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Fri 5th Oct 2018 - Travelodge's £100m expansion, Tom Kerridge
Travelodge plans £100m expansion near conference sites: Travelodge has launched a £100m expansion plan that includes ten new hotels close to conference and events centres. The company, which already has 567 hotels across the country, revealed the plan as it opened its latest site – next to the Telford International Centre. Travelodge already has 39 conference and events hotels close to 20 of the UK’s largest centres. The plan is to build on that with a further ten sites – ACC Liverpool Echo Arena; Alexandra Palace in London; Bournemouth International Centre; Brighton Centre; Edinburgh International Conference Centre; Manchester Central Convention Complex; London Olympia; Queen Elizabeth Centre in London; Ricoh Arena & Coventry Conference Centre; and The SEC Centre in Glasgow. Paul Harvey, Travelodge managing director – property, told the Financial Times: “Britain’s events sector is growing from strength to strength and we are delighted to open our 567th Travelodge by Telford International Centre. However, due to the growing volume of events taking place across the country there is a shortage of good-quality, low-cost accommodation close to venues. Our hotels close to conference and events centres are booked out as soon as event dates are released and value-seeking attendees will even book into a Travelodge up to 20 miles from the venue. Therefore, in response to the growing events market, we are actively searching to extend our network with a further ten hotels close to popular UK conference and events centres. Collectively it represents an investment of £100m for third-party investors and will create about 300 jobs across the country.”

Tom Kerridge opens Twickenham Stadium restaurant: Two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has opened a restaurant at Twickenham Stadium as part of an £81m revamp of its hospitality facilities. An 18-month construction project has seen 6,700 square metres of space added to the East Stand to create room for 4,500 hospitality ticket-holders. It now features four high-end restaurants, including the 1,000-cover The Lock, which Kerridge is in charge of. Each of the restaurants – The Rose Garden, East Wing, The Gate and The Lock – feature a rugby theme and will offer a menu tailored to England’s opponents on match day. Its formal launch will come when England take on South Africa next month. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said it would “set new standards” for the level of service offered to guests in British sports venues. It is also the first time all hospitality suites will be offered inside the stadium and controlled by the RFU rather than licensed third-party companies and off-site venues. Kerridge will personally supervise the kitchen at The Lock and design his own menu for each match. England Rugby Hospitality told the Evening Standard: “He will be in the restaurant on match days and will meet guests.”

Red Oak Taverns secures £42m funding from OakNorth: Red Oak Taverns has secured a £42m loan from OakNorth to continue expanding across the UK and refinance existing debt. Formed in 2011 by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell, Red Oak Taverns comprises 161 mainly leased and tenanted pubs but also includes several managed and franchised venues. Grunnell said: “This was a competitive process but OakNorth was able to differentiate itself from other lenders by structuring a flexible and bespoke debt finance package for us, which significantly reduces our cost of capital and enables us to release funds, as required, in line with our acquisition strategy. It has also bought into our growth plans, providing us with the financial firepower to take advantage of small and medium-sized acquisition opportunities.” OakNorth debt finance director Mohith Sondhi added: “Mark and Aaron have proved with Red Oak Taverns they can effectively acquire and integrate pub groups and continue to drive the business forward, even through uncertain and challenging economic conditions. Their successful ‘buy and build’ strategy has seen them grow to 161 sites in less than a decade and demonstrates the incredible ambition of the business.” Red Oak Taverns is privately owned by its co-founders and a small number of like-minded individual investors. The pub estate is mainly concentrated in the south, south west, north west and the Midlands. OakNorth has supported other sector companies such as Adventure Bar and The Inn Collection Group.

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