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Mon 30th Apr 2018 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Wagamama founder opens Singapore site, argues doner kebab market ‘ripe for brand leader': Wagamama founder Alan Yau has opened his first site in south east Asia, a concept called Madame Fan at The NCO Club in Singapore's South Beach that aims to offer "etiquette-free" Chinese dining. Madame Fan is a 1950s cabaret-inspired space serving signature dishes such as double boiled four treasure soup with sea cucumber, fish maw, dried scallop and crab meat; drunken crab rice noodle with 20-year-old Gu Yue Long Shan rice wine; and steamed Soon Hock with Ipoh soy and spring onion. He told Straits Times: "There is and has always been a commercial dichotomy about the south east Asia market, in that it is attractive by nature, but never big enough in terms of critical mass to become a first-tier investment destination from the food and beverage point of view. The (Singapore) opportunity came about through an old business colleague. In London, my work and my product were primarily dictated by the market. That's the key difference to my approach. It's not about seeking a point of difference. It is about whether you believe you have the ideas to take the food to the next layer, and at the same time, whether you can encode a new set of DNA in these products. If this is possible, then the challenge is not about whether Singapore is saturated with Chinese restaurants serving a mainly Chinese clientele, it is about whether you define the product layering as special enough and consistent enough to make it a success. The trends I enjoy watching are the big-ticket players rather than the sexy things. The home dining market with the help of tech disruption excites me. Similarly, mono products with the capabilities to scale are also exciting. For example, I believe the doner kebab market will be big one day. It currently outsells American quick-service restaurants such as McDonald's in Germany. And yet it has no brand leader in the segment. My current project is all about Softchow. It is a taste aggregation platform. We validate taste for foodies, so every time you eat it's pleasurable. We do this by creating a social network to crowdsource good taste. But we don't recommend food or restaurants. And certainly we do not do hotels, flights or car hires. We aggregate taste through tastemaker discovery. Ultimately, people are at the heart of Softchow. It's about everything and anything you put in your mouth. Our mission is to have ‘No Food Regrets’. Our goal is to propagate and democratise taste through the soft power of food. Our vision is to take every day and make it wonderful because taste can bring you happiness."
 

Industry News:

Charlie McVeigh joins Finance and Investment Conference panel: Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh has been added to the panel for the Propel Finance and Investment Conference, which takes place on Thursday, 24 May at One Moorgate Place, London. McVeigh, who sold the business to Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog last month, will join Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack; Steve Crosswell, commercial banking director, hospitality and leisure at 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 at Growthdeck on the panel. For the full speaker schedule click here. 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.
 
Propel summer conference and party open for bookings, James Hacon 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. James Hacon, sector consultant, will provide insights derived from the Propel/UKHospitality Study Tour to New York, including learnings from UK operators in the city, time spent with legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer's business and Danish entrepreneur Claus Meyer, the founder of New Nordic cuisine philosophy, as well as key trends in the foodservice scene in New York. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com or calling her on 01444 817691.
 
Deliveroo launches first ‘click-and-collect’ service: Deliveroo has launched its first "click-and-collect" service at its second Deliveroo Editions site in Singapore. The new kitchen takes up 3,657 square feet of space at CT Hub 2 in Lavender, which is more than 1.5 times larger than the first 2,110 square foot Deliveroo Editions at Katong. Seven restaurants are housed at this new site – Kurry Korner, Aloha Poke, Street of Saigon, Da Paolo Pizza Bar, Blu Kouzina, Wolf Burgers and Do Si Rak. Deliveroo will also be introducing a "click-and-collect" service at this Deliveroo Editions site, the first time the company is offering this service in the world. Customers will have the option to come and pick up their orders directly at this Deliveroo Editions, and a dine-in space will also be offered to them. No delivery fee will be charged. However, unlike a full-fledged dine-in restaurant, no waiters will be present, and customers will have to first place their orders online through Deliveroo, even if they are there physically.
 
Easyjet founder invests in Easyfood: Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has invested a "high six-figure sum" in Easyfood, acquiring a one-third stake. The company began trading in Birmingham this week, signing up 200 takeaways and restaurants in the city. The company charges £100 a month or £195 for a premium service that comes with payments and data hardware. Its clients will be given handheld terminals that allow them to change their menus and prices quickly and easily themselves, without incurring fees. Founder Jeewan Sagu told The Sunday Times: "We'll be helping our customers to develop their own identity online. We'll give them their own website, and, in time, help them to develop apps.” Fellow founder Gurpeet Sidhu added: "Other services usually charge to make price or menu changes – we won't. It's all about giving takeaways and restaurants the chance to talk directly to their customers and take back the relationship." 
 
National Waiters’ Day returns for sixth year: National Waiters’ Day, the campaign led by hospitality industry charity Springboard and Galvin at Windows general manager Fred Sirieix, will return for its sixth year on Wednesday, 16 May. Waiters and front-of-house professionals will race through London’s Hyde Park and other locations across the UK as part of a celebration and promotion of front-of-house roles. The aim of National Waiters’ Day is to change perceptions regarding front-of-house roles and to highlight the rewarding career progression routes hospitality offers. The day will include a careers fair, with businesses from around London coming together to meet up to 500 job seekers and students. Sirieix, who set up the event in 2012, said: “I feel proud to lead such an important day, and hope it leads to a lasting appreciation of the UK’s hospitality workers.”
 

Company News:

Michelin-starred Matt Gillan eyes London for expansion of joint coffee shop and restaurant concept: Michelin-starred chef Matt Gillan has told Propel he is eyeing expansion to London for his joint coffee shop and restaurant concept. Gillan launched the concept in Brighton with Mike Palmer, who operates Lucky Beach Cafe on the seafront. They acquired cafe and roastery Redroaster, retaining the venue’s name for the daytime while transforming it every evening into high-end restaurant Pike & Pine. Gillan said: “Mike and I want to expand and grow this concept. It makes sense because we have the roastery so we’re committed to buying certain amounts of coffee. You don’t know how much you’ll sell but you need to use it and store what you don’t use until you can. Out of 100 kilos of coffee, if we use 60 kilos at the main site during the week, we still have 40 kilos to shift. The most logical thing is to have another place – that would make our lives much easier. We’ve looked at Brighton sites and seen offers but another site will depend on the rent. The higher the rent, the more tables we need to turn. We’ve looked at something in London as well. We have some people who want us to do something in Soho. The rents are astronomical but we would have a massive footfall to match that. In Brighton we have had to be more flexible with our offer as there are fewer people. In London you can do what you want – Flat Iron just does steak and chips and can get away with it because they do it well. In Brighton, only a certain number of people would want that – and only on a couple of days of the week.” Ahead of expansion, Gillan has seen his role starting to change already. He said: “I need to step back, literally, from the kitchen because I think I’ve become too integral to how it functions and I don’t want things to fall apart if I ever step away a little. Now I’m overseeing things more and developing menus with the team while working on drinks and other things. I’d like to have a range of espresso martinis so there’s a selection because we roast six different coffees. We also have plans for the garden that will make it a much nicer space. We’re going to lose the shed and cover the garden to give us a distinct and different space for dining. Mike had the idea we could make it a tasting room on Friday and Saturday nights – but I think we’ve maybe got enough going on!”
 
Caprice Holdings reports profit boost: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, has reported turnover up £18.5m to £67.1m in the 53 weeks to 1 January 2018. Pre-tax profits climbed from £2.2m to £8.7m, the Mail on Sunday reported. Caring has invested £25m in Caprice Holdings.
 
Jamie Oliver opens first international standalone bar in Vienna airport, opens in Finland: Jamie Oliver's Bar has been opened in Vienna Airport, by the company's franchise partner SSP. The new bar in Terminal Two holds 78 covers and is the third Jamie Oliver site in the airport, joining a Jamie's Italian and Jamie's Deli. The bar serves a selection of drinks, including beer, wine and its own special cocktails, as well as nibbles and snacks. Nick Schapira, chief operating officer of the international side of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, said: "This is a really exciting opening for us as it completes the final phase of our development in Vienna Airport and marks the opening of our first international standalone bar. We've had great success with SSP in this location so far and are looking forward to seeing the bar follow in the footsteps of our Jamie's Italian and Jamie's Deli." Meanwhile, SSP Group is to open the first Jamie’s Deli in Finland as part of a trio of new venues at Helsinki Airport. SSP is also bringing Ajisen Ramen and Moomin Coffee to the country with sites in the expanded terminal opening at the beginning of next year. The three restaurant brands were chosen by the airport's operator Finavia through a public tendering process. SSP already operates 11 restaurants, cafes and bars at Helsinki Airport. Ajisen Ramen is an international ramen chain restaurant, originating in Kumamoto, Japan. It has more than 800 sites worldwide, including more than 700 in China. Meanwhile, Moomin Coffee is inspired by the Finnish fictional character Moomin and Helsinki is its first airport site. SSP Finland managing director Pia Jormanainen said: “We are delighted to be investing in these fabulous new restaurants at Helsinki. Thanks to its world-famous founder Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Deli is already familiar to many air passengers. However, this is the first restaurant in Finland, and the airport is the ideal location for this brand debut." 
 
Winchester-based pizzeria Pi hits £500,000 crowdfunding target for further expansion: Winchester-based pizzeria Pi has hit its £500,000 target on crowdfunding platform Growthdeck for further expansion. The company, founded by Rosie Whaley, is offering a 30% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 34 investors have pledged £582,016. In the year to 30 April 2017 the business, which opened its second site, in Battersea, last month, achieved sales of £415,000 and an operating profit of more than £27,000. It is targeting two more London sites by 2020, opening at the rate of one a year. The Pi format is based on 20-inch sharing pizzas with customers able to choose up to three flavour combinations. Everything is freshly made on-site, with the pizza made from Pi’s 72-hour fermented dough. The company is targeting sites of 50 to 70 covers that require circa £100,000 to fit-out in addition to lease premiums. Whaley said: “We are so proud of what we have achieved. We believe we have created a concept that is unique in today’s market. We think it is an ideal format for London. Diners are very keen on pizza but there is clearly a move towards innovative, artisan offerings as opposed to the more sterile formats of the high-street chains.” The £500,000 is offered to investors in two strips – £250,000 of EIS-qualifying equity and a secured loan of £250,000 paying interest of 8% per annum. The equity strip offers investors the prospect of 8.3 times money return after the benefit of 30% initial income tax relief.
 
Greggs boss sees remuneration fall to just below £1.7m: Roger Whiteside, chief executive of bakery business Greggs, saw his total remuneration drop to just below £1.7m in 2017, according to the company’s annual report. Whiteside received a total of £1,676,652 for the year ending 31 December 2017 compared with £2,135,526 the previous year. This consisted of £534,163 salary, £120,186 pension, £12,441 in taxable benefits, £429,467 annual incentives and £580,395 in long-term incentives. Whiteside received a bonus of 80.4% out of the maximum 125% of his salary. Under the company’s remuneration policy, Whiteside’s maximum bonus in 2018 will be £686,400, with total remuneration of £2,003,060. Meanwhile, finance director Richard Hutton saw his total remuneration fall to £796,927 in 2017, compared with £984,613 the year before. This consisted of £305,145 salary, £41,067 pension, £16,203 taxable benefits, £176,642 annual incentives and £257,870 in long-term incentives. Hutton received a bonus of 57.7% out of the maximum 90% of his salary. Hutton’s potential maximum bonus this year is £282,320, with total remuneration of £949,794. Both Whiteside and Hutton received a salary increase of 2.8% on 1 January, in line with the base increase of the company’s workforce generally.
 
Former Gaucho team to launch seafood shack concept in west London next month: A family team who formerly worked for leading Argentine steak restaurant group Gaucho is set to launch a seafood shack concept in Westbourne Grove, west London. Georgie Godik Hayward, Adam Hayward and Patsy Godik will launch the concept – Bucket – next month offering sustainable seafood served in buckets and on boards. Buckets will feature items such as prawns, whitebait, calamari and mussels served with a choice of four sauces – coconut chilli, lobster brandy, pancetta and tomato, and classic white wine. There will also be boards of grilled fish and meat served with a signature house sauce, alongside crayfish burger, seafood spaghetti, salads and raw and cured seafood dishes. The interiors will resemble a “weather-worn yet rustically luxurious beach club”, Hot Dinners reports, while there will be a separate bar offering snacks such as lobster toastie, squid-ink crackers, and a fish-finger sandwich. The restaurant will also operate a takeaway service.
 
Merchant Gourmet partners with Waitrose to launch in-store Grain & Graze counter: Merchant Gourmet, the food brand specialising in wholesome grains, pulses and chestnuts sourced from around the globe, has partnered with Waitrose to launch an in-store Grain & Graze counter. The counter will be located in a Waitrose store in Salisbury offering healthy food and step-by-step recipe cards. In September, Merchant Gourmet launched its debut Grain & Graze store in Islington, north London, offering dining, cooking demonstrations and masterclasses. Clive Moxham, of Merchant Gourmet, said: “We’ve been told time and again one of the biggest struggles for busy workers and families on the go is trying to stay healthy while out and about. Fast food is always an option but what if we want to fuel our bodies quickly with nutritious ingredients and minimal fuss? That’s how Grain & Graze in London was born last summer, and now we’re incredibly excited to bring this ethos to Salisbury. This venture with Waitrose is such a natural fit and we can’t wait to see how customers react following the official opening at the end of the month.” Merchant Gourmet was founded in 1994 by brothers Mark and Oliver Leatham.
 
Bourgee founders confirm restaurant closures but new sites opening this summer: Bourgee founders James Welling and Mark Baumann have confirmed the closure of the company’s restaurants in Southend, Chelmsford and Bury St Edmunds. However, they have said the steak-lobster lounge concept will open new sites this summer that will be wholly owned by the duo. Earlier this month, Ensors Chartered Accountants announced it was involved in the administration of Bourgee Restaurants. However, there was confusion earlier this week after the Chelmsford site reopened as Colenzo’s offering a similar menu to Bourgee. Colenzo’s Facebook page also stated work was “continuing” to reopen Bourgee’s Southend site. However, in a statement Welling and Baumann said: “Following a protracted dispute and lengthy discussions between all parties, it is with sadness we can confirm the Bourgee restaurants in Southend, Chelmsford and Bury St Edmunds have closed. Despite exhaustive efforts to purchase and retain all venues, a way forward could not be agreed. As a consequence, ownership of these restaurants has passed to a new owner. We would like to reiterate these units are no longer part of the Bourgee Restaurant brand and will trade under a new company name. They will have no association whatsoever with Bourgee or with us individually. Under our sole ownership, we will move forward with the stunning Bourgee Bites-Bar-Luxe Lounge at London Southend airport. In addition, we look forward to announcing exciting news soon regarding new Bourgee restaurant venues. These venues will be entirely owned and operated by us as a duo, and will continue to build on the Bourgee brand, concept and delivery that has been so warmly received since launch in 2014. We would like to thank Bourgee fans for their loyal commitment to the restaurants over the past four years and look forward to welcoming them again as we step into a new era for the brand. We appreciate many of you have bought gift vouchers from Bourgee and are now concerned about being able to redeem these. We are doing as much as we can to accommodate this issue. Vouchers can be used at Bites-Bar-Luxe Lounge and will be valid at all new Bourgee restaurants, which will open from summer onwards.” Entrepreneur Welling and Michelin-starred chef Baumann launched Bourgee to provide “fine dining at affordable prices”.
 
Yotam Ottolenghi to open new restaurant, in Fitzrovia: Chef Yotam Ottolenghi is to open a new restaurant in Fitzrovia, central London, in June. The venue, called Rovi, will have a vegetable-centric menu, incorporating focuses on fermentation and cooking over fire. It will be Ottolenghi's sixth location in the capital, a portfolio that consists of four delis and restaurant Nopi. During the day Rovi, which will based in Wells Street, will have a small deli open selling salads to take away as well as cakes and pastries. The focus of the dining room is around an oval-shaped cocktail bar, with room for 16 people. The cocktail list will feature seasonal spices and there'll be a low-intervention wine list from small producers. Ottolenghi said: “The name, Rovi, is a little bit of Nopi and a little bit of Fitzrovia. At Rovi, vegetables will be the main event, cooked on the grill.” Neil Campbell, former head chef of Grain Store, will be heading the kitchen, with Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi taking roles as executive chefs. The restaurant is looking to work closely with small batch producers, including biodynamic, organic vegetable farmers Brambletye from East Sussex, and the Ethical Shellfish Company, a husband and wife team based around the Isle of Mull.
 
BrewDog investors to help decide how bars are run with Crow’s Nest Collective initiative: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is giving its Equity for Punk investors a chance to have their say on how their favourite bar is run. The company has launched the Crow’s Nest Collective where members will have the opportunity to shape and vote on ideas on making that bar even better. BrewDog stated: "Equity Punks – you already own part of your local BrewDog bar. Now you can join the Crow’s Nest Collective and take it to new heights. All Crow’s Nest Collective members will be invited to a meeting every six months with the bar manager and area manager to discuss what is going well and what you would like to see in your local BrewDog bar. Alongside these twice-annual meet-ups, each collective will have a dedicated channel on the Equity Punk Forum. This is the place to come together to become more involved with the running of the bar. We are giving our Equity Punks the chance to claim their bar of choice, whether in the UK or overseas. Just one, so choose carefully! We love our community of Equity Punks and the suggestions they make to take our bars to the next level. So we can’t wait to begin having them join forces (and then join forces with us) to make every one of our bars – UK and international – the very best they can be – for everybody that uses them."
 
Aktar Islam to open two new restaurants in Birmingham: Celebrity chef Aktar Islam has revealed he will be opening two restaurants in Birmingham. The much-anticipated Opheem, championing “progressive Indian cuisine”, opens in June, in the Summer Row site that used to be Mechu bar. Aktar, who made his name with his creative, fine dining take on Indian cuisine during Gordon Ramsay's The F Word in 2010, is also planning to open a new Italian restaurant. Mi Amore Ristorante Pizzeria will open in the former FSK steak restaurant in Summer Row in May.
 
Corus Hotels returns to profit: A hotel group with ten properties across the UK and Malaysia has returned to profit. Corus Hotels’ eight-strong UK portfolio comprises Corus Hyde Park in London, Buckinghamshire retreat Burnham Beeches, The Chace Hotel in Coventry, The Hillcrest Hotel in Widnes, Grimsby’s The St James Hotel and the Corus Regency in Solihull. It also operates newly rebranded Laura Ashley hotels The Belsfield in Windermere and The Manor Elstree. Accounts filed by Corus Hotels at Companies House revealed the business generated a pre-tax profit of £1.7m on a turnover of £27.8m in the year to 30 June 2017. In its previous financial period – the 18 months to 30 June 2016 – Corus turned over £39.5m and made a pre-tax loss of £1.4m. Average hotel room rates nudged up to £78.43 from £78.13 on a like-for-like basis, with occupancy also rising – to 66% from 62%. Corus plans to build on the success of its Laura Ashley-branded hotels by introducing more venues under the umbrella. Milton Keynes-headquartered Corus Hotels is owned by Malaysian company MUI Group.
 
Healthy restaurant and dry bar concept Redemption hits £300,000 crowdfunding target to open two central London sites: Healthy restaurant and dry bar concept Redemption has hit its £300,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open two sites in central London. Redemption Bar, which is London’s only vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free and alcohol-free restaurant, currently operates sites in Notting Hill and Shoreditch. The company is offering 10.71% equity in return for investment, with funds going towards opening sites in Covent Garden and Southbank Place and a goal of global expansion through franchising. So far, 258 investors have pledged £318,270 with nine days remaining. Former Virgin marketing chief Catherine Salway and restaurateur and chef Andrea Waters opened the first Redemption Bar in Notting Hill in 2015, followed by a Shoreditch sister site in January 2016 that “broke even within the first three months and now generates a 10% net profit per week”. Salway said: “We are on the cusp of a really exciting growth plan. As well as launching two sites in central London, we are very optimistic about ethical franchising across the globe.” Earlier this week, Redemption reported its best trading day to date, taking £7,000.
 
Essex-based pub operator Pie & Pint Inns acquires third site: Essex-based pub operator Pie & Pint Inns has acquired its third site. Owner Gary Downham has taken on the Cherry Tree in Rochford. The pub in Stambridge Road is set to reopen in late summer following an extensive refurbishment, including developing the bedrooms. He told the Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo: “I’m from Leigh and used to come here as a lad, as all my friends did. Our pubs have continued to grow through our brands and offer of free bread with meals and a cake counter containing more than 30 different cheesecakes, which are rotated." Pie & Pint Inns also operates the Hare in Roxwell, just outside Chelmsford, and the Castle in Great Leighs.
 
Harris + Hoole gets go-ahead for Chichester site: Harris + Hoole, which is owned by Caffe Nero, has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Chichester, West Sussex. The company has been granted permission by Chichester District Council to open the site in South Street in the former Maison Blanc coffee shop. Maison Blanc closed in March 2017 after about 20 years in the city, reports the Chichester Observer. Caffe Nero bought Harris + Hoole for £7.5m in June 2016.

Durham-based operators to open third site: Durham-based operators Patrick Clark and Peter Anglesea are to open their third site in the city. The duo, who run two Flat White cafe sites, are launching a new restaurant, bar and cafe in Church Street on the site of the New Inn pub. They said the venue, which is set to open in October, would be separate to the Flat White business. The space, which is under construction, will be split in two. It will comprise of a restaurant with a bar, and a cafe. The bar will continue to serve local ales but will offer a more “upmarket” experience, including speciality cocktails, while the restaurant will offer "good, honest food", reports the Palatinate.
 
Black and White Hospitality launches second site for English chophouse concept, in Manchester: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to chef Marco Pierre White, has opened its second Mr White’s English Chophouse, in Manchester. The venue has opened within the KRO Hospitality-owned Velvet Hotel in Canal Street. The Manchester chophouse is the second site for the brand following its launch in Whitechapel, London, with plans to roll out the concept. Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin said: “We’re looking to increase the number of venues over the coming 12 months. A lot has changed in the past few years and the demand for authentic, simple dishes has become increasingly popular. This is a trend we believe is here to stay.” Pierre White added: “The idea is to be generous with the portions and make things affordable. It’s a distinctly British idea so it’s great to see it coming to fruition.” Black and White Hospitality’s other Marco Pierre White brands are Steakhouse Bar & Grill, New York Italian, Wheeler’s of St James’s, and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar. It operates 45 sites across the UK. KRO Hospitality owner Kim Eivind Krohn said the hotel’s Velvet Bar would continue to trade as normal having just reopened following a major refurbishment.
 
Jump Giants to open fourth trampoline park, in Gateshead this week following £1m investment: Trampoline park operator Jump Giants is to launch its fourth site, in Gateshead, on Friday (4 May). Alongside wall-to-wall trampolines, the £1m, 40,000 square foot site in Dunston will also feature a cafe, dodgems and a soft-play area for under-fives. The park has replaced the F1K indoor go-karting centre, which formerly occupied the space. Jump Giants co-founder Julian Henton told BDaily: “We’re passionate about people of all ages and abilities coming together to have fun, and we’re constantly looking at new ways to surprise and delight people. Gateshead is the first of our parks to feature dodgems, and you don’t have to be an aspiring Lewis Hamilton to enjoy them. At the other end of the spectrum is our soft play area for children under five, where little ones can scale new heights.” Jump Giants’ other sites are in Heathrow, Loughborough and Thurrock.
   
Whitbread eyes new-build Premier Inns in Durham and Hamilton: Whitbread is lining up new-build Premier Inn sites in Durham and Hamilton. The company has lodged plans with Durham City Council for a 92-bedroom hotel at the new Milburngate development. The bedrooms would be spread over the top four levels of the seven-storey building, reports the Northern Echo. Meanwhile, Whitbread has submitted plans to build a £7m Premier Inn and Beefeater restaurant in Hamilton, creating 60 jobs. Plans have been lodged with South Lanarkshire Council to flatten the derelict Hamilton Town Hotel in the town centre with a view to building the 96-bedroom hotel and restaurant in Townhead Street, as well as a third-party restaurant that would be developed as a shell unit until a tenant had been found, reports the Daily Record.

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