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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 25th Apr 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Wagamama strengthens US management team: Wagamama has strengthened its US management team with the appointments of Scott Burger as chairman and Janine DiGioacchino as managing director. The move follows a decision by the group’s current US managing director, Burton Heiss, to step down. The company stated: “Reflecting the group’s continued ambition in the US, Scott Burger joins Wagamama in a new role as US chairman. Scott will play a key role in the expansion of the brand to help further establish Wagamama in the US and Canada. Scott joins from jewellery business Pandora, where he spent more than ten years, including almost six years in his latest role as president of the Americas. Scott began his career in the food and beverage industry and brings a broad range of strategic and commercial skills to Wagamama’s growing US portfolio. Janine DiGioacchino joins Wagamama as US managing director to lead the team on its next phase of growth. Janine started her career in the restaurant industry including managing two of New York’s busiest sites – Planet Hollywood and All Star Cafe. Having joined The Tussauds Group and successfully launched the Madame Tussauds brand in New York, she was most recently divisional director of Merlin’s North America Midway Group, where she spent ten years building a business that comprised 26 attractions and established a number of Merlin’s leisure brands in the US. Janine brings an abundance of international experience and, importantly, her passion is people and service, both integral to Wagamama’s ethos and success.” Wagamama chief executive Jane Holbrook added: “We look forward to welcoming Scott and Janine into the Wagamama family to lead our growing operations in the US. We are committed to spreading positivity from bowl to soul in our existing restaurants and as we further expand our footprint in New York later this year.”

Industry News:

Propel summer conference and party open for bookings, Grind founder to present: The Propel summer conference and party on Thursday, 5 July at The Oxford Belfry is open for bookings. This year we have the usual great conference followed by crazy golf at Junkyard Golf in Oxford, plus a barbecue and live band karaoke back at the hotel. David Abrahamovitch, founder of genre-busting Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, will talk about his brand’s USPs, expansion in London, raising £2m on Crowdcube, a partnership with SSP to open in train stations and airports, and future plans. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing or calling her on 01444 817691.

Fatto a Mano co-founder – 'We won't compromise pizza quality by using delivery service' despite predicted 20% sales boost, plans to grow 'naturally’: Rupert Davidson, co-founder of Brighton and Hove-based pizzeria Fatto a Mano, has told Propel the company won’t compromise its pizza quality by using a delivery service, even though such a move could boost sales by up to 20%. Davidson also said the company, which is about to open its third site in the city, would grow naturally and was not seeking investment. He added: “We could do that (delivery) overnight because we know Brighton and Hove wants our product but I don’t want a queue of drivers standing outside our restaurant. Most people would want to order a Fatto a Mano on a Friday or Saturday night, when we are serving customers in the restaurant – we’d start damaging their experience. I don’t think our products would deliver well either so I don’t want to put our product on somebody’s dining room table in a bad state – it would be a mistake. Our pizzas need to be consumed within five minutes of being made in the wood-fired oven. The only way we would consider it was if we opened a site with two ovens that was dedicated to delivery. But that’s not a month’s work, it’s a year or more at least because we would have to develop a new dough.” The company's third restaurant is in the North Laine area of the city on the corner of Kensington Gardens and Gloucester Road at a site formerly occupied by second-hand clothing store Loot. Davidson said: “I’m not, as everyone seems to be now, in this business because I want to grow Fatto a Mano to 20 sites, sell it and make millions and end up on my yacht. I’m in it because I get up every morning and look after my family and that’s the heart of it. It’s my life and my job and, along that journey, I’m doing something I love for myself too.” Meanwhile, Davidson and co-founder Davinder Sahota have both invested in Uckfield-based Holler Brewery, formerly Holler Boys, which is set to open a brewery and taproom in London Road, Brighton. The brewery, which was founded by Steve Keegan, formerly of Late Nights Brewery, has a “similar philosophy” to Fatto a Mano, although it is a separate business. Sahota said: “Steve’s a mate and a good guy. He started with Late Nights and wanted beer on a different scale, better and with more purity. We’re happy to back developing people and brands – and we want to serve customers directly. We plan to present the brand in the right way and have a great product. It’s going to be a really exciting new venture.”

UKHospitality reiterates call for late-night levies and EMROs to be scrapped following new Home Office guidance: UKHospitality has reiterated its call for the government to adopt the key House of Lords Licensing Act Committee recommendation regarding the scrapping of late-night levies and early morning alcohol restriction orders (EMROs). The move follows the Home Office’s publication of updated Section 182 guidance, which has included industry feedback. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The revised guidance published by the Home Office shows the government has listened to industry feedback and the considerations of the hospitality sector. The new guidance should help provide clarity for businesses and local authorities. This has been a welcome opportunity to communicate with the Home Office, although we will continue to make the case for a more supportive legislative framework for venues and the adoption of recommendations made by the House of Lords. Chief among them will be scrapping late-night levies and EMROs, which are unfit for purpose, at the earliest opportunity.”

Company News:

Beds and Bars promotes key team members to board: Pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars has promoted key team members to its board. Sophie Herbert has been confirmed as group marketing director and has joined the board of Beds and Bars. Herbert, who has been running the company’s marketing capability for the past three years, featured in the recent 2018 Restaurant Marketer & Innovator 30 under 30 list, which recognises 30 talented future leaders in marketing, innovation and strategy roles within the hospitality sector who are under the age of 30. Chief financial officer Mobin Rana will also sit on the board and assume the responsibility of company secretary. A new role of contracts and purchasing manager will also be created, with that member of staff reporting to Rana. Luke Knowles, who is currently operations director, will have a change of role on the board and become development and strategy director of the business, responsible for site acquisition and funding. Development projects and franchise manager Lucie Perin and group finance director Philip Newlyn will report to Knowles and together spearhead the growth of the business. Knowles will also pick up the group sales function and have Michele Kaye and her team report to him. A role of EU operations manager has been created, with that member of staff reporting to managing director Murray Roberts. Franz Burghoff will continue to manage revenue and yield but will also oversee the growing technology team and assist head of technology Jake Carroll and the team to “develop the very best in next-generation booking technology”. Roberts said: “Beds and Bars is always looking for development and growth opportunities for its brands and people and I would like to congratulate those in the company on their recent promotions.”

Whitbread sets science-based target to halve emissions: Whitbread has pledged to halve emissions in the next seven years as part of an “industry-leading” science-based target. The company is aiming for a 50% cut in carbon emissions intensity by 2025, rising to 88% by 2050. The move will see Premier Inn become the largest hotel firm in the world – and first in Europe – to set a science-based target. The emissions targets are aligned to Paris Agreement goals and will drive improvements across all Whitbread owned and operated buildings as well as fleet emissions. Director of sustainability James Pitcher told “All responsible businesses must recognise and address the impact they have, not simply because it is the right thing to do but because there is no stronger foundation for any successful business than clear values and robust ethical principles.” Whitbread has already installed solar panels and smart heating to minimise energy consumption at its Premier Inns, while the company is powered by 100% renewable energy in the majority of its UK sites. Last week, its Costa Coffee brand pledged to recycle as many disposable cups as it sells by 2020 in a bid to reduce landfill. Meanwhile, Costa’s shopfront will make its debut on Friday (27 April) in soap opera Coronation Street as part of a landmark ITV product placement deal.

Byron diversifies offer with ‘most significant menu launch yet’: Better burger brand Byron has launched a new menu in a bid to cater for the UK’s “increasingly diverse dining scene”. The menu, described as Byron’s “most significant menu launch yet”, features 14 new offerings including the UK’s first “flexitarian burger” (70% British beef, 30% sautéed mushrooms). Other additions include the brand’s first vegan burger, the Beetnik, which comprises a beetroot falafel patty topped with baby kale, smashed avocado, tomato, pickled red onions, red pepper ketchup and a lime-dressed rainbow slaw. New meat-based dishes include a range of US-inspired braised brisket-topped burgers and the Reuben, which comes with a jug of molten cheese sauce on the side. Byron head of food Paul Mason said: “This is our most significant menu launch yet. Byron has always been a pioneer of proper burgers and this menu aims to reflect the growing breadth of modern British burger tastes.” Last week, Byron announced Steve de Polo will join Byron as commercial and brand director from Ei Group at the end of June. Byron chief executive Simon Cope said: “2018 is proving an important, pivotal year for Byron.”

Esquires Coffee signs 67-store partnership agreement for south east England, more to follow: Esquires Coffee has signed a regional development agreement for the south east of England. The agreement between Esquires Franchising (UK) and The Cracking Egg Company will see the developer open 67 Esquires outlets over the next ten years, taking Esquires to in excess of 100 UK outlets. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Esquires also said it was in advanced stages of discussions with regional development partners for the north west of England region, and initial-stage discussions with parties interested in north east England, Wales and Scotland. Esquires UK managing director Doug Williamson said: "Everyone's worked really hard over the past four years to rejuvenate the brand, strengthen the operating model, and shape Esquires into a vibrant, quirky, community-centric brand. We are working with four outstanding groups at the moment, so it’s exciting to have this opportunity to scale up our expansion and see everyone's hard work, from franchisee to field, paying off." Williamson and Gary Buckland founded Esquires Coffee in Vancouver in 1993, expanding to the UK in 2000. The company, which operates franchised and non-franchised stores, currently has 35 sites in the UK. 

Chef behind world’s first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant to launch Chelsea venture: Peter Joseph, the chef behind the world’s first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, is to launch a venue in Chelsea. Joseph, who was until recently head chef of Mayfair’s Tamarind, which won its star in 2001, will launch Kahani opposite Cadogan Hall this summer. The restaurant will take inspiration from the chef’s upbringing in Tamil Nadu in southern India, with diners encouraged to forgo the formalities of fine dining by using their fingers for the first course. Seasonal British ingredients will be cooked on a central Robata grill and in an Indian tandoor oven. The menu will focus on grills and salad, with just three or four ingredients used per dish, and only two curries. Dishes will include masala-grilled avocado and tandoori calamari along with build-your-own skewers with rabbit, venison, langoustine and blue crab. Non-traditional desserts will include a chilli chocolate mousse “bomb” and melt-in-the-middle rose and pistachio cheesecake. The restaurant, due to open in July, will make use of brightly coloured Indian-style fabrics for decoration, while a bar will offer spice-infused cocktails. Joseph told the Evening Standard: “Kahani means ‘story’ in Urdu and I want to keep innovating and pushing boundaries with my food to ensure people keep following my story and coming back for more.”

Bourgee site in Chelmsford reopens under new name days after company enters administration: A site in Chelmsford that housed steak-lobster lounge concept Bourgee has reopened under a new name only days after it closed and the company went into administration. Bourgee’s Southend site closed without warning on 10 April, with the Chelmsford restaurant shutting nine days later. However, the Chelmsford site has already reopened under the name Colenzo’s and under new management. The restaurant offers a similar menu to Bourgee, Essex Live reports. Colenzo’s Facebook page states: “Introducing Colenzo’s, a new restaurant and lounge serving steak, lobster, burgers, tapas, wine and cocktails. The restaurant is under new management and we are in the process of rebranding the site. While this process takes place, we will remain open.” The Facebook page also states Bourgee gift vouchers are not valid at Colenzo’s, while “work is continuing” to reopen Bourgee’s Southend site, with further announcements coming “soon”. Rumours the restaurants might close started circling when Ensors Chartered Accountants confirmed it was involved in the administration of Bourgee Restaurants. Bourgee’s branches in Bury St Edmunds and Stansted airport remain open. The company was founded by entrepreneur James Welling and Michelin-starred chef Mark Baumann to provide “fine dining at affordable prices”.

Sushi sandwich concept Norigami to launch in London next week: Sushi sandwich concept Norigami is to launch in London’s St Pancras International station next week. The company, which will also launch a lunchtime delivery service, will initially operate as a pop-up at Sourced Market from Monday (30 April) until Friday, 11 May offering rice sandwiches that are gluten, lactose, nut and wheat-free. The sandwich fillings are wrapped in sushi rice with gluten-free rice vinegar and nori seaweed. There will be four initial sandwiches – vegan curry, miso roasted salmon, egg chorizo and chermoulah chicken. The concept is the brainchild of Arthur Liegeois and inspired by Japanese “sandwich” onigirazu. He said: “We’ve been working tirelessly to source ingredients, experiment with flavours and develop the menu. Our new kitchen space will enable us to expand our reach across London.” Liegeois aims to open a permanent site in the fourth quarter of this year after building the delivery service and launching a series of further pop-ups. Norigami will require at least 72 hours’ notice for lunchtime orders, with a minimum of 12 pieces. Office delivery will initially focus on east, south east and central London. Sourced Market operates spaces at St Pancras, Marylebone and Victoria, with two new units planned for this year.

Chinese investors buy Soho House freehold in Chicago for $95m: A group of Chinese investors has bought Soho House in Fulton Market, Chicago, for $95m. Gaw Capital brought Beijing-based Sino-Ocean Land and Hong Kong-based Huarong International Finance into a deal for the hotel and private members’ club in North Green Street, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. The investors financed the deal with a $22.7m loan from Natixis and a $40m commercial mortgage-backed securities loan, reports The Real Deal. Hong Kong-based Gaw was part of the joint venture with Shapack Partners and AJ Capital that bought the building in 2012 for $6.5m from Chicago-Allis Manufacturing. They signed Soho House as a tenant and the private club opened at the property in 2014. The owners refinanced the property in 2013 and 2015. Soho House, which has a lease through 2034, was the first major project in Fulton Market neighbourhood, a former meat-packing district that is now home to bars, restaurants and Google’s Midwest headquarters. McDonald’s is set to move its headquarters to the district from Oak Brook. Soho House, which has been mulling a $2bn initial public offering, has 18 “houses” across the globe.

Background Bars behind Tottenham takeover: Jamie Rule and Louis Hymans, of Background Bars, the events management company behind gastro pop-up series Night Tales, is taking over a Tottenham pub in partnership with Tom Gibson, who operates Ruby’s Bar & Lounge in Dalston. The partnership has taken over The Pride of Tottenham pub, near the north London football club’s stadium, and will reopen it as The Bluecoats on Monday, 23 May with the kitchen run by independent burger restaurant Lucky Chip. The pub has been renamed after the 18th century building’s previous existence as The Blue Coats School For Girls. The pub will offer more than 20 lines of beer and cider – a mixture of craft, keg and cask – including brews from local companies such as Beavertown, Redemption and Pressure Drop. Rule said: “Opening a pub has always been a dream of mine and, being a local boy, when the opportunity came to take over this amazing building I couldn’t turn it down. I’ve walked past it and admired it since I was a child so I’m really excited to give it a new lease of life.” Gibson also owns the Cat & Mutton in Broadway Market.

Petersham Nurseries opens Covent Garden restaurants: Richmond-based Petersham Nurseries, whose restaurant formerly held a Michelin star, has opened not one but two restaurants in Covent Garden. The Petersham and La Goccia have opened as part of the company’s Floral Court project, which also includes a delicatessen, wine cellar, lifestyle, home and garden shop, and florist. The Petersham is the main restaurant at the site and offers lunch and a la carte dinner with afternoon tea available from next month. Customers can enjoy alfresco dining in the courtyard, with plenty of fresh pasta, Cornish seafood and salads from Petersham’s own nursery garden. La Goccia is more of a laid-back, all-day spot offering aperitivo and featuring an open grill and wood-burning oven for larger dishes. The bar serves “nature-inspired” cocktails. Much of the produce will come from Devon-based Haye Farm, which is run by the Boglione family, who own Petersham Nurseries. Simon Whitely is executive chef at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden, with culinary direction from Damian Clisby, who runs the original Petersham Nurseries Cafe.

Bath-based tapas restaurant to open at former Polpo venue in Bristol for second site: Bath-based tapas restaurant Pintxo is to open its second site, in Bristol. Owner Mark Mentzel will open the site in Whiteladies Road at a site formerly occupied by London-based restaurant company Polpo. Pintxo is a Basque-style tapas restaurant and sherry bar inspired by venues in San Sebastián. Mentzel said the restaurant, which is expected to open in early May, will include a large bar at the front. He told the Bristol Post: “It has been really successful in Bath and so it seemed like the next step to open in Bristol. The city is amazing for independent restaurants. Whiteladies Road has some fantastic restaurants but I think we are different. We were really lucky because Polpo became available and it is a brilliant site. It is not easy to find a site like this so we jumped at the chance.” Polpo founders Russell Norman and Richard Beatty closed their Bristol restaurant in January. They will also close their Spuntino site at the city’s Cargo 2 development in Wapping Wharf next month.

Rhubarb appoints Corbin & King food and beverage director to lead new Vivi restaurant: Food experience brand and events caterer Rhubarb has appointed Paul Robinson-Webster as director of Vivi by Rhubarb at Centre Point, ahead of its launch in July. Robinson-Webster will oversee the development and launch of Vivi in New Oxford Street, which will be operated by Rhubarb. Leading the pre-opening management team, Robinson-Webster will be responsible for procurement, recruitment, induction and training at Vivi. Robinson-Webster has almost 20 years of experience in the sector. In his previous role as director of food and beverage at Corbin & King, Robinson-Webster oversaw the management of The Colony Grill and The American Bar, managing a team of 65 managers, front-of-house restaurant, bar and room-service staff. Rhubarb managing director PB Jacobse said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul to the Rhubarb family and have every confidence his expertise will allow him to bring Vivi to Centre Point with the precision and style synonymous with our brand.” Robinson-Webster added: “I am honoured to take on this new role with Rhubarb, a company I have watched and admired throughout my years in the industry. I look forward to managing the opening of its latest venture and to delivering an extraordinary dining experience at this iconic venue.”

JD Wetherspoon moves closer to opening Conwy pub: JD Wetherspoon has taken a major step forward in its bid to open a pub in Conwy (population 4,839). The company is bidding to buy Civic Hall in the north Wales seaside town – a decision that has divided residents and visitors. Wetherspoon is the only bidder for the historic site, with owners Conwy Council in charge of the decision. The council’s finance and resources committee has recommended the local authority accepts the bid and allows the county valuer and asset manager to agree final terms. The recommendation will now go to the council’s cabinet, which could yet ignore the recommendation and reject the bid. Such a move would see the whole process restart, with the organisers of food, music and art festival Conwy Feast interested in bidding for the site to ensure it remained in community hands, reports the Daily Post. The council stated: “A single bid was received for the acquisition of the property, with the use of part of the quay. Following an in-depth discussion, it was agreed the bid be accepted.”

Danish-born restaurateur Soren Jessen opens second London site: Danish-born restaurateur Soren Jessen has opened his second site in London. Jessen, who is behind City restaurant 1 Lombard Street, has launched Ekte Nordic Kitchen at Bloomberg Arcade with dishes such as new potato salad with smoked mayo, fried onion and toasted rye crumbs; and seared pepper venison with preserved plums, apple pistachio and almonds. There are also smørrebrød sandwiches and Scandinavian pastries. The glass-fronted, 60-cover space also offers an outdoor seating area for up to 20. Jessen said: “It is a privilege to be included in the magnificent new Norman Foster building. Ekte will complement the other food outlets, with our modern design plans and our repertoire of Nordic classic cuisine, plus some fun, casual menus for takeaway.” Other restaurant brands at Bloomberg Arcade include Hawaiian poké specialist Ahi Poké, JKS Restaurants’ concept Brigadiers, Tokyo-style noodle cafe Koya, Bleecker Burger, restaurant, bar and coffee roasting concept Caravan, better pizza brand Homeslice, and wine bar, restaurant and wine shop Vinoteca. Jessen launched 1 Lombard Street in 1998.

Five Guys strengthens London presence with Canary Wharf site: Better burger brand Five Guys has strengthened its presence in London with a site in Canary Wharf. The company has opened the 80-cover restaurant in Jubilee Place in a unit previously occupied by Tasty brand Wildwood. It is Five Guys’ 23rd site in the capital and 82nd in the UK. The latest Five Guys restaurant sits opposite Gourmet Burger Kitchen, while better burger brand Byron has a site in nearby Cabot Place. District manager Andrew Phillips told In Your Area: “I don’t see it as being competition. Everyone has their choice and we strive to do the best we can do.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, opened its first UK site in Covent Garden in 2013. The company is set for further growth in the capital with a site planned in King’s Road, Chelsea.

Nathan Outlaw protégé Tom Brown launches solo venture in Hackney Wick: Tom Brown, a protégé of two Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw, has opened his debut restaurant, in Hackney Wick, east London. Cornerstone, a 46-cover restaurant in Wallis Road, showcases Brown’s style of seasonal and produce-driven cooking using British ingredients. Sharing dishes 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 is accompanied by home-infused cocktails, local craft beer and a bespoke gin. The kitchen is in the centre of the restaurant and doubles up as a counter bar that seats 11 guests. Other touches 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 features high-back benches. Brown said: “Watching the transition of the restaurant from design to being built is an incredible feeling.” 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.

Pernod Ricard UK launches multipurpose space in Manchester: Drinks business Pernod Ricard UK has launched The Loft – a multipurpose space in the heart of Manchester. The company has opened the venture at the former Walkabout bar in Quay Street. It is the company’s first venue outside London and demonstrates its “commitment to the north of England as it brings a wealth of industry collaborations to the area”. The Loft occupies more than 6,000 square feet of unobstructed city space and comprises a training bar and private events space. Pernod Ricard UK managing director Laurent Pillet told Insider Media: “Manchester is in an age of innovation and culture. We were too London-centric. We had about 40 people living in Manchester but had no office for them. Now they have somewhere unique. We can hire it to customers and stakeholders for a good cost – that means they’ll buy drinks and get us a good return on investment.” Pernod Ricard employs 18,500 staff globally and is responsible for sales, marketing and distribution of brands such as Chivas, Absolut, Jameson, Perrier-Jouet and Malibu.

Change of role for Roslyn’s boss: Martin Roslyn will step down as managing director of pub accounting specialists Roslyn’s at the end of May to take up a new position as chairman of the board and finance director. Geoff Temperton, who has been operations director for the past seven years, will take over the managing director role after helping to “triple the size of the business through adding further service criteria plus value-adding focus to clients”. Roslyn said: “I have enjoyed a wonderful 26 years at Roslyn’s as MD but now is the right time to take a step backwards and help Roslyn’s move forward from a more finance-based role. This position will be a new challenge but one that will be less time-consuming and allow me to spend more time with my family, friends and farm. I have been proud to lead a company from zero to a multimillion-pound turnover and having more than 85 staff and close to 1,000 clients. The business will continue to be family-owned and move forward with the same values and beliefs.” Temperton added: “This is an exciting time in the hospitality industry and Roslyn’s will see continued growth through the award of the Star Pubs & Bars stocktaking contract and organic growth.”

TGI Friday’s recognises 140 ‘legends’ at annual team celebration: TGI Friday’s has thanked 140 of its most hard-working team members, officially recognising them as “Friday’s Legends” at an awards ceremony in Liverpool. Each “legend” received a VIP trip to the ceremony, which included free accommodation, a spa day, and champagne and food throughout the evening. They also had their own Legends party in Liverpool’s renowned Cavern. The winners were chosen following a vote among Friday’s 5,000-strong workforce, with 4,500 nominations received for 1,300 team members. A total of 50 managers of the year were also selected, all of them rewarded with a trip to New York. Jen McClure, from the company’s Leeds Trinity restaurant, won the waiter/waitress of the year award, while winners of the “food fight” and “bar wars” categories, which recognise the most dedicated bar and kitchen teams, were won by Nottingham and London Piccadilly respectively. Chief executive Karen Forrester said: “We have a unique culture at Friday’s, where team members are treated as family. That’s why we put so much effort into recognising and rewarding their efforts and celebrating their achievements. These hallmark annual awards are an extension of the numerous employee initiatives that run day in day out and help ensure we have the best and most motivated team in the industry.”

Cheltenham-based operator to open gin and tea bar for second site: Cheltenham-based operator Rina Saha is to launch a gin and tea bar concept in the Gloucestershire town for her second site. Saha will launch the venture in July in The Promenade on a site formerly occupied by The Prom Vaults nightclub. The new venue will a sister site to East Indian Cafe, which specialises in Anglo-Indian fine dining and is based in the same street. Saha told Gloucestershire Live: “I believe it will be good for Cheltenham. It will be a nice place for people to go.”

Ten Entertainment Group completes acquisition of two MFA Bowl sites: Ten Entertainment Group, the UK operator of bowling and family entertainment centres, has completed the acquisition of two MFA Bowl sites, in Leeds and Luton, for a cash consideration of £1.3m. The company stated: “The acquisition has grown the group’s total estate to 44 sites, with four units added to its estate to date in FY18 as per the group’s guidance of two to four acquisitions a year. In keeping with the standard practice, both these units will now benefit from significant investment as a result of the ‘Tenpinisation’ process, which will bring the operations, systems and technology, and customer experience up to the market-leading standards of the group’s wider estate.”

The Light to open tenth cinema, in Bradford next month: UK cinema operator The Light is to open its tenth site, in Bradford next month. The cinema will launch at The Broadway leisure complex on Friday, 11 May and will be the company’s second in Yorkshire, alongside Sheffield. All six screens will be fully licensed with some seats featuring side tables for food and drink. The Light chief executive Keith Pulling told BDaily: “We are delighted to be joining The Broadway and becoming part of the success of this thriving destination. We look to create a cinema environment that feels luxurious, with plenty of atmosphere and personality, so we hope the Bradford audiences will notice a different cinema experience. The foyer is designed as a social space featuring a bar serving national and local beer, great wine and coffee, and a selection of high-quality food.” The Light plans to open 20 further cinemas in the next four years.

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