Story of the Day:
Sector operators launch peer-to-peer tipping system: BrewDog retail director James Brown and Rosa’s Thai Cafe co-founder Alex Moore are launching a “peer-to-peer tipping and tip-sharing ecosystem”, which they say will “shake up the world of tipping and help tipped workers earn more”, Propel has learned. TiPJAR is designed to be “cashless, direct and transparent” and “easy for customers to tip using their smartphone”. TiPJAR uses QR codes that can appear at the end of receipts, be added to bills as a sticker or worn as a lanyard. TiPJAR has also developed a contactless device designed to collect tips in quick service restaurants, cafes and bars, with both solutions linking to a “digital tip-sharing ecosystem”. The contactless device will be available for businesses to use under their own brand or as TiPJAR. A spokesman said: “Recently the press has been full of stories outing the large restaurant chains for taking cuts of staff tips or service charge payments, in some cases using tips from one restaurant to top up pay and benefits at another. A lot of businesses that aim to give their teams 100% of tips struggle under the regulatory and administrational weight. Customer data shows us they really care where their money goes. Furthermore, most regular restaurant-goers feel uncomfortable adding a tip to a card payment as their perception is in most situations the business is likely to at the very least cover their costs and staff won’t receive the full amount.” Brown said the new system had been designed to solve these issues and bring light to a “normally grey area of the hospitality world”. He said: “Businesses shouldn’t be afraid, we are here to be a service provider and help them ensure they are rewarded for looking after their customers. We believe we can help their best team members stay longer, encourage best practice by allowing the team to tip each other, and grow a restaurant’s, bar’s or cafe’s top line.” Moore, who invested in the business four months ago, said: “The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind. From the minute we met James and saw the concept I knew the idea had loads of potential. The simplicity of the idea, the current pain for businesses (including in my own restaurants), the ability for staff to tip each other and, most of all, making it easy for customers to say thank you made me want to invest.” Since the investment, the new company has appointed Anthony Enright as managing director; Ben Thomas as product director; and Paul Stancer, former head of global integration at World Remit, as chief technical officer to take the product to market in the coming weeks.
Mark Wingett to look at importance of momentum and timing in latest Premium column:
Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will look at the importance of momentum and timing, touching on businesses such as Turtle Bay, Bill’s, Mowgli
and Upham Pub Company
in his latest opinion piece, which will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (14 June) at 5pm. Meanwhile Tim Clouting, global head of hospitality, leisure and travel at recruitment firm Savannah Group
, will ask if there is a place for narcissistic leaders. Subscribers will also receive a 30-minute video on Friday in which Mission Mars chief executive Roy Ellis
talks about finding a funding partner, the BGF, to facilitate expansion of the company’s bar brand, Albert’s Schloss, and pizza business, Rudy’s. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular video recordings of key speakers. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,400 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
London hotel market sees rises in average daily rate and revpar in May: The London hotel market saw rises in average daily rate and revpar in May, according to the latest data from STR. Average daily rate rose 1.6% year-on-year to £147.76, while revpar was up 1.0% to £121.17. Occupancy fell 0.6% to 82.0% as supply (up 1.8%) outgrew demand (up 1.2%). Analysts noted the average daily rate increase was primarily driven by Chelsea Flower Show, which was held between 21 and 25 May and pushed the metric to its peak (£182.33) for the month on the first day of the event.
Tokyo Industries looks to exit four sites in ‘smaller UK towns’ as it focuses on international projects: Tokyo Industries, the bar and nightclub operator led by Aaron Mellor, is looking to exit four sites in “smaller UK towns” as the company focuses on international projects, Propel has learned. The company is seeking operators for its Tokyo venues in Bradford, Huddersfield, Lincoln and Oldham. Mellor told Propel: “Tokyo Huddersfield was one our first venues, in 2005. It is set in an incredible 1820s courthouse and has done amazing business for us but it’s time to change the offer. DJ-led talent alone in a town like Huddersfield can’t really work in terms of fees versus market capacity. We had also become heavily student dependant so a summer closure felt right. It’s a massive venue, built over a number of rooms and floors, and that needs volume to drive it – the local market is looking for something more commercial. As we become more excited on international projects, it seems the right time to move away from the smaller towns we operate in and look to lease on these original sites in Huddersfield, Lincoln, Bradford and Oldham. While the sites aren’t being formally offered to market yet, we are looking for the right operator to give them a new chapter in their lives. Interested parties should email email@example.com.” Tokyo Industries’ portfolio includes 36 sites in the UK and an increasing number of international projects including in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Ibiza, Dubai and a private island in Croatia. It also co-owns boutique music festival Lost Village.
Oakman appoints Steven Kenee as chief investment officer: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has appointed Downing partner Steven Kenee as chief investment officer. Kenee has spearheaded more than £156m of investments, predominantly into the pub industry, and will join Oakman full-time in September. The appointment of Kenee follows that of Dermot King as chief operating officer in January as Oakman prepares its strategic plans for dynamic growth. Chief executive and founder Peter Borg-Neal said: “Myself, Dermot and all the board are fiercely ambitious and committed to the further growth of our business. Our pace of growth and the difficult external environment have meant we have had to fund the business in an innovative but sometimes complex fashion. We now have a turnover of more than £40m and several more sites in the pipeline. Steve will focus on improving the efficiency of our funding as well as raising our growth capital. We have worked closely with Steve over the past five years and have been continually impressed by his strategic ability, innovative thinking and grasp of detail. We are delighted he has agreed to join our team and believe he will add huge value to our future.” Kenee added: “Over the past 11 years at Downing I have been fortunate to work with many truly excellent and inspirational businesses but, in Oakman, I couldn’t have picked a better firm to join. During our professional relationship over the past few years Oakman has earned my utmost personal and professional respect for its culture, values and people which, combined, make the company great. I’m delighted to be joining the team and can’t wait to help it on the next phase of its already impressive journey.”
Five Guys to open site purely focused on click and collect: Better burger brand Five Guys is to open a site purely dedicated to click and collect, Propel has learned. The company will open the unit on Thursday (13 June) next to its head office in Bard Road, Notting Hill. At the same time, the company has further strengthened its pipeline with sites lined up in Bromley’s Market Square and in Gloucester Quays. Last month, Propel revealed the 94-strong business had secured the former Gourmet Burger King unit in Portobello Road for an opening this summer. The group, which secured a £100m banking facility from Goldman Sachs last summer to support expansion plans in the UK and Europe, has recently opened in Camden, Peterborough and Braintree, with further launches lined up in Cambridge and Plymouth as part of 11 sites set to open in the UK this year.
Downs swaps CDG for TRG to aid international concessions expansion: The Restaurant Group (TRG), the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s operator, has appointed Richard Downs, formerly of Casual Dining Group (CDG), as international concessions director, Propel has learned. Downs joins TRG after more than 11 years with CDG, including stints as head of business development and latterly director of franchising and business development. At TRG he will work within its concessions arm as the company looks to expand its UK business into new markets overseas. On the back of its acquisition of Wagamama, TRG said it would use the brand’s global reach to make its concessions more international in scope. Speaking last month, TRG said its concessions business “continued to trade well”.
McDonald’s UK trials extended breakfast hours: McDonald’s UK is trialling the extension of its breakfast deadline from 10.30am to 11am. Seven of the fast food chain’s UK restaurants are testing the extended service for six weeks. If the scheme proves successful, the company said it would roll out the later breakfast service nationwide. The current 10.30am cut-off point has been in place for almost 25 years. The seven restaurants in the trial are in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. The extra 30-minute window will also apply to ordering the menu through UberEats, where its current deadline of ordering by 10.15am will be extended to 10.45am.
Patara appoints Boland as managing director: Fine Thai dining group Patara has appointed Rebecca Boland, formerly of Azumi and Harrods, as managing director, Propel has learned. Boland joins Patara after almost two years with Azumi, which includes the Inko Nito concept, as senior vice-president. Before that she spent more than five years at Harrods, latterly as general manager – restaurants. Patara, which is backed by Minor International, operates six restaurants in London under its eponymous name – in Hampstead, Soho, Oxford Circus, Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Wimbledon. It also operates casual dining restaurant Suda in Berners Street, Fitzrovia, which is currently closed for refurbishment. Patara also operates restaurants in Singapore, Vienna, Geneva, Beijing and Bangkok.
Kerb reveals first five traders for Seven Dials market consisting of all-female founder line-up: Street food business Kerb has revealed the first five traders for its upcoming Seven Dials market, which consists of an all-female founder line-up. Mexican-inspired vegan street food restaurant Club Mexicana, bao concept Yum Bun, fried fish trader Ink, soda concept Square Root and Chinese rice bowl concept Rice Guys are all opening at Kerb’s first permanent site. Club Mexicana, founded by Meriel Armitage; Yum Bun, which was established by Lisa Meyer; and Square Root, founded by Robyn Simms and Ed Taylor; joined Kerb in the early days, while Ink, founded by Lucy Mee; and Rice Guys, established by Vanessa Goh along with Kea Teo and Andrew Yu; have come through the company’s inKERBator programme. The five female food founders follow in the footsteps of Kerb founder Petra Barran, who operated from her Choc Star van at London’s weekly street food markets before setting up the street food organisation in 2012. The 23,000 square foot Seven Dials market will feature 26 traders in total over two floors when it opens in September. Barran said: “We are excited to reveal the first group of Seven Dials market traders, especially given the history we share and having worked together since they all first hatched. We strive to work closely with our traders, aiming to provide so much more than just a piece of pavement to trade from. Seven Dials market is our next step in driving forward this industry and giving our street food startups a whole new platform on which to thrive.” Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group rRestaurant strategy executive at Shaftesbury, added: “The announcement of these five up-and-coming traders is an exciting next step for Seven Dials market, and sets the benchmark for the quality of offer that visitors can expect when the doors open in September. Working closely with Kerb, we’ve curated the line-up to be complementary to the wider Seven Dials community. We’re thrilled to give young food and beverage brands the platform to be part of this thriving destination in the heart of London’s West End.”
First Restaurant Group expands Pub & Rooms portfolio with Notting Hill opening: London-based First Restaurant Group, a growing collection of pubs with boutique rooms and restaurants, has opened its sixth site, The Hayden, in Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill. The venue is the fourth in the company’s Pub & Rooms portfolio and sits alongside The Grafton Arms in Fitzrovia, The Clerk & Well in Clerkenwell and The One Tun in Farringdon. The Hayden is spread across four floors, with a 60-cover ground-floor pub and restaurant and eight boutique bedrooms that will open in September. The pub serves a modern European menu with signature dishes such as grilled swordfish on open ciabatta with wasabi mayo and mango salad as well as weekend brunch and Sunday lunch. It also offers premium beer, cider and lesser-known craft ales, alongside wine, champagne and cocktails. The bedrooms will include coffee machines and king-size Posturepedic beds. Managing director Mitch Tillman said: “It is an exciting time for our Pub & Rooms portfolio. We’re offering elevated pub dining and affordable luxury accommodation in one of London’s most iconic neighbourhoods.” First Restaurant Group’s other venues are canal-side restaurants The Waterway and The Summerhouse in Maida Vale.
Bagel Bakery Bar to double up with Soho opening: Bagel Bakery Bar, the Chelsea-based concept, is to double its presence in the capital with an opening in Soho. The company, which is led by founders Alon Kubi and Yoav Baumgarten, has secured a corner unit in Wardour Street along from the recently opened Martha’s Bar. Bagel Bakery Bar launched in Fulham Road, Chelsea, in 2016 and serves bagels, bagel sandwiches, salads, breakfasts and great deli produce.
Casual Dining Group shuts remaining La Tasca in Manchester to leave brand with three sites: Casual Dining Group has closed its remaining La Tasca site in Manchester, leaving the brand with three sites in total. The company has shut the venue at the Intu Trafford Centre, which operated from the complex's Orient food quarter. Casual Dining Group, which also owns chains such as Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas, said the site no longer had a “long-term future”. A spokesman told the Manchester Evening News: “As part of our ongoing business, we do from time to time identify a site that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate. After careful consideration, the decision has been made to cease trading at the La Tasca site in the Trafford Centre. Although the consultation process with our team is ongoing, we have already redeployed the majority of our employees to our other local restaurants within the group, including our sister Spanish restaurant brand La Vina, which is in Deansgate.” The Manchester city centre branch of La Tasca, also in Deansgate, closed two years ago. Alison Niven, regional centre director for Intu Trafford Centre, said: “We are sorry to hear La Tasca has closed. We’re always working hard to refresh our line-up with new and exciting brands to give our diners the best possible experience. This includes a number of exciting new names currently in negotiations.” The remaining Las Tasca restaurants are at the Intu Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, Leadenhall Market in London and Queen Square, Liverpool.
Richard Corrigan to launch latest venture, at former Nuala site in Old Street: Richard Corrigan, chef patron of the Corrigan Collection, is to launch his latest venture at a site in London’s Old Street formerly occupied by Irish restaurant and bar Nuala. Corrigan has taken over the lease of Nuala, which closed at the end of last year, to launch Daffodil Mulligan with fellow Irishman John Nugent, who founded music, food and arts hub Kings Place in King’s Cross. Peter Millican, of Kings Place, will run the music side of Daffodil Mulligan, which has been named after an Irish street seller, Hot Dinners reports. The venue, which is set to open in September, will feature produce from Corrigan’s Virginia Lodge estate in County Cavan, Ireland. Corrigan Collection also operates Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill and Corrigan’s Mayfair in London.
Deliveroo to ‘expand aggressively’ in the UK: Deliveroo has said it will “expand aggressively” in the UK during the second half of 2019. The company said the expansion would mean the platform would serve more than 6.5 million additional homes and be available to more than “half the population in the UK”. Deliveroo said it would also invest heavily to expand its tech team during the year, hiring software engineers, algorithm specialists, data scientists, designers and product managers. Founder and chief executive Will Shu said: “We are doubling down in markets where we know the growth potential is huge and recruiting world-class tech to power our operations. The opportunity is massive and we’ve come a huge way in just six years – but we’re hungrier than ever to grow, build and ultimately win.” Last month, Amazon led a new $575m (£450m) Series G preferred shared funding round in Deliveroo alongside existing investors T Rowe Price, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and Greenoaks, which took the total Deliveroo has raised to date to $1.53bn.
Harts Group to continue El Pastor expansion as part of new Centre Point food hall: The Hart brothers are to continue expansion of their Mexican concept El Pastor as part of the debut line-up at Arcade Kitchen Theatre, a food hall launching next month at Centre Point in London’s New Oxford Street. The latest Harts Group venue, Pastorcito, will add to sister sites El Pastor in Borough Market, Tortilleria El Pastor in Bermondsey Street and Casa Pastor at Coal Drops Yard. The 12,500 square foot food hall will also feature a fourth site for Kurt Zdesar’s Nikkei sushi bar concept Chotto Matte. The initial line-up will be completed by Project Tou, the katsu sando concept by Ta Ta Eatery founders Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng; Popham’s Bakery, which is about to open its second London site; Flat Iron Workshop, which the London-based steak brand will use to test new dishes and cuts; a second site for Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie’s modern Turkish restaurant Oklava; and Casita do Frango, a smaller version of MJMK’s London Bridge-based piri-piri concept Casa do Frango. Each trader will offer counter dining while Arcade Kitchen Theatre will also feature three bars, a terrace and a kitchen called The Loft that will feature new talent, Hot Dinners reports. Centre Point already features flagship restaurant Vivi and Italian restaurant brand Vapiano, while Taiwanese dim sum chain Din Tai Fung will open its second UK site at the central London building next year.
Comptoir Libanais founder Tony Kitous launches catering company: Tony Kitous, founder of Comptoir Libanais Group, has partnered with events designer Admirable Crichton to launch catering company Feasts From The Middle East. Kitous said the launch was the group’s biggest venture since he began Comptoir Libanais ten years ago. Feasts From The Middle East will specialise in mezze alongside roast lamb, grilled meat, rice and plant-based dishes, and “perfumed sweet treats”. Kitous said: “My dream has always been to see everyone enjoying Middle Eastern food as we do back home, where our warm hospitality goes hand in hand with a generous spirit.” Admirable Crichton has worked with some of the top venues in London including Somerset House and Blenheim Palace. Chief executive Anis Asghar said: “We are delighted to work with Tony and his team to ensure authentic Middle Eastern cuisine comes alive in some of the best venues and finest events across Europe.” As at 31 December 2018, Comptoir Group had 31 restaurants trading (27 owned and four franchise).
Costa moves into ready-to-drink market with first launch since Coca-Cola acquisition: Coca-Cola is launching a low-sugar, ready-to-drink Costa product in its first move since buying the coffee brand. Costa Coffee Ready-To-Drink includes three of the brand’s most popular variants – classic latte, caramel latte and black Americano. The range will be sold in 250ml cans and will launch in the UK later this month followed by Poland and China, with further roll-outs planned for later in the year. The chilled canned coffee promises 30% less sugar than most other ready-to-drink coffees in the UK, with between 15 and 108 calories per 250ml can. Each drink also contains the equivalent of a double shot of espresso. Coca-Cola paid £3.9bn to Whitbread for Costa Coffee last year to tap into the coffee market – primarily with the aim of launching new products. Costa Coffee chief executive Dominic Paul told Marketing Week: “Through this collaboration we’ve been able to work together to offer consumers the great taste of Costa Coffee in a can for the first time. We’re really proud to have brought this product to market at such speed while still ensuring the range has proper coffee at its heart.”
Sherlock escape rooms operator opens immersive cocktail club: Time Run, which operates escape room Sherlock: The Game Is Now in partnership with Hartswood Films, producer of the television series, has opened a “secret cocktail club with immersive elements”. The Mind Palace is “hidden behind an optician’s front” adjoining the escape room in the W12 Centre, Shepherd’s Bush. The cocktail range is inspired by the cases of Sherlock Holmes, while the venue will host events such as cocktail hunts and screenings of the television show. The venue also offers bar snacks and pizza from PizzaExpress. Sherlock: The Game Is Now launched in January.
Swiss-inspired immersive restaurant and bar concept to launch in Soho next month: Swiss-inspired immersive restaurant and bar concept Heritage will launch in Soho next month. The 80-cover venue in Rupert Street will offer classic Swiss dishes such as fondue, raclette, rösti and charbonnade, as well as French plates using luxury ingredients including wagyu beef and lobster. An immersive element will see diners barbecue meat, seafood and vegetables on table-top charcoal grills. The menu by head chef Aarik Persaud will be based on sharing and prepared in a theatre-style kitchen. The drinks menu will include cocktails and a 200-strong wine list. There will also be a ten-cover bar and semi-private dining area seating 14. Persaud said: “London offers myriad cuisines but upscale Swiss food is under-represented. We look forward to bringing an interactive element to dining through tableside grilling and fondue but without comprising on quality.” Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at Shaftesbury, added: “Heritage is a welcome addition to Shaftesbury’s growing food and beverage portfolio in Soho.”
Chucs to convert La Bottega sites to new format: Luxury restaurant and cafe collection Chucs is to convert three former La Bottega sites to its new cafe concept, Propel understands. The cafe concept made its debut on Thursday (13 June) in the former La Bottega site in Old Brompton Road. It will follow that by converting ex-La Bottega sites in Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea, and Eccleston Street, Belgravia. The openings will build on the company’s portfolio of venues in Mayfair, Westbourne Grove, inside Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, and at The Magazine – Zaha Hadid’s extension to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. In August 2013, venture capital trust Pembroke invested £5m in La Bottega, the upscale chain of Italian delicatessens, with plans to expand to 20 sites in the next five years. Pembroke is also an investor in Chucs. Last month, Chucs chairman Graziano Arricale told Propel the new cafe format would be an “upmarket casual dining concept”, with probably room for two more sites in the capital – one in north London and another in the City – while the company would also look to expand overseas. Arricale, who led the reopening of Richard Caring’s private members’ club Annabel’s in Mayfair, said: “Our cafe concept is about introducing Chucs to a wider part of west London. Although it’s a casual dining format, it is at the higher end. The price point is slightly less than that of the restaurants but will have all the hallmarks Chucs is known for – high-quality fit-out, quality food and excellent service. After these three openings we’ll look to break into other parts of London – I think there’s room for another two.”
Paddy & Scott’s opens first site as part of Clip ’n Climb partnership: Independent Suffolk coffee shop operator and wholesaler Paddy & Scott’s has opened a first site in its partnership with indoor climbing brand Clip ’n Climb. The 106-cover cafe is on a mezzanine overlooking the climbing area at Clip ’n Climb’s site in Ipswich. The “fuelling station”, Paddy & Scott’s largest to date, offers its own-brand coffee alongside smoothies, Tea Pigs tea, soft drinks, and hot and cold food. Martin Westhorp, an equity partner at Paddy & Scott’s, said: “Our brand is all about chasing that goal and fuelling the day so what better partnership than working with a climbing centre that’s all about energy, activity and reaching the summit? We expect our coffee shop to be popular with locals looking for a coffee on the way to work or a quick lunch, as well as families visiting the venue.” Scott Russell launched the Paddy & Scott’s business from the boot of his car in 2007. It now operates cafes across East Anglia and has more than 150 branded concessions in the UK. The company also has its own coffee farm in Kenya.
Manchester-based bakery reports profit boost as turnover nears £70m after international sales almost double: Manchester-based bakery St Pierre Groupe, previously known as Carr Foods International, has reported a profit boost as turnover neared £70m after international sales almost doubled. The company can trace its roots to 1986, when it was established as part of a larger group. Having undergone a management buyout in 2004, it now operates the St Pierre, Baker Street, Dan Cake and Paul Hollywood ready-to-bake brands – the latter of which expanded its range this year. Turnover rose to £69,493,316 for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £49,429,678 the previous year. UK sales were up to £34,158,570, compared with £30,438,217 the year before. European income increased to £1,967,172 compared with £1,450,027 the previous year, while rest of the world sales surged to £33,367,574 compared with £17,541,434 the year before. Pre-tax profit increased to £6,857,520 compared with £5,191,413 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company will continue to develop strategic partnerships with international suppliers, leveraging their product development and manufacturing expertise. In the year ahead, the company will continue to invest in its brands. The strategy is to build brand awareness in the UK and US and improve the company’s connection and dialogue with the consumer.”
UCC Coffee appoints PepsiCo’s Carlos Lopes as first global account director: UCC Coffee UK and Ireland has appointed Carlos Lopes to the new role of global account director. Lopes will join the business on 22 July and report to commercial director Marcus Swift. Lopes will bring more than 20 years’ experience at PepsiCo, where he led global brands and franchisees across the retail, QSR, workplace and leisure channels. Swift said: “This is an important appointment for UCC Coffee as we continue to support strategic customers to grow their coffee business globally. Carlos brings a wealth of B2B and foodservice experience having developed some of the world’s most popular food and drink brands. He has a proven track record of delivering results and best-in-class commercial management.”