said the government might extend its new sugar tax to sweetened milkshakes if makers do not change unhealthy recipes voluntarily. Robert Jenvrik said the new tax on fizzy drinks, which came into force on Friday (6 April), had proved a huge success by persuading the soft drinks industry to slash the amount of sugar in products aimed at children. He told the Evening Standard: “What the soft drinks levy has proved is manufacturers can significantly reduce their sugar content without ruining the taste and experience consumers enjoy. The fact they have done this before the tax has even come into force shows it is a success and we want manufacturers of other products to follow their lead.” The “ground-breaking” sugar tax means manufacturers now have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell. Leading brands such as Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have slashed sugar levels by up to 50%, but Coca-Cola has not changed its recipe. Jenvrik said the government could consider a similar tax on sweets and chocolate in future if it was needed to encourage healthier recipes. He added makers of sugary milk drinks were already in the government’s sights, with a target to cut sugar levels by a fifth by 2020 or they could face similar action.

Apprenticeship Levy not fit for purpose, says CBI: The CBI has demanded an urgent review of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which it has blasted as “not fit for purpose”. The lobby group said the levy was not encouraging businesses to take on apprentices. It warned politicians had six to nine months to turn round the scheme before it was written off as another tax on business. The levy was introduced a year ago and forces companies with a wage bill of more than £3m to contribute 0.5% of their payroll costs to the scheme, which they can then claim back for training. The aim was to raise £3bn a year and create three million new apprentices by 2020. However, figures released recently by the education department showed the number of people going into apprenticeships had plunged by 25% in the first half of the academic year. A report last week by the Open University claimed £1.3bn of the cash paid into the fund had not yet been claimed. Neil Carberry, the CBI’s managing director of people and infrastructure, told The Sunday Times: “It’s not about not wanting to support apprenticeships – we absolutely do. It’s about a system that was designed in Whitehall that is not working on the ground. The heat about the apprenticeship levy is about it not driving a system that’s fit for purpose. It’s high time we had a levy review. The real risk is businesses just writing it off as a tax and doing what they were going to do anyway, and then it isn’t transformational.” The education department said its reforms had “fundamentally changed apprenticeships for the better”. It added the number of people doing higher-level apprenticeships had increased.

Leisure companies appear in Sunday Times profit growth list: Derbyshire-based holiday park operator Forest Holidays is the highest-placed leisure company in the Sunday Times Top 100 Profit Track list – the company is fourth with a 130.5% rise in profit to £7.2m in 2017. CH&Co Group was 41st – it saw an 75.25% rise in profit to £6.4m in 2016. Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay was 54th, with a 70.33% climb in profit to £12m in 2017. Pret A Manger came 68th as profits rose 61.77% to £55.8m in 2016, making it the third most profitable company in the list. Wagamama was placed 82nd with profits up 57.73% to £21.3m last year while Longleat Enterprises came 95th as profits increased 55.33% to £3.5m in 2016.

Company News: 

Deltic Group set for fresh float plan: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 57 venues, is revisiting plans for a potential float. The company put plans for a stock offering on hold last year because of challenging trading conditions. However, Deltic appears to have reignited listing plans – a capital markets day for potential investors is planned later this month, reports The Sunday Times. The company, led by chief executive Peter Marks, made an approach for Revolution Bars Group in October. At the time, Revolution was pursuing an ultimately unsuccessful £101m merger with Stonegate Pub Company. After being rebuffed, Deltic snapped up a 3% stake in Revolution. Under takeover rules, the earliest it can come back with an offer for its rival is Tuesday (10 April). Marks pulled Deltic out of the ashes of nightclub group Luminar in a £34m rescue in 2011. Last June he said he might seek a float or sale within 12 months, “macro factors permitting”. Marks also said he was hungry for smaller acquisitions, and indicated he would seek funding support from investors or private equity firms for any potential deals. Deltic, which is being advised by Stifel, is keen to convince potential investors the late-night sector has a future, despite a contraction in recent years.

McDonald's facing second wave of strikes as union ballots workers: McDonald's is facing a new round of industrial action, as a union ballots members over whether to strike in pursuit of higher wages and improved working conditions. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) is balloting members over plans to strike in five different branches of McDonald's. Seven months ago, workers from McDonald’s went on strike at two restaurants – in Cambridge and Crayford, south-east London. Their action was against the use of a grievance procedure during a dispute between staff, but the strike became a lightning rod for protests against the use of zero-hours contracts. The proposed strike action would again include Crayford and Cambridge as well as a branch in Manchester. The other two restaurants being proposed for strikes are in Watford – the home town of McDonald's global boss Steve Easterbrook. The Watford and Manchester branches are franchised restaurants, while those in Cambridge and Crayford are owned by the company. The union is asking for three things – a salary of £10 per hour, an end to lower "youth rates" of pay, and greater flexibility in working hours. The union opposes the use of zero-hours contracts. The union said the ballot would close on Monday, 16 April and although there is no date yet for any strike action, the ballot paper said it could start from Tuesday, 1 May. Last year's industrial action came as McDonald's was going through a policy of offering its staff a choice between fixed-hour jobs or contracts with flexible hours. About 80% of the company's 120,000 staff decided to go for the flexible hours deal. BFAWU president Ian Hodson told Sky News: "Representatives from six stores took a decision that they wished to be balloted on industrial action on issues of pay, unequal pay for young workers, and for a choice of fixed hours. The union is committed to supporting its members and campaigning for £10 an hour, an end to zero-hours contracts and to give McDonald's workers a voice."

BrewDog invests in Hawkes, updates on pipeline: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has invested in London-based cider producer Hawkes. Hawkes founder Simon Wright will remain in charge of the business where he will be supported by BrewDog’s senior team. BrewDog stated: “We’ve come a long way since our inception, and along that journey we’ve also extended our desire to reinvigorate tired industries with the launch of LoneWolf, our spirits arm, bottling distilled anarchy from our home in Aberdeenshire. With LoneWolf, our team was primed to shape our spirits division, as we had senior distillation experts in place. When we recently turned our attention to cider, we attempted to create it ourselves but found the expertise didn’t already exist within our crew. As such, we looked at how else we could support this category, which has so much potential. A few months ago, we met with Simon Wright, the founder of Hawkes cider in London. Here, we found a kindred spirit. Hawkes’ approach to cider parallels our heritage with beer, and we see huge potential in the difference the business can make to a mass-market monopolised segment of the drinks scene. Cider can be as much of a craft beverage as beer, and has as bright a future as brewing. So we can announce we’ve invested in Hawkes, and will be supporting its imminent growth both in the UK and internationally. Its range of ciders will remain (and expand), and the people will stay put. We’re insanely excited to see where we can take cider together.” Wright added: “We are in an industry that has for far too long allowed ‘big’ cider and mass-market products to hold back innovation and growth. I’ve long been impressed by BrewDog’s attitude and approach to challenging the status quo of beer in the UK and around the world. Just like us, it stands up for those who want to break free, make a difference and take the cider scene into an entirely new era. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.” Meanwhile, at its Equity for Punks annual general meeting, co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie updated on the company’s site pipeline. They said the Glasgow Hopworks would open later this year while other sites “coming soon” included Paris, Reykjavik and Barcelona airport. In the US, its Short North and Franklinton bars will open in the next fortnight while it had begun distribution of its beer outside of Ohio.

Beannchor Group reports turnover and operating profit boost: Northern Ireland hospitality company Beannchor Group has reported turnover increased 23% to £23,682,580 for the year ending 30 June 2017 compared with £19,237,993 the previous year. Operating profit increased to £5,670,818 compared with £3,198,116 the year before. Pre-tax profit fell to £3,183,296 compared with £9,027,513 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company stated: "Competition in the market place remains strong. That said, turnover increased by £4,444,587 (23%) in the year following the opening of a new hotel in October 2016 and acquisition of a number of licensed establishments. The directors consider the results for the year to be satisfactory. The external commercial environment is expected to remain competitive in 2018. While the directors expect a difficult trading year ahead, they will continue to seek every opportunity to increase turnover and operating profit where possible." Beannchor Group owns pubs, hotels and restaurants across Northern Ireland, including National Grande Cafe/sixty6 and The Dirty Onion as well as eight Little Wing Pizzeria sites.

Baa Bar reports like-for-like sales up 3.5%, returns to profit: Baa Bar, the Liverpool-based bar and pub company, has said like-for-like sales are up 3.5% in its current financial year as it reported a return to profit having cut its eight-strong estate in half. The company has completed its reorganisational strategy, which led to the leases of three underperforming sites being terminated – two in Manchester and one in Leeds – and it has subsequently sold one of its Liverpool venues. Baa Bar now has three sites in Liverpool and one in Nottingham. It comes as the company reported turnover fell to £6,754,346 for the year ending 31 July 2017 compared with £8,560,421 the previous year. The company saw a pre-tax profit of £729,886 compared with a loss of £1,363,130 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. A report by the directors accompanying the accounts stated: “Changing consumer trends and increased levels of competition, particularly in Liverpool, where the company has multiple sites, has led to challenges in the business. Despite this, like-for-like sales at the four sites that are deemed to be the core estate were flat on the previous year, and since the year-end date, like-for-like sales at these sites have increased and are up 3.5% in the trading period to date. An increased operating profit margin of 8.9% compared with 1.6% in the prior year, was a result of the company's reorganisation strategy. The plans to reinvest in the core estate as part of this strategy have also begun, with a large-scale refurbishment of one of the flagship Liverpool sites, Modo, now well under way, with an extra floor of the property being opened for trading and an external feature balcony being added. We are well prepared for another year and we remain focused on the trading conditions. We will continue to deliver a quality experience for our customers and value for money. Further improvements are expected through enhanced employee training and incentives, combined with increased local marketing initiatives.” 
 
Edinburgh-based multi-site pub and hotel operator Bruce Group explores funding options: Edinburgh-based multi-site pub and hotel operator Bruce Group has revealed it has been exploring funding options as it lays the foundation for "a number of exciting plans". The company revealed the details as it reported a jump in pre-tax profit following a turnover and Ebitda boost. It saw turnover increase to £6,288,897 for the year ending 30 June 2017 compared with £4,624,431 the year before. Ebitda was up to £624,683 compared with £514,124 the previous year. Pre-tax profit soared to £1,822,371 compared with £34,778 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In its report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: "The most recent financial year has seen the foundations being laid for a number of exciting plans. In particular, the directors have been exploring alternative sources of financing and some of these are expected to come to fruition in 2018. The directors take a longer term view of the business and aim to build value over a sustained period, rather than focusing on short-term performance. As part of this strategy, the group sold one of its non-core assets during the year. The disposal of this Fife hotel generated a loss of £309,037 on the freehold property. The property required substantial investment in order to bring it up to a satisfactory standard and the directors believed that a better return could be achieved from Edinburgh-based projects that added to the group's core offering. The group's bankers are supportive of the aspirations of the directors and continue to provide funding for new acquisitions. The group prefers to operate freehold properties but will also look at leasehold properties where the length of the lease and the projected returns are sufficient to build value in the overall group." 
 
Cote closes remaining Jackson & Rye site outside London, in Guildford: Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has closed the remaining site outside of London for its American-style food brand Jackson & Rye. The company has shut the restaurant in Guildford, Surrey. It comes after the Jackson & Rye site in Kingston was closed in January while plans were scrapped to take the brand to Birmingham. The Guildford restaurant, which was in High Street, was the first Jackson & Rye outside the capital when it opened in December 2016. Jackson & Rye stated on Twitter: "Our Guildford restaurant is now closed. We're grateful for your ongoing support and patronage." The closure leaves four Jackson & Rye sites, which are all in London – in Bank, Chiswick, Richmond and Soho. Cote bought Jackson & Rye in January 2016 alongside all-day California kitchen brand Limeyard. Jackson & Rye was originally led by Gordon Ramsay Holding’s head chef Mark Askew and former Hakkasan operations chief Hannah Bass and was initially backed by restaurateur Richard Caring.

SSP opens new Jamie's Deli site at Nice airport: UK transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has opened a new Jamie’s Deli at Nice airport. The new venue is on the landside of the airport and joins the Jamie's Italian and another Jamie's Deli on the airside. Jamie Oliver now has more than 50 sites internationally across 24 countries.
 
Conviviality set to sell Bargain Booze and Wine Rack to Bestway for £7m: Conviviality brands Bargain Booze and Wine Rack are set to be sold to food wholesaler Bestway for £7m. Conviviality's retail arm, which also includes the WS Retail and Select Convenience chains, has been looking for buyers after the company ran into financial trouble following the discovery of an unexpected £30m tax bill. The sale is expected to save 2,000 jobs at the chains, reports the BBC. Bestway is one of the UK's biggest food wholesalers and also owns the Well pharmacy chain. Last week, the wholesale division of Conviviality was bought by C&C Group, the owner of Magners cider. Both deals were completed through a pre-pack administration process, which was overseen by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
 
Antic plans second Crystal Palace pub: Antic, the Downing-backed London pub operator led by Antony Thomas, has applied for permission to open a second pub in Crystal Palace. The company wants to convert the disused Plumbase shop in Westow Hill. If permission is granted, the new venue will be called Cambridge Coopers and will serve coffee in the morning before "morphing" into a "lively" meeting place in the evening, according to a planning statement. Before it became a Plumbase in the 1990s, the 1930s building had been home to a Coopers store – hence the new pub's proposed name. A planning statement read: "The new use, and the associated changes proposed, will provide an additional leisure service to the high street, further enhancing the vitality, appeal and draw of the area, while drastically improving the streetscape by restoring the building's originality and front façade at ground level."

El Pastor team launch tortilla factory and taco bar in Bermondsey: Brothers Sam and James Hart and Crispin Somerville, who launched Mexican taqueria concept El Pastor in 2016, have launched an offshoot tortilla factory and taco bar near Bermondsey’s Maltby Street Market. Tortilleria El Pastor has opened in Druid Street making fresh tortillas from scratch every day to eat in or take away. The venue seats 26 in total – 20 at tables and six at a high taco bar – and also supplies nearby El Pastor. Tortilleria El Pastor features an imported taco-making machine and uses Mexican heirloom corn. Unlike the original taqueria, the new venue offers sopes (thick corn mini-maize cakes piled with toppings). The drinks list includes El Pastor’s first batch of its own mezcal, made in partnership with Mexico’s La Clandestina brand. The name El Pastor is based on “al pastor”, a Mexico City staple that roughly translates as “shepherd-style”. The Hart brothers also operate three Barrafina sites and restaurant and members’ club Quo Vadis in London. They will be bringing Barrafina to King’s Cross along with new two new openings – another branch of El Pastor – called Casa Pastor – and a new concept wine bar and restaurant called The Drop.
 
Manjaros opens seventh site, in Newcastle: Manjaros, which combines Caribbean and African cuisine, has opened its seventh site, in Newcastle. Owner Rafiq Ali has opened the new venue in Cross Street, reports Chronicle Live. Its most popular dish is parmesan chicken, with a number of parmesan choices on the menu alongside grilled dishes, skewers, burgers, platters, pizza and wraps. Ali launched Manjaros in Middlesbrough and has subsequently opened restaurants in Birmingham, Bradford, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Ali is also opening a site in Huddersfield in the next few months.
 
Leicester university gets go-ahead to open micro-pub: De Montfort University in Leicester has been given the go-ahead to open a micro-pub in grade II-listed cottages in the city. The university has been granted permission by the city council to transform the property in Castle View into the micro-pub, which will be run by the students’ union. The building was last used for retail but has been vacant for a number of years. The micro-pub will be able to accommodate between 12 to 15 people at one time. The planning application stated: "The property has been unoccupied for many years and has consequently fallen into a state of disrepair, with no active management. The property is located within the heart of the De Montfort University campus and as such, the proposed use will complement the surrounding area and leisure facilities at the university. The micro-pub will be a bookable facility, open only to De Montfort University staff, students and their guests."
 
Escape room operator Clue HQ plans 11th site: Escape room operator Clue HQ has submitted plans to open its 11th site in a grade II-listed building in the centre of Harrogate. Listed building and change of use applications have been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council to convert the second floor and third floors at 1 Prospect Crescent from class D1 health and well-being clinic use to class D1 for an escape room game. Internally, a number of walls will be erected to create separate smaller areas and facilitate a variety of live escape games. These smaller rooms will be decorated to match a number of different themes, with a design and access statement submitted as part of the application including the example of an Egyptian-themed room that will be decorated to look like the inside of a pyramid. Customers will take part in groups of about six and the games will take 60 minutes. The last bookings will be at 9pm. Clue HQ currently has sites in Manchester, Warrington, Birmingham, Swindon, Leicester, Coventry, Blackpool, Brentwood, Sunderland and Glasgow.
 
Tony Macaroni opens fourth Mozza site, in Aberdeen: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni has opened the fourth site for its artisan pizza and Italian craft beer concept Mozza, in Aberdeen. The company has launched the 1,694 square foot venue at the Union Square shopping centre in a former Sony store on the upper floor, creating 20 jobs. Area manager Riccardo Venditti told the Evening Express: “Naples, where we’re originally from, is the pizza capital of the world – pizza is like a religion there. We want to share this authentic taste with the people of Scotland.” Tony Macaroni operates 14 eponymous restaurants in Scotland as well as three Mozza sites – in Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews.

CPL Training appoints managing director: CPL Training, which delivers hospitality-based training and development, has appointed Louise Sui as the company’s managing director. Sui was previously commercial director and has taken up the new role with immediate effect. Following the sale of CPL Online to CGA, the board of directors has appointed Sui to lead CPL Training on to the next stage of development, where she will oversee the introduction of new training and business ventures. Sui joined CPL in 2011 and has delivered expansive growth across the business, including the market share for personal licence training, which has increased by 75% in the past five years. Sui said: “It’s an exciting time to take the lead at CPL Training. We are going back to our roots by concentrating on face-to-face training. Going forward, our aim is to branch out into new markets, but our priority will always lie within the hospitality industry. We want to step up our partnerships with operators to create relevant and valuable training programmes. We are already working alongside a selection of clients to address their skills shortage and support them in managing their estate." CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies added: “Since Louise joined the business seven years ago, she has been instrumental in growing our footprint and securing new business. Louise is passionate about what we do, and it’s only right she is the person to take us to the next level. We are in a great position to achieve our objectives, and I look forward to what the future brings.”
 
Leasehold of Cotswolds inn and model village on market for £595,000: The leasehold of a Cotswolds inn home to one of England's oldest model villages has gone on the market for an asking price of £595,000. The Old New Inn & Model Village, situated in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, is being marketed by agents Christie & Co. The Old New Inn is a detached, three-storey grade II-listed property, dating to 1712, earning its name as it was built on and doubled in size through extensions in the 1930s. The building comprises of three bars, a main restaurant for up to 40 covers, a function room with capacity for up to 60 guests, a breakfast room for up to 20 covers and a beer terrace and garden. The site’s main attraction has been the model village, located behind the inn, which is a one-ninth scale exact replica of the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water, crafted by local builders from Cotswold stone. Built in 1936, it is one of the oldest model villages in England and the only one to be given grade-II listed status, attracting more than 100,000 visitors a year. Christie & Co director Nicholas Calfe, who is based in the company's Bristol office and is handling the sale, said: “This miniature village presents huge potential! The New Old Inn and Model Village provides multiple income streams and a strong tourist offering in a highly desirable location.”
 
Pop-up Burmese restaurant Lahpet opens permanent site, in Shoreditch: Pop-up Burmese restaurant concept Lahpet has opened a permanent site, in Shoreditch, east London. Dan Anton and Zaw Mahesh have launched the venue in Bethnal Green Road on the former site of Tapas Revolution, having previously secured the lease through agent Davis Coffer Lyons. The 2,000 square foot, ground-floor corner unit with outside seating has space for 76 covers. It features booth seating as well as a long wooden sharing table and there's a bar serving drinks such as the Lahpet Sour (gin with campari, orange, Earl Grey and strawberry jam). Lahpet started out as a residency at Maltby Street Market in 2016 before moving to a site in London Fields, Hackney. Anton and Mahesh are of Burmese descent and aim to make the country’s cuisine more accessible by being one of London’s only specialist restaurants. Burmese cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Laotian, Indian and Thai.
 
Signature Living to open second Shankly hotel, in Preston: Aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living has revealed its planned development for the Harris Hotel in Preston will be its second Shankly hotel. The company is currently developing and constructing a number of other football-themed hotels such as the Dixie Dean in Liverpool and the George Best Hotel in Belfast. The Shankly Hotel Preston will once again be a collaboration between the family of footballer and manager William "Bill" Shankly, who signed for Preston North End in 1933, in partnership with Signature Living. The £15m project will be lead by Bill Shankly’s grandson Chris Carline, who is also co-owner and curator of the Shankly Hotel in Liverpool. The former grade II-listed post office building in Preston will be transformed into a 65-bedroom boutique hotel modelled on similar lines to the Liverpool hotel featuring Shankly memorabilia complete with photographs, and nostalgia connected to his time at the various clubs he served during his playing and management career. The Shankly Hotel Preston is due to open in September. Signature Living head of stakeholder relations Roger Jonas said: “These are extremely exciting times ahead for Signature Living to be coming to Preston, there is a new era of excitement and confidence about the city." 
 
Review Hotels acquires second site: Review Hotels has bought a historic former coaching inn hotel in Newmarket, Suffolk, for its second site. The company, which owns Newmarket's four-red star Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, has acquired the three-star Rutland Arms Hotel. The historic hotel comprises of 46 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, courtyard terrace, and conference and event facilities for up to 60 delegates. Review Hotels chief executive Noel Byrne told Insider Media: "Rutland Arms Hotel is an iconic part of Newmarket's high street and is a great addition to our portfolio. The distinctive property is built around an attractive cobbled courtyard and dates to the 17th century. Over the next three years we plan to embark on a significant refurbishment programme for the hotel, which will include extensive reparation works to the exterior and interior of the building. Our aspiration is to bring the luxury and modern comforts of a boutique hotel into the classic setting of the Rutland Arms, to complement our current offering within Newmarket at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa. We are confident of the very positive impact this will have on Newmarket's high street and will further enhance Newmarket's growing tourism offering."
 
Red Mist Leisure acquires Hampshire pub from Fuller's for tenth site: Pub operator Red Mist Leisure has acquired The Temple Inn in the village of Liss, Hampshire, from London brewer and retailer Fuller’s. The pub in Forest Road, which was closed and put up for sale by Fuller's last year, becomes the tenth venue in Red Mist Leisure's portfolio. It stated: "We’re thrilled to announce we have officially completed our purchase of The Temple Inn. We thank the residents of Liss for their ongoing support and patience throughout the process. The Temple will now be undergoing an extensive refurbishment to refresh the interior and add our own Red Mist flair, which all our pubs are so famous for. We hope to open for business in the summer."

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