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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 30th Aug 2019 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Chick-fil-A to take significant step towards UK launch: Chick-fil-A, the largest chicken, and the third largest US fast food restaurant chain, is looking to take a significant step towards launching in the UK, with the opening of a one-year pop-up here, Propel has learned. The company, which operates more than 2,300 restaurants across 47 States, is understood to be currently exploring opportunities for the pop-up in the UK, with London the ideal location, but also major regional cities under consideration. Propel understands the company hopes to secure a site with the aim of opening before the end of this year. It is thought the year-long pop-up would be the prelude to a full-scale launch for the business in the UK. Chick-fil-A has previously held day-long pop-up events in the UK, the latest being in Edinburgh last year, which was its fourth in total, after two previous visits to London and one to Birmingham. On the back of the Edinburgh one, Rich Matherne, vice-president, international at Chick-fil-A, said: “We are really excited to explore different cities across the country including Edinburgh as a possible future location and showcase what Chick-fil-A has to offer.” A UK launch for the brand has been mooted for a while, with both MH Alshaya Co and Sir Charles Dunstone – the backer of Five Guys and MOD Pizza in the UK – linked as possible partners. Last year, the chicken-sandwich chain announced it would open its first franchised restaurant outside of the US, in Canada, with a site in Toronto due to launch imminently. The move is seen as the start of the brand’s international growth strategy. For several years, Chick-fil-A has been involved in a major controversy in the US, after allegations the company had donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. The company also closes its sites on Sundays, because of the chain’s founder Truett Cathy’s Christian faith. Cathy founded the business in 1946 and the company reported $10.46bn in sales last year.

Industry News:

Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh to ask what’s stopping the UK from producing global hospitality brands in latest Premium Opinion: Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh will look into what’s stopping the UK from producing global hospitality brands in the latest Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (30 August) at 5pm. Propel insights editor Mark Wingett, meanwhile, will write about Robin Rowland stepping down at YO! following a 20-year association with the brand and look at what might come next for the industry stalwart, while readers can also enjoy the latest sector rumours and rumblings via Premium Diary. 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, regular video recordings of key speakers from Propel events and conferences, and regular columns from Mark Wingett. 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

UKHospitality calls for relaxation of licensing hours during Rugby World Cup: UKHospitality has called on the government to relax licensing hours for pubs in England and Wales for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. With the tournament being held in Japan, some fixtures featuring the home nations will kick-off before 11am, outside of normal licensable hours. Pubs will still be able to open, but most will not be able to serve alcohol. UKHospitality has therefore called on the government to relax hours for certain England, Scotland and Wales group games as well as knock-out games later in the tournament. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With early kick-off times, the majority of pubs in England and Wales will face difficulties offering customers the full experience. This will be a huge opportunity missed for many pubs around the country. Times are currently challenging for businesses and the government can give them, and rugby fans, a huge boost by granting an extension for this World Cup. Pubs can only apply for 15 exemptions in a year, so unless the government grants the extensions for the World Cup, pubs will have to choose whether to gamble on applying for them for the tournament or saving them for the Christmas period. We want pubs and fans to be able to enjoy both.”

London Designer Outlet reports food and beverage outlets see sales rise 10% over summer: London Designer Outlet (LDO) at Wembley Park has reported food and beverage outlets have seen sales increase 10% year-on-year as the complex saw its 22nd consecutive quarter of growth. For the months of June, July and August, total revenue at LDO grew 9.2%, compared with the same three months in 2018. Like-for-like revenue was up 4.8 while footfall rose 3.0.%. LDO is managed by Realm, the UK’s specialist outlet operator, and is part of Wembley Park, which is undergoing a £3bn transformation by Quintain. Next month also sees the launch of the 2019 courses in retail and hospitality at the LDO Skills Academy operated in partnership with the College of North West London and Brent Works. The aim is to train local unemployed job-seekers in the necessary skills to work in the retail and hospitality industries, with every candidate who successfully completes the course guaranteed a job interview at LDO.

Deliveroo reveals restaurant makeover competition winners: Deliveroo has revealed the winners of its restaurant makeover competition. The company launched the contest to give three independent restaurants a makeover of their premises and equipment worth a total of £25,000. Following a public vote, Wigan’s Cafe Santos, owned by Ash Sherafatian; Leicester’s Bombay Bites, run by Moukid Muslim; and Mario’s Plaice in Glasgow, operated by Mario Simeone have been named the winners. Deliveroo said the competition was one of a number of initiatives it has launched to support the restaurant sector as it faces increasing cost pressures. Earlier this month, Deliveroo set up a new team that focuses on identifying restaurants in need of support – offering them a place in a local Editions delivery-only kitchen in order to keep them trading.

Company News:

Azzurri Group bought Pod in pre-pack administration for £1.1m less than original offer: Pod, the 22-strong, London-based healthy eating operator, was sold to Azzurri Group, owner of the ASK Italian, Zizzi, Coco di Mama and Radio Alice brands, in a pre-pack administration for a total consideration of £1.6m – more than £1m below its original offer that failed to be approved by shareholders. A statement of administrators proposal by Damian Webb and Allan Kelly, of RSM Restructuring Advisory, revealed the £1.6m payment was split – £750,000 was paid on the completion of the sale with £850,000 deferred against the assignment of seven leasehold properties that have pre-emption rights. The pre-pack sale of 14 of the 22 sites came four days after Pod's shareholders failed to approve a £2.7m sale to Azzurri Group in a deal that was worth 5p a share. A total of 75% of Pod’s shareholders needed to approve the deal, but the report revealed only 70% approval was received. Pod’s board had put the business up for sale in May after being unable to secure the “significant development capital needed to get the business back on track as it continues to see a drop in sales”. The report stated: “The leading offer received for the shares was from Azzurri Group. The offer was put to the company's shareholders for approval. It was necessary to secure 75% shareholder support to enact drag rights to complete a transaction in enough time to recapitalise the company. While Pod secured 70% shareholder support, the drag rights could not be secured in enough time to progress the offer. During the week commencing 24 June, the company had a circa £1m cashflow requirement including rent and payroll. In view of this and the uncertainty associated with the solvent sale proceeding, the company was insolvent. The company would have been unable to finance its trading in the period to securing approval of a company voluntary arrangement. While a trading administration may have facilitated a sale as a going concern, it was not a realistic or feasible strategy. A pre-pack sale ensured the ongoing business was unaffected by the insolvency. Eight parties confirmed their interest in an accelerated sale through an administration. This resulted in one offer being received from Azzurri Group.” As a result of the sale, secured creditor, National Westminster Bank, has been repaid the £381,289 it was owed in full while preferential creditor claims of £20,005 have also been repaid. Unsecured creditors are owed a total of £2,816,218 and the dividend is still to be determined depending on what happens with the remaining leases of the sites that Azzurri Group did not acquire. The administrators also said a “number of parties” had brought matters to their attention as part of their review of the circumstances leading to the administration and the conduct of directors, which “required further review”. Azzurri Group has continued to operate the sites it acquired as Pod, with the intention of converting a number to Coco di Mama over the next 12 months.

Peach Pubs appoints Bobath as new finance director: Peach Pubs has appointed Tony Bobath as its new finance director, Propel has learned. Bobath joins the Hamish Stoddart-led group after four years as chief financial officer at Wiltshire-based information services company TM Group. Previous to that he spent more than eight years as director of finance at contract caterers Catermasters. Earlier this year, Julie Centracchio left Peach to join Boston Tea Party as its new finance director. Centracchio spent two years as finance director at the 20-strong Peach. The pub company is currently selling four freehold investments, which it will lease back, to allow it to be debt-free, invest in its estate, and take on new pubs. The four properties – The Richard Onslow in Cranleigh, The One Elm in Stratford Upon Avon, The Rose & Crown in Warwick and The Swan in Salford – are being marketed by Fleurets, with offers in excess of £9,400,000. The move follows a failed sales process, with The Restaurant Group walking away from talks to buy the pub group last summer, to concentrate on its acquisition of Wagamama.

Sir Terence Conran to launch contemporary British restaurant and bar in Shoreditch: Sir Terence Conran is to launch a contemporary British restaurant and bar in Shoreditch, east London. Sir Terence and Richard McLellan, former chef at the Typing Room and Michelin-starred Alyn Williams’ restaurant in Mayfair, are launching Wilder Restaurant & Bar at Boundary London in Redchurch Street in October. Wilder will “utilise the flavours from natural and considered British ingredients to create elegant dishes and a relaxed dining experience for guests”. The menu will focus on sustainability and seasonality, while reflecting McLellan’s creativity and vision. McLellan regularly visits Barton Court, Sir Terence’s Georgian retreat in the English countryside, to source ingredients from the 145-acre estate, including sustainable trout and crayfish as well as watercress. Sir Terence founded Conran Restaurants, which today is known as D&D London following a management buyout by Des Gunewardena and David Loewi in 2006. Sir Terence subsequently founded Prescott & Conran with Peter Prescott while his other ventures include Bibendum in South Kensington with Claude Bosi. 

The Cornish Bakery reports turnover and Ebitda boost, like-for-likes up 0.5%: Cornwall-based The Cornish Bakery has reported turnover increased 19% to £13,712,606 for the year ending 2 December 2018, compared with £11,508,399 the year before. Ebitda grew 8% to £1.64m, compared with £1.5m the previous year while like-for-like sales were up 0.5%. Pre-tax profit was down 5% to £680,863, compared with £721,080 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company continues its growth strategy by strengthening The Cornish Bakery brand, continuing like-for-like sales growth – now in its sixth consecutive year – making a real difference with its unique culture, and opening new locations. Five bakeries were opened during the period, which are all trading to expectations while a further three opened in the first half of 2019. More locations are being identified for further growth.” The Cornish Bakery operates 45 sites in the UK, Channel Islands and Gibraltar.

Frontier Pubs reports first operating profit: Frontier Pubs, the partnership between Ei Managed Investments and Pioneer Hospitality, has reported its first operating profit. The company saw turnover increase to £5,112,000 for the year ending 23 September 2018, compared with £2,695,000 for the 76 weeks ended 24 September 2017. The company, which was incorporated in April 2016, made an operating profit of £46,000, compared with a loss of £379,000 in the previous period. It made a pre-tax profit of 43,000, compared with a loss of £344,000 in the prior period, according to accounts filed at Companies House. At the end of the financial year, Frontier Pubs operated seven sites, serving craft beer and pizza and showing sport. The directors didn’t recommend the payment of a dividend. Ei Group currently has 11 managed joint-venture partnerships, including Hippo Inns with Rupert Clevely and Mash Inns with Laine Pub Company.

Nando’s opens second nino site: Nando’s has opened a second site under its smaller nino format in London, Propel has learned. The group launched the first trial site under the format, which was designed to appeal to consumers looking for delivery, take away, a quick bite with friends or simply a faster, “on the go” experience of the brand, at the start of last year, in Twickenham. A second site has now opened at 348 Fulham Road. It is thought Nando’s is looking to roll out the new smaller format to areas where its estate of more than 400 restaurants currently doesn’t reach but the demand for eat in and delivery is still strong. It allows the company to better manage delivery volumes across the multiple sites. For example, in has normal format sites in Richmond and Teddington. In regards to the Fulham Road opening, the company already operates sites under its normal format in Fulham Broadway and Hammersmith's King Street. Nando’s nino features a streamlined menu and sped-up service to compliment the smaller space.

Lewis Hamilton-backed, plant-based burger concept to launch in London: Five-time FIA Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is collaborating with hospitality organisation The Cream Group and investors including UNICEF ambassador and early backer of Beyond Meat, Tommaso Chiabra, to launch a plant-based concept called Neat Burger. The first site under the new concept will open on Monday (2 September) in Princes Street, Mayfair. The team behind Neat Burger said it plans to expand the concept globally with 14 franchises scheduled in the next 24 months. Neat Burger will serve patties, specially created by its team of chefs in collaboration with Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat alternative, which forms the basis for the burgers. The menu will consist of three core burgers – The Neat, The Cheese and The Chick’n, as well as The Hot Dog, with sides including skinny fries, sweet potato fries and tater tots. Ryan Bishti, of The Cream Group and the founder of Cirque le Soir, said: “Neat Burger aims to change the way we view our eating habits. We’re not preaching or shaming people for eating meat. We’re offering an alternative that tastes as good as, if not better than meat.” Hamilton added: “I’m passionate about being kinder to our world and also really respect Neat Burger’s commitment to more ethical practices and supporting small businesses, so this is something I’m also really proud to support. But it is also about the product. As someone who follows a plant-based diet, I believe we need a healthier high street option that tastes amazing but also offers something exciting to those who want to be meat-free every now and again. Beyond Meat is an incredible partner and I can’t wait to work with the team to expand Neat Burger internationally.”

Inception Group confirms Ticket Hall & Control Room opening: Inception Group, which operates an eclectic collection of London bars and restaurants including Mr Fogg’s, Bunga Bunga and Cahoots, has confirmed it will launch a new 1940s train station-themed cocktail bar, Cahoots: The Ticket Hall & Control Room, in Kingly Street in Carnaby, Soho, in November. It will become the second addition to the Cahoots network, and while it is located in a neighbouring building to the original, it will be a totally separate venue, extending Inception Group’s portfolio to 11 sites. Staying true to the Cahoots brand, the new venue will reignite the post-war spirit of the 1940s. However, unlike the original, which opened in 2015 and is solely subterranean, the new venue spans two-storeys and has been converted into two distinct spaces. Charlie Gilkes, co-founder of Inception Group, said: “Building on the great success of the original Cahoots, we are so excited to be opening The Ticket Hall & Control Room next door, and look forward to welcoming guests into this 1940s-inspired train station-themed cocktail bar with lots of new immersive experiences and surprises in store.” Speaking about the Cahoots brand within the company’s collection, fellow founder Duncan Stirling added: “The original Cahoots is somewhat of a landmark venue in the company’s history, we were overwhelmed by its immediate popularity and we even had to recruit additional reservations staff to handle the influx of bookings after opening. Four years on, Cahoots has proved to be one of the group’s most successful brands, in terms of both sustaining an exceptional sales record and reputation – we hope the new venue will spark the same level of excitement with both old and new visitors to Cahoots.”

EasyHotel founder buys more shares amid takeover opposition: EasyHotel’s billionaire founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has bought £60,000-worth of shares in the company as he continues to blockade plans to take it private. The value hotel chain is set to be taken over by property fund manager ICAMAP and real estate investor Ivanhoe Cambridge despite staunch opposition from the EasyJet founder. The bidding companies, working as a consortium under the banner of Citrus UK Bidco, have gained a majority stake in the company after taking over roughly 52% of shares. Earlier this month, the bidders confirmed the takeover attempt, which valued the group’s shares at roughly £139m, or 95p a share. Sir Stelios dismissed the consortium’s valuation of the company, and has said he will continue to buy up more shares and work alongside the company’s majority owners but will not have it taken private for 95p a share. ICAMAP and Ivanhoe Cambridge would need a 75% stake in the company to take it private but are being thwarted by the billionaire, who has now raised his stake in EasyHotel to more than 27%. Sir Stelios said he could increase his stake to more than 30% after the takeover panel confirmed he would not be required to bid for the whole company as is customary after the ownership threshold is passed. Sir Stelios said: “I am delighted ICAMAP and Ivanhoe Cambridge think EasyHotel is such a great business they want to invest big money to build more great value EasyHotels. Nobody would be happier when this brand goes from 50 hotels in operation and under construction now to say 150 in a few years. As with every listed share in the world and as a rational investor, I believe there is a price to buy and a price to sell EasyHotel shares. At 95p, I am a buyer of shares and not a seller. Now we will all have to work together to grow the number of EasyHotels exponentially.”

Former Gordon Ramsay Holdings chief executive Gillies to launch new venture next month: Stuart Gillies, who stepped down as chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings last year after more than 15 years with the company, will open his new bar and restaurant venture next month. Gillies is one of the founding directors of Eleven Chislehurst, which will open Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen at a former NatWest Bank branch in Chislehurst High Street. Gillies and wife Cecilia are joined in the new venture by Jonathan Aucamp, founder and executive chairman of global proprietary trading company OSTC Group, and Guy Osborn, owner of Dial Investments. Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen will feature a weekly-changing menu serving “freshly cooked modern European plates matched with carefully selected organic wine, craft beer and bespoke cocktails”. The ground floor will house a bar and dining area with a cocktail bar upstairs that will also offer a short menu of wine, champagne and mixed drinks based around seasonal flavours. Gillies said: “There is an excitement and thrill to creating something locally that does not currently exist on our high street. I’ve always loved the world of hospitality and restaurants, so it’s long been a dream to be able to bring that experience and energy into our own community, where Cecilia and I have raised our four boys. Socialising and going out is embraced so much more now than when I grew up, and we’re looking forward to bringing something new and different to the area.” Gillies left Gordon Ramsay Holdings, with no official statement or confirmation from Ramsay, in February last year. He was succeeded by managing director Andy Wenlock.

KFC sells out of plant-based chicken in five hours during one-day trial: KFC saw its one-day trial of Beyond Fried Chicken, a plant-based chicken by Beyond Meat, sell out in less than five hours. Crowds gathered as early as 8am on Tuesday (27 August) at the Atlanta restaurant serving the plant-based chicken nuggets and boneless wings. Throughout the day, the dine-in line wrapped around the building with “double-looped” drive-thru lines, the company said. KFC told Nation’s Restaurant News: “The test was so successful, guests purchased in five hours the amount of Beyond Fried Chicken KFC would normally sell on average of popcorn chicken in a week.” There are no plans to restock the Atlanta restaurant with more Beyond Fried Chicken. KFC said it will evaluate customer feedback from the one-day test before potentially expanding Beyond Fried Chicken to other markets.

Hashtag Hotels goes into administration just five months after launch: Hashtag Hotels, which operates 17 sites across the UK and Ireland, has gone into administration just five months after launch. Neil Bennett and Andy John, of Leonard Curtis, have been appointed joint administrators of Hashtag Hotels, which had promised to be “more than prepared to compete in the hotel industry”. The London-headquartered firm was a hotel chain that rented out university accommodation – used by students in term time – to visitors throughout the summer months. It had sites in Bangor, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham and Plymouth. Leonard Curtis stated: “Hashtag Hotels was placed into administration by its directors after it experienced financial difficulties. After seeking the appropriate professional advice, the joint administrators were appointed. Trading ceased immediately and all 264 employees were made redundant. Leonard Curtis has appointed Evolve IS as its agent to manage ERA employee-related matters. It is supporting all employees to claim payments from the government’s Redundancy Payment Service.” Hashtag Hotels was launched in March by Nash Cohen and Simon Gilbert, who had become frustrated with existing hotels that were “built on archaic technology and systems that lead to poor customer service and a laborious customer experience”.

High Street Hospitality revels plans for Newcastle sites it acquired in pre-pack administration deal: High Street Hospitality, a subsidiary of Newcastle-based The High Street Group, has revealed its plans for two city sites it acquired out of administration earlier this month. High Street Hospitality is planning to replace the Fat Buddha restaurant under the 55 Degrees North apartments in Pilgrim Street with a new eatery called Purple Peacock. Meanwhile, the neighbouring alpine-themed Antler restaurant is earmarked for a sports bar. The move is part of a plan to create a new hotel in the space beneath the apartments. Sonali Craddock, who heads up the marketing team of The High Street Group, is drawing on her experience of launching a high-end restaurant in India to influence the look and feel of the new Purple Peacock, which will open in October. She told Insider Media: “The décor is extravagant and bold. There will be a giant peacock, lots of feathers and bird cage features. We believe visitors to the restaurant will be compelled to take photos and share these across social media. The food will be contemporary with an element of Asian/classic fusion and we plan a strong emphasis on vegan and vegetarian cuisine.” High Street Hospitality also plans to create a new hotel in the space underneath the apartments. The business said it was committed to constructing or acquiring 15 to 20 hotels in the north of England, to be placed under the companies Hotel-52 brand. High Street Hospitality acquired Fat Buddah and Antler in a pre-pack administration deal, little more than a year after they were opened by Gary Hutchinson, former Sunderland AFC commercial director and head of Club Wembley. 

West African-inspired restaurant to open in Fitzrovia: A restaurant serving West African food using British ingredients is opening in London’s Fitzrovia. Akoko, which means “time” and also “the first” in Yoruba, is launching in Berners Street in October. Head chef William Chilila will showcase an innovative menu combining British ingredients and African spices. Chilila has worked at restaurants such as Galvin at Windows, The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, The Langham Hotel and the Orrery, and was a finalist on last year’s MasterChef: The Professionals. He was also the youngest chef to be included in the “30 under 30” Zagat list at the age of 19. His menu will include popular West African classics such as smoked jollof rice, grilled aged beef suya with caramelised onion and confit tomato, as well as barbecued baby aubergine maafe and smoked goat consommé. The wine list will be curated by sommelier Honey Spencer’s new consultancy Spencer & Smelskaya.

Heavitree Brewery appoints independent non-executive director: Heavitree Brewery, the Exeter-based tenanted pub operator, has appointed Chris Bush as an independent non-executive director with effect from Sunday (1 September). Bush is an ICAEW qualified professional with many years' experience in leadership roles within audit practice, having worked for both EY as an audit director and then in later years with PKF Francis Clark as an audit partner. Heavitree Brewery chairman Nicholas Tucker said: “The board will enjoy the benefit of Chris’ wealth of knowledge and experience in key areas together with his ability to fill the independent non-executive role required by our QCA Corporate Governance Code.”

Hotel Chocolat to open site in Woking: Hotel Chocolat Group, the British chocolatier and omni-channel retailer, is to open a site in Woking, Surrey. The company will open the 320 square foot site at The Peacocks shopping centre on Friday, 13 September. The Peacocks is part of Woking Shopping, which is managed by Woking Town Centre Management; a joint venture partnership between Woking Borough Council and Moyallen, owner and operator of The Peacocks. Hotel Chocolat chief executive and co-founder Angus Thirlwell said: “We have closely followed Woking Shopping’s progress for a number of years and the time is right to join the centre’s thriving offer. We look forward to bringing our passion for world-class chocolate to the town and are confident our indulgent offering will be well received.” Moyallen asset manager Tim Buckley added: “Hotel Chocolat is a great addition to Woking Shopping. Securing this renowned brand reflects our long-term objective to create a destination with appeal to our discerning catchment population.” JLL and Nash Bond acted for Woking Shopping, and Harper Dennis Hobbs acted for Hotel Chocolat.

Brown’s Hotel to unveil new restaurant directed by Adam Byatt next month: Brown’s Hotel, owned by Rocco Forte Hotels, is to unveil its new restaurant, Charlie’s, next month. The restaurant, which opens on Monday, 9 September and is named after Lord Charles Forte, will be directed by Michelin-starred chef Adam Byatt who is joining Brown’s as chef director. Daily specials such as whole poached salmon and glazed Essex gammon will be served on a traditional silver trolley while the à la carte menu will feature fresh, seasonal options such as fried courgette flowers with truffle honey, and roasted Yorkshire grouse, blackberries and bread sauce. Byatt said: “Taking this step and joining the team at Brown’s Hotel is a very exciting moment for me, and it feels like a natural progression both professionally and personally. Five-star hotels are part of my heritage; I started my career in Claridge’s when I was 16, and Brown’s is special as my grandfather was a bell boy here during the 1960s.” Stuart Johnson, managing director at Brown’s, added: “Adam Byatt and Brown’s possess a natural synergy and we are looking forward to what we see as an incredibly exciting culinary journey ahead with Charlie’s.” Byatt will continue his role at his Michelin-starred restaurant Trinity and Upstairs At Trinity alongside his other Clapham venue, Bistro Union.

Spelzini in Shoreditch to become Luigi’s Bar at night: Spelzini, the Italian cafe and all-day eatery in Shoreditch High Street founded by Jim Fisher, is to become Luigi’s Bar at night. Although Spelzini currently has an evening offering, from Thursday, 26 September it will have new food and cocktail menus under the guise of Luigi’s. Inspired by Fisher’s Italian heritage and the Mediterranean dining culture. Luigi’s will focus on spuntini, antipasti, and tramezzini – small Piedmontese sandwiches – alongside contemporary aperitivi and wine made with native Italian grapes. There will also be cocktails and a vermouth menu. Fisher said: “The inspiration for Luigi’s goes back three generations to my great grandfather Luigi, a fishmonger and grocer from Liguria who came to London bringing with him the eating culture of the coastal towns of northern Italy. I love the generous food and drink culture in European cities, from the delis of Italy and wine bars of Spain to the tabacs of southern France, and so can’t wait to bring this to Shoreditch.” 

CPL Online appoints new director of learning and education: CPL Online, the specialist provider of e-learning, business solutions and interactive services, has appointed Martin Hilton as director of learning and education. Hilton will work internally with an expanded learning and development team to further develop CPL’s suite of content, courses and tools. Hilton has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, co-founding Pure Craft Bars. Latterly, he has been working in the world of academia as educator at Leeds Beckett University. Hilton said: “I am excited to be a part of our challenge to provide blended opportunities on learning and training to our clients and to think of blended training as not just being a blend of digital and face-to-face training but indeed an opportunity to blend different medias.” Hilton’s appointment comes at a time of change at CPL Online, after CGA, the global food and drink data and research consultancy, acquired CPL Training Group in June. CPL executive chairman Jon Collins said: “CPL is a proud part of the hospitality industry, not just a supplier to it. Thus, when we identified an opportunity to invest further in our content, our priority was to find someone as passionate about our industry as we are. We are excited at the new capabilities Martin brings to CPL – leading a talented team as we push ahead with industry-leading content in new topic areas and delivery methods.” Hilton will talk about delivering effective learning through different approaches as part of this week’s Friday Opinion 

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