Story of the Day:
Rarebreed Dining to open fourth site as it launches seafood concept: Restaurant company Rarebreed Dining will open its fourth site early next year by launching a concept that focuses on seafood, Propel has learned. The company has acquired The British Volunteer in Waverley Road in Weybridge, Surrey, from an independent operator and will relaunch it as 80-cover restaurant The Waverley Inn in February. The venue will feature an open-plan dining room, gin bar, a garden room with a chef’s table and a 50-seater terrace. The property will also house the group’s head office. Unlike its sister sites, The Waverley Inn will focus predominantly on seafood cooked over an open flame with a fresh fish counter but, in keeping with Rarebreed tradition, larger sharing steaks cut from its in-house butchery will be available as daily specials. The company launched The Corn Stores in Reading and an associated membership scheme in December 2018 to join sister sites The Shurlock Inn, also in Berkshire, and The Plough Inn in Cobham, Surrey. The fourth site represents the completion of phase one of Rarebreed’s growth strategy and managing director Jordan Hallows told Propel that 2020 would be the “most exciting year in our journey so far”. He added: “Because Weybridge is reasonably close to Cobham, we wanted to offer something different – hence the decision to be seafood-focused. This stunning venue reinforces our core company values to bring our bold and energetic concept to life. We are extremely excited to bring our vision to Weybridge.” Hallows added the group was currently trading “very well, with all three sites seeing year-on-year growth”. He added: “The Corn Stores is trading above expectations and, overall, the group continues to grow profitably.” Fleurets acted for Rarebreed Dining on its acquisition of The British Volunteer.
Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2020 open for bookings:
Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its third year, with tickets now on sale. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality and aims to build a community, promote idea sharing, recognise talent, and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, which is the centrepiece of the January event series and takes place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The event will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, market insights, technology and digital developments, building strong links between marketing and operations, embedding a brand throughout a hospitality business, and future trends. It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams as well as senior executives and investors who want to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. The event will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs from companies such as The Restaurant Group, Carluccio’s, Wagamama, Pizza Hut Restaurants UK, Bill’s, Just Eat, Ego Restaurants, London Union, Bistrot Pierre, Dishoom, Gusto, Honest Burgers and Puttshack.
For the full agenda, click here. Tickets for operators for the two days are £575 plus VAT and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing email@example.com
Propel Premium subscribers to receive Andy Laurillard video as latest in exclusive series on how to succeed in the casual dining market:
Propel Premium subscribers will receive their latest video on Monday (25 November) as part of a series in which some of the sector’s top casual dining operators talk about their progress in a challenging market. The videos feature a wide spectrum of company leaders and entrepreneurs talking about the strategies they have put in place to make sure their businesses have been able to survive, thrive, evolve or pivot. The latest video features Andy Laurillard, co-founder of Giggling Squid,
on how the Thai brand’s trading model is proving successful in the regions, its expansion strategy, its potential and the lessons he continues to learn. He also reveals details of the company’s pricing strategy. Videos will be sent out each day at 5pm and 2pm on a Friday. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill’s, Cote, Franco Manca, Honest Burgers and Wagamama serve UK’s ‘top dishes’: Bill’s, which is backed by Richard Caring; French brasserie Cote; Fulham Shore-owned pizza concept Franco Manca; Active Partners-backed chain Honest Burgers; and The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama offer the UK's favourite dishes, according to a new survey. The restaurants topped the poll in a survey of 90,000 opinions by dish ratings app TopDish. Out of a maximum of five stars, the restaurant chains saw their dishes given a rating of four or five by more than 90% of diners. Bill’s chicken green curry saw 93.4% of those surveyed rate it four or five. Meanwhile, just 1% gave Franco Manca’s chorizo and mozzarella pizza only one or two stars, while Wagamama’s Raisukaree curry achieved the highest overall proportion of five stars, at 65%. Honest Burgers' Tribute Burger saw 90.8% rate it four or five stars and 91.1% did the same for Cote’s ten-ounce rib-eye steak. TopDish founder Gareth Hughes said: “These restaurants should be applauded for the quality of their dishes. The vast majority of their customers are very happy with the food they’ve been served.”
UKHospitality – Conservative manifesto pledges can start to unleash power of industry: UKHospitality has said Conservative manifesto pledges can start to unleash the power of the industry. The trade body has long campaigned for business rates reform, for measures to increase take home pay and for upskilling the workforce, and so has welcomed Conservative pledges on all three issues. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Employment costs, property taxes and skills are key challenges for hospitality if it is to add yet more economic value and employment to the UK. A fundamental review of business rates is long overdue. A commitment to cut the rates bills is certainly welcome and it is heartening to see pubs and music venues referenced in the context of reliefs – we wait with interest to hear further detail. Alongside previously announced National Insurance contribution changes to improve take home pay, this manifesto also commits to improving the apprenticeship levy system and wider initiatives and funds for upskilling. It seems our messages have been heard. We also welcome the manifesto’s inclusion of community ownership proposals, including for pubs, but the focus must primarily be to create an operating environment that bypasses the need for bail outs for hospitality venues. These are all steps in the right direction but there is much more still to be done to empower hospitality yet further as an economic driver of prosperity, jobs and growth.”
BabaBoom hits £400,000 fund-raising target: Fledgling kebab restaurant concept BabaBoom has hit its £400,000 fund-raising target and is now over-funding. The two-strong London-based concept, which is led by Eve Bugler, embarked on the fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs as it targets becoming the UK’s “leading quality kebab operator with 20 sites by 2025”. The fund-raise, which launched about a fortnight ago, values the business at £3m. The company is targeting sites across London and the south east and seeking revenue in excess of £20m and a valuation of £40m-plus by the end of the financial year ending 2024. The company also reported record sales earlier this month while it is set for strong profitability at its Islington site, which is only 15 months old. Since opening in Battersea Rise in 2016, the business has served more than 170,000 kebabs. With both restaurants in double-digit like-for-like growth and overall company profitability secured, the company said it was raising money to open its third restaurant in a central London location. The concept has been backed by several leading entrepreneurs including Gumtree founder Mike Pennington and Entrepreneur First founder Matt Clifford, alongside industry veterans such as ex-global Nando’s chief executive David Niven and the founders of Las Iguanas, Wahaca, Be At One and Flat Iron.
Alan Yau sets out growth plan for Yamabahce: Wagamama and Hakkasan founder Alan Yau has set out ambitious plans for his Yamabahce concept. The latest Propel Premium Diary noted: “He (Yau) has one eye on the future with regards to one of his new concepts. Yau launched Yamabahçe, the concept centred around Turkish flatbread, or pide, in Marylebone last year. Another site will open in Westfield London in early 2020 and Yau already has an eye on what the future holds for the concept. He told delegates (at the Propel Multi Club Conference) he would like to grow the concept into a £2.5m Ebitda-generating business before looking at an exit or new funding. Certainly one to watch.”
Flat Iron lines up James Street opening, appoints property director: Flat Iron, the “single steak” dining concept backed by private equity firm Piper, is to further strengthen its central London presence, with an opening lined up in Marylebone, Propel has learned. The Jo Fleet-led group, which recently opened its eighth restaurant in Bevis Marks, in the City, is understood to have secured 42-44 James Street, for an opening next year. The site had previously been under offer to Steve Parle’s Pastaio concept. At the same time, Propel understands Flat Iron has appointed Peter Gibson, currently acquisitions and asset manager at Nando’s, as its new property director, as it looks to further build its openings pipeline for next year, which should include its first regional opening. Gibson will join Flat Iron in early January. Flat Iron, in which Tom Byng is a non-executive director, secured £5m of funding from UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises lender ThinCats in January to fund expansion plans.
Five Guys secures former YO! site in Baker Street: Better burger brand Five Guys is to strengthen its London presence with an opening in Baker Street. Five Guys has secured the former YO! site in an off-market deal brokered by agent Restaurant Property. The site measures 2,775 square feet and has an annual rent of £126,000 and a lease that runs until 2024. Neville Mailing, head of property at Five Guys, said: “Baker Street was on our radar due to the high population of tourists, office workers, commuters and students. This site is perfect for our brand. We aim to open in March 2020.” Tom Richards and Guy Marks, surveyors at Restaurant Property, who acted on the deal, added: “Acting on behalf of YO! Sushi, we were able to secure a discreet deal with Five Guys who will be an instant hit in this location.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in 1986, made its UK debut in Covent Garden in 2013 as a joint venture with Sir Charles Dunstone, British founder of Carphone Warehouse. It will open its 100th UK site next month, in St Paul’s in London.
German Doner Kebab heading to Ireland, plans 40 outlets: German Doner Kebab (GDK), the flagship brand of Hero Brands, will expand to Ireland next year. The first restaurant is set to open in Dublin by June in an “iconic location” still subject to negotiations, followed by Belfast, then a roll-out to other cities and large towns. It is part of a plan to have 40 outlets on both sides of the border. Daniel Bunce, GDK managing director for the UK, Ireland and Europe, told the Belfast Telegraph: “We believe expansion into Ireland is the perfect next step for the brand.” Earlier this month GDK reported like-for-like sales had increased 49.6% in the past 12 months. The UK growth plan follows news the brand is expanding into Saudi Arabia. The Ajlan and Brothers Group has signed as master franchisee with a development agreement of 100 stores in the next ten years. Further growth has also been announced in North America with franchises signed in Canada’s Ontario and British Columbia provinces, while negotiations are under way to open outlets in New York’s Manhattan and New Jersey.
Brew by Numbers launches £400,000 crowdfunding campaign for new brewery and taprooms: London-based craft brewer Brew by Numbers has launched a £400,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to move to a new site and add two taprooms to its estate. As well as its Bermondsey brewery, the business runs three taprooms in the area. Brew by Numbers, founded in 2012 and led by Tom Hutchings, is offering 5.41% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £7m. The pitch states: “Our revenue has grown 30% year-on-year on average for the past five years, from £198,000 in 2014 to £1.2m in 2019. In this exciting journey of expansion your support can take Brew by Numbers to the next level. We want to move to a new, larger production site in south east London with a dedicated taproom. We would convert our current brewery in the heart of Bermondsey to a tank bar with pilot kit, serving our beer alongside curated barbecue food. We will invest in brewery equipment to take our beers to the next level and expand our barrel-ageing programme in Peckham. We have many more exciting plans if we overfund.”
McDonald’s opens first motorway services drive-thru in partnership with Roadchef: McDonald’s has opened its first drive-thru at a UK motorway service station in partnership with Roadchef. The drive-thru has launched at the services operator’s site at Junction 61 of the A1(M) in Durham. The drive-thru, which has created 20 jobs, adds to an offer at the services that includes Costa Coffee and a Days Inn hotel. Roadchef chief executive Mark Fox said: “Our team put a lot of time and resources into making our facilities the best they can be for customers.”
BrewDog opens debut Australian taproom, increases cash interest in mini-bond: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its debut taproom in Australia while it has increased the cash interest on offer in its mini-bond. The company has launched DogTap Brisbane at the site of its Australian brewery, which will begin pushing its first beer off the line in January. The Brisbane taproom, which adjoins the brewery on the banks of the Murarrie river, is BrewDog’s 94th bar globally and offers 28 taps of craft beer. The wine list is an all-Aussie line-up, alongside spirits and locally produced soft drinks. This sits alongside BrewDog’s menu of burgers, hotdogs, salad, buffalo wings and bunch. The site is also home to an arcade games area, beer cellar, shop and riverside patio. Meanwhile, BrewDog has increased the cash interest in its mini-bond. The company has launched the offer, which is aiming to raise up to £15m, on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Originally, the 6% interest per annum was paid 3% in cash and 3% in beer, redeemable in its bars or online shop. Now, following investor feedback, BrewDog has decided to change that to 5% in cash and 1% in beer. The bond hit its minimum £500,000 target within 36 hours of launch and so far 794 investors have pledged £1,436,510 with 29 days of the campaign remaining. The bond runs alongside the company’s Equity for Punks crowdfunding campaign, which has so far raised almost £7.2m from almost 35,000 investors. The latest Equity for Punks campaign, which runs until April, had a minimum target of £7m and has a stretch goal of £50m. In total, its six fund-raises to date have raised almost £74.2m from circa 126,000 investors.
Unsecured creditors of Thali Cafe unlikely to receive dividend: Unsecured creditors of Bristol-based Thali Cafe, which operated five sites in the city before going into administration last year, aren’t expected to receive a dividend, a new report has revealed. A progress report by administrators Simon Girling and Danny Dartnell, of BDO, revealed unsecured claims totalling £591,488 have been received to date. Meanwhile secured creditor HSBC, which is owed about £348,000, has so far received £9,307. As previously reported, preferential claims of £10,947 have been settled in full. Thali Cafe, which specialises in Indian street food, operated restaurants in the Southville, Easton, Montpelier, Totterdown and Clifton areas of Bristol. Bristol Thai Company, its Companies House registration, was placed into administration in May last year after the closure of Thali Cafe in Oxford – its only restaurant outside Bristol. Although the brand’s move to Oxford’s George Street was meant to be the first of many future openings nationally, it was hit by delays and a difficult trading environment. Eventually the restaurant’s closure led to the “crystalisation of significant costs” and administrators at BDO were bought in with Thali Cafe director Jim Pizer – its original founder – stepping down. Thali Cafe was bought out of administration in September 2018 by Juggard, which was founded by Thali Cafe kitchen manager Jose Blanco Rodriguez, operations manager Dominika Paulina Sawicka-Harris and Michael Dillon, an investor who owns 75% of the company. The Montpelier site was subsequently bought by its head chef, Ramesh Prasad, in June this year.
Jamaica Blue adds two sites to UK portfolio: Foodco-owned international cafe restaurant brand Jamaica Blue has strengthened its UK presence with two new sites, Propel has learned. The seventh Jamaica Blue in the UK has opened in the Telford Centre in Telford in Shropshire. The 85-cover site is located in the new Fashion Quarter. Meanwhile, the eighth Jamaica Blue will open in early December in The Beacon in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Jamaica Blue was founded in Australia in 1992 and operates more than 160 cafes worldwide. Foodco opened the first Jamaica Blue cafe in the UK in Cambridge in December 2014.
Preston-based operators to open nightclub for third site: Preston-based operators Serena Baxter and Paul Harrison are to open their third site in the city. They will launch nightclub In:Libra on Saturday (30 November) in the former Off The Waffle premises in Friargate. The venue will offer a variety of non-commercial music encompassing disco, house and techno and will operate a no-phone policy. Baxter and Harrison also own cocktail bar Lonely People in Winckley Street and adult bar Room 32 in Guildhall Street. As with Lonely People, they have taken inspiration from their time living in Berlin to bring something different to Preston’s nightlife. Baxter told Blog Preston: “We had been looking for a venue for a while and finally found this one in Friargate, which we think is the perfect intimate space for what we have planned. While Preston has a busy nightlife, the music tends to be more commercial. We have friends who travel to Liverpool and Manchester to find a different style of music and venue. As we believe Preston is moving forward we thought a space where alternative music styles can be heard would be a benefit to the growing nightlife in the city.”
Cardiff-based casual dining and bar operator opens second site in former Deltic Group club in Stourbridge: Cardiff-based casual dining and bar operator Soda Lounge has opened its second site, in Stourbridge. The company has launched the venue in the former Chicago’s premises where aspiring footballer Ryan Passey died in August 2018, reports the Hereford Times. Bosses at Soda Lounge previously said they intended to bring a “casual dining experience to the daytime as well as a vibrant bar to the evening”. They said they were aware of the history at the venue and would “ensure they delivered a safe and welcoming environment”. Chicago’s, which was owned by The Deltic Group, closed in February 2018 after more than 3,500 people signed a petition calling for the club to shut. Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks denied the club was at fault and said at the time it didn’t get the chance to defend its reputation. Kobe Murray, of The Broadway, Dudley, denied murdering 24-year-old Passey and was cleared of murder and manslaughter by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court. Murray told the court he had a knife in his hand and “pushed out” to fend off an attack – accidentally stabbing Passey.
Flight Club opens Islington venue for fourth London site: Social Darts concept Flight Club has opened its fourth London venue, in Islington. The company has launched the site in Upper Street having previously acquired the former Alphabet Bar in Upper Street from Star Pubs & Bars. The 150-capacity venue features four oches and echoes the “nostalgia and warmth of a British pub with a nod to the excitement of the funfair”. Flight Club’s three other London sites are in Bloomsbury, Shoreditch and Victoria, while it also has venues in Birmingham and Manchester. An opening in Leeds is in the pipeline for summer 2020. Meanwhile the team will launch its shuffleboard concept, Electric Shuffle, in Canary Wharf on Friday (29 November). The Flight Club and Electric Shuffle concepts have now been brought under one vehicle – Red Engine.
Tony Macaroni to open at former Frankie & Benny’s site in Irvine: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni is to open a site in Irvine. The company has secured a premises licence from North Ayrshire council to open at a site in the Riverway Retail Park that was formerly occupied by The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s. The new Tony Macaroni restaurant will create 25 jobs while a delivery service will also be on offer, reports the Irvine Times. Tony Macaroni opened its first venue in 2007 and operates 17 venues across Scotland.
Saké bar launches in Covent Garden: Japan-inspired bar Moto has opened in Covent Garden offering independent craft saké and Japanese spirits sourced direct from producers. Moto offers 25 covers and additional seating at the bar, with the name deriving from the fermentation starter crucial in the initial stages of brewing saké. The food menu consists of snacks, while the venue also functions as a retail space with guests able to purchase bottles of all the drinks on offer. Each bottle is accompanied by a tasting card offering suggestions such as food pairing and serving temperature, while Moto also offers saké flights and classes. Moto founders Brandon Chin and Erika Haigh said: “We have created a menu other Japanese-inspired bars will have to work hard to match. We love this historic and diverse industry and we’re really excited to bring it into the mainstream, educating our customers as much as possible through classes and tasting cards.”
New cafe concept launches in City of London: A new cafe concept has launched in the City of London. Hewad Habibullah has opened Tru in Chancery Lane. Alongside coffee and other seasonal drinks, Tru also offers an all-day menu prepared by executive head chef Maurizio Ferraiuolo. Habibullah said: “Tru has been made for people who believe in better when it comes to food, coffee and experience. At the very beginning of this journey we asked ourselves one question, ‘why settle for less?’ Fast forward to now and Tru is the change we wanted to see for ourselves and for those who believe in better. The team is excited to continue pursuing better as we take invaluable customer feedback on board to better our offering.”
Salvi's opens sixth site: Manchester Italian brand Salvi's has opened a sixth site, located in the Northern Quarter after converting a former estate agent's office. The company has two sites in John Dalton Street and a large presence in the Corn Exchange that includes a deli, a restaurant and a bar. The new space, which seats about 50 diners, has been split into two. A small aperitivo bar area has dark green tiling and green velvet seating, while the main restaurant is much brighter and more rustic. It's location is close to Salvi's first and largest site in the Corn Exchange, but the offering has been updated for its new audience and location. There's a new menu developed by owner Maurizio Cecco and head chef Salvatore Angelica, of modern Neapolitan dishes. Cecco said: “Here we're doing more Neapolitan – we're in a different area and targeting different people. It feels good to be expanding again. It's a new challenge for us, but I think the Northern Quarter needs something like this. The Northern Quarter has a few Italian restaurants, which are very good, but none like us that do pizza, pasta, fish, meat. We're excited to see what the response will be. We just want to make sure we're looking the part and doing things right.”
Toyshop-themed bar plans second ‘nostalgic’ site: A toyshop-themed bar is planning to open in Brighton in the former Jamie’s Italian restaurant in The Lanes, Brighton and Hove News has reported. It stated: “The Toy Shop Bar has applied for a licence to sell alcohol, stage live performances and play music until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, until 2am on Thursdays and Sunday, and midnight on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The applicant is listed as Nembali, which is not registered with Companies House. However, another company whose name is an anagram of Nembali – Libamen – has a licence to run a Toy Shop Bar in Putney, London. In that bar, drinks are served in Lego-style cups or dolls house-shaped jugs, and customers can nestle in Wendy houses or drink around table tennis tables. Drinks offers are spelled out using children’s magnetic letters, and the cocktail menu is designed as a board game.” Libamen director Jamie Roberts said its plans are at an early stage, but added: “At the Toy Shop, we invite our guests to leave their troubles at the door and enter a joyful, nostalgic, colourful bubble of fun.” However, Nembali – or Libamen – faces an uphill struggle in getting a licence as Black Lion Street is within the city’s cumulative impact zone, in which new venues have to demonstrate they would not cause alcohol-related harm.
Belfast restaurateur opens second site: Belfast restaurateur Marty Murphy has opened his second site in the city. Murphy, who runs his eponymous venue in Howard Street, has launched Ora Restaurant in Great Victoria Street. The 46-seat venue has opened following a £170,000 investment and features a menu influenced by “global flavours and food concepts”. Murphy said he adopted the name of his new restaurant from the Maori word for “life”. He told the Irish News: “Ora was born from my love of the food experiences I encountered on my travels from Vietnam and South Africa to Amsterdam and New Zealand. I wanted to create a new eating concept for Belfast so the menu is packed with carefully created flavour profiles and combinations in a tapas-style format with distinctive wine pairings.” Philip Green, of First Trust Bank, which has backed the venture, added: “Ora reflects Marty’s passion for food and culture and we’re delighted to help bring his latest culinary vision to life.”
Fuller’s names pub of the year: Fuller’s, the premium pubs and hotels business, has named The Half Moon in Herne Hill, south London, its pub of the year. The pub, run by Matthew Dutson, won the top prize ahead of almost 400 other Fuller’s pubs. The prize for the winning pub comprises a £5,000 holiday, a staff party, an engraved plaque and The Griffin Trophy. Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner said: “The Half Moon is a stunning pub steeped in cultural history and at the heart of its community. Fuller’s acquired the site in 2016 after it was damaged by flooding. With local opposition to Fuller’s plans for the pub we faced some challenges when refurbishing The Half Moon but Matt and his team have worked hard to be a part of the community.” Dutson added: “My team and I have been on quite a journey with The Half Moon so I’d like to thank them and our customers for making my pub a truly special place.”
Broadwick launches 3,000-capacity venue and events space at Westfield London: Broadwick Venues, which operates Printworks London and is a subsidiary of festival specialist Broadwick Live, has launched a 300-capacity events space at Westfield London. The opening has seen the grade-II listed Dimco building brought into public use for the first time. The project is a partnership between Broadwick and shopping centre owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The venue – Exhibition – is based in the former electricity generating station, which featured as the Acme factory in 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Spanning two floors, the 34,000 square foot venue has multiple rooms, relaxation areas and food and drink traders. It sits at the heart of Westfield London’s £600m expansion. Broadwick Venues said earlier this year it was looking to launch a number of events spaces in the UK.