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Thu 5th Mar 2020 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Peter Backman – emerging grocery food ecosystem is aligning with restaurant delivery: The rapidly emerging grocery food ecosystem is aligning with restaurant delivery to raise a number of interesting questions in the market, industry analyst Peter Backman has said. In his new white paper, Delivery The Disruptor, he asks whether these ecosystems might merge or if one or more big players might surge ahead to win the battle for consumers? Backman writes: “We are seeing many battles played out among many players in the restaurant delivery ecosystem – but where’s all this going? One direction is consolidation, which we’re seeing in the case of Takeaway.com and Just Eat. Another example is the departure of UberEats from the Indian delivery market – where its operations have been acquired by Zomato – and the investment by Naspers via its Prosus investment vehicle in delivery companies as widespread as Mail.Ru (Russia), Delivery Hero (Germany) and iFood (South America). DoorDash and UberEats were reportedly in merger discussions in mid-2019 and, currently, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is questioning whether the Amazon investment in Deliveroo is the first step in a takeover. Another development surrounds attempts to increase prices. So far the consumer has been relaxed about paying for delivery but how high can these prices go? The aggregator deliverers are finding out. Deliveroo, for example, has started to make a delivery charge on all orders, even from subscribers to its Deliveroo Plus subscription service, which promised “free delivery, all day every day”. There’s clearly a limit to how much consumers will pay. Is it enough to provide the necessary profit or will demand start to fall? Deliveroo is also instituting surge pricing in select areas to raise prices when demand is high but there are downsides, especially if consumers start to believe random price changes are unfair. To me the core question is whether restaurant delivery is the ‘whole’ market it appears to be or part of a much larger ecosystem? It’s possible to get food by going to a shop; have groceries delivered within 24 hours to your home; and get freshly prepared sushi delivered from a supermarket as if it was from a restaurant. What this tells us is there’s a grocery food ecosystem that aligns with the restaurant delivery ecosystem. Are they about to merge? Are the big players in each of the food delivery options (from grocers to full-service restaurants) about to encroach on each other’s spaces in this ecosystem or are new players about to emerge? Who will win?” Propel has launched The Delivery Conference, which is open for bookings. The ground-breaking event takes place at Painters Hall in Little Trinity Lane, London, on Tuesday, 21 April, and will cover all aspects of this fast-growing sector, offering expertise, ideas and insights. Tickets to the event cost £295 for Propel Premium members, £345 for operators and £395 for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com. To view the full speaker list, click here

Industry News:

Mark Wingett to look at investment market and succession plays in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will look at the investment market and succession plays in his latest Propel Premium column, which will be sent to subscribers at 5pm on Friday (6 March). Meanwhile,  Premium Diary will delve into the latest sector rumblings. 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. Propel has launched its new-look Premium Club, where readers can save money by receiving a pair of free tickets to one of four conferences in 2020. Subscribers will be able to choose to use a pair of free tickets to one of the following conferences – The Delivery Conference (Tuesday, 21 April), The Finance and Investment Conference (Thursday, 14 May), The Casual Dining Summit (Monday, 12 October) or The New Concept Conference (Monday, 19 October). The normal cost of two tickets to these events is £490 plus VAT for operators and £690 plus VAT for suppliers. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

UKHospitality welcomes government support for businesses over coronavirus: UKHospitality has welcomed the government’s decision to register covid-19 as “notifiable”, which allows businesses to seek compensation if they are affected by the coronavirus. The trade body said the move was particularly welcome as hospitality and tourism companies were likely to bear the brunt of a downturn in business. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a helpful step by the government and should offset some of the losses hospitality businesses will incur due to the coronavirus. Tourism and hospitality is likely to be hit as people cancel holidays and our members are already reporting a reduction in hotel bookings. Businesses will need to check the terms and conditions of their insurance and make sure their insurance provider has updated their policy to include covid-19. This isn’t going to be a remedy for all businesses but it should help some of those who are already feeling the strain.” As part of the government’s emergency coronavirus legislation, prime minister Boris Johnson also confirmed statutory sick pay would cover people who are self-isolating from work on the first day they have off rather than waiting four days, as they would normally have to do. The moves come as the number of covid-19 cases in the UK rose to 85.

Sector like-for-likes up 4.4% in February: Sector like-for-like sales rose 4.4% in February compared with the previous year, according to S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. According to analysis of more than 1,500 restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and cafes that use S4labour software, drinks sales bolstered the strongest like-for-like growth in February, up 6.1% year-on-year. This contrasted with the 1.3% increase in food sales but S4labour said the figure should be put into context as 2019 saw reasonably strong growth in food sales and a modest increase in drinks sales. Sites outside the capital saw the strongest sales growth, with a 4.5% year-on-year uplift, compared with a 3.3% rise in London. S4labour chief customer officer Sam Wignell said the figures revealed a continuing trend in 2020 that suggested a revival of wet-led pubs outside London and really strong performance from restaurants in the capital. There was an 8.1% year-on-year jump in like-for-like sales for food-orientated business inside the capital and an 8.5% boost for drinks-focused business outside London. Wignell said: “It will be interesting to see how this trend pans out throughout the rest of 2020.”

CAMRA highlights benefits of preferential duty rate on draught beer rather than supermarkets: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has highlighted the benefits of introducing a preferential rate of duty for draught beer. It said the measure, which is in place in Australia, would allow the government to lower tax on beer sold in pubs compared with supermarkets. CAMRA argued this move would encourage people to enjoy a pint in the social, community setting of the pub which would, in turn, encourage responsible alcohol consumption. The research, undertaken by Europe Economics, showed cutting draught beer duty by 5% would create £26.6m of additional spending on draught beer. It also said a 5% reduction in draught beer duty would be cost-beneficial for the Treasury – saving £10m in taxpayers’ money compared with freezing beer, spirit and cider duties in 2016 – and significantly less than cutting duties in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015. A move to specifically support pubs with a preferential rate of duty wasn’t possible under EU legislation but can now be considered as the government plans for its future outside the European Union. CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “A preferential rate of beer duty on draught beer is a radical proposal that would help to save our pubs. This research is an important piece of work that demonstrates how much it would cost for the government to take real action and show its commitment to a great British institution.” Giles Watling MP, who sponsored the launch of the research in Parliament, added: “Pubs are important community assets and we need to do all we can to protect them. Unfortunately, previous freezes in beer duty, while welcome, have also allowed the supermarkets to continue undercutting the pub with cheap alcohol. That was because of single market rules, which equalised rates between pubs and supermarkets. Now we have left the EU I want to change that and differentiate the rate of duty so it finally benefits and supports our pubs.”

Project launches to get youngsters at risk of knife crime off streets and into kitchens: A project has been launched to get young people at risk of knife crime off the streets of London and into kitchens. Knives Against Knives is the brainchild of Ali Dickinson, Bridie Scriven and Jack Walker, who have launched the project after working with the government on other knife crime campaigns. The project will launch a charity cookbook with all funds raised put into cookery training programmes. Walker told Propel: “We believe the hospitality industry can give young people the confidence and opportunities to build positive futures for themselves. We want to show how putting knives in children’s hands can be a force for good with the right training.” The cookbook will feature recipes from chefs and restaurateurs alongside basic knife skills, safety tips, cutting techniques, butchery tutorials and stories about chefs who have used cookery to turn their lives around. Operators to provide recipes so far include Kricket, Rosa’s Thai, HG Walter, Chick ‘n’ Sours and Pastaio as well as chefs Clare Smyth, Chris Galvin, Ben Tish, Ixta Belfrage and Levi Roots. Walker said they aim to publish the book in the winter. Knives Against Knives also plans to work with restaurants to launch mentoring programmes for youngsters in the capital. To donate a recipe or find out more, email yeschef@knife.academy

Company News:

The Restaurant Group ends Sainsbury’s concessions trial: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has ended a trial of operating concessions in a number of Sainsbury’s sites, Propel has learned. Andy Hornby-led TRG launched the trial of two concessions – salad bar concept Grains and Greens, and Lebanese concept Mezze Box, in eight of the retailer’s stores last year. Propel understands at the end of the six-month trial, TRG decided not to continue with the initiative. TRG was following the likes of YO!, Patisserie Valerie, Wasabi, Crussh and Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi in trialling counter concessions in UK supermarkets. Meanwhile, Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has upgraded TRG’s shares from ‘Add’ to ‘Hold’ to reflect the equity-free cash flow yield reaching 16%. This is despite downgrading the profit before tax forecast by another 4% because of falling airport passenger numbers. Jack added: “There are some positives to take away from last week’s prelims, including a solid presentation and strategy, as well as improved disclosure. However, we estimate ex-Wagamama, average Ebitda/site has continued to fall due to a double-digit decline in leisure. We are downgrading profit before tax by another 4% due to falling airport passenger numbers and reducing our target price to 120p (from 145p) to reflect downgrade momentum. However, we are upgrading to ‘Add’ (from ‘Hold’) to reflect the equity-free cash flow yield reaching 16%. TRG’s shares are cheap, in our view, as the company has the assets and institutional backing to survive in one of travel and leisure’s toughest sub-sectors. Its strategy should improve the quality of earnings but, given the pace of the withdrawal from leisure, we expect this transformation to be gradual.”

Jacovides steps down as Megan’s managing director as brand eyes launch outside London: Ryan Jacovides has stepped down as managing director of London-based cafe and deli concept Megan’s as the brand eyes its first opening outside the capital, Propel has learned. Jacovides, former managing director of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and chief operating officer of No 1 Lounges, joined Megan’s, which is owned by Tossed founder Vincent McKevitt, in late 2018. He is also a non-executive director of Finnish street food brand Fafas and Pasture Restaurants, which operates sites in Bristol and Cardiff. His departure from Megan’s comes after the business launched its eighth site recently and first in north London, in Islington Square. It opened its seventh venue earlier this year at the former YO! Sushi site in Kensington High Street. McKevitt told Propel: “Ryan has been with Megan’s from three to seven sites. Megan’s is becoming a bigger beast now and continues to grow fast and has become dynamic. Site nine opens out of London just before the summer. As we go into our next stage of growth, we are looking for the best-in-class leadership to take the business to the next level.” Earlier this year Propel revealed Rod McKie, former chief executive of Welcome Break, had joined Megan’s as non-executive chairman. Megan’s was founded in 2004 as a daytime cafe in King’s Road, Chelsea, and was acquired by McKevitt in 2014. It also has sites in Fulham, Parsons Green, Balham, Battersea, Wimbledon and Clapham.

Fat Duck operator returns to profit after Ebitda surge: The company that operates The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has returned to profit after a surge in Ebitda. SL6, which is also behind The Hind’s Head in Bray, saw turnover increase to £13.4m for the year ending 26 May 2019, compared with £12.4m the previous year. The company reported Ebitda of £1.4m against a loss of £300,000 the year before. The business made a pre-tax profit of £17,000 having made a loss of £1.8m the previous year. No dividend was paid. In a statement accompanying the results, director Peter Moody said: “The board is of the opinion the profit for the year reflects the impact of its ongoing strategy. The group has made solid progress on implementation across all operations and continues to work on a business efficiency and development programme. The group’s employees are key to this improved performance. We have seen measurable improvements in recruitment, retention, career development and training, which is a strong pointer for future success. The pipeline of opportunities remains strong and the group is continually working on business development initiatives that could bring significant new income to the group.” The Fat Duck, which has held three Michelin stars since 2004, was established by Heston Blumenthal in 1995 within a 450-year-old pub in Bray. The chef sold his stake in the group to businessman Ronnie Lowenthal in 2008.

Grace Land to open sixth site, in Bethnal Green: Grace Land, the London-based pub group backed by the founders of Barworks, is to open its sixth site, Propel has learned. Grace Land has taken on the Bethnal Green Tavern, formerly the Misty Moon, in Bethnal Green. The site in Bethnal Green Road is coming to the end of an extensive refurbishment ahead of its planned reopening this weekend. Managing director Anselm Chatwin said: “We have got The Kings Arms just down the road and this is a prominent corner site we’ve had an interest in for a while. We’re looking to add to the pipeline but there's nothing concrete at the moment.” AG&G acted on the deal.

Leon to boost regional estate with Reading opening: Natural fast food brand Leon is to add to its regional UK estate with an opening in Reading. The John Vincent-led business has secured a 3,600 square foot site at The Oracle leisure complex for an opening later this spring. Leon property director Adam Blaker said: “We are delighted to be coming to Reading at long last. For several years we’ve had an increasing number of requests from customers to be there. We think the position of the site in Broad Street, so close to the entrance of The Oracle, is convenient for shoppers and office workers alike. We’re really excited and this is just the beginning of our plans in this wonderful town.” Earlier this year Propel revealed the company was to make a move into delivery kitchens. It’s understood the business is to open sites at Deliveroo Editions in Reading and Cambridge this year. The company is set to open a further central London site after securing the former Prezzo unit in New Oxford Street. It also has openings lined up for this quarter in Skelton Lake services near Leeds, in the Paradise Development in Birmingham, and Southbank Place in central London.

YO! Group confirms 20 Asda stores will trial pan-Asian street food concept Panku: YO!, the Richard Hodgson-led global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, has confirmed 20 of Asda’s larger stores will trial its pan-Asian street food concept Panku, which has been developed by Andy Upton and Neil Nugent through YO!’s Taiko Foods arm. As revealed by Propel in January, YO! will open concessions for Panku, which is Japanese for “punk”, between March and May offering street food from Japan, Korea and Thailand, including katsu curry, hand-rolled sushi, plant-based meals, Korean bulgogi and noodles. The first two kiosks under the new brand will open this week – at Aintree in Liverpool and Trafford in Manchester. The move is the latest trial introduced to Asda stores as part of the retailer’s focus on “test and learn” partnerships with brands such as Greggs, Just Eat and KellyDeli brand Sushi Daily to offer new food to go options to customers that complement Asda’s existing range. Upton said: “We have a great team helping to make Panku a success and bring great-tasting street food to Asda customers.” Richard Dent, vice-president of fresh foods at Asda, added: “In areas such as food to go, we want to make sure we’re offering our customers a great combination of groceries and ready-to-eat options. Panku is a great fit. It’s an innovative brand offering great value and quality food, with a bit of personality.” In January, YO! agreed a deal to supply Co-op at its on-the-go concept in London’s Moorgate, while it has launched its YO! To Go range in more than 300 Sainsbury’s stores following the roll-out of YO! manned kiosks in 50 Tesco stores. YO! acquired Taiko Foods, the first company to produce sushi for a supermarket, in April 2018. 

Cheltenham-based Japanese kitchen and bar concept to open second site, in Battersea: Cheltenham-based Japanese kitchen and bar concept Kibou Sushi is to open a second site, in Battersea, south London. The 80-cover restaurant will open in Northcote Road next month offering the brand’s authentic ramen and a standalone bar. The site was formerly occupied by cafe and tea room Bertie & Boo. Emma Graveney, who launched Kibou Sushi in Cheltenham in 2013, is part of the team bringing the brand to London. The new restaurant, named Kibou, will feature individually designed dining spaces, murals, bric-a-brac, and vibrant Asian shades and patterns. As well as ramen, Kibou’s menu will include katsu curry, tempura, donburi rice bowls, bao buns and sushi, while the bar will focus on Japanese whisky, sake and beer alongside cocktails, grazing food and platters, Hot Dinners reports. Kibou’s website states: “Kibou is a Japanese hot kitchen, ramen and sushi bar inspired by the nostalgia of Tokyo’s bustling back streets. It’s a laid-back, eclectic, day-to-night eating and drinking den that fuses canteen-style dining with the golden age of Japanese whisky, sake and cocktails.”

St Austell Brewery launches Paignton pub: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has opened the Harbour Light in Paignton, Devon, following a six-month refurbishment. The two-storey development includes a bar and dining area, coffee shop and outdoor seating overlooking the harbour. The grade II-listed building was originally used as a fish cellar and net store and was vacant when the brewery acquired it last year. The pub is part of Torbay Council’s port master plan to enhance the historic harbour side. Following a competitive tendering process, St Austell Brewery was given a 90-year lease on the venue. The Harbour Light offers traditional pub food all day alongside locally sourced seafood and daily changing seasonal specials. Steve Worrall, managing director of St Austell Brewery’s pubs, inns and hotels, said: “We are so proud of the finished result – a family-friendly venue in an amazing position with unrivalled views across the harbour. St Austell Brewery operates 182 pubs in the West Country. Last month Propel revealed the company had introduced a new leadership structure after forming two operating businesses. Worrall became managing director of the pubs, inns and hotels business, while Andrew Turner will join from Heineken to lead the beer and brands business. Chief executive Kevin Georgel recently replaced James Staughton after he stepped down following 20 years in the role.

Leisure operators sought for £34m Wolverton town centre regeneration project: Developers TOWN and Trivselhus UK are seeking leisure and retail operators for their £34m mixed-use regeneration project in Wolverton, a constituent town in Milton Keynes that is directly connected to London and Birmingham by rail. The Love Wolverton project will reunite two key commercial areas in Wolverton – Church Street and The Square – as well as creating 100 homes. Tom Cormie, of Fleurets, and fellow agent Punch Retail & Leisure have been jointly instructed to seek leisure and retail operators for the scheme’s 12 commercial units. Cormie said: “We are seeking expressions of interest for the retail and leisure offering, specifically targeting the likes of craft beer operators, artisan bakers and coffee roasters as well as a convenience store and other retail uses for this important regeneration project for Milton Keynes.”

Bill’s becomes first restaurant group to feature CBD drinks as part of new ‘mindful drinking’ menu: Bill’s, which is backed by Richard Caring, has launched a “mindful drinking” section on its new spring menu that includes CBD drinks, which it claims is a first for a national restaurant group. The initiative is the brainchild of Dan Whiteside, the group’s bar development manager, who has looked to develop a range of drinks that could have potential health benefits as well as creating more inventive non-alcoholic options. Bill’s has worked with Naturally Pure Lab to create the UK’s first dissolvable CBD capsules, which have been used in two CBD lattes – one golden and one espresso – on the new menu. The capsules “mix perfectly with the milk when making the lattes” to provide “reliable consistency with each drink”. Bill’s said CBD in coffee was becoming a trend as it could potentially help with the “caffeine jitters”. As well as the lattes, the menu features two canned CBD drinks – elderflower and mint, and peach and ginger – alongside non-alcoholic cocktails and kombucha. Whiteside said: “CBD is a growing market that Bill’s is proud to be involved with. More people want drinks that can have health benefits and the big talking points at the moment are mental health, well-being and health in general.”

Loungers to launch long-awaited Rushden Lakes site next week: Cafe bar brand Loungers is to finally open its long-awaited site at Rushden Lakes leisure complex in Northamptonshire next week. The company hoped to open Lago Lounge in February but the launch fell victim to storms Ciara and Dennis, with the opening date postponed twice. Lago Lounge will now open at the end of Rushden Lakes’ new leisure terrace on Wednesday, 11 March. The company tweeted: “We can’t wait to see you in our new Lounge. We’d also like to thank you as we’ve been blown away by your patience after the storm (if you’ll pardon the pun).” Last month Rushden Lakes’ leisure terrace and adjoining restaurants had to close following damage caused by Storm Ciara. Profits at Cineworld, Starbucks, 360 Play, Paradise Island Adventure Golf, Flip Out, Rock Up, Heavenly Desserts, TGI Friday’s, Hopmaster, Nando’s, Zizzi, Five Guys, Blue Mountain Yard and Greggs were all hit after the terrace suffered external cladding damage. Loungers operates circa 160 sites under the Lounges and Cosy Club brands, including Northamptonshire venues such as Kino Lounge in Kettering, Castello Lounge in Wellingborough, Paletto Lounge in Corby, and Zapato Lounge in Northampton.

Salon and Levan team to launch Larry’s in Peckham this month: The team behind Brixton restaurant Salon is to open a second site in Peckham, on Thursday, 19 March. Nicholas Balfe, Mark Gurney and Matt Bushnell will launch Larry’s in Blenheim Grove next door to “new-wave” restaurant Levan they opened in November 2018. Larry’s will be inspired by New York’s corner bars, diners and cafes and offer coffee and pastries for breakfast, deli-style sandwiches for lunch and sharing plates for dinner. Just like its neighbour, Larry’s is named after 1970s dance music pioneer Larry Levan. Larry’s will only offer two wines of each colour alongside two cocktails and one beer, while the centrepiece will be a marble bench used for pastries and baked goods in the morning, rolling pasta in the afternoon, and communal dining in the evening. Balfe said: “We have cherry-picked everything we love about eating in New York and combined them into the kind of place we would want in our neighbourhood.” Gurney added: “It is a naughty little brother – relaxed and informal.”

Latin American concept Cha Cha relocates to Notting Hill through vintage clothes tie-up: Latin American concept Cha Cha will relocate to Notting Hill, west London, at the end of March. Cha Cha owners Rayhana Karim, Max Parfentieff and chief executive Alexandre Santamaria, formerly of Hakkasan, will open the restaurant in Golborne Road in collaboration with vintage-inspired clothing label Sister Jane. Moving from its home in Maida Vale, Cha Cha will be housed on the ground floor of the 3,000 square foot space, with the label’s showroom and studio above. The menu, developed by head chef Kai Rykowski, formerly of Chiltern Firehouse, will include acai bowls, sharing plates and main dishes from the Robata grill. The venue will also feature a rooftop bar offering cocktails and bar snacks, while Cha Cha will host events on the themes of wellness, entrepreneurship and social responsibility. Parfentieff said: “We are thrilled Sister Jane is part of our next Cha Cha chapter, meaning our artistic nature and love of design can truly shine.”

Premier Inn opens 1,000 rooms in first two months of 2020: Whitbread has said it opened nine Premier Inns in January and February, boosting its estate by more than 1,000 bedrooms. Openings included the first hub by Premier Inn hotel outside central London, in West Brompton; the first Premier Inns in Aviemore in Scotland and Oxford airport (Kidlington); and openings in Penzance in Cornwall and Newquay, Devon. The company’s network of more than 76,000 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn bedrooms in the UK and Ireland was also boosted by extensions to strongly performing hotels such as those in Edinburgh, Glastonbury, Inverness, Norwich, Nottingham and Rugby. Whitbread UK development director Alex Flach said: “Opening more than 1,000 Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn bedrooms in the first two months of 2020 is an outstanding achievement and builds on our track record of delivering 6,000 new hotel bedrooms over the past two years while maintaining high-occupancy levels of about 80%.” Whitbread expects to open about 2,500 rooms in the UK in its 2019/20 financial year and has 12,000 in its UK committed development pipeline. About 20 Premier Inns are also expected to open in Germany in 2020.

Australian fitness franchise F45 secures Chelsea site: Australian fitness franchise F45 has secured a new site in London, in Chelsea. The brand has agreed a deal with Sloane Stanley to take a 2,400 square foot outlet in King’s Road. Spread over two floors, the ground floor will feature a dedicated reception and co-working space, while the lower ground floor will house the 175 square foot gym that will include an Instagrammable wall installation based on the brand logo. Founded in Australia and co-owned by American actor, producer and businessman Mark Wahlberg, F45 merges three fitness training styles focused around the “pillars of motivation, innovation and results”. Hannah Grievson, property director at Sloane Stanley, said: “Chelsea has a high demand for health and well-being concepts so we’re delighted to welcome F45 Training to the estate.” Miles Commercial represented Sloane Stanley, while Savills represented F45.

Ireland-based cinema operator The Arc to open Hucknall venue this month for second UK site: Ireland-based The Arc Cinema is to open its second UK site, in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, this month. The venue will launch on Friday, 27 March at the former Byron Cinema in Duke Street. The Arc is investing £3m to convert the building into a four-screen cinema featuring 425 leather recliner seats, laser digital projection and Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound. Brian Gilligan, of The Arc Cinema, told Insider Media: “A great deal of hard work has gone into preparing a fantastic cinema in this iconic building and we’re certain the people of Hucknall are going to love what we’ve done.” The Arc Cinema’s other UK site is in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, while it operates three venues in Ireland – in Drogheda, Navan and Wexford. 

Leonardo Hotels to introduce new F&B concepts at Royal London City site as part of £11.5m refurbishment: Leonardo Hotels is to introduce new food and beverage concepts as part of the £11.5m refurbishment of its Royal London City site. The property will feature Leonardo’s Italian-inspired coffee, cocktail bar and all-day cafe concept Corvo as well as its restaurant and bar format Leo’s. The refurbishment, due for completion in June, also includes renovation of the hotel’s 307 bedrooms as well as a lobby and reception. The refurbishment follows Leonardo Hotel’s acquisition of Royal London City last year along with three others in the capital, which reopened as Jurys Inn London Holborn, Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Paul’s, and Leonardo Royal Hotel Tower Bridge. The company operates 37 hotels under the Jurys Inn brand in the UK and Ireland and 15 under the Leonardo brand.

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