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Wed 27th Mar 2019 - Update: Foodstars, Giles Thorley and Rohit Chugh
Former Uber boss buys UK ‘dark kitchens’ business: The food delivery company run by Travis Kalanick acquired London ‘dark kitchens’ company Foodstars last year, as the former Uber boss looks to expand his new venture in the UK, the FT has reported. City Storage Systems, which trades as Cloud Kitchens in the US, quietly bought the startup up last year, according to documents filed to Companies House. Foodstars, which was founded in Bethnal Green in 2015, now operates kitchen spaces across London, which it leases to restaurants focusing on selling food through delivery apps such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The acquisition marks Kalanick’s first expansion outside the US, as he looks to capitalise on growing demand for food delivery. Companies House filings show Kalanick has hired former Uber executive Matt Atkin and US tech expert Colby Goff to help run the UK venture. Kalanick, who co-founded Uber with Garrett Camp in 2009, was forced to step down from the firm in 2017 amid a series of scandals and lawsuits.

Giles Thorley becomes chairman of Zip World: Former Punch Taverns chief executive Giles Thorley, who is currently chief executive of the Development Bank of Wales, has become chairman of adventure tourism provider Zip World. Thorley has also been chairman of Tragus Restaurants, D&D Restaurants and director of Esporta Gyms. The appointment follows the adventure tourism company receiving backing from private equity investor LDC, supported by the company’s existing banking partner, HSBC, with the company also planning to expand into South Wales. Giles Thorley said: “There are very few leisure businesses in the UK developing new and unique experiences. Through its three sites, Zip World has entertained thousands of customers with incredible adventure experiences, bringing valuable investment into the North Wales economy. Zip World continues to develop new attractions, giving reasons to come to North Wales that you simply can’t find anywhere else. I am excited to be supporting Sean and his team, together with their new investors LDC, as they take their extraordinary experiences to new sites across the UK as well as continuing to develop their existing sites in North Wales.” Zip World founding director Sean Taylor said: “Giles’ experience will be crucial in taking the Zip World business to the next level. As we expand beyond our North Wales heartland and bring the brand into new parts of the UK, having someone with his experience in the leisure sector is vital. He likes what we do and it’s great to have someone of this calibre helping push Zip World to new heights.”

Former Cinnamon Club managing director opens south east Asian cafe in Fitzrovia for fourth London site: Former Cinnamon Club managing director Rohit Chugh has opened a south east Asian cafe in Fitzrovia, central London, for his fourth site in the capital. Chugh, who operates Indian street food restaurant Roti Chai in Marylebone as well as Indian restaurant Chai Ki and roadside-style bar and kitchen Toddy Shop, both in Canary Wharf, has launched Bambusa in Charlotte Street at a site formerly occupied by cafe Mizuna. Bambusa features a coffee and pastry counter to the front and another for build your own breakfast and lunch to go, while there is seating for eight to eat in. Food and drink is served in sustainable sugar-cane packaging with delivery options planned for later in the year. Chugh opened Roti Chai in 2014 and Chai Ki a year later.

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