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Thu 24th Oct 2019 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Fuller’s boss – Cotswold Inns & Hotels deal gives us ‘critical mass’ in untapped part of England: Simon Emeny, chief executive of premium pubs and hotels business Fuller’s, has told Propel its £40m deal for Cotswold Inns & Hotels gives the company “critical mass” in an untapped part of the country. Fuller’s has exchanged contracts to buy seven freehold country inns and hotels and eight freehold staff cottages in the Cotswolds, together with two leasehold bars in Birmingham city centre. The deal, which was exclusively revealed by Propel earlier this month, will see Fuller’s acquire The Bay Tree Hotel in Burford; The Bear of Rodborough Hotel, near Stroud; The Close Hotel in Tetbury; The Hare & Hounds Hotel in Westonbirt; The Lamb Inn in Burford; The Manor House Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh and The Swan Hotel in Bibury. Emeny said: “Opportunities to acquire high-quality businesses such as this don't come up very often and we had to take it, even with the economic uncertainty around Brexit. Buying things that enhance a business is a hard thing to do but this acquisition will add real value to our business. I have stayed in all the hotels and I’ve eaten in all of them. We’ve got sites surrounding the Cotswolds – in Oxford and Stratford, for example – but this acquisition gives us critical mass in a new area.” Emeny said there might be scope to add to the circa 200 bedrooms in the Cotswold Inns & Hotels estate in the future but, given the estate had been well invested in, for now it would be “business as usual”. He added: “Founders Michael and Pamela Horton have done a wonderful job and we’re delighted to add this family business to our family.” Emeny said the immediate focus would be integrating Cotswold Inns & Hotels into the business, continuing to invest in its sites and teams, and concentrating on forthcoming openings such as Liverpool Street and Hampshire. In terms of further acquisitions, Emeny said: “The board is keen to continue growing the company but it’s one step at a time.” Emeny branded the continued delay over Brexit as “frustrating” for the sector. He added: “We are three and a half years down the line and still not sure what’s happening. I think everyone has had enough.”

Industry News:

Mark Wingett to look at shape of Whitbread’s pub estate and future of Gail’s in latest Premium column, James Hacon video: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will focus on Whitbread’s pub estate and the future of Gail’s as part of his latest opinion piece, which will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (25 October) at 5pm. He will also look at Fuller’s acquisition of Cotswold Inns & Hotels and the continued rise of sushi. There will also be the latest sector whispers in Premium Diary. Subscribers will also receive a 30-minute video on Friday in which James Hacon, founder of Think Hospitality, gives his views on outstanding foodservice offers around the world based on his travels to 21 countries in the past year. 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 insights editor Mark Wingett. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,500 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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com

UberEats partners with Costcutter to enter UK convenience store sector: Food delivery app UberEats is to enter the UK convenience store market through a new nationwide partnership with Costcutter Supermarkets Group. C-store operators under the convenience store group, which trades under the Costcutter, Mace, Simply Fresh, Kwiksave and Supershop names, said a wide range of products would be available for delivery on the UberEats app, including milk, butter, bread, meal options, soft and alcoholic drinks, and confectionary. The move follows an extensive trial in a number of the group’s stores in London and the south east in which participating retailers saw an average £1,500 monthly boost in sales, the company claimed. Toussaint Wattinne, general manager of UberEats in the UK, said: “Grocery is a massive opportunity and one that complements our offering well. Our ambition is to offer a wide range of food choices in a convenient and fast way.” Costcutter marketing director Sean Russell added: “With 28% of food and groceries now purchased online in the UK, our partnership with UberEats is a great way to reach new customers and demonstrates our continued commitment to helping our independent retailers thrive. We’ve responded to strong demand for real-time delivery and taken the lead in the convenience sector to give our retailers another point of difference in a highly competitive sector.” Earlier this month it was revealed Deliveroo had been working with convenience stores across London. It has also been working with supermarket chains including Sainsbury’s and Co-op.

Brits opt for staycations amid post-Brexit travel concerns: The UK’s tourism industry could be in line for a boost caused by post-Brexit travel concerns, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by The Epicurean Club, an online collection of boutique British inns, pubs and experiences. In particular, the survey of 2,078 respondents found more than two-thirds (69%) of students, who often take gap years abroad, were particularly worried about travel to the EU following Brexit. Generations Y and Z are the most nervous about European travel, with more than half of both generations claiming to be concerned. More than two-fifths (41%) of respondents would be more likely to consider a holiday in the UK post-Brexit, with only 19% claiming Brexit wouldn’t affect their travel plans. Regarding families, more than half (53%) of parents with children aged four and below said they were more likely to look to the UK for a holiday following exit from the European Union. Holidays in the UK have trumped holidays abroad in the past year, with more than three-fifths (62%) of respondents taking one or more staycation in 2019. Without the expense of airfare Brits are looking to spend in other areas when booking a staycation, with location and quality of food and accommodation the most important factors. The south west is set to benefit the most from staycations, with almost one-third (29%) of respondents looking to holiday in the region. Epicurean Club founder Alexander Langlands-Pearse said: “We are noticing an increased desire, particularly in couples, to get away. Where before they would jump on an aircraft, factors including budget and a concern over ease of travel in the wake of Brexit means more people are looking to home for that perfect weekend away.”

Two-thirds of UK diners will spend more for ‘theatre and excitement’ at the table: More than two-thirds (70%) of UK diners would spend more while dining out if the experience included a sense of “theatre and excitement” at their table, according to a survey by guest experience management expert HGEM. A well presented drink or food item that became a talking point would prompt more than one-quarter (28%) of respondents to spend up to £5.00 more, while the same percentage would fork out anything between £7.50 and £12.50 extra. More than half (52%) of respondents want more from their pub or casual dining experience and almost three-fifths (57%) would pay more if they could easily personalise their drink or food experience, for example create their own cocktail. Two-thirds (67%) would also pay between £2.50 and £12.50 more for a tailored “to-go” menu at the end of a meal such as mini-dessert options or a cheese platter. Regarding technology, almost one-third (30%) of respondents would order more if a touchscreen device or app meant avoiding queuing at the bar, with most open to spending between £5 and £12.50 extra, while almost two-fifths (37%) would purchase at least one item from a pet-friendly menu and spend an additional £2.50 (17%) or £5.00 (15%). HGEM founding director Sally Whelan said: “Operators might be doing a great job of engaging customers but adding moments that surprise and delight will help drive loyalty and profitability.”

UK beer, wine and spirits industry now worth £43.1bn: The UK beer, wine and spirits industry is now worth £43.1bn, up 3.2% year-on year, according to William Grant & Sons’ annual drinks report. The Trending 2020 report found the on-trade now accounts for £25.7bn (up 2.9% year-on-year) and the off-trade £17.4bn (up 3.6%). The UK spirits sector is now worth £11.4bn, up 6.3% year-on-year. Gin is now worth more than £2bn in the overall mix and is set to overtake vodka as the biggest category in the sector in 2020 if current growth rates continue. Total premium spirits are now worth £1.66bn, up 16.3% year-on-year, and account for 34.3% of all value growth in the segment during the past year. The report said the boom in the UK’s spirits industry was being led by a continued thirst for flavoured gin and the rising popularity of whisky among younger drinkers, while increasing consumer focus on health and well-being was driving the rise of low and no-alcohol spirits. Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly looking for premium experiences, showcasing the upward trend of premium and luxury brands in key spirits category performance across the on and off-trade. Neil Barker, managing director of William Grant & Sons UK and Ireland, said: “Continued growth in the premium drinks sector reflects an increasing desire to prioritise quality over quantity. People are drinking less but better, seeking authentic, quality brand experiences that deliver against values that are important to them.”

Major chains driving US coffee shop growth but overall market at ‘critical crossroads’: The major chains are driving coffee shop growth in the US but the overall market is at a “critical crossroads” as it continues to slow amid intense competition. Project Cafe USA 2020, Allegra World Coffee Portal’s report on the US coffee shop segment, revealed the $47.5bn market grew 3.3% to reach 37,274 outlets during the past 12 months. Annual sales and outlet growth remained robust, at 4.3% and 3.3% respectively, but growth slowed for the third consecutive year. Coffee-focused chains have driven outlet growth, adding 1,070 stores to reach 29,812 outlets, representing 3.9% sub-segment growth. However, food-focused chains added only 54 net new stores in the past 12 months to reach 7,462 outlets, representing 0.8% growth. The report said competition within the largest cities had encouraged major operators to focus expansion in second-tier locations and less densely populated urban areas. Starbucks is by far the largest US coffee chain, retaining a 40% share of the total coffee shop market with 14,875 outlets, after adding 585 net new stores during the past 12 months. Dunkin’ remains the second largest branded coffee chain with 9,570 outlets, opening 309 net new stores to achieve a 26% market share. JAB Holdings continues to exert significant market influence, operating 4,739 outlets across 15 brands including Panera Bread, Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee. Collectively, Starbucks, Dunkin’ and JAB Holdings-owned brands comprise 78% of the US branded coffee shop segment, a collective increase of 899 outlets compared with 12 months ago. The report forecasts continued growth in the branded coffee shop segment, which is expected to exceed 41,700 outlets by 2024. The coffee-focused sub-segment is anticipated to lead this growth at a compound annual growth rate of 2.7% over the next five years, exceeding 34,100 outlets. Meanwhile, younger consumers are driving growth in speciality coffee, cold brew and digital interaction through mobile apps and online ordering. Allegra founder and chief executive Jeffrey Young said: “The US coffee shop market is at a critical crossroads with rising costs and consumer expectations combined with intense pressure on end-consumer spend. Only the very best brands and sharpest operators will capitalise on growth opportunities in this current market landscape.”

Europe’s hotel industry reports third-quarter growth in all key performance metrics: Europe’s hotel industry has reported year-on-year growth in the three key performance metrics during the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest data from STR. The overall European market saw revpar rise 1.7% year-on-year to €95.95 (£82.96), while average daily rate increased 1.1% to €121.36 and occupancy went up 0.6% to 79.1%. Data for the quarter focused on two cities – Copenhagen and Lisbon. In Copenhagen, revpar fell 0.9% year-on-year to DKK963.03 (£111.49), while occupancy also decreased, 1.3% to 87.7%. However, average daily rate increased 0.4% to DKK1097.62. Copenhagen’s 8.1% year-on-year increase in supply was the largest for any third quarter in STR’s database for the city, while demand also grew at a healthy pace (6.7%), mitigating pressure on occupancy levels. According to Oxford Economics, Copenhagen welcomed a record number of visitors in 2018, with that number set to rise as the city expects to add 5,281 rooms by 2022. Lisbon saw year-on-year falls in all three key metrics in the quarter, with revpar down 3.0% to €108.28, occupancy falling 1.9% to 84.3%, and average daily rate dropping 1.1% to €128.45, its first fall for any quarter since first-quarter 2014.

Company News:

YO! to launch ‘grab ‘n’ perch’ concept: YO!, the Richard Hodgson-led global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, is to make a return to the grab and go market by launching a standalone YO! To Go site in Manchester’s Piccadilly station early next month. Described by the company as a “grab ‘n’ perch” concept, consumers can take away products or enjoy them in-store. The site will also look to ramp up the group’s sustainability credentials and feature sushi trays that use ground-breaking, water-based technology that means they can be processed by any recycling facility. A second site under the standalone format is expected to launch next year in Brunel Square, Bath. The group previously trialled a standalone YO! To Go unit at London’s Charing Cross station but it closed a few years ago. The company is currently extending its YO! To Go trial with Tesco following a two-store pilot, with plans to open counters in up to 40 stores by the end of February. Hodgson told Propel: “Following the work we did on the YO! To Go offer a few years back the range has seen amazing growth with like-for-like to-go sales up 23% last year. We’re excited about trialling this offer in its own dedicated grab ‘n’ perch space in Manchester Piccadilly. Clearly if things go well there’s potential to deploy this in other locations. Together with the roll-out of in-store kiosks in Tesco and our new YO! Kitchen concepts in White City and Dundrum, this demonstrates we continue to test new initiatives as part of our strategy to drive availability and engagement with a wider audience.”

Hawksmoor parent narrows pre-tax losses as it reports turnover and Ebitda boost: Hawksmoor operator Underdog Restaurants has reported group turnover rose to £46.9m for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £43.7m the year before. Underlying group Ebitda was up to £5.7m from £4.8m the previous year. Operating profit rose to £2.6m from £2.3m the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £4.3m, compared with £7.5m the previous year. Turnover from Hawksmoor restaurants rose 8.2% to £42.0m, compared with £38.8m the year before, driven by like-for-like sales growth and the opening of a restaurant in Edinburgh, taking the brand to eight sites. Ebitda for Hawksmoor restaurants increased to £6.0m in the period from £5.5m the previous year. As previously reported, a lease has been signed to open a Hawksmoor restaurant in New York in early 2020. The Foxlow restaurants remained loss-making throughout 2018 and into 2019 and the two remaining sites – in Balham and Clerkenwell – were shut in June. The Foxlow business was placed into creditors’ voluntary liquidation last month. Will Beckett and Hugh Gott founded Hawksmoor in 2006.

Oakman Inns launches trading division: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has launched trading division Ashmore Inns and acquired its first site, The Pointer in Brill, Buckinghamshire. The division will be responsible for the management under contract of a number of pubs where the freeholds remain, for example, as part of family estates. Jack Ashmore, who joined Oakman Inns ten years ago, will oversee the new division. Following the launch of The Pointer, he will add two further pubs to the Ashmore portfolio this week – former Epic Pubs site The Three Locks in Stoke Hammond and The White Swan in Twickenham. Ashmore said: “The transfer to our management control of The Three Locks has been seamless and all staff have transferred over. The pub is in pretty good decorative order having been recently refurbished so we can focus all our attention on familiarising staff with the way we do things.” Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns, added: “Ashmore Inns is going to play a profitable role in the ever-developing Oakman story. Taking on pubs we admire under sensible commercial terms on a managed contract basis ultimately improves the value of the property for the owners as we improve footfall and sales. I’m particularly delighted we’ve acquired the Three Locks as I only live ten minutes away!” Last week 24-strong Oakman Inns reported like-for-like sales up 5.1% for the 13 weeks to 29 September, with total sales increasing 15.7% to £10.9m. Fleurets acted on the Three Locks deal.

Busaba launches brand refresh, appoints marketing director: Busaba, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau, has launched a brand refresh to coincide with its 20th anniversary. The Terry Harrison-led group, which operates 13 sites in the capital, has worked with creative agency Paul Belford to develop a new brand strategy and identity. The move is part of a drive to “re-energise the brand while celebrating its past”. The new identity includes a fresh logo, menus and staff uniform. The full rebrand will be activated over the next year beginning with digital platforms, an advertising campaign and signs outside its London restaurants. Busaba will also launch a full business review that will see changes to restaurant interiors and recipes. The rebrand will be further celebrated next month through a menu that will include a selection of Busaba’s most popular dishes from the past 20 years, including chilli prawn rice (1999), jungle curry (2006) and crab claw po (2010). Harrison told Propel: “We believe it’s a perfect time to re-energise the brand while celebrating our history. The new logo and brand elements reflect the symbols and rituals that have existed from the first Busaba restaurant and live on in every one we’ve opened since. It’s fundamentally about communicating confidently to a modern audience the relevance of Busaba, even more so in today’s hectic, competitive landscape.” Propel also understands the company, which is backed by Muzinich Private Debt, has appointed Neve Rabbou, former global head of marketing at Le Pain Quotidien, as marketing director. Rabbou spent two years at Le Pain and before that was head of marketing at creative agency Cult LDN.

TRG Concessions and Diverse Dining bring Shake Shack to UK airports: The Restaurant Group (TRG) Concessions and Diverse Dining have entered into a partnership to bring Shake Shack to UK airports. The first site will open on Thursday (24 October) in Gatwick’s North Terminal. Shake Shack currently operates ten sites in the UK. Diverse Dining and TRG Concessions, which operates a number of casual dining franchises in the UK’s largest airports, will open a number of Shacks across airports in the UK. TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst said: “We are excited to be working with a brand like Shake Shack and look forward to collaboratively opening our first shack at Gatwick.” Michael Kark, Shake Shack’s chief global licensing officer, added: “We are incredibly proud to be part of the UK’s thriving food scene and are continually humbled by the support of our UK fans. We look forward to expanding on that connection in UK airports.”

Rosa’s Thai confirmed for Manchester: TriSpan-backed Rosa’s Thai Café has confirmed it will add to its fledgling regional estate with an opening in Manchester. The company will launch at the former Handmade Burger Co site in Deansgate in the spring. It will be Rosa’s third regional site following Liverpool and Leeds, with an opening in Birmingham also in the pipeline. Co-founder Saiphin Moore said: “We have spent a long time trying to find the right site to open a Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Manchester and The Old Courthouse felt like the ideal location. We look forward to becoming part of the city’s vibrant food and drink scene and have a lot of plans for this restaurant, which will set it apart from our Rosa’s in London.” The company, which is led by Gavin Adair, will open its 18th site next month at the former Bill’s site in Northcote Road, Clapham. Meanwhile, Gillian Lambden has been confirmed as Rosa’s people director. She stepped down from the same position at Be At One in the summer and has held the same role at Franco Manca and Itsu. Saiphin and Alex Moore opened the first permanent Rosa’s Thai Cafe in London in 2008. It has grown to 15 venues in the capital. P-Three acts for Rosa’s.

Coco Ichibanya secures former Jason Atherton venue for second UK site, eyes further openings: Coco Ichibanya, one of the largest curry house chains in Japan, is to open its second UK site when it replaces Jason Atherton’s Social Wine & Tapas site in Marylebone. Coco Ichibanya, which operates its Japanese-style curry concept at more than 1,400 sites worldwide, will launch at 39 James Street in the next few months. The concept made its UK debut in Great Newport Street, Covent Garden, earlier this year. It is looking to expand into shopping centres and high streets in 2020. Atherton closed Social Wine & Tapas in June after four years of trading. CDG Leisure secured the site for Coco Ichibanya. Davis Coffer Lyons acted in partnership with Dean Gambles & Co on behalf of Social Wine & Tapas.

Shareholder calls for Just Eat to consider Prosus and Takeaway.com offers: Just Eat shareholder Aberdeen Standard Investments has called for the online delivery platform’s board to “explore all available options” and engage with Takeaway.com and Prosus, which have both tabled bids for the company. The investor urged Prosus to increase its offer by at least 20%, saying the current all-cash offer of 710p “significantly undervalues the group”. Prosus made a £4.9bn all-cash offer for Just Eat on Tuesday (22 October), representing a 20% premium to Takeaway.com’s bid, which has been hit by the company’s falling share price. Aberdeen Standard Investments also said the proposed merger between Just Eat and Takeaway.com could be at risk due to German rival Delivery Hero, which Prosus holds a major stake in, suppressing Takeaway.com’s share price through an ongoing open-market share sale. Aberdeen Standard Investments director Frederik Nassauer said: “If the selling pressure continues in the coming weeks we believe the currently proposed merger ratio won’t be sufficiently attractive for Just Eat shareholders and might put the proposed merger at risk.” Activist investor Cat Rock has warned Prosus not to interfere with Takeaway.com’s merger with Just Eat. Cat Rock, which owns shares in Just Eat and Takeaway.com, said the latter’s share price had been hit by Delivery Hero share sales. “It is imperative any entity related to Prosus, including Delivery Hero, immediately cease market actions that interfere with the effective value provided by competing bids for the duration of the offer period,” it said.

PizzaExpress promotes Fenwick to productivity and change director: PizzaExpress, the Hony Capital-backed chain, has promoted regional director Graham Fenwick to the new role of productivity and change director, Propel has learned. Fenwick, who has been with the brand for almost 15 years, has been regional operations director for the past four years, firstly for London and most recently the north and Ireland. He secured the role after an external search. Under the new title he will look at all processes in the company’s circa 470 UK restaurants to understand how it can be “more productive and drive a culture of efficiency”. Propel understands the role is also linked to the company’s Future Express programme, with Fenwick ensuring the brand not only invests in its teams and site design but constantly evolves its operating model. PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley told Propel in August the performance of the initial group of restaurants it had refurbished under the Future Express programme had “exceeded expectations”. Earlier this month PizzaExpress hired adviser Houlihan Lokey ahead of debt talks with creditors. Separately, a group of secured bondholders started working with Perella Weinberg Partners after appointing law firm Latham & Watkins in July. A report at the weekend said hedge funds, including CarVal, Cyrus Capital and distressed debt specialist HIG, were circling the business.

Franco Manca secures former Vital Ingredient site in City of London: Fulham Shore-owned pizza concept Franco Manca, which recently opened its 50th site, in Manchester, is to add to its London estate with an opening in the City. The group has secured the former Vital Ingredient site in Middlesex Street for an opening before the end of the year. In the summer Fulham Shore chairman David Page told Propel he was negotiating on 30 sites for Franco Manca and The Real Greek, with the aim to open ten. As well as 36 Franco Manca sites in London, the brand currently operates 13 outside the capital and one in Italy. In the summer it opened its first site in Scotland, at the Mint Building in South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh. At the same time the pizza brand has been linked with an opening in Glasgow after submitting an application to launch at a former Oddbins site in Mitchell Street. Franco Manca and MeatLiquor, the Scott Collins-led concept, are also believed to be in advanced talks to operate a joint site at the former flagship Jamie’s Italian in Soho. The companies are close to signing a lease on the Denman Street site that would see Franco Manca take over the ground floor and basement and MeatLiquor take the top three floors.

Whitbread expands Cookhouse estate, opening Newcastle Bar + Block: Whitbread is continuing to add sites to its fledgling Cookhouse + Pub and Bar + Block brands. On the former, the company has added a further five venues including an opening this week in Lockyer’s Quay, Plymouth, to take it to 18 sites. It will add a site in Enfield before the year end while one in Keighley is also understood to be in the pipeline. The company had previously converted Brewers Fayre sites to the new brand but the Plymouth and Enfield sites are Table Table conversions. The brand, which Whitbread launched in 2017, aims to reinvent the pub dining experience by combining the “food and service of an all-day casual dining restaurant with the relaxed vibe and affordability of a pub”. The menu features grazers, oven-fired flatbread, grilled dishes, lighter options, brunch, pub classics, Sunday roast and desserts. Cookhouse + Pub also offers rotating specials alongside craft beer, cask ale, cider, and wine and cocktails on tap or by the carafe. Meanwhile, Whitbread will open its 13th Bar + Block site, at the Premier Inn in Newgate Street, Newcastle. The opening will follow the launch of the latest Bar + Block – at the new Premier Inn in Sutton, Surrey, on Friday, 1 November. The all-day, casual dining concept focuses on high-quality steak at affordable prices. Bar + Block sites have opened in Wimbledon, Belfast, Bristol and Winnersh this year. Sutton will be the 12th site to open since the brand launched in Birmingham in 2016. In the summer Whitbread said the Bar + Block brand was set for “considerable growth” in 2020.

Former Ottolenghi chef launches wine bar and kitchen in Peckham: Helen Hall, a former chef at Yotam Ottolenghi’s Rovi restaurant, is to open a neighbourhood wine bar and kitchen in Peckham, south London, Propel has learned. Hall will launch Peckham Cellars at the former Meet District restaurant in Queen’s Road. Peckham Cellars will open on Tuesday, 19 November offering wine, cocktails and food. Hall has extensive experience in the industry including with Columbo Group, where she was responsible for opening Blues Kitchen sites in Shoreditch and Brixton. She left Columbo Group in 2016 to gain experience as a chef including working in the kitchen for Rovi’s opening. Hall was also part of the team behind Accent, which used to operate from the site where Peckham Cellars will be based. MKR Property acted for Peckham Cellars on the deal.

Twisted London to open studio in Market Halls West End: Twisted London, the virtual restaurant brand from social media group Jungle Creations, has announced plans to set up a studio in London’s Market Hall West End, which will be the UK’s largest food hall when it opens in Oxford Circus next month. Twisted, which also operates delivery kitchens across the capital, will open its studio to the public, allowing them to see how its cooking shows are created. Twisted Studio will also offer a 50-cover private dining space suitable for hosting events, supper clubs and workshops. Jungle Creations chief content officer Melissa Chapman said: “Twisted has built a huge audience of passionate fans during the past few years and we’re always working on innovative ways to help our partners connect with that audience.” Simon Anderson, chief creative officer at Market Halls, added: “This ground-breaking crossover between the digital and real worlds will provide a fascinating platform for content and consumer interactions.” Other operators at Market Halls West End will include Pastaio, Roti King, Flank, Breddos Tacos, BaoziInn, Hotbox, CookDaily and Paradise Slice.

Yorkshire-based Domino’s franchisee opens eighth site: Domino’s Pizza franchisee Domino’s Yorkshire has opened its eighth site, in Skipton. Domino’s Yorkshire, which turned over £10m in 2018, launched the venue following a six-figure funding package from HSBC UK. The two-storey, 1,200 square foot takeaway has replaced a delicatessen in Swadford Street and created 25 jobs. Domino’s Yorkshire managing director James Salt told BDaily: “With HSBC UK’s support we’ve been able to buy an existing business and refit and modernise the unit.” Domino’s Yorkshire also operates three stores in Bradford, two in Leeds and two in Wakefield.

Edwardian to open £300m ‘super boutique’ hotel in Leicester Square featuring restaurants, cinemas and rooftop bar: Edwardian Hotels is to open a £300m “super boutique” hotel in London’s Leicester Square featuring restaurants, two cinemas and a rooftop bar. The Londoner is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels, which is behind the development of The May Fair Hotel and a collection of restaurant and bar brands in the capital, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and Peter Street Kitchen. Charles Oak has rejoined Edwardian Hotels London as hotels director to manage the Leicester Square opening, the company’s “most ambitious project in its 40-year history”. The 16-storey hotel will offer 350 bedrooms and take over the space previously occupied by Odeon West End. The site will open in June featuring two Odeon Luxe cinemas and six restaurants. The hotel’s signature restaurant will be housed on the ground floor with a terrace and tavern offering live music. The rooftop will feature a Japanese lounge bar with fire-pit seating. Hotel guests will also have a spa, swimming pool, gym, hair and nail salon, barber shop and two private screening rooms at their disposal.

Printworks Manchester completes transformation to family-friendly destination as two more brands join line-up: Two more leisure and restaurant brands have secured sites at Printworks Manchester as the venue completes its transformation from a late-night location to a family-friendly destination. Having welcomed Treetop Adventure Golf and Escape Reality in 2018, Printworks owner DTZ Investors is now introducing a 12-lane bowling venue from Ten Entertainment Group that will open next year. The move marks the completion of an asset management project to transform 50,000 square feet of unoccupied space into daytime use. Independent restaurant NY By Night recently opened on the ground floor offering wood stove-cooked pizza and craft beer. The Deltic Group also launched all-day restaurant, bar and club concept Eden at the Printworks’ former Tiger Tiger unit in the summer. A DTZ Investors spokesman told The Business Desk: “Since purchasing Printworks in 2017, DTZ has been committed to building on the brand offer to present our customers with a varied mix of national and independent brands that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The introduction of brands such as Tenpin and NY By Night works towards cementing Printworks as an all-day haven of entertainment in the centre of Manchester.”

Thunderbird boss explains why ‘chicken needs to be taken to the next level’ in latest Teddy Talk: Marcel Khan, chief executive of Thunderbird Fried Chicken, explains why chicken needs to be taken to the next level as part of Curtice Brothers’ “Teddy Talks” series. Talking to Mario C Bauer, AmRest brand ambassador and Curtice Brothers co-founder and WhiteSpace partner, Khan also reveals why failing fast and keeping moving is the recipe for success. To see the video, click here

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