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Fri 10th Jan 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

UK coffee market growth to regain momentum in 2020 as major brands launch new channels: Growth of the UK coffee shop market is expected to regain momentum in 2020, with the landscape transforming further as major brands launch new channels. Allegra World Coffee Portal’s Project Cafe UK 2020 report showed sales grew 4.2% to reach £4.5bn in 2019 but were down 7% on 2018. The branded coffee shop segment grew 0.9% to 8,222 outlets, adding only 70 net stores in the year amid Brexit uncertainty and tough high-street trading. The £10.5bn UK coffee shop market comprises 25,892 sites across the branded, independent and non-specialist segments, representing 1.6% annual growth. The report forecasts the UK branded coffee shop segment will exceed 9,400 outlets by the end of 2024 – a five-year compound annual growth rate of 2.7%. The coffee-focused sub-segment, which includes Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero, is predicted to exceed 6,000 outlets by the end of 2024 (compound annual growth rate of 2.4%). The food-focused sub-segment, which is led by Greggs, Pret A Manger and Krispy Kreme, is forecast to exceed 3,300 outlets (compound annual growth rate of 3.4%). The report said greater clarity on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union and consummation of major mergers and acquisitions activity including Coca-Cola’s purchase of Costa Coffee and Causeway Capital’s rebuilding of the Patisserie Valerie brand, would contribute to increased investment and outlet growth in 2020. Growth is also expected across new channels, including drive-thru, ready to drink and non-specialist locations. Despite market turbulence and a more cautious approach to growth among the UK’s branded coffee chains, two-fifths (40%) of leaders reported a 5%-plus trading uplift in 2019, up 9% on 2018. The cost of property, labour and the impact of Brexit were cited as the top challenges coffee shops face, with almost three-fifths (56%) seeing plenty of growth potential for branded cafe chains in the UK. One-third expect improved trading conditions during the next 12 months – up 5% on 2018. High operational costs and reduced footfall has led many branded coffee chains to raise quality, diversify menus and focus on customer retention over outlet expansion. Major brands will launch formats such as travel kiosks, drive-thrus and specialised sub-brands. Environmental concerns were cited by leaders as the most important consumer trend affecting the market. Allegra Group chief executive and founder Jeffrey Young said: “We expect outlet growth to regain momentum in the next two to three years and forecast better times for those operators that can capitalise on the opportunities and adapt to the challenges in what will remain a highly competitive market.”

Industry News:

Propel links up with John Gaunt & Partners to launch monthly legal briefing: Propel has partnered with leading licensing solicitor John Gaunt & Partners to launch a monthly legal briefing. The first piece will be sent to all Propel subscribers on Wednesday (15 January) at 3pm and subsequently on the second Wednesday of each month. The briefing will provide insights and comment from John Gaunt & Partners’ sector-leading team to help operators run better and more profitable businesses from a licensing perspective. It will also offer opinions on licensing and legal hot topics that are having an impact on the sector. Michelle Hazlewood, partner at John Gaunt & Partners, said: “We are thrilled to join forces with Propel as part of this new agreement. The licensing landscape promises to be both interesting and challenging for operators over the coming year and our aim is to offer ongoing insights and advice that help Propel’s audience chart a course for their businesses and make 2020 a successful year.” John Gaunt & Partners is Propel’s new legal partner and will have a presence at this year’s Multi Club events.

Mark Wingett to explore David Campbell’s departure from Bill’s in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will explore David Campbell’s departure from Bill’s in his latest Propel Premium column, which will be sent to subscribers at 5pm on Friday (10 January). He will also look at the year ahead and some of the star performers during the past decade. Meanwhile, Premium Diary will look at the latest industry rumbles and rumours. 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 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

Pubs and takeaways enjoy spending boost in December as consumer confidence starts to rise: Consumer spending in pubs and takeaways provided a bright spark amid a generally gloomy December, recording 11.7% and 12.5% rises, according to the latest Barclaycard data. Combined spending on eating and drinking increased 9.7% year-on-year as Brits enjoyed themselves during the festive period but restaurants suffered a 2.6% decline. Data from Barclaycard, which sees almost half the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals spending on essentials fell 0.9% year-on-year in December but non-essential spending grew 1.8%. Entertainment was also a bright spot, with spend rising 5.5% bolstered by a rise in cinema sales of 19.0% as crowds flocked to watch the latest Star Wars and Frozen films. Digital content and subscription services also continued to enjoy strong growth, rising 14.7%. Consumer spending saw only 1.0% year-on-year growth in December, representing a decline in real terms accounting for inflation. However, following the general election consumers showed renewed confidence in the UK economy, with more than two-fifths (41%) feeling upbeat – up ten percentage points on November and the highest level in 2019. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (70%) of UK consumers remain upbeat about their household finances. Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “Consumer confidence is finally improving after a long period of political uncertainty. This optimism hasn’t translated into high street sales yet but spending on experiences continues to grow, with Brits enjoying box-office hits and trips to the pub. While consumers remain reluctant to spend on big-ticket items, the mood seems to be changing.”

More than 200 apprentices to showcase industry skills at House of Commons: More than 200 hospitality apprentices are set to showcase their skills at the House of Commons during National Apprenticeship Week. The event, which is in its fourth year, will see apprentices from companies including Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s, Greene King, Beds and Bars, The Deltic Group and Stonegate Pub Company meet MPs, ministers and government officials on Tuesday, 4 February to discuss their careers and opportunities available in the sector. Keith Knowles, chairman of Perception Group, which organises the event, said: “Hospitality is unique in the UK job market – we have a huge range of opportunities available, from the kitchen to HR, marketing and finance. On top of this, companies in the sector are dedicated to training and developing their people, uplifting employees and encouraging career progression. This is an industry where it’s not unusual to start at grass roots on minimum wage and progress to senior management positions – and there are many examples of industry leaders who have done just that.”

Company News:

CMA reveals 42 pubs Stonegate will sell to seal £3bn Ei Group deal: The list of 42 pubs Stonegate has agreed to sell to get Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approval for its £3bn acquisition of Ei Group has been revealed. The 30 freehold and 12 leasehold sites consist of 32 Ei Group-owned properties and ten Stonegate. The CMA has said it views the 42 pubs as saleable, while the move addresses competition concerns. It added the pubs, which are being marketed by CBRE, should be divested in a maximum of three packages unless otherwise agreed in writing by the CMA. The Ei Group pubs are The Old Ford in Ash Vale, Surrey (freehold); The Anchor Inn in Benfleet, Essex (freehold); The New Inn in Erdington, West Midlands (freehold); the Red Lion in Erdington, West Midlands (freehold); The Bay Horse in Fulford, North Yorkshire (freehold); The Plough in Fulford, North Yorkshire (freehold); The Rylston in Fulham, south west London (freehold); Barca in Gosforth, Tyne and Wear (freehold); the Blacksmiths Arms in Gosforth, Tyne and Wear (freehold); Home Bar & Kitchen in Ickenham, west London (freehold); The Hyde Arms in Edmonton, north London (freehold); Railway Tavern in Edmonton, north London (leasehold); Fishermans Rest in Bedwas, Monmouth (freehold); The White Hart in Tongham, Surrey (freehold); The Clarence in Fulham, south west London (freehold); The Colton Arms in West Kensington, west London (leasehold); The Cumberland Arms in Hammersmith, west London (leasehold); The Elm in Fulham, south west London (freehold); the Old Oak in West Kensington, west London (freehold); Bar Italia in Uxbridge, west London (freehold); The Beehive in Birkenhead, Merseyside (freehold); Beeswing Ale House in York, North Yorkshire (freehold); Caerphilly Cwtch in Caerphilly, Gwent (freehold); The Garden Farm in Chester-Le-Street, County Durham (leasehold); Imperial Tavern in Birkenhead, Merseyside (freehold); Masons Arms in Caerphilly, Gwent (freehold); Old Packet House in Altrincham, Greater Manchester (freehold); Prenton Park in Birkenhead, Merseyside (freehold); The Station Inn in Caerphilly, Gwent (freehold); The Swan in Wickford, Essex (freehold); The Antelope in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (freehold); and Three Tuns in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (freehold). The Stonegate sites are Slug and Lettuce in Beckenham, south east London (leasehold); Chiltern Taps in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (leasehold); The Bull in Barming, Kent (leasehold); The Occasional Half in Palmers Green, north London (leasehold); Bird In Hand in Forest Hill, south east London (leasehold); The Gate House in Tonbridge, Kent (leasehold); The Goose in Fulham, south west London (freehold); The Redback in Fulham, south west London (leasehold); The Dam Inn in Wakefield, West Yorkshire (freehold) and The Elmbridge Arms in Weybridge, Surrey (leasehold).

TRG appoints Mark Chambers as chief executive of leisure brands: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has appointed Mark Chambers to the new position of chief executive of its leisure brands. Chambers brings a wealth of experience in customer-led, multi-site businesses and is currently managing director of GVC Group’s retail business, responsible for an estate of 3,500 shops. Chambers will have responsibility for all TRG’s leisure brands, including Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito, and will start with the business in March. His appointment is part of a simplification of the team that reports to group chief executive Andy Hornby, which also comprises group chief financial officer Kirk Davis, Wagamama chief executive Emma Woods, pubs business boss Mary Willcock, concessions managing director Nick Ayerst and delivery managing director Nick Shelmerdine.

Goodbody – M&B’s first-quarter trading update ‘encouraging for sector’: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has said the first-quarter trading update from Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) will be “encouraging for the sector at large”. He said: “M&B’s trading update demonstrates impressive growth on growth. Like-for-like sales growth for the first 14 weeks of the year to 4 January is up 2.6%, with food up 3.0% and drink 1.8%. Trading over the key Christmas period was up more than 5%, which is a good result given growth rates in excess of 12% last year. The results are proof management continues to perform very well operationally. A myriad of incremental initiatives and high levels of investment in its estate are combining to deliver consistent sales growth. The company is the first of the bigger players to report on the festive period and the update showing more than 5% growth will be encouraging to the sector at large. The clouds that hung over October and November due to wider macroeconomic challenges seem to have cleared, with consumers willing to go out and spend in December – hinting sunnier skies may lie ahead.” Barclays leisure analyst Richard Taylor added: “We have little context thus far as to how good this statement is in a sector context but, with time, these results may appear better than they first appear. Comparables were admittedly very tough. Barclays’ like-for-like sales assumption for FY20 is currently 2%. Given the re-rating in M&B during 2019, we believe investors may have been hoping for stronger trading, albeit we note the shares have been weak year to date.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen reports 7% rise in festive like-for-like food and drink sales: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the 22-strong brewpub group, has reported a 7% year-on-year rise in like-for-like sales for food and drink during the Christmas and New Year period. Like-for-like pre-booked party covers were up 14% from the previous year as the company benefited from offering a flexible buffet package alongside the traditional three-course meal. Brewhouse & Kitchen said the move helped broaden the offer’s appeal and gave party bookers more options across menus and price points. The team also reported a significant rise in companies booking Christmas parties in January. Reinforcing the consumer shift towards “experience” rather than “material” gifts, the group reported a 50% like-for-like increase in gift card sales during the festive period, with its brewery experience day the biggest seller. The company said gift cards would be predominantly redeemed in the first quarter of this year, bolstering sales during what is traditionally a slower trading period. Brewhouse & Kitchen also reported sales of its overall experiences grew 22% in 2019 compared with the previous year. Chief executive Kris Gumbrell said: “These are a robust set of results. The addition of more flexible Christmas party options and experience-led gifts have added more strings to our bow. We plan to build on this success by further developing the experience arm of our business during the next 12 months and beyond.” Last month Brewhouse & Kitchen said it would launch a “brewtel” concept by adding rooms to its estate. The company plans to add ten bedrooms at a brewpub it’s developing in Worthing, West Sussex, and 17 to its Chester site this year. Brewhouse & Kitchen has identified 72 potential rooms across its 22 sites. 

TGI Friday’s appoints property director: TGI Friday’s UK has continued to reshape its management team by appointing John Sutherland as property director, Propel has learned. Sutherland was previously UK head of property at Virgin Active for almost nine years and most recently property director at Babylon Health. Earlier this week Propel revealed TGI had appointed Tom Sycamore as chief operating officer. Sycamore stepped down as operations director for UK and Ireland at PizzaExpress in the summer. Before the end of 2019 Robert Cook-led TGI appointed Dan Staples as chief marketing officer and Suzanne Peacock as people and culture director, while chief strategy officer David Carroll left the business after ten years. Cook joined TGI as chief executive at the beginning of December with a remit to focus on growth through improved customer experience, operational excellence and accelerated evolution of the business.

Fortnum & Mason reports Christmas restaurant sales up 15% as hospitality division ‘increases importance’: Fortnum & Mason, the London department store that has expanded to operate branches in travel hubs such as St Pancras and Heathrow, has reported restaurant sales grew 15% during the five weeks to 29 December 2019. Like-for-like restaurant sales rose 8% as more customers engaged in dining out experiences. Christmas sales at 45 Jermyn St increased 13%, with a 28% increase in sharing dishes at the restaurant. Sales of the Christmas menu at The Gallery Restaurant in Piccadilly increased 23%, while sales of afternoon tea during Christmas rose by more than 10% and private dining grew 20%. The company said the hospitality division was “increasing its importance and contribution to the growth and evolution of the Fortnum’s brand”. The performance of its hospitality division helped Fortnum & Mason grow overall sales 15% during the period, and 13% on a like-for-like basis. All sales channels delivered growth, with particularly strong results online. Chief executive Ewan Venters said: “We understand it is our duty and privilege to keep innovating and delighting our customers all year round, especially at Christmas, with the quality of our produce and with the highest levels of service.”

Honest Burgers strengthens London estate with Covent Garden site: Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers has strengthened its central London estate by securing a site in Covent Garden. Propel has learned the company, which was founded by Tom Barton and Philip Eeles, is to take over the Simurgh restaurant in Garrick Street for what will be the brand’s 38th site. It will offer 45 covers, while the group is also in talks on a site in St Paul’s for an opening later this year. Honest Burgers opened a venue at the former Gow’s restaurant site in Old Broad Street in November, following launches in Manchester, Liverpool, London Bridge and Cardiff in 2019. The Sunday Times reported in November that Honest Burgers had held meetings with potential investors including private equity firm TriSpan to fund its next stage of expansion. Sales at Honest rose 38% to £31m in the year to the end of January 2019, while pre-tax profits jumped 22% to £873,266. In 2015, Honest sold a 50% stake to Soho House and Leon investor Active Private Equity for £7m.

Urban Village Pubs reports like-for-likes up 12.5% in current financial year and ‘excellent’ festive period, exchanging on two sites: Urban Village Pubs has reported like-for-like sales growth of 12.5% for the 39 weeks to the end of December. The company, which aims to take the best characteristics of village pubs and blend them with the environment of an urban pub, enjoyed an “excellent” festive season, with like-for-likes up 13.1% for the five-week December period. Established in summer 2017, the business has seven sites having acquired three pubs in 2019 and expects to exchange on two more this month. It is seeking several further acquisition opportunities – predominantly freehold – in the south of England. Co-founder Ian Grundy told Propel: “We are delighted with the performance of the business over the December period, especially comparing against some strong numbers for the prior year. The growth is fantastic recognition of the hard work and great customer service provided by the pub teams, who have worked exceptionally hard to place their pub at the heart of their community.”

Boston Tea Party eyes Dorset debut: All-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party is eyeing its first site in Dorset. The company is looking to open an outlet in the Westbourne area of Bournemouth. Boston Tea Party has applied to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to take over a disused NatWest branch in Poole Road, creating 25 jobs. If approved, the site would open from 7am to 8pm daily. An outdoor area at the rear would also be created, reports the Daily Echo. The building has remained empty since NatWest closed the branch in October 2017. Boston Tea Party operates 24 outlets across the south west and west of England.

Signature Group reports 7% like-for-like sales increase in December: Edinburgh-based Signature Group has reported a 7% increase in like-for-like sales in December. The company, which is owned by Nic Wood and operates 21 sites in Scotland, saw the rise in seasonal sales despite opting to close all its venues on Christmas Day. In 2019 the company opened its largest venue to date for its Cold Town Beer brewhouse brand – Cold Town House in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket – while this year Signature has already transformed a bank branch at Holy Corner in Edinburgh into McLaren’s On The Corner, which features a bar and all-day dining. Director of sales and marketing Louise MacLean said: “We know what our customers want at Christmas and go out of our way to ensure every Signature property is a festive destination. This means value-for-money menus, fun festive drinks, venues that look the part and staff who get into the festive spirit. However, it’s important to us we give our hard-working staff Christmas Day off to spend with their families – after all we’re a family business. We’re constantly looking for new opportunities and exciting spaces but each venue needs to fit our criteria – offering quality and style that delivers a great experience for customers and staff alike.” In 2018, Signature Pubs paid £8.4m to acquire seven sites from bar and restaurant operator Speratus Group.

Go Ape eyes growth after multimillion-pound refinancing deal: The UK arm of high-ropes adventure course operator Go Ape is targeting growth after sealing a multimillion-pound refinance deal. Adventure Forest, which trades as Go Ape, is behind 71 activity sites in the UK and has refinanced its existing facilities with Clydesdale Bank. The four-year facility will support the company’s investment plans. The refinance was revealed within Adventure Forest’s results for the year to 31 December 2018, in which turnover fell from £24m to £20.8m despite a 1% rise in visitor numbers. Go Ape said this reflected a change in the overall activity mix towards its lower-priced Tree Top Adventure and Nets Kingdom activities. Profit before tax was down slightly from £1.8m to £1.5m. During the year the company opened sites in Hull and Leeds and added activities at some existing locations. Go Ape said its strategy continued to be on investing in existing sites, identifying new locations where it had no presence and introducing more adventure activities. The company launched Nets Kingdom in 2017 and Axe Throwing last year, with new activities proposed for 2020. The group will also continue to develop and invest in its US business, which currently has 15 sites and where a new investor and chief executive was brought on board last year to drive growth.

Parogon Group reports 29% growth in fourth quarter following ‘strong’ Christmas: Staffordshire-based Parogon Group has reported turnover in its fourth quarter grew 29% to £4.46m boosted by the opening of its seventh site – The Red House in Lilleshall. Christmas trade was “strong”, with the company reporting sales of £1.9m for December against £1.48m in 2018. Like-for-like sales excluding the new site were 5.9%. Managing director Richard Colclough said: “With a heavy reliance from the sector on December profits contributing to the overall annual performance, we are pleased to report an excellent trading period. Two of our sites showed double-digit year-on-year growth and with a total of 66,000 covers it was a record month for the group. Close to 30% growth across the sites for the month has meant we’ve exceeded our budget forecasts and the underlying organic increase from existing sites of 5.9% is particularly encouraging for the year ahead.” Parogon Group will begin work on its eighth site – The Broughton Arms, near Crewe – at the end of the month with a projected opening in August. Colclough added: “We are seeking quality sites to continue our expansion, broaden our geographical coverage and build on the success we’ve had to date.”

South London restaurants join Elephant Park line-up: Two south London restaurants have signed to open at Elephant Park, the £2.3bn regeneration project being delivered by Lendlease and Southwark Council. Ecuadorian restaurant Miko’s will move from the Elephant & Castle shopping centre into a 1,200 square foot space at 17 Sayer Street. Meanwhile, Lebanese concept Bayroot will add to its Camberwell site by opening a 620 square foot restaurant at 15A Sayer Street. Both restaurants are due to launch in the spring and will join recent openings by Ethiopian and vegan eatery Beza, Japanese tonkotsu specialist Koi Ramen Bar, and Caribbean restaurant Tasty Jerk. Pan-Asian operator Pot & Rice is set to launch later this month. Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, said: “Having local businesses at Elephant Park has always been one of our key objectives.” Nash Bond, CF Commercial and Shelley Sandzer represented Lendlease.

Former Galvin chef to turn supper club into permanent Hackney restaurant next week: Gabriel Waterhouse, former chef at Galvin Brothers’ La Chapelle, is to turn his east London supper club, Water House Project, into a permanent restaurant. The 32-cover venue will launch in Mare Street, Hackney, on Saturday, 18 January continuing Waterhouse’s ethos of “making high-end food accessible and serving it without stuffiness”. The venue will offer a seasonally changing nine-course menu with six paired wines. The winter menu will include dishes such as pumpkin with goat’s curd and pickled walnut puree, and St Austell mussels with fermented artichoke. The chef started The Water House Project supper club in 2015.

Café Rouge to launch cheese-themed hotel suite: Casual Dining Group brand Café Rouge is to launch the world’s first cheese-themed hotel suite, in Camden, north London. The Cheese Suite will open from Wednesday, 29 January to Thursday, 6 February featuring cheese-themed furniture, wallpaper, cushions and throws. Guests will be able to take selfies in front of giant cheese installations before turning in for the night beneath cheese-themed bedding. Accommodation is self-catering so the suite will offer cheese-themed cookbooks or a cheese delivery service. Stays are limited to one night and are free, with guests encouraged to donate to the Prince’s Trust. Café Rouge is launching the suite to promote its new “cheesy menu”. Café Rouge head of marketing Jacqueline Fletcher told the Daily Mail: “We know there’s a hunger for cheese-based dishes after serving more than 20,000 cheese afternoon teas since 2018.”

Yorkshire-based operator opens second site: Yorkshire-based operator Nick Westwell has opened his second site. Westwell, who owns Brooklands Bar in Batley, has acquired the lease of The Bull Bar & Kitchen in Halifax in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. Westwell has transformed the building in Bull Green into Origin Party Bar, which has video DJ software and 16 television screens. He said: “We have been working diligently behind the scenes to create a stunning venue that’s among the most ambitious, inclusive and entertaining in the area.”

Benito’s Hat partners with Meatless Farm for plant-based meatballs: Mexican restaurant brand Benito’s Hat has partnered with Meatless Farm to add plant-based meatballs to the menu at its eight sites. Mexican Albondigas Meatball Soup will launch this month featuring the British supplier’s pea protein product in its first foray into the food to go market. The meatless meatballs will join carrots, potatoes, courgettes, coriander and jalapeños in a chilli broth. Benito’s Hat chief executive Mike Pearson said: “It is important we answer consumer demand for healthy, vegan-friendly on-the-go options.” In September, Pearson told Propel the Benito’s Hat core business had “real potential” after the Calculus Capital-backed company appointed CBW to assess its options, resulting in the board’s decision to pursue a CVA. The CVA received support from 93% of creditors, which the company said was testament to their “belief in our plan”. Ben Fordham and Felipe Fuentes Cruz founded Benito’s Hat in London in 2008. Fordham stepped back from the business at the end of 2017.

AB InBev commits to 100% renewable energy for brewing in western Europe: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has signed the “biggest pan-European corporate solar power deal” in history, which will see the company use 100% renewable electricity to brew its beer. The announcement follows a deal with global renewable energy developer BayWa. The ten-year agreement will see two solar farms built in Spain to supply power to AB InBev’s 14 breweries in western Europe. Until the new capacity comes online in March 2022, BayWa will provide AB InBev with power from its wind farm in Zaragoza, Spain. Once all its beer brewed in the region is produced renewably, AB InBev’s brands will feature a new symbol on its packaging. Jason Warner, zone president for Europe at AB InBev, said: “As we welcome the new European Green Deal we ask our customers, colleagues, business partners and fellow companies to join us in shifting towards renewable power. We are making our 100% renewable electricity symbol available for any brands produced with renewables. This symbol is about driving positive change in what people buy in their weekly shop, order at the bar or drink with friends.”

Cheshire-based coffee shop operator opens second site: Cheshire-based coffee shop operator Andrew Massey has opened his second site. Massey has brought his The Coffee Tree concept to Tytherington Business Village in Macclesfield, which is owned by Orbit Developments. The Coffee Tree joins fellow tenants that include Subway and Whitbread-owned Premier Inn. Massey, who also operates a site in Bollington, said: “I have been looking for the right place to open a second shop for some time.”

Hope Street Hotel reveals expansion details: Liverpool-based operator Hope Street Hotel has revealed more details of the expansion of its eponymous boutique hotel. The venue is being extended into the grade II-listed former Royal School For The Blind next door. The development will add 62 rooms including 15 suites, a gym and a spa offering two swimming pools. The venue will also house Liverpool’s first hotel cinema, which will offer 40 seats and its own bar. Meanwhile, a fifth-floor events space will feature two terraces, with one overlooking the city centre. The new look will include pine beams, pink Cheshire brick walls, oak floors, cast-iron pillars and picture windows. Owner Dave Brewitt said: “Threading a new eight-storey building over, under and alongside the listed former Royal School For The Blind and linking it to the existing hotel has been a mammoth 3D jigsaw – all done while keeping the hotel open. Our aim is to remain at the forefront of Liverpool’s hotel offer.” Hope Street Hotel includes The London Carriage Works restaurant, while the company is due to open sister site School Lane Hotel at Liverpool ONE this year in a joint venture with YPG Developments.

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