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Mon 29th Apr 2019 - Update: Escape Hunt, The Ivy Collection, Loungers, Wahlburgers and Asahi
Escape Hunt signs heads of terms with US franchise partner: Escape Hunt has announced that it has signed heads of terms with a US franchising partner for a roll-out of new franchisee sites across the US and Canada. Although the heads of terms are detailed, they are still subject to a contract being completed. The company stated: “The US partner brings a wealth of experience both as a franchisee and franchisor of a number of leisure businesses, with dedicated management and the financial resources to execute the anticipated roll-out. A detailed plan to address the significant market opportunity has already been developed with this US partner during discussions over the last six months. In line with its ambition of growing the franchise estate by two to three times over the medium term in conjunction with well-resourced partners, Escape Hunt believes that this deal represents a significant step towards achieving this goal.”

The Ivy Collection reports turnover surge: The Ivy Collection, owned by hospitality entrepreneur Richard Caring, has reported turnover up 124% to £98.5 million in the year to 29 July 2018 on the back of 14 openings, The Times has reported. The newspaper stated: “Underlying earning jumped 145% to £11.5m but a sharp rise in restaurant pre-opening costs meant it made a pre-tax loss of £3.5m The company has drawn bank debt of £66.6m a shareholder loan from Richard Caring of £19m. It forecast that turnover will double to £203m this year, with underlying earning expected to triple to £35m. The chain, based on the 102-year-old original in Covent Garden, London, is on target to open three new restaurants in the regions – in Glasgow, Oxford and Cardiff – by the end of this year, lifting its total estate to 38 outlets, a mix of all-day Ivy Brasseries and more informal Ivy Cafés.”

Loungers shares to begin trading this morning: Loungers, the operator of 146 cafe bars across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, will see admission of its ordinary shares to trading on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange at 8am this morning.

Wahlburgers to open in Covent Garden this week: The long-awaited Wahlburgers site in Covent Garden is to open this coming Saturday (4 May). David Rawlinson – director of leading restaurant agency Restaurant Property, said: “Mark is going to be at the launch himself this Saturday night and the concept certainly does live up to the hype. There is no other burger operator who offers the option of every burger as a salad, uses such high quality ingredients like “butchers bacon” and 100% fresh avocado for example. This is set to be London’s best family restaurant.” 

Asahi adds Fuller’s products to portfolio: Asahi UK has announced the arrival of the first range of cask ales and ciders into its portfolio following the completion of Asahi Europe’s acquisition of the Fuller’s Beer Company, the beverage and distribution business of Fuller, Smith & Turner. These include Fuller’s London Pride, Frontier and Asahi UK’s first Premium Cider brand, Cornish Orchards. The acquisition is part of Asahi’s ongoing international growth strategy to lead the Premium Beer category across Europe. Preserving the Fuller’s brewing heritage and strong brand equity, the new brand additions will strengthen Asahi’s position in the UK and Ireland market. Tim Clay, managing director, Asahi UK said: “All of us at Asahi UK are thrilled to be bringing these much loved cask ale and cider brands into our portfolio. Through our existing Super Premium Brand portfolio, distribution network, customer marketing and sales expertise we aim to extend and grow our new range across the UK and Ireland – to offer our customers the most comprehensive suite of Premium Beer and Cider brands. Building on the heritage of Fuller’s London Pride, Frontier and Cornish Orchards, we aim to enrich consumer experiences through industry leading product quality, impactful marketing and by driving ongoing value to our customers. This year will be an exciting time for Asahi UK and our customers.”

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