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Tue 23rd Jun 2020 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Brasserie Bar Co ramps up talks with landlords, plans August reopening: Brasserie Bar Co, the Richard Ferrier-led operator of the Brasserie Blanc and White Brasserie Company, is working with advisors as it considers its options in regards to talks with its landlords, Propel understands. The company, which operates 20 pubs and 17 brasseries, is working with Oak Ridge Advisory, the newly formed advisory firm backed by Imbiba and serial sector investor Paul Campbell. Propel understands at present Oak Ridge, which was recently founded by Kevin Coates and Scott Millar, is carrying out a watching brief for the business, sitting in on meetings with the group’s landlords, as the company looks at moving toward a turnover-based rent model and examines the possibility of consolidating a small part of its estate. Ferrier told Propel: “Our landlords have been very supportive to date and our strong intention is to achieve a consensual deal that gives us the best chance of success in the medium term. We are working with Oak Ridge with the aim of bringing structure to these negotiations.” On when Brasserie Bar Co will start reopening its sites, Ferrier said the company had targeted 3 August and will open on a phased basis from there. He said: “We are generally quite conservative in our approach. We fully support those who are set to reopen at the start of July, but in the absence of full guidance from the government we want to take our time to get this right for our teams and our guests.”

Industry News:

MW Eats co-founder to feature in latest ‘navigating the coronavirus’ video: In the latest in Propel's video interviews with leading operators about “navigating the coronavirus” pandemic, Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott talks to Ranjit Mathrani, chairman and co-founder of MW Eats (Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy and Masala Zone), about planning to deal with initial reduced levels of trading; having a different mindset to staffing issues; handling the psychological changes of operating in a covid-influenced world; and economic aspects impacting consumer behaviour. The video will be released on Tuesday (23 June). Meanwhile, readers can support independent sector journalism and get their news 12 hours early (at 7pm each night) with a Propel Premium subscription. It costs £395 plus VAT per annum for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Liverpool unveils pilot scheme to help reimagine outdoor eating and drinking: Road closures, pop-up parks and free trading permits are being introduced in Liverpool to help the hospitality sector recover from lock-down. The pilot scheme is aimed at giving businesses in Liverpool the best chance of being ready to trade as soon as restrictions on hospitality businesses are lifted by the government. It is part of the Liverpool Without Walls project, which is reimagining the city under social distancing measures and is designed to provide support to help cafes and restaurants trade outside. Bold Street and Castle Street will be closed to traffic across the summer and be the pilot for a new scheme of street furniture and “parklets”. The new seating and park areas will take over existing parking bays to transform the look of the streets and, if successful, could be rolled out to other parts of the city. Consultation is taking place with businesses and transport providers to work out the most appropriate timing for closures. Liverpool BID Company chief executive Bill Addy said: “I think this is the start of revolution in how we use the city centre. I know lots of restaurants are desperate to open and I wish we could help every single one of them in this first phase, but we need to be measured and realistic in our roll out so we can get this right and in turn support more and more businesses over the coming weeks.” All independent restaurants in the city can now apply for a grant of up to £4,000 for them to buy furniture that will allow them to trade outside. The city council said it would waive the £600 fee for a new street cafe licence for all new applications. The furniture in Bold Street will be installed early next month with the roll-out of additional seating expected throughout the summer.

Lunya co-founder provides stark reminder to government about plight his business and sector faces without further support in second letter: Peter Kinsella, co-founder of Catalan restaurant concept Lunya, has outlined in detail the plight his business and others face unless there is further financial support for the sector. In a second letter to prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak, Kinsella said social distancing would be “financially disastrous regardless of whether it is two or one metres”. He pointed out the need to close the company’s Manchester restaurant, which was announced earlier this month, could have been avoided had the business support grant not had an arbitrary cut off at the rateable value of £51,000. Instead, he said the Treasury would be missing out on £6m in tax revenue over the next ten years it would have received for a grant that would have cost it £75,000 to keep Lunya as a three-strong group. He wrote: “I can’t begin to tell you how sad that made us feel and the sense of failure we feel, letting down our customers and 31 staff who are soon to be unemployed. They are people we know, care about deeply and consider our friends. We’ve cried a lot over this, making that decision, communicating it and now living with it. We know the reality is that many of them will struggle to find other jobs.” Kinsella, who owns the business with wife Elaine, also warned the aggressive actions of one of its lenders could see the company forced into administration. He wrote: “We have generally been really well supported by lenders, benefiting from a small Coronavirus Business Intervention Loan and payment holidays from most. However, we have no protection from any of them activating personal guarantees, and consequently forcing the closure of our business and making Elaine and I homeless. I can’t begin to tell you how terrified that makes us feel, heart in the mouth, sick in the stomach terrified. We desperately need a debt enforcement moratorium to include lenders. If we went under, it is in nobody’s interests (and the government would lose another £10m in tax revenues).” Kinsella also called for a VAT reduction and an extension to the non-contributory furlough in hospitality as the impact “will be long and deep”. He added: “I don’t know if you read my last letter – 1.9 million others did. I don’t expect a reply, but in doing this, it gets it off my chest and hopefully gives you some insight into running a small business through these dreadful times and what might help. Thank you.”

Restaurant Association of Ireland seeks €1.8bn bailout amid threat of 50% closures: The Restaurant Association of Ireland is seeking a package of supports totalling €1.8bn, amid claims one in every two businesses in the industry faces closure as a result of damage caused by the coronavirus crisis. The lobby group is looking for the state’s subsidised wages scheme, which has supported the income of almost 500,000 workers across the entire economy in recent months, to be extended beyond the current scheduled expiry in August. A report written for the industry group by economist Jim Power argued restaurants, which are preparing to reopen their doors on 29 June following a lock-down of more than three months, will take up to two years to return to the level of business they were doing before the pandemic hit. It wants financial support to meet labour costs to continue for that time on a “gradually reducing basis”, reports The Irish Times. The trade group is also looking for taxpayers to step in and cover rates, water and street furniture charges for two years, cut VAT for the sector to zero until the end of 2021, and introduce a scheme to cover between 25% and 100% of restaurants’ rent for a period to help them get back on their feet. “The proposed measures would cost about €1.8bn in a full year,” the report said. “However, the costs of not providing adequate support and allowing thousands of businesses to die would far outweigh those costs. It is conceivable, without adequate support during this 24-month period, up to 100,000 jobs could be lost in the sector. Such an outcome would impose a very significant cost on the exchequer, which could be as high as €2.8bn [a year].” The association also wants government backing in seeking loan payment breaks of up to two years. Banks have offered payment moratoriums of up to six months to households and businesses hit by coronavirus. The lobby group is also looking for excise duties on alcohol to be reduced.

Court rules restaurant excused from paying full rent during pandemic: The Northern District of Illinois US Bankruptcy Court has ruled to excuse Giglio’s Street Tavern in Chicago from paying 75% of its rent during the coronavirus crisis, citing the Force Majeure or “Act of God” clause in the restaurant’s contract with its landlord. The restaurant – under the restaurant group Hitz Restaurant Group – previously filed for bankruptcy on 24 February, before nationwide coronavirus-related lock-downs were put in place. According to the memorandum filed by the court, the restaurant’s contract with its landlord specifically stated: “The landlord and tenant shall each be excused from performing its obligations or undertakings provided in this lease so long as the performance of any of its obligations are prevented or delayed, retarded or hindered by laws, governmental action or inaction or orders of government.” Although the Force Majeure clause specifically states it does not apply if the landlord is pleading exemption due to “lack of money”, Hitz Restaurant Group said it was not making the claim of not having enough money to pay the rent, but argued the “Act of God” defence was put into place on 16 March, when an executive order was made to shut down the state, including restaurants. While the court judge ruled Force Majeure applied in this instance, they pointed out the restaurant could have offered delivery, takeaway or pick-up services, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Additionally, even though Hitz Restaurant Group argued it had been prevented from using 75% of its property – the dining room and bar areas – since March, it still would have been able to use 25% – the kitchen area – to prepare food for delivery and takeaway customers. “The court preliminarily interprets the debtor’s estimation as an admission it owes at least 25% of the rental payments for April, May, and June,” the memorandum stated. “Monthly rental payments due thereafter are likely to increase as the government’s shutdown restrictions are gradually lifted. Therefore, the court concludes the debtor still owes at least 25% of the rent amount to the creditor even after the Force Majeure clause.”

Peter Backman – process of pivoting may turn out to be one of the more important outcomes: Sector analyst Peter Backman has said the process of companies pivoting their business models may turn out to be one of the more important outcomes of the pandemic. He said: “Coronavirus has forced all operators to examine their business from top to bottom. Of course, many have been consumed first by the need to fight fires and then by challenges raised by reopening. But many others have been looking at doing things better, doing things differently or doing new things. Examples of doing new things is kerbside pick-up – a commonplace in US cities but, until now, not known in the UK. Another example is the provision of almost complete meals the customer finishes off (in both senses of the phrase) at home – a variation on the meal kit business. Elsewhere, village pubs have been turning themselves into community shops. And yet another example is business-to-business foodservice wholesalers that have pivoted towards supplying the vulnerable at home. Will these pivots work in the longer term? Or, will they fall by the wayside, like much of the pivot to groceries undertaken by a number of food-to-go operators – most of whom have dropped these initiatives with the realisation that margins are slim and demand is limited? Time will tell which pivots will become successful new models. But I see evidence of plenty of rethinking going on throughout the foodservice sector and this suggests that we will start to see and experience, innovative developments. Some, surely, will work for the longer term.”

Cask Marque and Visit Britain launch covid-19 compliance accreditation scheme: Cask Marque has partnered with Visit Britain to create a covid-19 compliance accreditation scheme for its 9,500 pubs and the 1,700 pubs listed on the Stay in a Pub website. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure pubs are aware of their responsibilities to covid-19 compliance; to reassure consumers Cask Marque pubs and Stay in a Pub accommodation is safe to visit; and to inform local communities about the public health and safety measures pubs are putting in place. Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said: “There is a concern the government’s ‘Stay at Home’ campaign has been so successful consumers will initially be unwilling to go to public places. Giving them reassurance the pub is safe will help to breakdown these barriers.” The accreditation scheme will be free to Cask Marque pubs and will take the form of an online self-accreditation. It will also be monitored by a mystery visitor programme. As soon as the government announces guidelines for the hospitality industry, Cask Marque said it would be able to promote the scheme to its pubs and supply the necessary point of sale material.

Time limit in Irish pubs to be in place for just three weeks: The restricted seating time in pubs is set to last for just three weeks, or the duration of phase three of the government’s reopening roadmap, according to The Department of Transport & Tourism in Ireland (Fáilte Ireland). Last week Fáilte Ireland published its set of finalised guidelines for pubs that included the requirement they must serve a “substantial meal” costing at least €9 in order to reopen on 29 June. Guests must reserve their seats in advance and no walk-ins will be accepted. In addition, customers would be allowed in pubs for a maximum of 105 minutes in order to mitigate risks. There will then be a 15-minute turnaround time to allow for the area to be cleaned for the next guests. Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sarah McInerney, Fáilte Ireland’s Tara Kerry said these regulations were expected to be short term. She said: “Once July comes and we’re into phase four of the reopening, bars will be allowed unless something changes in the government roadmap between now and then, bars will be allowed to reopen then and they won’t have to serve food. So people will be able to spend a longer period in the bars. Our understanding is there won’t be any limit on it.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is seeking to connect with experienced heads of marketing to join a luxury hospitality, property and membership business. This is a very varied and dynamic position, suited to an individual who is creative and flexible and has excellent digital, generalist and PR skills. The head of marketing and communications will work collaboratively across venue, office, sponsors, external marketing suppliers, PR agencies and travel trade tourism agencies. Preference will be given to candidates with degree-level training in marketing or communication or an equivalent qualification. A salary of up to £90,000 will be considered. Anyone interested can email Lucia@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

Fears over job cuts at Pret as sales decline: Pret A Manger could be set to cut its workforce after a leaked video revealed an 85% plunge in sales during the coronavirus lock-down. Chief executive Pano Christou told staff of the JAB Holdings-backed business on an online video call seen by the BBC an announcement regarding its current “job situation” would be made on 8 July. He said weekly sales had fallen to £3m, just 15% of normal levels, despite reopening more than 300 sites in recent weeks. Christou said: “What will be the case is, on 8 July, we'll be doing a broader communication to the teams, just talking through the initial work that's been done on this, so things will start to become clearer.” When asked what sales Pret needed to make for the company to stop losing money, Christou said: "I think globally we'll need our sales to get to about 60% [of pre-crisis levels] to break even. We're trying to aim for September to get to that 60% but clearly there is a lot of work going into that from the team, but at the same time we're so dependent on footfall coming back into the cities to drive our sales up.” Christou said the chain's US stores took close to $100,000 in sales in one week recently, a 98% drop from pre-crisis levels. In the same video, Pret's UK managing director Clare Clough said UK sales were down 86%. In the meeting, She added the company was engaging in “quite intense negotiations” with more than 300 individual landlords to deal with property costs. She encouraged staff to drive up sales and said: “We want to make sure we are the winners as people come back on to the high street.” A Pret spokeswoman told the BBC: “As we have already confirmed, at the end of May we appointed advisers to help Pret develop a comprehensive transformation plan to adapt to the new retail environment. Transparency is very important in our business and we will make sure Pret's team members are the first to hear about any changes.”

Ivy Collection to begin reopening with Chelsea Garden site featuring temperature checks and air filtration units: The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed group, will begin the reopening of its restaurants across the UK, with the opening of The Ivy Chelsea Garden, on 4 July – on the basis the government lifts its existing restrictions and its two-metre social distancing guidelines. The company said while service will still remain a priority, the restaurant will be implementing the “highest standards of health and safety, ensuring both guests and employees will be dining and working in confidence and in a safe environment”. Measures will include thermal cameras for temperature checks, the use of tracking software for all employees logging daily temperature readings over a seven-day rolling period, and professional deep cleaning and disinfecting on a daily basis. Air filtration units have also been fitted (99% effective in killing the MRSA and H1N1 viruses, which are part of the same RNA coronavirus family) and dedicated members of staff have been appointed to ensure health and safety is at its highest standard on an ongoing basis. 

Wasabi reopens nine more sites, plans ten more: Wasabi, the sushi and bento chain led by Henry Birts and backed by Capdesia, has ramped up its reopening programme, opening a further nine sites in the capital. The company, which earlier this month appointed the restructuring team at KPMG to advise on its strategic options and assist with ongoing discussions with landlords regarding current rental arrangements, reopened its Ealing store for takeaway and delivery only as part of a phased programme of reopening in May. It has now added further sites, including those in Hammersmith Broadway, Oxford Street and Broadgate. Propel understands the company plans to reopen a further ten sites from its 51-strong UK estate within the next two weeks, including a regional reopening in Cambridge on Tuesday (23 June). Working with KPMG, the business, which was founded in 2003, is looking to move towards a variable, turnover-based system with regard to rents on its 51 stores, 42 of which are in London and heavily reliant on office workers and tourists

Incipio Group to reopen three sites on 4 July, receives more than 1,000 bookings: Incipio Group, which is backed by Edition Capital, plans to reopen three of its London-based venues on 4 July, including two of its rooftop sites. The reopened venues will be Pergola Paddington, Brixton Village rooftop venue Lost in Brixton and The Prince in West Brompton. Ed Devenport, chief executive of Incipio Group, told Propel: “After receiving an overwhelming number of enquiries from our customers asking when we will be opening our venues again, we decided to explore the idea of reopening in anticipation of the government announcement this week. From when we first closed our venues in March our priority has been to focus internally on our people and it was after consulting with our team that we decided to announce on Saturday ( 20 June) we were accepting enquiries. With more than 1,000 bookings received over the weekend it was reassuring to know there is an appetite for Londoners to head back out and enjoy the hospitality sector again. We’re very excited at the prospect of reopening but equally aware of the need to do so safely. We require clarity from the government on Tuesday (23 June) in understanding what additional measures to those we have already taken will be required to open our venues safely while ensuring we offer a brilliant guest experience.”

Star Pubs & Bars unveils reopening support package for licensees: Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars is investing in a “comprehensive” reopening support package for its 2,500 pubs – ranging from health and safety guidance to easy-to-deliver food menus. The programme includes £250,000 of safety point-of-sale material, with a free pack available to every licensee. The package adds to Star Pubs & Bars’ £21m investment in rent concessions for its licensees. The materials and advice have been developed in the company’s managed operator estate during lock-down, enabling leased and tenanted licensees “to benefit from best-in-class guidance”. The company has also trained its 80 business development managers on how to deliver safe, successful pub openings so they can provide tailored consultations for licensees. The package features in-depth guides for every area of a pub as well as a step-by-step risk assessment template. In addition, Star Pubs & Bars has negotiated preferential rates on covid-19 safety equipment with Nisbets and on-risk assessments that result in “safe to trade” certification with Shield Safety. Star Pubs & Bars has also created an off-the-shelf menu of 22 best-selling dishes that can be delivered by one staff member. Available through Brakes with a special discount, the menu is designed to minimise wastage while licensees establish customer demand for food. For those preferring to serve their own menus, the support pack explains how to do this in a safe, profitable way. Other components of the package are free advice on licensing applications for unlicensed garden space, access to Swifty – a payment and loyalty app – and relaunching marketing tools. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “In this period of uncertainty, we want to make it as easy as possible for our licensees to reopen, so we’ve taken a holistic approach that covers the whole of their business. This package will help them get it right and generate customer loyalty that should benefit their pubs for years to come.”

Pizza Pilgrims ramps up reopening phase: Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria concept founded by brothers Thom and James Elliot, has ramped up its reopening phase with the launch of three further sites for delivery, click-and-collect and its Frying Pan Pizza Kit offer, Propel has learned. The company, which earlier this month promoted operations director Gavin Smith to managing director, has reopened its sites in London Bridge, Shoreditch and Camden. It began its reopening programme with its site in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. Thom Elliot told Propel: “We will be opening at least one a week for the foreseeable unless Boris (Johnson) tells us otherwise.” On the brand’s popular Frying Pan Pizza Kit offer, Elliot told Propel last month the initial aim was to do a 100 a week. He said: “Three weeks ago we put 50 up for sale, and sold them in 27 seconds. We did another 50 the next day and sold them faster, with about 500 people trying to buy them in the first minute of going on sale. We then put up 1,100 the next day, thinking that will see us out for a few weeks, and they sold out in 50 minutes. We are now doing 600 a day out of Victoria.”

Rick Stein Group confirms closure of two restaurants: The Rick Stein Group has confirmed the permanent closure of two of its restaurants. The group said its sites in Marlborough, Wiltshire; and Porthleven, Cornwall; will not reopen. Posts on the two sites’ social media pages confirmed their permanent closures: “Thank you to all of our customers who have supported us. We hope you will find your way to our other restaurants, where perhaps we can share fond memories.” The group, which continues to operate 12 sites across Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire and London, is accepting bookings from 4 July, in preparation for the hospitality sector being allowed to reopen from that date.

Seven Bro7hers Brewery extends fund-raising stretch target to £500,000 as part of plans for six new beer houses: Manchester-based Seven Bro7hers Brewery has extended its stretch target to £500,000 after smashing its original aim to raise £50,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by brothers Keith, Kit, Guy, Luke, Daniel, Nathan and Greg McAvoy in 2014, is raising funds as it looks to open six beer houses in the next two years and expand production. It was looking to raise £50,000, offering 1.24% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £8m. But having already raised almost £260,000 from 275 investors, it has increased the upper limit to £500,000. The funds will be used to add to its two existing beer houses in Manchester as well as expand production capability at its brewery to two million litres per annum. The company said one beer house site had been secured in Liverpool with another in Leeds under negotiation and is looking to add another four to the portfolio. In 2019 the company reported revenue of £2m with a loss before tax of £200,000. Last year Seven Bro7hers Brewery raised more than £665,000 on Crowdcube to aid its expansion plans.

Former Revolution freeholds sold for alternative use: The freehold of the former Revolution units located in Lancaster and Wolverhampton, have been sold, with both being marketed off individual guide prices of £650,000. Both sites have been purchased for conversion to alternative use, which property agent Fleurets, which acted on the sales, said illustrated large former public house properties have significant utility for development. Ed Sandall, of Fleurets, said: “We are seeing strong demand for appropriately priced assets from developers offering a good degree of liquidity for bottom-end assets.” In January, Revolution Bars Group revealed it has reached agreement with Aprirose, landlord of nine of its properties, to surrender five Revolution leases of loss-making sites and re-gear four leases with a small net rent reduction. Of the five sites it was looking to exit with Aprirose, three were closed, including the Lancaster and Wolverhampton units.

Cineworld agrees new $250m secured debt facility: Cineworld has agreed with a group of private institutional investors the terms of a new $250m secured debt facility with a maturity of 2023. The company stated: “This, together with the covenant amendments and revolving credit facility increase of $110m announced on 28 May, further strengthens the group's balance sheet as cinemas begin to reopen around the world.” Earlier this month Cineworld revealed plans to reopen its UK cinemas from 10 July.

Whitbread to restart construction on Scottish hotel sites: Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotel brands, is reopening its construction sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton and Thurso this week as the business focuses on safely continuing building work on its pipeline of new hotels in Scotland. The sites under construction, which account for £55m of investment by Whitbread and its development partners, include a 249-bedroom hotel in Glasgow’s St Enoch Square, a 136-bedroom hotel in Edinburgh’s Princes Street and Premier Inn’s most northerly hotel in Thurso in the Scottish Highlands. More than 190 permanent jobs are expected to be created at the four hotels when they open during this financial year. In line with the Scottish government’s phased plan out of lock-down, Whitbread’s development team has put in place additional on-site measures to protect workers and the general public and ensure social distancing. It is finalising the plans for a phased restart at each site. Earlier this month, Whitbread announced it was restarting work on 35 construction sites in England and Wales in line with public health and industry guidance. The business opened more than 2,300 new Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn bedrooms in the UK during the 2019-20 financial year, expanding its total national network to 821 hotels, including its first Premier Inn hotel in Aviemore. It has 13,000 Premier Inn bedrooms in its secured pipeline in the UK and Ireland. Outside the UK, Whitbread has an open and committed pipeline of almost 10,000 bedrooms in Germany across 52 hotels. The business currently operates 19 Premier Inn hotels in the country with a further site to be up and running by the end of the year.

Chapel Down sees losses widen as higher costs offset revenue rise, appoints new chairman: Wine and beer maker Chapel Down has reported wider losses as higher costs offset a jump in revenue. For the year ended 31 December 2019, pre-tax losses widened to £4.3m from £0.85m the previous year as turnover increased to £16.1m, compared with £12.9m the year before. Wine and spirits sales on a continuing basis grew 13% to £10.1m, with spirits sales up by 37% to £1.1m. Ebitda on a continuing basis was a loss of £0.9m, compared with a loss of £0.2m the previous year as the business continued to reinvest in its brands, infrastructure and supply. Wine volumes were 16% ahead reflecting the “higher volumes of still wine available from the 2018 harvest, although revenues were only 8% above prior year, reflecting a lower sparkling wine stock availability in 2019”. Looking ahead, 2020 would see “more substantial growth in sparkling volumes when the sparkling wines from the 2018 harvest come on stream,” it added. Meanwhile, the company has appointed former FA chief executive Martin Glenn as its new chairman. Glenn will take over from John Dunsmore, who has been chairman for the past six years, on 1 July following the company’s annual general meeting the previous day. 

Edyn Group outlines rapid expansion for Locke brand including first international sites: Aparthotel operator Edyn Group is planning rapid expansion for its Locke brand, including its first international sites slated to open over the next two years – in Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Portugal. As part of the expansion, Locke will open three further properties in London and one in Cambridge. Having opened four UK properties for the brand in the past four years in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, it is now planning sites further openings in Berlin, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, London and Munich. Each hotel’s public space features an array of experiences ranging from flexible co-working spaces, destination dining, artisan grocer, yoga studio and a rooftop cocktail bar. Eric Jafari, chief development officer and creative director at Edyn, said: “I am excited and humbled to see Locke is expanding throughout Europe over the coming months. It feels like our alternative to the traditional hotel has never been more relevant.” Edyn Group plans to reopen its UK sites on 4 July – government guidelines permitting – with additional safety measures in place.

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