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Thu 6th Sep 2018 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Rise of restaurants charging up front among trends highlighted by Good Food Guide as Outlaw tops list for second year running: The rise of restaurants charging up front and vegetarian and vegan menus has been highlighted in the Good Food Guide 2019. The sixth edition of the guide, published by Waitrose & Partners, looked at some of the key trends shaping the industry as chef entrepreneur Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant in Cornwall was crowned number one for the second year in a row. It pointed to the increase in popularity this year of the concept of pre-payment. It said customers paying for their meal up front, as they do with theatre or concert tickets, was a sensible idea and was particularly popular with certain high-end eateries and those offering set menus, “putting the responsibility of an empty table in the hands of the diner rather than the restaurant”. It noted the rise of the vegetarian and vegan menu and for the first time the guide has highlighted those venues “worth a visit” for their vegetarian and vegan offering. More restaurants are also showing a willingness to transform what might have once been described as food “waste” into things to eat, a trend the guide predicted was set to continue for the foreseeable future. Finally, while the majority of restaurants are keen to ensure diners can easily browse menus, providing service when the need for assistance occurs, some eateries are still baffling them with “incomprehensible” menus. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac achieved a perfect score of ten for the third year running, edging out Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume and new entry Core by Clare Smyth, which also received the top score. Outlaw came top thanks to his “confident cooking” and “knack for deploying first-rate seafood to its ultimate advantage”. The restaurant was noted for having a “refreshing lack of pomp”, with a tasting menu that is “ingenious in its simplicity, yet continues to surprise”. This year’s Best Local Restaurant category went to The Old Bank in Snettisham, Norfolk.

Industry News:

Propel Multi Club Conference open for bookings, Neil Morgan to present, two free places for operators: The final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2018 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 1 November at the Grange Hotel, St Paul’s, London. Neil Morgan, Christie & Co managing director of pubs and restaurants, will set out the key trends in pub, restaurant and hotel mergers and acquisitions. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at

Nisha Katona wins Wireless Social Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year: Mowgli founder Nisha Katona was named Wireless Social Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year at the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneur Conference. Katona was presented with the trophy by Wireless Social chief executive Julian Ross. He said: “We are delighted to have supported this award for the outstanding female entrepreneur of the year in hospitality in 2018. Nisha Katona is a very worthy winner. She gave up a successful career in law to follow her passion for Indian food. She put everything on the line financially to open her first restaurant in Liverpool without any experience in restaurants – and now five more have followed. It’s an outstanding achievement.” Along with Katona, Yasmine Larizadeh (Good Life Eatery), Pranee Laurillard (Giggling Squid), Mel Marriott (Darwin & Wallace), Raquel de Oliveira (Ceviche) and Joycelyn Neve (Seafood Pub Company) made up the shortlist for the award, which was selected from industry nominations. The award was presented at the end of the Women’s Entrepreneur Conference, organised by Propel and Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott, which was the first sector conference to feature an all-female line-up. A total of 11 company founders shared their stories, tips and advice as they looked to inspire more women to take the plunge and set up their own business. 

UKHospitality cautions against mandatory calorie labelling: UKHospitality has warned the introduction of inflexible mandatory calorie labelling could place a “serious burden” on hospitality businesses. The warning follows reports the government is preparing to launch a consultation on a requirement for businesses to provide calorie labelling on menus. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Mandatory calorie labelling could have a significant impact on the hospitality sector, particularly smaller businesses that would struggle to cope with the huge burden of a one-size-fits-all approach. The knock-on effect would almost certainly mean prices go up and investment in businesses goes down. There is also a serious potential that mandatory calorie labelling would undermine businesses’ efforts to tackle food waste, which is a growing concern for consumers and an area of innovation for businesses. A blanket introduction of inflexible calorie labelling would represent a serious additional cost for businesses already facing tightening margins and economic instability. It would also represent a considerable burden for those venues that change their menus regularly – some on a daily basis – to incorporate locally sourced produce, seasonal ingredients and specials. Small and medium-sized businesses might also find their ability to innovate, particularly when tackling food waste, severely restricted. We are supportive of efforts to promote healthier eating habits and the sector is already taking decisive, proactive action to reformulate menus to reduce calories and increase transparency and choice for customers. Many larger venues already include calorie content on their menus voluntarily, with many high-street brands providing customers with an unprecedented level of information. But even larger businesses, operating numerous distinct brands, rely on the flexibility provided by voluntary labelling.”

Blackpool-based meat and poultry supplier goes into administration: Blackpool-based Clifton Quality Meats, which supplied meat and poultry to restaurants and pubs, has gone into administration. The £10m-turnover company traded from three locations in Blackpool, as well as a site in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and had an 80-strong workforce. However, the business had encountered trading difficulties in recent months, which were worsened by the recent good weather that had an impact on the weight of lambs. Also, adverse currency movements following the Brexit referendum increased import costs significantly. The failure of another business in the sector, Russell Hume, earlier this year also affected credit insurer sentiment, causing significant working capital challenges in the business. Sarah O’Toole and Jason Bell, of Grant Thornton, have been appointed joint administrators to Clifton Quality Meats. A spokesman for the joint administrators told The Business Desk: “Clifton Quality Meats suffered multiple challenges in recent months and, despite continued support from other group companies, the directors were left with no alternative but to place the business into administration. All staff who had been laid off prior to our appointment were made redundant on 24 August. We understand a significant number of those affected have found alternative employment in the local area.”

Company News:

Bill’s to discontinue app following ‘operational issues’: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, is to discontinue its app following “operational issues”. In a circular sent to Bill’s mailing list, the company stated: “We have had some operational issues with our Bill’s App. We have worked hard to resolve these issues. However, we feel we need to discontinue the app while we consider what is best for you in the long term. The Bill’s App will deactivate from 4 December 2018. In the meantime, you can continue to use the Bill’s App to gain VIP status, earn pounds and redeem your Bank of Bill’s balance until 4 December as much as you would like. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.” In its financial statement for the year ending 30 July 2017, the directors’ report stated downloads had averaged 5,000 per week since the app was launched in October 2017, while payments using the app had reached 2.5% of total sales and “continued to grow weekly”. Meanwhile, Bill’s chief executive Duncan Garrood took to LinkedIn to congratulate his staff on their recent store performances. He wrote: “This week we transformed our flagship restaurant in Soho and reopened it with new decor, menu and service in just ten days. It looks amazing, the restaurant team are delivering brilliant experiences, and customers are loving it and giving great feedback. We then started on the transformation of our next restaurant at Greenwich, which we’ll reopen this week. Amazing energy by our team. Then we have a third one the week after! With all this going on, the remaining restaurants drove up their standards and like-for-like sales have improved.” Founder Bill Collison opened the first Bill’s restaurant in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001. The brand has expanded to operate circa 75 sites in the UK.

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi to open biggest restaurant as company fulfils King’s Road ambition, eighth UK site: Japanese restaurant brand Sticks ‘n’ Sushi will open its eighth UK site, in Chelsea next month featuring its debut “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining space. The three-storey restaurant in King’s Road will be its largest to date when it launches on Monday, 1 October. It will accommodate 220 guests with the interior playing on the themes of light and dark, with each floor having its own distinctive identity. The focal point of the 90-cover ground floor will be an open kitchen island with counter seating. The kitchen will be visible from the high banquettes and lower table seating around the room. Upstairs on the first floor, counter seating, low banquettes and tables will offer a variety of spaces. There will also be larger booths and a long communal table, a familiar fixture of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi since it was founded in Copenhagen in 1994. The basement of the Chelsea restaurant houses a first for the group – The Kings Room, a 26-seat “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining room equipped with its own kitchen, cocktail bar and dedicated team. Guests booking the room will be able to choose bespoke menus prepared for them by their own chefs and choose their own music separate from the rest of the restaurant. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi will also offer its complete menu to take away. Founder Kim Rahbek said: “Ever since my brother Jens, brother-in-law and partner Thor Andersen, and I first came up with the idea for Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, we’ve said one day we would open on the King’s Road. For us it’s the epitome of everything that’s great about London, from the ‘swinging sixties’ to the present day – it has never gone out of style. So to be opening here this year is a dream come true for us.” Group chief executive Rod McKie added: “We are delighted to be opening the largest Sticks ‘n’ Sushi anywhere to date on the world-famous King’s Road. With its many different dining and bar spaces as well as our first ‘restaurant within a restaurant’ for private dining, we’re bringing a new style of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi experience to Chelsea.”

Whitbread to open first Bar + Block in Scotland as part of Edinburgh Premier Inn extension: Whitbread is set to open the first site in Scotland for its steakhouse concept Bar + Block. The company is looking to launch the restaurant in Princes Street in a unit currently occupied by clothes store New Look, which is due to vacate the property. It forms part of plans submitted by Whitbread to the city council to extend its Premier Inn next to New Look by adding 50 bedrooms, reports the Edinburgh News. A report submitted with the application states: “Notwithstanding the overall loss of retail floor space, the delivery of refurbished hotel space with additional rooms together with the introduction of a high-quality restaurant would be of great benefit to Princes Street, particularly in this West End location. There continues to be a natural gravitation of retailers towards the east end of the city, which is likely to be further exacerbated by the opening of the St James development in 2021.” Whitbread currently operates Bar + Block sites in Bath, Birmingham, Nottingham, King’s Cross and the Whiteley Shopping Centre in Hampshire, while it is adding to its presence in London with an opening in Aldgate. The concept features steaks hand-cut to order as well as a “butcher’s block”, rotating specials and an extensive drinks list.

Crazy golf operator Junkyard secures fifth site, in Liverpool ONE: Crazy golf operator Junkyard Golf has secured its fifth site, in Liverpool. The company has agreed a deal with Grosvenor Europe to launch in Liverpool ONE. The 17,000 square foot site will open in early 2019. It will offer three nine-hole courses with unusual designs – Pablo, a “polluted paradise”; Gary, a “scrapyard disco”; and Bozo, a “dystopian fairground”. All the courses will include unusual props constructed from a batch of reclaimed and reworked items. The venue will have four bars dotted around the golf courses, serving cocktails such as Post Melone and Hotline Ting. The main bunker bar will also offer classic fairground treats, including hotdogs and nachos. Chris Legh, who founded the concept with Bart Murphy, Lyndon Higginson and Mat Lakes, said: “Liverpool ONE was the obvious choice for our expansion plans in the north west. Each site follows our design principles of providing visitors with an immersive experience you cannot find with other crazy golf brands, plus a bar that can be enjoyed whether you are playing a round of golf or not.” Alison Clegg, director, asset management at Grosvenor Europe, added: “Junkyard Golf Club is a leading brand in competitive socialising and will enrich the leisure experience available in Liverpool ONE and the wider city centre.” Cushman and Wakefield and Metis acted for Liverpool ONE. Junkyard, which has sites in Leeds, London, Manchester and Oxford, was represented by OBI Property.

York Roast Co rolls out refurbishment programme, seeks new sites: Street food business The York Roast Co is to roll out refurbishment plans across its stores in York, Shrewsbury, Salisbury and Chester. The move follows a refit of its York Stonegate site earlier this year, including the introduction of seating, which led to a 100% sales increase, the company said. The other stores will be given a fresh new look with updated, modern branding and room to dine on-site. All fit-outs will be complete by the end of February, while the company has also said it is looking for new sites to add to its portfolio. The York Roast Co managing director Wayne Chadwick said: “We are no longer just a sandwich shop. Following the success of our York Stonegate refit we are rolling out the refurbishment across all sites in a bid to give the brand the refresh it deserves. We’re also working on our growth strategy and, in addition to our budding events company, are looking for new locations for 2019 and beyond.” The company is renowned for its YorkyPud Wrap.

Inception Group to launch fifth Mr Fogg’s, in the Strand this month: Bar and nightclub operator Inception Group is to open a fifth site for its Mr Fogg’s Collection brand, in the Strand, London, this month. The company will launch Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration on Friday, 14 September in Bedford Street, taking guests on a journey inspired by Around The World In 80 Days. The walls will be adorned with portraits of Mr Fogg’s “fellow fearless pioneers”, while their intrepid tales will be “depicted and narrated at regular society meetings”. The downstairs Map Room will house a collection of antique and modern-day maps, host regular evening events with a resident explorer, and offer global drinking adventures, from cocktail masterclasses to “spirit safaris”. Customers will also be able to make their own drinks by pressing a button to trigger a chain reaction in a mechanical machine inspired by inventor Rube Goldberg. Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration will join the brand’s other venues – Mr Fogg’s Residence, Tavern, Gin Parlour and House Of Botanicals. Charlie Gilkes, who founded Inception Group with Duncan Stirling in 2009, said: “It has been five years since we opened our first Mr Fogg’s. We’re thrilled to add a fifth venue to the collection and look forward to welcoming anyone with a love of travel, cocktails or both to The Society Of Exploration!”

Big Moe’s Diner opens third London site, at Wembley Park: Big Moe’s Diner, the 1950s-style American restaurant concept, has opened its third site, at London Designer Outlet (LDO) in Wembley Park. Big Moe’s Diner, which operates its other sites in Aldgate and Barking, offers classic American dishes such as breakfast pancakes, burgers, New York-style doughnuts, chocolate bar milkshakes and giant waffles. The brand will be joined by a debut site for Greek-style bakery and patisserie concept Opa, with the openings taking the number of restaurants at LDO to 22. Big Moe’s Diner is opposite Handmade Burger Co, which recently extended its lease for five years, and JRC Global Buffet, which opened a 14,000 square foot restaurant during the summer. Big Moe’s Diner director Aqib Hanif said: “Big Moe’s Diner will appeal to shoppers enjoying outlet savings at LDO and visitors to the wider Wembley Park, London’s newest creative district. The footfall is strong and we look forward to serving customers from around the world.” LDO, which launched in October 2013, has enjoyed 18 consecutive quarters of sales growth, owners Quintain said. Prezzo recently increased the number of covers at its LDO restaurant by 30%, while other brands at the outlet include Nando’s, PizzaExpress, Wagamama, Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana, and Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas. Christine Grace, Realm’s leasing director for LDO, said: “These announcements show we’re bucking the trend with casual dining.”

Steamin’ Billy boss to launch crazy golf venture in Leicester next month: Billy Allingham, managing director of Leicestershire-based Steamin’ Billy Brewing, will open his new crazy golf venue in Leicester city centre next month. Allingham will launch Caddyshackers Crazy Golf in the former Dunelm Store in East Street in the first of a two-part development of the 33,475 square foot site. It will be followed by the opening of East Street Lanes in April next year, which will be the first bowling alley in Leicester city centre for decades, reports Leicestershire Live. The vacant unit, which is close to the train station and the landmark St George’s Tower, is located below a multi-storey car park. Allingham is listed as the only director of East Street Lanes, which had its plans for the venture approved by the city council in July. Founded in 1998 by Allingham and Barry Lount, Steamin’ Billy has established a presence in Leicestershire, Rutland and Derbyshire and recently expanded into Warwickshire. In May, the company secured £1.5m from HSBC to support its expansion plans.

High Street Hospitality acquires £1m South Shields hotel for third site: High Street Hospitality, a subsidiary of Newcastle-based The High Street Group, has acquired a South Shields seaside hotel in a £1m deal for its third site. The Sea Hotel will undergo a £750,000 refurbishment of rooms, reception, restaurant, and wedding and function areas. The 1930s-built hotel will become part of High Street Hospitality’s Hotel 52 chain, with plans to add a Latin American bar and kitchen, a vintage sports bar, a fish and chip takeaway and a coffee shop. High Street Hospitality managing director Phill Brumwell told Insider Media: “We will improve the facilities to a very high standard, creating a boutique hotel with an array of food and beverage outlets.” High Street Hospitality’s other hotels are in Whitley Bay and Stanley, County Durham. Its website states it plans to have “at least 15 Hotel 52 sites across the UK in the next five years”. The company is currently looking at options for outlets in Tyne and Wear, Durham and Cumbria, with its strategy involving on-site restaurants and bars. This year the company also plans to launch a Bar 52 brand, with “two bars in the pipeline”.

Hancock’s to open third site, in Maidstone this month: Hancock’s, the family-owned, Rochester-based restaurant group, is to open its third site, in Maidstone, Kent, this month. The 130-cover American Kitchen And Bar concept will launch in Earl Street in the town centre on Saturday, 15 September creating 20 jobs. Hancock’s director David Chick told Kent Online: “What Hancock’s represents is a bright place with fab food and fun surroundings, where cocktails flow and everyone is welcome. Our menu takes its inspiration from the best on offer Stateside – chicken and ribs smoked on-site, steaks, dirty dogs, gumbo and fajitas. We’re not exclusively a meat-lover’s paradise, though, our range of vegetarian options is also extensive. Customers in Maidstone will set Hancock’s music policy because by using our app they can select their favourite tunes as they dine, which from experience in our other outlets makes for an even more upbeat mood in the restaurant. As a family-owned business, catering to all age groups is very important to us so we will be offering a wide-ranging menu with free goodie bags for the little ones.” The other Hancock’s American Kitchen And Bars are in Chatham in Kent and Camberley in Surrey. A fourth venue is set to launch soon in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Mostly Harmless to launch Russian spaceship escape room in Elephant and Castle: Tom Hall, the immersive theatre actor-director and founder of leisure operator Mostly Harmless, is to launch a Russian spaceship escape room experience in south London. Hall will launch PHOBOS-17 this month at The Artworks in Elephant and Castle, which will see teams of up to four people work to unlock the mysteries of the spacecraft. During each 60-minute session, participants will race against time as they aim to break into a sealed laboratory and snatch the prize before escaping from the facility. Hall told BDaily: “I am delighted to say I own a spaceship in south London. We’ve had great fun building it and designing puzzles. I can’t wait to welcome people on board!” Mostly Harmless’ previous project, The Lifeboat, was a pop-up escape room launched earlier this year at London’s annual arts festival Vault.

Nando’s to open Reigate restaurant at former Prezzo site: Nando’s is to open a restaurant at a former Prezzo site in Reigate, Surrey. Work to refit the restaurant in High Street has started but a Nando’s spokesman said it would feature a “completely new design” so wouldn’t open until “after the New Year”. He told Surrey Live: “We have been looking at Reigate for a while now and know there are a lot of peri-peri fans in the area.” Meanwhile, the company is opening a restaurant in Yeovil, Somerset. Signs have been erected at an empty store in South Western Terrace in the town centre stating: “Get ready for it. We’re opening soon.” Work is already under way at the site, which lies between a Beefeater restaurant and Kaspa’s dessert parlour. The site has been empty since the area was redeveloped, when a Whitbread-owned Premier Inn was built above the row of shops.

Brewhouse & Kitchen opens Horsham site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has opened its first site in West Sussex, in Horsham. The company has opened the venue in East Street on the site of former contemporary Japanese restaurant Wabi having acquired the freehold from Paul and Verity Craig in May. Except for its stint at Wabi, the building has been a pub for 150 years. The venue offers Brewhouse & Kitchen’s summer menu, complete with seasonal beer pairing suggestions and 23 vegan and vegetarian options. Bunn said: “We are excited to open a brewpub in Horsham and look forward to making lots of local friends, providing a service to the fantastic and welcoming community. To be located in Horsham’s town centre is wonderful, allowing us to deliver a unique pub experience to residents and visitors alike and embrace the community with open doors and full kegs.” Founded in 2011, Brewhouse & Kitchen operates 21 sites – eight of which have opened in the past two years.

Former Gordon Ramsay chef opens coffee shop in Coulsdon: A coffee shop owned and run by a chef who trained in Michelin-starred restaurants has opened in Coulsdon, Surrey. Lewis Voce, who has worked at five-star hotel The Langham in Marylebone; Trinity in Clapham, which has one Michelin star; and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, which has three Michelin stars; has launched CyCo – short for Cycle of Coffee – in Brighton Road. He decided he wanted to bring the “coffee culture” of central London to the suburbs and offer “craft coffee” to the area. It also offers sandwiches, salads, homemade cakes and English breakfast dishes. Voce told the Croydon Advertiser: “The whole purpose is to offer a great combination of coffee and food. It is simple food but done really well.”

North Wales-based tapas concept acquires second site: North Wales-based tapas concept The Midland Tapas And Wine Bar has acquired its second site. Owners David Owen and Emma Brown opened their first venue in Beaumaris on Anglesey in 2016. Now they have bought a site in the centre of Conwy that is currently being renovated. The 90-seater restaurant, which will also feature outdoor seating, is due to open at the end of the month at the site of the former Time cafe bar in Castle Street, creating 15 jobs. Owen told the Daily Post: “We felt there was a gap in the market for this style of high-end tapas dining in Conwy, there is nothing similar here. It is another castle town and we are attracted because, like Beaumaris, it has that extended tourism season that means it is busy most of the year. We cook everything fresh. We use Welsh ingredients and put a Mediterranean twist on them, such as our Welsh chorizo.”

Poole shopping centre gets go-ahead to create restaurants and cinema: The Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole, Dorset, has been granted planning permission to convert existing space into four casual dining restaurants and a nine-screen cinema. Construction will begin in 2019 and is the latest development in the centre’s £26m improvement programme. Empire Cinemas has signed a 25-year lease to operate what will be the first multiplex in the town, with one of the nine screens being open-air on the rooftop. The cinema will be created by redeveloping a former Argos store and adjoining units at the end of the high street. The Dolphin centre is the largest covered retail destination in Dorset and has been owned by LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General) since 2013. LGIM Real Assets senior fund manager Mark Russell said: “The Dolphin centre has been significantly improved over the past year with a focus on an internal mall refresh as well as improvements to external areas.”

Kent-based pub operator has plans approved for second site, in Tonbridge: Kent-based pub operator Beer Seller has been given the go-ahead to open its second site in the county, in Tonbridge. The company, which runs real ale pub the Halfway House in the nearby village of Brenchley, has been granted permission by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council to convert the former John Angell jewellers in Tonbridge High Street, reports Kent Live. Approving the application, the council stated: “This will enhance the viability and vitality of the town centre and contribute towards both the quality and quantity of facilities available in Tonbridge High Street. The potential impact on the amenity of nearby residents can be mitigated through the imposition of planning conditions controlling amplified music and opening hours.” Trading hours will be 9am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 10.30pm on Sundays.

London-based coffee house concept 39 Steps launches online roastery: Coffee house concept 39 Steps, which is based in Woolwich, south east London, has launched an online roastery. The service sells beans shipped fresh from the grower as they come into season before being roasted by 39 Steps and sold online. Initially there will be four types of sustainably sourced coffee available for wholesale purchase. The company will also offer a consumer subscription service, with coffee bean deliveries available nationwide alongside a range of reusable cups. Jens Rettig, 39 Steps head roaster, said: “I have secured and tasted speciality coffee for more than a decade. With 39 Steps there is the opportunity to start making a deeper and longer-lasting impact on the farms we work with. It’s our new standard and a standard we hope to bring to the on-trade and businesses, as well as households, across the nation.” This venture follows the launch of 39 Steps Coffee Haus in Soho in February. 

Norwich-based North African cafe to open second site: Norwich-based North African cafe Sahara Cafe & Patisserie is to open its second site in the city. Owner Faycal Mokhbi is planning to open the venue in St Benedicts Street on the site of the Flint hair salon. Mokhbi’s Magdalen Street cafe, which opened four-and-a-half years ago, will remain in business and continue to serve North African and Mediterranean cuisine. Mokhbi told the Norwich Evening News: “We want to open in the city centre so we can get our food, coffee and traditional cakes to more people. The Magdalen Street cafe is great but in the city you get people from everywhere and we want everyone to experience our sub-culture.” Mokhbi hopes to open the new site by October.

New operators acquire historic Cornish inn for £1.2m: The Old Ferry Inn in Bodinnick, Cornwall, has been acquired off a guide price of £1.2m in a deal brokered by agent Colliers International. The former coaching inn has been bought by hospitality newcomer Robert Seabourne and partner Karen Gardner, who is a classically trained chef. The hotel has 12 letting rooms. Seabourne said: “I have been visiting Cornwall since I was a boy and fell in love with Bodinnick. The Old Ferry Inn is a lovely old lady that has suffered from a lack of investment over recent years and is in need of a fair bit of TLC. The aim is evolution, not revolution. We believe establishing links with local businesses and charitable organisations such as the RNLI will be of paramount importance to the long-term success of the business.” Ed Jefferson, of Colliers International, added: “The present inn dates to the 17th century and features a host of traditional features. The popular River Room has fantastic views over Fowey and the village of Polruan.” The Old Ferry Inn was sold by husband-and-wife teams Pascal and Penny Rivault, and David and Amanda Lewis.

Preston-based operator takes on second site: Preston-based operator Wings & Beer Co has taken on its second site. The company, which runs Wings & Beer in Cannon Street, has acquired the Market Tavern from Meat & Drink. The pub, which is undergoing a two-month refurbishment, will be renamed The Market Tap and become a “craft and cask ale house”. It will also serve cocktails alongside an extensive food menu. A spokesman for Meat & Drink, which is the company behind the soon to open Plau bar in Friargate, told Blog Preston: “Meat & Drink would like to wish Wings & Beer Co the very best with the new venture at the Market Tavern. As a company, we never managed to get to a point where we made a long-term deal that benefited all parties involved. Wings & Co looks set to make a great success of the Market Tavern, with a fantastic concept in a wonderful venue.”

Marston’s gets go-ahead for 24-bedroom lodge next to Wrexham pub: Marston’s has been granted permission to build a 24-bedroom lodge in Wrexham, North Wales. The company has been given the go-ahead by Wrexham Council for the venue next to its Plas Coch pub, which is located on a retail park in the town, reports BBC News. Marston’s currently operates two hotels in North Wales – the Wynnstay Arms in Wrexham and the Talardy Hotel, which is next to the A55 at St Asaph.

Greater Manchester-based micro-pub submits plans for second site: Greater Manchester-based micro-pub JR’s Ale House has submitted plans to open its second site. The concept was launched last year in Chorley New Road, Horwich, offering cask ale, craft beer, wine, spirits and freshly ground coffee. Now it has applied to Chorley Council to open a site in the village of Adlington in a vacant shop in Church Street. The site would be open from 10am to 10pm daily, reports the Lancashire Post.

Jamaican street food trader to launch debut restaurant in Eastbourne on Saturday: Jamaican street food trader Kevin Sappleton is to launch his debut restaurant – in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The move comes only a matter of weeks after the chef’s iconic yellow food truck was destroyed by fire along the south coast in Hove. Sappleton will open Bready’s Delights on Saturday (8 September). He had been trading at events such as Notting Hill Carnival and Eastbourne Pride. Following the blaze, friends and customers launched a fund-raising page that raised enough money for him to take over the lease of the restaurant in Seaside Road. Sappleton told the Eastbourne Herald: “I can say Bready’s Delights really has risen from the ashes. My restaurant is here to bring the taste of Jamaica to the people of Eastbourne.”

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