Story of the Day:
CGA and AlixPartners survey shows sixth consecutive quarterly drop in UK restaurant numbers: UK restaurant numbers have fallen for the sixth quarter in a row, the new edition of the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners has revealed. Independent operators have borne the brunt of the closures, with group-owned restaurants proving more resilient despite some major brand failures. The quarterly survey of the country’s supply of licensed premises reports a 3.4% drop in restaurant numbers in the 12 months to June 2019 – an average of about 18 net closures a week. For group-owned restaurants, defined as businesses with more than one site, the reduction in numbers was smaller, at 1.2%, reflecting the fact some groups, especially small to medium-sized operations, continue to open sites. In a new review of cuisine types, the Market Growth Monitor shows the Italian, Indian and Chinese sectors have recorded the most net closures in the past 12 months. The number of group-owned restaurants specialising in Italian food fell 3.2% after site closures and some high-profile business restructuring – with the collapse of Jamie’s Italian the most prominent casualty. “The trend suggests more market contraction could follow,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA. However, many other cuisine types have been in strong growth. CGA research reveals Middle Eastern, Turkish and Caribbean sectors all have at least 60% more restaurants than they did five years ago, while the number of vegetarian restaurants has increased more than a third in only 12 months. AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “The rapid growth of restaurants focused on certain cuisine types highlights how they can quickly find favour in response to the fast-changing tastes of British diners. The Asian-led part of the restaurant market is of particular interest to investors. It is popular with consumers and there is a comparative lack of chains with national scale, making it ripe for further M&A activity. We would expect private equity to be increasingly active in this segment of the market in response to this consumer-led demand. However, overall market pressures can still result in valuations and terms falling short of sellers’ expectations. This was shown by the owners of Thai restaurant brand Giggling Squid choosing not to sell at the current time after its recent marketing process.” Across the licensed sector as a whole, Britain’s number of premises dropped 2.4% in the 12 months to June 2019 to less than 117,000, with the rate of closures of pubs and bars lower than the market average at 2.0%. The report also indicates a further drop in leased pub sites. The number of wet-led leased pubs fell 25% in the five years to June 2019 to less than 13,000 – partly a reflection of moves by major pub companies to switch to directly managed sites and a switch to food.
Bar and Nightclub Conference open for bookings:
This year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by UKHospitality and Propel, is open for bookings. The event takes place on Wednesday, 16 October at The Troxy in Commercial Road, London. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, chairman of the Mayor’s Night-time Commission and a panel member of the government’s cultural cities inquiry
, will provide an update on political and regulatory developments such as PPL price increases that are affecting the bar and nightclub sector. Karl Chessell, business unit director at CGA
, will reveal details of new research on usage, areas of growth, and evolution within the UK bar and nightclub market. Paul Hayes, sales director at Design My Night
, which operates in 13 UK cities, will provide an overview of where customer demand is strongest in the bar and nightclub market, key leisure trends and growth areas as consumers seek richer, more immersive experiences. James Scott, director of insights at Bibendum
, will examine the key drinks trends in the UK bar and nightclub sector, looking at growth opportunities and gaps in the market. London Cocktail Club founder JJ Goodman
will talk about the founding and evolution of his business, trading in London, staff training, and evolving cocktails and other products. Arc Inspirations founder Martin Wolstencroft
will give his views on the evolution of bars and reveal how the company has modernised the sports bar offer with its Box concept. Peter Marks, chief executive of bar and nightclub company Deltic
, will talk about the company’s investment plans, brand evolution, shifting dynamics of the late-night market and the growing importance of entertainment, digital capability and pre-booked sales. Propel managing director Paul Charity
will talk to Aaron Mellor, founder of Tokyo Industries
, about the ever-increasing importance of creating immersive experiences in the bar and nightclub sector, his ground-breaking Boogie Wonderland in Ibiza, the development of his boutique dance festival Lost Village, and operating a nightclub in Los Angeles. Mitchells & Butlers divisional director Susan Chappell
will talk about evolution, product offer, staff training and marketing at its bar brand All Bar One, which is 25 years old this year. Leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC
will provide a personal perspective on the key legal issues and developments bar and nightclub operators face in the current climate. Kate Nicholls will talk to Sacha Lord, owner of the Warehouse project
, about his career in the sector and his work as Manchester night-time tsar and also host a panel featuring Institute of Licensing chairman Lord Smith, Rockpoint Leisure founder Dan Davies, East Coast Concepts managing director Simon Kaye
and Chase Consultancy principal Paul Chase
about the trading, economic and regulatory issues the sector faces. The conference will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn awards. Tickets are £139+VAT for operators who are UKHospitality members and £195+VAT for non-UKHospitality members. Supplier tickets are £185+VAT for UKHospitality supplier members and £285+VAT for suppliers who are not UKHospitality members. Tickets can be booked by emailing Anne Steele at email@example.com
UKHospitality welcomes opportunity to support England’s food industry: UKHospitality has welcomed the government’s consultation on England’s food industry. The government has opened a call for evidence, led by Henry Dimbleby, of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and co-founder of Leon, which will investigate England’s food system from farm to fork. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Not only is the UK’s food sector one of the most exciting and lively in the country, it is one that affects everybody. The sector is also existentially linked with the hospitality sector so we naturally want to see it prosper. The changing political, technological and environmental landscapes mean challenges are constantly evolving. Businesses and customers are ever more interested in issues such as sustainability, provenance and health. A progressive and responsive food industry is therefore a must. It is vital that hospitality is at the forefront of the conversation so we welcome the opportunity to engage with Henry, who has great knowledge of our sector, to make sure we secure an integrated and joined-up strategy that supports businesses.”
Deliveroo hires head of public affairs as it looks to lobby against tax and employment rules: Deliveroo has hired Giles Derrington as head of affairs for UK and Ireland as the company gears up to campaign against legal changes expected to come into force in April 2020 including more rights for delivery workers to sick pay and other benefits. The digital service tax is also due to be imposed, with Deliveroo considered one of the businesses most at long-term risk from the levy. Derrington joins from techUK, where he was appointed associate director of policy in March 2017 with responsibilities including ensuring the “needs of the UK’s tech sector are front and centre of Brexit negotiations”. He is also a former adviser to the Liberal Democrat party. An advertisement for the position of head of public affairs stated Deliveroo was looking for someone with a “demonstrable record of success in campaigning and influencing political decision-making in the UK”. Deliveroo has already hired a number of political specialists such as Philip Hammond’s former speech-writer and the Treasury’s ex-senior policy adviser as it bolsters its lobbying power. A Deliveroo spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph it was “always looking for ways” public policy could better support its riders and restaurants. Meanwhile, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has invited comments on Amazon’s proposed acquisition of a stake in Deliveroo. The US online company announced in May it intended to acquire certain rights and a minority shareholding in Roofoods, which trades as Deliveroo. The CMA issued an initial enforcement order in July that prevents merging parties from taking pre-emptive action that might prejudice the outcome of any potential investigation by the CMA. The watchdog is now inviting comments on the proposed deal ahead of its decision on the phase one investigation.
Flatcappers sale provides exit for Loungers founders: The acquisition by Country Pub Group, owned by young hospitality entrepreneur Matthew Lowe, of two pubs owned by Flatcappers – The Battleaxes in Wraxall and The Castle Inn in Bradford-on-Avon – provided an exit from Flatcappers for Loungers founders Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and David Reid. Writing in his Propel Premium Diary, Propel insights editor Mark Wingett wrote: “The deal sees the three founders of Loungers – Alex Reilley, David Reid and Jake Bishop – leave the business they co-founded with former Bibendum manager Pierre Woodford. The Loungers founders had owned more than a third of the West Country-based pub company.” On how Loungers itself is doing, he added: “Loungers, the listed operator of neighbourhood cafe-bar restaurants trading under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, will provide the market with its full-year trading update at the end of this month, with the wider sector hoping the Nick Collins-led group can once again provide much-needed positivity. If the group’s latest opening is anything to go by, there are no worries it will do just that. Earlier this month the company invested about £700,000 in opening Poco Lounge in the centre of King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Diary is currently on holiday nearby and can report the site is proving very popular in its new community. How popular? Diary hears the site is on track to set a new Lounge opening week record. Not bad for a company that opened its 150th site earlier this year.”
Sukho Group undergoes partial management buyout: Sukho Group, the parent company of the Sukhothai and Zaap Thai restaurant brands, has undergone a partial management buyout. The deal sees the current management team joining founders Gerrard Marks and Yupha (Ban) Kaewkraikhot as shareholders. It will be the first time the management team has taken a shareholding in the Sukhothai and Zaap Thai operator, with the founders to remain active on the board. The deal was also supported by an included fund-raise via HSBC. Marks, chief executive of Sukhothai Group, said: “We have amazing people at Sukhothai and Zaap and it’s great to give the management team the chance to play an even bigger part in the success of the business.” Marc Hutchinson, of BDO’s northern mergers and acquisitions team, which advised on the deal, said: “Sukhothai Group continues to go from strength to strength, with Zaap representing a genuinely original and exciting concept for restaurant-goers in the region.” Sukho Group recently had plans approved to open a fourth site for Zaap Thai, in York. The company will now transform the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Lendal with the opening next month creating 30 jobs. Sukho Group operates Zaap restaurants in Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham and three Sukhothai restaurants in Leeds and one in Harrogate.
Inception Group to launch Soho site: Inception Group, which operates an eclectic collection of London bars and restaurants including Mr Fogg’s, Bunga Bunga and Cahoots, will open its latest site in London, in Soho’s Kingly Street in October. The Ticket Hall & Control Room will be spread across two floors and open opposite the original Cahoots. The company has been operating a pop-up – Casa Bonita – on the former Cinnamon Soho site since the start of the year. The original Cahoots, designed to resemble a 1940s underground station, launched in Kingly Court in 2015. Earlier this year Propel revealed Inception Group had appointed advisers as it looks to assess its growth options. The 11-strong, London-based business, which was founded in 2009 by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, appointed advisory firm Tamweel Capital to aid the process, although it is understood the company is in “no rush” to make a decision on its growth plans.
Whittard of Chelsea promotes Smith to chief executive: Hot drinks retailer Whittard of Chelsea has promoted chief financial offer Nathan Smith to replace Mark Dunhill, who stepped down as chief executive last month following five years in the role. Smith has worked for the company since January 2009, when he joined as financial controller. A Whittard spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph: “Mark has led the transformation of the business from high-street retailer to global aspirational brand. This has involved the revitalisation of our product portfolio, store design and layout and upgrading the customer experience. (Smith) brings a deep understanding and knowledge of the business and his passion for the brand.” Whittard operates 48 stores and sells tea in concessions such as John Lewis. The company, which began as a tea shop in Fleet Street in 1886, has been in turnaround mode since Dunhill joined in 2014, moving back into the black in 2017. Whittard was bought out of a pre-pack administration in 2008 for £600,000 by private equity firm Epic after the collapse of its Icelandic owner Baugur. The company made pre-tax profits of £327,000 on sales of £34m, its latest accounts show, as it began selling more overseas. Like-for-like sales in the UK were up 10.3% despite a “challenging retail environment”.
Its international arm now accounts for more than half of its revenues and grew in “double-digit” figures driven by efforts in China, the company said.
EasyHotel bidder ups stake in business: The company behind a bid for EasyHotel – which values the hotel chain at £138.7m – has increased its stake in the business. Earlier this month the board of Citrus UK Bidco and the independent directors of EasyHotel reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer by Bidco, a newly incorporated company owned by a consortium of Cadim Fonds, part of Ivanhoé Cambridge, and ICAMAP Investments. A purchase price of 95p per EasyHotel share was agreed. On Friday (16 August) ICAMAP agreed to acquire 7.9 million EasyHotel shares. Following completion, its stake in the company will rise from 38.65% to 44.09%. EasyHotel’s portfolio includes 12 owned hotels and 1,340 rooms, with a further 26 franchised hotels and 2,293 rooms.
Sir John Fitzgerald reports return to profit: Newcastle-based pub operator Sir John Fitzgerald, the company founded after its namesake moved to Newcastle from Ireland in the 1850s, has reported turnover dipped slightly to £17.7m in the year to 31 January 2019 from £18.7m 12 months earlier. However, the business posted a pre-tax profit of £331,285 compared with a pre-tax loss of £910,196 in 2018. Sir John Fitzgerald’s pubs include Newcastle venues Café Royal, Crown Posada, The Bacchus, The Bodega, The Bridge Hotel, Twin Farms and The Pavilion, as well as Fitzgeralds in Newcastle and Sunderland, Hugo’s in Tynemouth, Briar Dene and Rockliffe Arms in Whitley Bay, Shiremoor House Farm in North Shields, The Chillingham in Heaton, The Green in Gateshead, The Manor House in Stockton, The Plough in Cramlington and The Ridley Arms in Morpeth.
Portobello Pub Company acquires first pub and agrees terms on second as it seeks further London sites: Portobello Pub Company, which is led by former We Are Bar chief executive Richard Stringer and Portobello Brewing Company founder Rob Jenkins, has acquired its first pub. The company has bought The King & Co in Clapham, south west London, and told Propel the business was looking to acquire wet-led, free-of-tie pubs in Greater London and had agreed terms on a second acquisition of a site near the City. Alongside Portobello’s well established London Pilsner and its new 4% ABV Notting Helles craft lager, Stringer said The King & Co would continue to offer the “widest and best range of craft beer in Clapham”, while he envisioned no change to the current rotational pop-up food offering, which had “developed a strong following”. Jenkins said: “With lots of activity at the brewery and looking to the next stage of our growth, it feels like the right time to start investing to grow a quality pub estate.” AG&G advised on The King & Co deal.
Castle Rock Brewery reports turnover up, profits down: Nottingham-based Castle Rock Brewery, which owns more than 20 pubs across the East Midlands and Yorkshire, has reported turnover of £10.6m for the year to 31 March 2019, up from £10.3m in the prior 12 months. However, its pre-tax profits dipped from £385,204 to £148,490. The company said sites with outdoor areas benefited from the good weather but pubs without outside seating “found trading difficult” and its sales of cask ale were affected because of the high temperatures. Originally founded as Tynemill in 1977 by former Campaign for Real Ale chairman Chris Holmes, the company now owns pubs in Derby, Chesterfield, Boston, Newark, Lincoln, Sheffield, York and Loughborough as well as 16 in Nottingham. A statement signed off by the board said: “The company continues to make progress in the harshest of competitive climates. The record-breaking hot temperatures in summer 2018 buoyed revenue at key sites such as the Canalhouse, which had its first full year as a 100%-owned trading asset. On the revenue side, pubs without an outside area found trading difficult and this balances out the company’s results. The hot weather was not conducive to cask-ale drinking, with British Beer & Pub Association figures showing further decline against which Castle Rock volumes are holding up very well. The company made big leaps forward by reinvigorating the beer portfolio and, coupled with additional packaging formats, that will allow us to enjoy a wider consumer reach. The results of this and further investment in our sales capability, predominantly in direct delivery, are starting to yield benefits and with headroom available to further grow this in the year to come.”
Trattoria 51 to open third Merseyside site: Trattoria 51 will open its third Merseyside venue next month. The Italian brand, which has restaurants in Old Hall Street, Liverpool, and Southport Promenade, will open a venue at the aptly named 51 Whitechapel. Trattoria 51 offers traditional home cooking using recipes handed down through generations. The new restaurant, based at a former Bellini site next to Metquarter in Liverpool, will seat 120 people. Trattoria 51 owner Attilio Sergi said: “We have been running Trattoria 51 for almost two decades now, first in Southport before opening in the heart of Liverpool’s business district in 2013. It’s testament to the hard work of the entire team at Trattoria 51 that we’re now in a position to open our third site.”
Beds and Bars completes Belushi’s premiumisation plan in London: Beds and Bars venue Belushi’s in Hammersmith, a sports bar and party venue in the heart of west London, has undergone a £650,000 refurbishment as part of a wider plan to premiumise the brand’s offering across London. The company stated: “The Hammersmith branch is the final Belushi’s in London to be refurbished following investments in our sites in Camden, Greenwich, Shepherd’s Bush and London Bridge to take our brand and customer experience to the next level, one bar at a time. Our vision was to create an integrated venue offering ultimate sports entertainment alongside great-value food and drink and a late-night party atmosphere. Following the month-long refurbishment our bar is flaunting a fresh new look on the inside and out with a more premium food and drink offering as well as daily entertainment with a focus on nightly events and sports. After dinner service we remove tables to create a dance floor enhanced by a high-tech lighting system. With the aim to modernise and elevate our venue into the ultimate late-night party and sports bar, we’ve added special features to enhance a sports fans’ experience, including the addition of London’s first pull-out stadium seating, a giant high-definition projector and investment in premium technology and audio with 20 high-definition televisions. Our new booths have also been fitted with PlayStation 4s to create an e-gaming element. As the Premier League kicks off, we look forward to showing customers old and new what we have created.”
SSP reiterates backing for chairman: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has reiterated its backing for chairman Vagn Sorensen. More than a third of shareholders opposed the re-election of Sorensen at SSP’s annual meeting in February, while Blackrock, Legal & General and Vanguard, which are all major shareholders in SSP, are taking a tougher line on directors they believe are “spreading themselves too thin”, the Times reports. Sorensen, who has chaired SSP since 2006, is also an adviser at private equity firm EQT and Morgan Stanley in the Nordic region as well as chairman of Air Canada and non-executive director of Royal Caribbean Cruises. SSP said it had “gathered feedback on concerns” but believed Sorensen was a “very effective independent chairman with extensive experience and knowledge of the business while his dedication and leadership was invaluable”. The company also said it would undertake further consultations after a third of investors voted against its remuneration policy. Kate Swann was handed a final $6.2m pay package after leaving her post as chief executive at the end of May following six years with the company. SSP said its bonus policy for Simon Smith, who has taken over from Swann, would be amended so his annual bonus would be decided on the “financial performance of the group and his personal performance”.
Wells & Co reopens third Orange Tree site under Pizza, Pots & Pints brand, in Leicester: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co has opened its third Pizza, Pots & Pints site in the East Midlands, in Leicester. The venue is one of three sites acquired from independent pub group The Orange Tree last year. Wells & Co, then known as Charles Wells, opened the Nottingham Orange Tree as The Playwright in May and reopened The Kelso in Loughborough while retaining the name. Now it has reopened the Leicester High Street site Orange Tree as The Tree featuring new soft seating areas at the front and rear, bench seating and a refurbished dining area. The venue also features bar games such as “ringing the bull”, while a space has been created for live bands. Manager Ollie Worley told Leicestershire Live: “It has always been a living room in the centre of town but now it’s a living room in 2019 instead of 1997!” Wells & Co will also reopen the former Orange Tree site next door to The Kelso as The Jam Garden next month. There are currently nine Pizza, Pots & Pints sites. The concept launched in Cambridge in 2015.
Deltic Group opens Eden Manchester: Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, has launched its Eden concept in Manchester. Deltic launched the concept last month in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, the first of three sites for Eden following a £1.5m investment. Eden, which also opened in Newcastle at the end of July, provides a “playground of sensory delights” and features floral-themed interiors, birdcage booths, giant blossom trees and multiple club rooms. All three Edens are former Tiger Tiger sites Deltic acquired from Novus in November. The Manchester site spans three floors of The Printworks and offers three distinct nightclub experiences – Hedonist in the main room, tunes from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s in Genesis, and hip-hop and old-school tracks in Forbidden. The venue, open until 3am, also offers bottomless brunches, sharing platters, wood-fired grills and pizza. Tiger Tiger’s private karaoke pods have been renamed Voice Of Eden. Deltic chief executive Peter Marks said: “Eden is a ground-breaking concept for Deltic, where quality food and drink sit centre stage alongside our award-winning club expertise, offering a truly all-day experience.”
Surbiton-based coffee bar and kitchen owners start expansion by taking on Twickenham pub restaurant: The owners of Wags N Tales, a coffee bar and kitchen in Surbiton, south west London, have taken on Le Baron, a pub restaurant in Twickenham, for their second site. The venue comprises a 40-cover bar, 18-cover raised dining area, 47-cover dining rooms and a 40-cover terrace. Closed for the past seven months, Le Baron previously enjoyed strong footfall thanks to its central location and proximity to Twickenham Stadium. The Tank family owns Wags N Tales, which is a dog-friendly cafe that focuses on speciality coffee, homemade cake and brunch. They said: “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to welcome Twickenham locals to our Wags family. We adore this area and when the chance to buy Le Baron arose, we jumped on it. Wags hopes to become a community hub, especially for foodies, sports-lovers and dog-owners. They can enjoy a pint or a cocktail in our beer garden while watching a game of football or rugby on our many large screens.” Stewart Harkness, associate director at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said: “I am looking forward to seeing the new owners take over and introduce a second Wags N Tales.”
Colley comes back to Majestic: John Colley is set to return to his position of chief executive at Majestic Wine in light of the company’s new ownership. Colley has resigned as chief trading officer at Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix, to return to the position he held at Majestic from August 2015 to July 2017, The Sunday Times reports. Earlier this month, Majestic Wine entered into an agreement to sell the Majestic Retail and Commercial businesses to CF Bacchus Holdings, a vehicle controlled by funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC, for £95m. A separate sale of one freehold property previously owned by MWWL to an independent third party is expected to realise a further £5m subject to approval of a planning application for redevelopment.
Mothership transforms Shoreditch restaurant to boost live music scene: Bar and events company Mothership Group is set to relaunch Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen as Colours to inject a “much-needed vibrancy into Shoreditch’s music landscape”. Mothership, which also runs Shoreditch’s Queen Of Hoxton and The Book Club as well as Patterns in Brighton, will ally with fellow east London multi-art spaces Village Underground and EartH on programming. The new-look venue will host gigs, club nights and other cultural events while still operating as a restaurant during the day. Mothership said it hoped Colours would become an “incubator for invited local artists and creative networks, providing a free space for collaborators to host meetings, rehearsals and record podcasts”. Mothership head of events and marketing Chloe Uppington told Complete Music Update: “Colours will be a bold and beautiful temple of creativity and a celebration of live music. A testament to Hoxton’s past, which overflows with seminal moments across club, culture and the art scene, Colours is part of a dedicated push to keep young artists and musicians in east London.” Mothership acquired Hoxton Bar & Kitchen off previous owner MAMA in 2015 following the latter’s acquisition by Live Nation.
M&B to open first All Bar One in the north east: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) will open its first All Bar One in the north east on Monday, 23 September. The site is in Grey Street, occupying a site it previously traded as Browns. M&B operates 56 All Bar One venues across the UK. Meanwhile, M&B will open its first Miller & Carter steakhouse in north Lincolnshire next month. The company plans to convert a Sizzling Pub Company site – The Dolphin in Messingham Road, Scunthorpe. The new Miller & Carter is scheduled to open on Sunday, 15 September. Despite having Lincolnshire sites in Grimsby and Grantham, the nearest Miller & Carter site to Scunthorpe is in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
TRG to turn Chiquito site in Basildon into Wagamama: The Restaurant Group (TRG) is to turn its Chiquito site at Festival Leisure Park in Basildon, Essex, into a Wagamama. Chiquito has been part of Festival Leisure Park for more than a decade but TRG closed the site on Sunday (18 August) with fit-out beginning immediately. It will be the fourth Wagamama in Essex alongside restaurants at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, Chelmsford’s Bond Street and Colchester High Street. TRG reopened its former Chiquito site in Stevenage Leisure Park as a Wagamama on Monday (19 August). A spokesman said all Chiquito staff had the option of transferring to Wagamama and more than half had done so.
Glasgow-based American-style fried chicken restaurant to double up: Glasgow-based American-style fried chicken restaurant Buck’s Bar is to double up in the city. The company is adding to its outlet in West Regent Street with a venue in Trongate. Buck’s Bar is converting the former Isola Sarda Italian restaurant ahead of an opening next month, reports Glasgow Live.