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Tue 15th Oct 2019 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Wrapchic collapsed into administration after shareholders refused to lend further funds as franchisee liabilities resulted in continued losses: Fusion fast food business Wrapchic collapsed into administration after shareholders refused to lend further funds as it continued making losses as a result of being responsible for franchisees’ liabilities. A statement of administrators proposal by Nicholas Cusack and Rishi Karia, of Parker Andrews, revealed Wrapchic was further hampered by attempted enforcement action by major creditors in respect of outstanding liabilities that remained unpaid. The pressures led Wrapchic founder Mahesh Raikar to seek insolvency advice and to the appointment of administrators. The report showed Wrapchic turned over £2.5m for the year ending 31 May 2018, with Ebit of minus £230,800. For the year ending 31 May 2017, the company had turnover of £1.4m with Ebit of minus £570,000 and, for the year ending 31 May 2016, turnover was £882,000 with Ebit of minus £278,000. The report stated: “Despite the fact the majority of the units were operated by franchisees, the leases for 14 premises were in the name of the company rather than the relevant franchisees. The company, therefore, began to experience financial difficulties as a result of franchisees ceasing to trade due to an overcrowded market and lack of footfall or not paying the necessary rent when due. As a result, the liability would fall on the company as party to the lease rather than the relevant franchisee, which began to put financial strain on the company and its shareholders. In addition, the overhead costs associated with the central production unit were high compared with the margins the company was making, even when taking into account the royalties due to the company from franchisees.” The report showed three offers were made for the business, which was sold to Zampor with the company’s intellectual property assigned to Fairway Commerce, for £70,500. Both companies are registered at the same address as Wrapchic. The director of the companies is Atul Patel, who is also a director of Wrapchic.

Industry News:

Development programme launches to help women in hospitality accelerate their careers: A development programme has been launched to help senior-level women in the hospitality sector accelerate their careers to the boardroom. Brilliant Women Boardroom has been founded by Jackie Moody-McNamara, managing director of Turn the Key, which “unlocks the potential of individuals and businesses through coaching, mentoring and consulting”. The annual programme will include quarterly forums and guest speakers, combining coaching, peer-mentoring and self-directed learning. Moody-McNamara has 20 years’ experience as a senior executive in the hospitality sector and has worked as operations director for Punch and more recently played a strategic role in the development of NewRiver REIT’s pub portfolio. She has also been an ambassador for WiHTL and mentor on the Plan B Mentoring Programme. She said: “Women still face a number of disadvantages when trying to reach senior executive positions so the purpose of this programme is for them to be unapologetically ambitious under the safety of a confidential umbrella. All women on the programme will have the support of an independent chair and facilitator and access to an elite network of professional women leaders.” Moody-McNamara will also speak at this year’s People and Training Conference. The event, organised by the British Institute of Innkeeping in association with Propel, will take place on Tuesday, 26 November at Bafta Piccadilly and is open for bookings. Other speakers will include Charlotte Kemp, head of people and culture at Mission Mars, who will set out how the company is striving to place team engagement at the centre of the company’s culture; Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron, who will talk about the company’s approach to giving its staff a fair deal; and Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, who will talk to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about the company’s approach to recruitment and retention. Tickets are £65 plus VAT for operators who are BII members and BIIAB members and £200 plus VAT for operators who are non-BII members. Supplier tickets are £95 plus VAT for BII members and BIIAB members and £245 plus VAT for all other organisations. To book, email

Tipping law changes would add ‘another unwanted burden’ on sector businesses: The government’s proposed changes to tipping legislation threaten to add “another unwanted burden” on businesses, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said. The proposed new law, outlined in the Queen’s Speech, would require employers to pass on all tips to staff in full. Nicholls said: “Legislation on tipping threatens to add another unwanted burden on businesses at an already hectic time. Any new measures need to have full input from businesses that will be affected. We already have a transparent and fair voluntary code of practice regarding the collection and sharing of tips. The code makes it clear to businesses, employees and customers how tips can be fairly shared so all team members get what they deserve and customers can be confident the money they tip is going to the correct place. Deductions are sometimes made to service charges as hospitality businesses are charged by banks to process payments. If the full amount is to be passed on, hospitality businesses are going to be forced to foot the bill. If there’s a new legal obligation to pass on the full amount of a service charge, there needs to be action to ensure hospitality, a sector that provides more than 3.2 million jobs in the UK, isn’t stuck with yet another tax. That may mean measures to cap or remove charges to hospitality businesses altogether.” Regarding other proposed laws outlined in the Queen’s Speech, Nicholls warned the introduction of a new immigration system in 2021 would cause “substantial headaches for employers” as it wouldn’t leave “enough time to adjust and plan”, while she said any moves to cut single-use plastic and carbon emissions should not “undermine the work we are already doing or, worse, pile on additional costs”.

Senior UK restaurateurs see food allergies as top influencer in diners’ venue choice: Almost four-fifths (79%) of senior restaurateurs in the UK, including chief executives, finance directors and managing directors, believe a restaurant’s success depends on its ability to provide more variety for those with food allergies, according to a new survey by Michelin’s reservation service Bookatable. About 7% of children in the UK suffer allergies to food such as peanuts, dairy and shellfish. The study found catering for people with medical conditions such as diabetes and coeliac (76%) and lifestyle choices such as vegetarian (75%) and vegan (73%) was influential in diners’ decisions where to eat, followed by sustainable food options and healthier eating options (both 70%), provenance (69%), animal welfare (63%) and cutting food waste (55%). Regarding industry challenges, respondents cited higher staff costs (45%), growing customer demand/expectation (43%), too much competition (42%), supplier costs (41%), equipment costs (39%), profit margin pressures (37%), staff retention (36%), heavy discounting (32%), and a reduced pool of staff candidates (29%). More than one-quarter (27%) said no-shows were a key concern, with more than two-fifths (44%) admitting they had a “significant impact” on their business. Regarding falling footfall fears, more than two-fifths (43%) of respondents blamed consumers’ growing preference for using third-party delivery companies, followed by less disposable income for diners (41%) and Brexit concerns making customers spend less (37%). However, on a positive note more than half (52%) of respondents said their restaurant was more profitable than a year ago, compared with 25% who said it was the same, and 22% who had made less profit. Bookatable chief executive Michel Cassius said: “It is no longer enough to rely on great menus and first-class service to encourage diners into a restaurant. Food allergy, vegan and vegetarian options are considered standard by diners these days. Restaurants must also consider other influential factors such as sustainability, ethical dining and reducing food waste.”

London hotel market reports record revpar and average daily rate for September: The London hotel market saw revpar and average daily rate hit a record level for the month of September, according to the latest data from STR. Revpar rose 7.7% to £148.33, while average daily rate increased 7.9% to £170.63. Supply and demand also saw year-on-year increases during the month – of 1.9% and 1.8% respectively. However, occupancy levels fell 0.1% year-on-year to 86.9%. STR analysts noted that despite the slight drop in occupancy, average daily rate levels were boosted by a number of events held during the month, including the 73rd Congress of the International Fiscal Association and Sibos 2019.

Company News:

D&D London – ‘trading improving in current financial year after disappointing early summer’, full-year like-for-likes up 4%: Restaurant operator D&D London has reported trading in the current financial year has improved in recent months after a “disappointing early summer”, while it’s looking at a number of sites in the US as it builds its overseas business. The announcement comes as the company reported like-for-like sales increased 4% for the year ending 31 March 2019. Turnover rose 13% to £145.6m, compared with £128.3m the previous year. Ebitda was up 12% to 12.8%, compared with £11.5m the year before. The company opened three restaurants during the period – Bluebird White City, Bluebird in New York and Queensyard in New York. The company said overseas was an increasingly important focus for growth. New York and Paris now account for about 15% of group revenues. The company also expanded its UK regional presence, with circa 12% of revenues in 2018-19 coming from restaurants in Leeds and Manchester. The company also reported strong like-for-like sales growth at Coq d’Argent (11%), German Gymnasium (10%) and Orrery post-refurbishment (15%). D&D London said it had a successful first full year’s trading at 20 Stories in Manchester, which substantially exceeded revenue expectations. Group drinks revenue increased 3.5% on a like-for-like basis to £50.6m. Like-for-like food revenue increased 4.9%. Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive of D&D London, said: “New York and the US are likely to be an important part of the world for D&D to grow and we’re looking at a number of sites in New York and other US cities. We do, however, remain committed to the UK and will open 14 Hills, a rooftop restaurant at 120 Fenchurch Street in the City in November and we plan to open a restaurant and events venue in the Quakers Friars building at Cabot Circus in Bristol next Easter. Trading in the current year, after a disappointing early summer (due to poor weather), has improved in recent months. We do, however, remain cautious about the next few months given the uncertainties of Brexit. The resolution will have a significant impact on our trading for the crucial pre-Christmas quarter and for the full year. We do, however, remain positive in the long-term about the UK and will commit to further projects here. However, we are building our overseas business, particularly in the US, to make D&D less reliant on the UK.”

Pret appoints Leibling as group transformation director: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed chain, has appointed Simon Leibling, formerly of Whitbread and Camelot Group, as group transformation director. Leibling will lead and support Pret in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific to deliver its Value Creation Plan. Leibling spent more than two and a half years at Whitbread, the majority as head of portfolio with responsibility for leading and delivering a company-wide transformation programme for Premier Inn. Before that he spent six and a half years at Camelot as head of programme delivery. Last week Pret reported turnover in the UK increased to £710.0m for the year ending 3 January 2019, compared with £636.7m the year before. Adjusted operating profit fell to £60.6m, compared with £66.9m the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was down to £91.4m from £97.8m the year before. Pre-tax profit reduced to £48.8m, compared with £64.9m the previous year. At the end of the period there were 389 Pret stores in the UK, up from 360 the previous year, of which 379 were company operated. Pret said it saw “significant opportunities” for more openings in the UK, including in central London. 

Cinnamon Collection reports like-for-like sales up 4.5%, settles bank loan: Cinnamon Collection, the company that operates four restaurants in London and a site in Oxford, reported like-for-like sales grew 4.5% for the year ending 30 December 2018. The company also revealed its positive operating cash flow enabled the settlement of its bank loan and the company now has no bank debt. Turnover in the period was £11.4m, compared with £11.5m the previous year. Underlying Ebitda fell to £24,000 compared with £614,000 the year before as Cinnamon Oxford and Battersea both matured. Like-for-like Ebitda was up to £760,000 from £684,000 the previous year. The company incurred exceptional costs of £1.1m, compared with £242,000 the year before, and closed its Soho restaurant during the year. In the period the company made an operating loss of £2.1m, compared with a profit of £562,000 the previous year. The new stores made a loss of £735,538. However on a cash basis, adjusting for the rent-free periods, the loss was £545,277. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Once there is clarity post-Brexit and the new openings have settled down, Cinnamon Collection will look to expand at a sustainable rate, with restaurants suitable for the environment continuing in its ethos of evolution, innovation and creativity.” The company is a subsidiary of Boparan Restaurant Holdings.

Leon launches first grocery range as it grows business beyond restaurants: Natural fast food brand Leon has launched its first range of groceries following a tie-up with Sainsbury’s as it grows the business beyond restaurants. Leon has struck an exclusive deal with the supermarket to stock 14 products at more than 600 stores, including sauces from its menu, newly developed condiments and sourdough bread. The group has been working with Sainsbury’s for the past 18 months. The first range will pave the way for future Leon launches, with further products scheduled to follow in 2020 and beyond. Leon’s deal with Sainsbury’s will see the group exclusively sell products in its stores, although it’s also free to supply independent shops and secure deals with other retailers globally. Leon co-founder John Vincent said: “Sainsbury’s is a supermarket that, like us, puts food and flavour first so teaming up together makes sense. Now we’re embarking on a partnership that champions food innovation, alongside our values. This new range is an important step for us as a business as we grow beyond restaurants and continue to live out our ambition to help people access naturally fast food every day.” Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s, added: “We are constantly looking for ways to offer our customers new and innovative products and Leon’s flavour-first philosophy can help us do just that.”

Honi Poké secures fifth site: Hawaiian poké specialist Honi Poké has secured its fifth site in London by acquiring a unit in Islington. The company, which is led by founder Vladimir Martynov and Richard De La Cruz, formerly of two Michelin-starred Sergi Arola and three Michelin-starred Quique Dacosta, has secured a site at 63 Upper Street. The acquisition complements Honi Poké’s sites in Soho (Dean Street), Fenchurch (New London Street), Marylebone (Margaret Street) and Hammersmith (Lillie Road). The Upper Street unit comprises 794 square feet on the ground floor and is held on a new five-year sub-lease. The site is next to Chick ‘n’ Sours and was a sub-let of surplus space. Davis Coffer Lyons advised Chick ‘n’ Sours on the deal. Sally French, associate director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Honi Poké is going great guns at the moment, capitalising on the growing trend for healthy raw food and modern flavours. Upper Street is one of central London’s most fertile dining locations. Honi Poké has amassed a great following and I’m sure we will hear news of more acquisitions from the company before the end of the year.”

Handmade Burger Company’s unsecured creditors receive 3.18p in the pound dividend: Unsecured creditors of Handmade Burger Company, under its previous owner The Sargeant Partnership, have received a dividend by virtue of the prescribed part of 3.18p in the pound. A progress report for The Sargeant Partnership filed at Companies House by administrators Conrad Beighton and Paul Masters, of Leonard Curtis, revealed the details of the pay-out. The report stated: “The joint administrators of Handmade Burger Company have declared a first and final dividend to the unsecured creditors by virtue of the prescribed part. In this regard, during the period of this report, a dividend totalling £16,771 was received into the administration, which represents a return of 3.18p in the pound against the company’s unsecured claim of £527,000. The joint administrators of Handmade Burger Company confirmed no further dividends will be payable to the unsecured creditors and the administration has since been concluded.” As previously reported, based on the company’s records, £527,000 was due to the company from three of its directors – Matthew, Richard and Christopher Sargeant – in respect of an intercompany loan account. However, all three Sargeants have been declared bankrupt and the trustee of each bankruptcy estate has confirmed there will be no return to creditors. The business was bought out of administration by The Burger Chain, which now trades as Handmade Burger Company, in summer 2017. Earlier this month Propel reported the owner was believed to be reviewing its options, including a sale of the 19-strong business.

Smoke & Salt founders to launch £140,000 crowdfunding campaign for permanent home: Chefs Aaron Webster and Remi Williams, founders of London restaurant Smoke & Salt, are launching a £140,000 crowdfunding campaign. Smoke & Salt launched in 2017 and currently works out of a shipping container at Pop Brixton. Now Webster and Williams aim to raise funds on crowdfunding platform Seedrs for a permanent home. Smoke & Salt offers seasonal cuisine using techniques such as brining, curing, fermenting and smoking. Webster and Williams said: “We are looking to capitalise on our success by starting our own journey towards making Smoke & Salt Hospitality Group the edgiest and best in London. We want to share this journey with you and invite you on a journey that brings with it the kind of rewards money can’t buy.”

Xavier Rousset and Mark Jarvis join forces to reopen Gunmakers in Marylebone: Sommelier and restaurateur Xavier Rousset and chef Mark Jarvis have joined forces to reopen the Gunmakers pub in Marylebone, London. Rousset and Jarvis, who worked together at Texture restaurant in Marylebone, have relaunched the Aybrook Street pub with plans for a 40-cover restaurant and six bedrooms to follow next month. The 18th century pub, previously frequented by Winston Churchill, had been closed for more than a year. The subterranean restaurant will be overseen by Jarvis, of Anglo restaurant in Farringdon, and offer a best of British menu alongside a wine list curated by Rousset, whose other projects include Cabotte restaurant and wine bar in the City and private members’ club Trade in Soho. He also co-founded 28-50 Restaurant Group with Aggi Sverrisson before leaving the business in 2015. Jarvis closed his London restaurant Stem in June little more than a year after it opened. He also ran Neo in Mayfair, which shut in December 2018 after he stepped away from the project.

Barworks relaunches former Beef & Brew site in Hackney: London bar and pub operator Barworks has reopened the former Beef & Brew site in Hackney. As previously revealed by Propel, the group led by Marc Francis-Baum completed on a deal for the Downham Street pub in July. Before being taken over by Beef & Brew last year for its second site, the pub was owned by Beavertown and was called the Duke’s Brew & Que. Barworks has reopened the pub under its original name, the Duke of York. The bar has been moved to the centre of the room and, while the key offering is drink, it offers a small pizza and pasta menu alongside Sunday roasts. Barworks is also working on the White Bear in St John Street, Smithfield, which is expected to reopen in mid-November. Francis-Baum told Propel: “It is a beautiful bay-fronted pub on a fantastic street with some great food operators. We will be ‘the’ pub on that street.” Barworks operates circa 13 pubs, plus Mare Street Market and five under The Diner name, which have been part of Barworks since July. The Diner sites will be converted to independent wet-led operations during the next year. Mare Street Market is the group’s most profitable site, with the largest turnover.

Patisserie Valerie collaborates with Bake Off star on new winter range: Patisserie Valerie has teamed up with Bake Off: The Professionals star Reshmi Bennett for its winter patisserie range, which will launch nationwide on Wednesday, 30 October. The move is the second stage in Patisserie Valerie’s rebranding following its purchase by Causeway Capital in the summer. The range will be accompanied by new-look branding and packaging launched in 12 of its central London stores ahead of a planned nationwide roll-out next year. The company said the patisserie range would mark an “improvement in the quality of ingredients”, with new winter warming dishes including a smoky vegetarian chilli, venison stew, and pumpkin soup served with bloomer bread. Air-fried fries will be back on the menu but containing 30% less fat and carbohydrates, while breakfast pastries baked in-store will include triple chocolate pain au chocolat. The Bennett collaboration will feature six new patisserie, including a salted caramel and chocolate bombe and four new eclairs. Bennett, who founded London-based bakery Anges de Sucre, said: “I am so excited to collaborate with Patisserie Valerie, a heritage brand that’s evolving and pushing the boat out in terms of its patisserie offering.”

Student-focused ‘cloud supermarket’ ramps up expansion plans: Student-focused “cloud supermarket” 8DOL is ramping up its expansion across the UK. 8DOL is seeking to open another 15 supermarkets by the end of 2020 with the aim to open sites in the top 100 university cities in England and Wales. Launched in China, 8DOL has become the world’s largest student delivery service, with more than three million customers a week. App users can order groceries online and have them delivered to their door in less than half an hour. UK growth is being supported by licensing solicitor John Gaunt & Partners, which has advised on five openings so far – the first site in Bournemouth in 2018 followed by stores in Southampton, Oxford, Bath and Bristol. John Gaunt & Partners licensing lawyer Jon Wallsgrove said: “The 8DOL concept is a new one, which has contributed to some of the opposition to it, so we approach local authorities ahead of the applications being submitted so they’re familiar with the idea and understand what 8DOL is trying to achieve. It’s an approach that appears to be working because, to date, we’ve succeeded in having all objections withdrawn and secured the necessary licences.”

Giggling Squid opens Leamington Spa site: Giggling Squid, the 33-strong Thai restaurant brand founded by Andy and Pranee Laurillard, has opened a site in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The company has launched a 100-cover restaurant at the former CAU unit in Royal Priors Shopping Centre. Pranee Laurillard said: “We are thrilled to introduce Royal Leamington Spa to our Giggling Squid family. I want each guest to feel like they’re coming into my home – feeling welcome, relaxed and generously looked after.” The pipeline for sites remains strong as Giggling Squid looks to open between six and ten restaurants a year while embarking on a refurbishment programme of its more mature restaurants. Sites in Cambridge, Harborne, Leicester and Weybridge were recently added to the pipeline. Giggling Squid, which is backed by BGF, recently ended its sales process after being placed on the market earlier this year.

Irish cinema operator heads to UK with launch of East Midlands chain: Irish cinema operator Arc is heading to the UK as it launches a chain in the East Midlands. The Arc Cinema has signed a deal with Daventry District Council to run a new four-screen complex in the Northamptonshire town. The site in Mulberry Place is due to open in spring 2021. Other Arc cinemas are planned to open in Beeston and Hucknall. Brian Gilligan, director for Melcorpo, which runs The Arc Cinema, said: “The Arc Cinema offers customers a premium cinema experience for standard prices.” Daventry District Council chief executive Ian Vincent added: “With The Arc Cinema and our construction contractors signed up, it’s all systems go for delivering our Mulberry Place development by early 2021.” Work will start this month on preparing the foundations for the cinema, which is being built on a former library site off North Street along with two restaurants, a public square and fountains. The Arc Cinema’s Ireland sites are in Drogheda, Navan and Wexford.

Former Trullo chef and ex-Barrafina general manager open Italian restaurant in London Bridge: Former Trullo chef Matt Beardmore and Jay Patel, who was previously general manager at Koya and Barrafina, have opened a neighbourhood Italian restaurant in London Bridge. They have launched Legare, which means “to bind” in Italian, at Shad Thames focusing on seasonal ingredients, fresh pasta and a low-intervention wine list. The 36-cover restaurant makes pasta in-house daily to create dishes such as tajarin with butter and sage, and orecchiette with fennel sausage and Swiss chard ragu. A weekly changing specials board allows Beardmore to experiment with other seasonal dishes, while each lunchtime the kitchen serves sandwiches using house-made focaccia to eat in or take away. Patel said: “The restaurant draws inspiration from the places Matt and I have worked at and travelled to. We are not an out-and-out classic Italian restaurant and don’t pertain to be. Having lived in south London all my life, I feel a sense of pride in opening Legare south of the river.” Beardmore added: “The menu is based on beautiful produce with a strong focus on vegetables, fruit and seafood. We have taken influences from the best of the seasons in Italy and the wider Mediterranean, putting flavour and quality first.”

Greene King updates wine support for publicans: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched an updated wine brochure for its 1,000-plus Pub Partners, with a range of more than 200 wines on offer. Pub Partners’ drinks team has worked with Greene King’s senior wine buyer to source varieties direct from vineyards around the world. The team has also created three ready-to-use menus with wine categorised as good, better and best. Partners can access software that allows them to design their own free wine lists, while the brochure offers tips on how to create and refresh their offer. The brochure also contains advice on pairing wine with food, glassware, and a lowdown on top sparkling wine, especially champagne and prosecco. Pub Partners head of marketing Phil Chatwin said: “Publicans want the choice and flexibility to get the right tailored list of wine for their pubs and we’re pleased to provide them with these options as well as giving them the tools to build and create their own wine lists online.”

Trafford Leisure seeks F&B operator for Urmston Leisure Centre cafe: Leisure is seeking a food and beverage operator for the newly regenerated Urmston Leisure Centre in Greater Manchester. The company is offering the 100-cover, 1,500 square foot cafe in the centre’s central hub through agent Savills. Urmston Leisure Centre is being overhauled in a £7.2m project that is due to complete in early 2020. To complement the new facilities, Trafford Leisure is seeking a local or regional partner to provide the primary food and beverage offer, with a focus on offering a healthy, balanced all-day family focused offer. Jo Cherrett, chief operating officer of Trafford Leisure, said: “This is an important milestone for Urmston Leisure Centre and we’re excited to find the right partner that complements our brand to deliver an all-day, nutritious, healthy and exciting menu for our customers. Trafford Leisure supports its community and is keen to find a local or regional catering provider to be the finishing touch to its leisure and destination offer.”

Hotel Chocolat signs for Angel Central site: Hotel Chocolat has signed to open a shop and cafe at Angel Central in Islington, north London. The company is taking 1,288 square foot of space after agreeing a deal with landlord CBRE Global Investors. The new site will open at a former Barclays Bank branch in Upper Street next month. It will offer hot drinks alongside its luxury chocolates and Ice Cream of the Gods range, which is available exclusively at select sites. Angus Thirlwell, chief executive and co-founder of Hotel Chocolat, said: “The area is perfect for our target customer and this destination is a great location for our brand.” Laura Wilson-Brown, head of asset management UK at CBRE Global Investors, added: “Hotel Chocolat will add another dimension to the eclectic offer at Angel Central. We acquired the unit in April as part of our wider investment plans in the area and have been working hard to secure a brand that will align with the attractive offer provided by our tenants.” CBRE and CWM acted for Angel Central. HDH represented Hotel Chocolat.

Lake District’s first aparthotel opens in Windermere: The Lake District’s first aparthotel has opened in Windermere. The 21-room Kotel in Lake Road is the brainchild of father and son Graham and Edward Kennedy, who have transformed a former Christian centre following a 12-month project. The rooms and suites can accommodate six people and feature kitchenettes, king-size beds, free Wi-Fi and 40-inch televisions. Edward Kennedy said: “In creating Kotel we have brought something different to the Lakes. We were keen to preserve the heritage of this beautiful building. We retained many original features and like to think of Kotel as boutique city chic in beautiful surroundings!”

Papa John’s brands UK delivery fleet: Papa John’s has branded its UK delivery fleet of 28 trucks for the first time. The lorries, which transport fresh pizza dough from Papa John’s factory in Milton Keynes to more than 400 stores across the UK, use an average of 27 routes, making two deliveries per week to each store. Phil Gaffer, franchise sales and business development manager, said: “Papa John’s continues to expand rapidly in the UK and it’s great to see the brand en-route to stores across the country. Our logistics supplier has focused on optimising delivery schedules using bespoke route planning software, which considers the average time routes take at certain times of the day. Our transport vehicles and optimised delivery schedule are another example of how we are always working hard to improve Papa John’s infrastructure on behalf of our franchisees.”

Halewood opens rum distillery and bar at former Jamie’s Italian in Bristol: Halewood Wine and Spirits has opened a rum distillery and bar in Bristol. The Bristol And Bath Rum Distillery has launched in the former Jamie’s Italian in Park Street, which closed in March 2018. The 7,500 square foot venue spans four floors with table service on the second floor. It houses a 500-litre still producing Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum and offers 150 varieties of rum from 50 countries. The venue also houses a rum school in which groups of up to 40 people can enjoy rum-tasting and cocktail masterclasses, while the bar opens daily with food on offer throughout the day. General manager Chris Hotson told Bristol Live: “The city has a rich rum heritage.”

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