Market Halls set for £20m cash injection: Food hall operator Market Halls is close to agreeing a £20m funding deal with private equity firm Bridgepoint to accelerate its growth plans. The company, which currently operates from two central London venues in Fulham and Victoria, will receive the funding from Bridgepoint Growth, a dedicated fund making growth capital investments, reports Property Week. The capital injection will drive Market Halls’ expansion plans across the UK. It plans to open two new sites this year – a flagship venue on Oxford Street and a 14,500 square foot venue at Intu’s Lakeside shopping centre in Essex for its new The Hall concept. It will roll out the experience to other out-of-town shopping centres across the UK, and has identified 15 opportunities similar to the Intu Lakeside deal. The company, which is led by chief executive Andy Lewis-Pratt, has secured or is in advanced discussions to open at a number of prime locations. It has signed for a 20,000 square foot food hall at Cargo, in Canary Wharf. The Market Halls concept has so far opened in repurposed older buildings, such as the former Pacha night club site in London’s Victoria and the former ticket office in Fulham Broadway. The 40,000 square foot flagship, Market Halls West End, is due to open in Oxford Street in December, in the basement of the unit formerly occupied by BHS. It will open at the Intu Lakeside £72m leisure extension in July. The food hall will feature seven kitchens, a coffee shop, pop-up areas for food trucks, two bars and seating for 680 people. Former property developer Lewis-Pratt and Simon Anderson, a restaurateur known for Pitt Cue Co on the edge of London’s Spitalfields, launched Market Halls in spring 2018.
Time Out to open New York market today: Time Out Group, the global media and entertainment business, will open its New York Time Out market today (Friday, 31 May). Spanning 21,000 square foot across two floors of the Empire Stores in Water Street in Dumbo (Brooklyn), Time Out Market New York will offer 21 eateries, three bars and a performance stage. Time Out Market chief executive Didier Souillat said: “We couldn’t be more excited to open Time Out Market New York and introduce a new and unique food and cultural destination to this incredible city. Our Time Out editors have carefully selected the city’s most outstanding chefs, mixologists and local talent and now we bring this curated mix together in one unique space. Imagine a place where you get a true taste of the city –you can choose from culinary masterpieces, tonkotsu ramen, pizza, Middle Eastern cuisine, vegan fare, juicy burgers, Kosher deli, tacos, chocolate babka and more. The variety is amazing and there will be something for everyone, from morning through night. When Time Out Market New York opens, the hottest tables in town will be communal.” The first Time Out Market opened in 2014 in Lisbon, which last year saw a record 3.9 million visitors. The second Time Out Market opened in Miami earlier this month, offering 18 eateries across 18,000 square foot. The group is in the process of rolling out the format globally and new Time Out Markets will also open throughout 2019 in Boston (second quarter), Chicago (third quarter) and Montreal (fourth quarter); followed by Dubai (2020), London-Waterloo (2021) and Prague (2022). At the end of 2019 there will be six Time Out Markets in operation, with a total of 185,000 square feet, almost 4,000 seats and food from 120 of the world’s best chefs.
Jeremy King – private equity no recipe for restaurant success: Jeremy King, co-owner of London-based restaurant group Corbin & King, has argued the short-term outlook of private equity groups has undermined restaurants and retail on the high street. King said London has become a difficult market to make money and cited a number of factors, from soaring business rates and rents to Brexit, which has “slowed the flow of talented, career-minded European workers”. But he also blamed the short-term investment outlook of private equity funds for the number of failures hitting the casual dining and retail sectors. “It’s difficult to reconcile the way we do restaurants and the way private equity does,” King told the Financial Times. “The problem with chains in the hands of private equity, looking to cut costs and get out in three to five years, is they are under pressure to open five restaurants every year. We don’t have to do that. Some of our great successes would have been culled by some financial institutions.” Corbin & King was until the end of 2017 part-owned by Granite Capital, a private equity group. Thai-based hotel group Minor Hotels then acquired a majority share, which King said would provide the restaurant group with a longer-term source of funding. Plans are in the pipeline to open a new “Wolseley-style” restaurant in the City, while it has just been given the go-ahead to open a seafood restaurant in Soho. King has also identified the first overseas site for the group in New York. King said there was no pressure from the new owner – and no hurry to open more sites. He added: “As it happens we are going through a fertile period at the moment with a few projects on. If they all open in the next year that would be too much, but it will probably take up to three years.”
C&C Group announces board changes: C&C Group, the manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks, has appointed Vincent Crowley as senior independent non-executive director. Crowley was appointed a non-executive director in January 2016 and is a member of the audit and remuneration committees. The company also announced independent non-executive director Richard Holroyd has stepped down from the board. C&C Group chairman Stewart Gilliland said: “We are very grateful to Richard for the contribution he has made to the group’s long-term development.”