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Wed 30th Sep 2020 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greggs aims to cut staff hours in half at its shops as CEO calls for relook at ‘disproportionate’ business rates: Roger Whiteside, chief executive of food-to-go retailer Greggs, has said the company is looking to reduce the hours staff work in about half of its shops – but admitted the move would not be enough to avoid some job losses. Whiteside said about 22,000 staff worked in its 2,025 shops and the company was now consulting with employees. Speaking on a press call following the company's third quarter trading update, Whiteside said the company had come to the conclusion 14 hours was the “lowest we can go” in terms of the minimum number of hours someone can work. But he said there would be some job losses, although “they would not be on the same scale” as those announced by Pret A Manger and UK foodservice travel hub specialist SSP. Whiteside said: “You can reduce somebody’s hours up to a point, but you have to make it still worthwhile for them and the business. Unlike those other companies we have a broader range of locations and only a small number of our shops are in travel hubs and city centre locations. The vast majority of our customers are not office workers – they are people who are going about their daily business. That's why we have been able to get back to 76% of pre-covid sales.” Whiteside said all its shops were now open and fewer than 5,000 staff were being “flexibly furloughed”. He added the company might take advantage of the new Job Support Scheme in certain circumstances, such as when the business was opening a new site that was not quite ready, but knew it would need that employee eventually. Whiteside said all rents the company owed had been paid and it had taken “every opportunity”, where leases allowed, to renegotiate with landlords. But he called for the government to look again at business rates, of which Greggs pays about £25m a year. “We were paying a disproportionate level of tax even before covid,” said Whiteside. “Deferring the rates is not enough – they need to be rebased. If sales are lower then taxes should be lower. It's a complicated area but the bottom line is the retail sector is paying too much tax.” Whiteside said the trading success in certain locations had given the business the confidence to resume its new site pipeline, with about 20 outlets set to open this year. He added: “During the national lock-down, the stay-at-home message was so strong we believed we had no option to close, even though we could trade as essential retail. When the local lock-down happened in Leicester, non-essential retail was allowed to remain open so we took the decision to see if could trade well there – and that answer was yes. So where local lock-downs have happened, we have still traded well because schools and workplaces are open and people are still out and about. What we don’t want is another national lock-down that sees non-essential retail being closed.” Looking ahead, Whiteside said: “We have a business that is covid-resilient and while the short-term outlook remains challenging, the long term looks bright and sales in some of our locations show we can trade well enough to open new sites.”

Industry News:

Sales plummet by 12.9% after 10pm curfew implemented: Sales from Thursday to Sunday at hospitality sites have dropped by 12.9% overall since the introduction of the 10pm curfew, according to S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. When compared with the week before the curfew, there was a 10.9% decrease in food sales and a 14.7% decrease in drinks sales. With the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme seemingly a distant memory, businesses are having to come up with new initiatives to drive trade – especially after the curfew took away a vital trading period for many. S4labour chief customer officer Sam Wignell said: “I have never spoken to so many customers who are having to look at new innovations to drive sales and keep their businesses compliant. It will be interesting to see how consumer behaviours change as we become accustomed to the new regulations.” The data used for this analysis only includes sites that were open during August as well as during the 10pm curfew.
S4labour is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Operators extend discount schemes into October and beyond: A host of operators including Marston’s and Whitbread are offering discounts into October and beyond as they continue funding offers from their own pocket on the back of Eat Out To Help Out. Marston’s will offer diners 50% off steak and pasta at lunch and dinner on Tuesdays until 10 November at its The Lost & Found bars in Birmingham, Bristol, Knutsford, Leeds and Sheffield, and half-price steak again on Tuesdays at its Revere sites until the end of the year. Selected Revere sites are also offering two-for-one pizzas. Whitbread is offering lunch deals at its Cookhouse + Pub, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Whitbread Inns sites with two main courses from £8.99 on weekdays between noon and 6pm. Meanwhile, its Beefeater outlets are offering main courses from between £5.99 and £8.99 between noon and 5pm, and at Bar + Block a main course and a drink is available for less than £10 on weekdays between 11.30am and 5pm. Dessert parlour operator Creams is giving diners 25% off the bill from Monday to Wednesday across selected stores when they dine in. Oakman Inns will offer 50% off per person up to a maximum of £10 on food and soft drinks from Monday to Wednesday in October. London-based Italian restaurant Emilia’s Crafted Pasta will have 50% off pasta – up to £10 per person – on Monday and Tuesday at its Aldgate and St Katharine Docks sites. Food experience brand and events caterer Rhubarb will offer customers at Sky Garden’s Darwin Brasserie on level 36 of 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London £10 off per person with a £30 minimum spend. Guests can enjoy the offer all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, and for lunch on Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile, the company’s Fenchurch Restaurant on top of the building will also offer diners up to £10 off per person with a £30 minimum spend. This is available for dinner Wednesday and Thursday, and lunch on Friday to Sunday throughout the month. Michelin-starred Aquavit London will offer £5 off the set lunch menu Wednesday to Friday until the end of November. Heliot Steak House, the premium restaurant within the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square, will offer guests 50% off food and soft drinks – up to the value of £10 per person – between Sunday and Wednesday until Friday, 30 October. Japanese-inspired Hot Stone in Islington will offer 50% off – up £10 per person for a maximum of four people – from Tuesday to Sunday throughout October, excluding lunch. Michelin-starred restaurant Benares in London’s Mayfair is giving diners £10 per person off food and soft drinks when ordering from the à la carte or tasting menu from Tuesday to Thursday throughout October. Diners must quote “Benares October” or mention the scheme when reserving a table, or when asking for the bill, to get the discount.

Cancel the curfew campaign launches and Mojo bars MPs from venues, Burnham calls for off-trade sales ban post-9pm: A campaign has been launched by hospitality operators to force a U-turn on the 10pm curfew imposed on bars, restaurants, pubs and more hospitality businesses. A week on from the government’s newest lock-down restrictions being announced, which included a 10pm curfew for restaurants and pubs, a petition has gone live aiming to “cancel the curfew” and “stop blaming hospitality”. As well as a huge outcry across social media, bars and restaurants are planning to hold a silent protest on Saturday evening, with operators and hospitality workers standing outside their venues at 10pm. Bar operator Mojo has also barred MPs from its venues until either the curfew is called off or financial support is offered, saying: “You won’t serve us, so we won’t serve you.” An open letter to the prime minister warns the curfew could be the “final nail in the coffin” for an industry that is “dying”, with some reporting a drop in trade of 60% since the measure was introduced. Some of the businesses hit most by the restriction on operating hours say they are losing as many as 40 hours of trade every single week. Meanwhile, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called for supermarkets and off-licences to stop selling alcohol after 9pm in a bid to stop post-pub parties when last orders are called at 10pm. Burnham told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I received reports that the supermarkets were absolutely packed out to the rafters with people gathering. There needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces across the country. My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the street or, more probably, to gather in the home.” Industry leaders say they have been “vilified as breeding grounds for the virus” despite recent figures from Public Health England showing only 3% of covid-19 transmissions outside the home have been traced back to hospitality. Martin Greenhow, managing director at Mojo, said: “The move to curtail the operational hours of our already crippled industry seems unjust and punitive, not to mention illogical and irrational. Are people more infectious after 10pm? Hospitality has slaved to work responsibly within the constraints laid out for us and now we are being thrown aside with scant concern for the impact these measures will have on our businesses and the wider economy.”

Nightclubs could stay shut until covid-19 vaccine arrives: Junior skills minister Gillian Keegan has said nightclubs may have to remain closed until a covid-19 vaccine is manufactured. The Conservative MP for Chichester told Sky News: “It is hard to see how nightclubs will open until we have some kind of long-term way to deal with coronavirus. It is clear that some of those jobs may take a long time to come back because they don’t fit with the virus.” She also explained it is difficult to envisage people visiting a nightclub while adhering to the rule of six and that social distancing while “having a good time” is unlikely to be possible. When told the nightclub industry contributes tens of millions of pounds to the economy, Keegan replied: “There is no doubt coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the economy.” The news comes as the night-time sector is braced for a major blow when the furlough scheme ends on 31 October and only “viable” jobs will be supported by the government’s new Job Support Scheme. The support will be for employees who can work at least a third of their hours while businesses will have to fork out 55% of staff members’ wages. Nightclubs are one of the few remaining industries still completely shut but a taskforce is being set up by the government to discuss the next steps. 

UKHospitality calls on government to target sector with post-18 education support: UKHospitality has called on the government to provide hospitality-specific training and support as part of its plans to expand post-18 education and training. It is part of the government’s attempts to boost productivity and “help the country build back better from coronavirus”. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to provide some support for hospitality. Sector-specific training programmes can be a real boost for businesses and employees in our sector. We are facing a bleak six months, with restrictions on trading and low consumer confidence. Government-backed training schemes can reduce the burden on hard-pressed businesses and give employees a chance to develop during a quiet winter. If the government supports training in our sector, it will keep more jobs open and put is in a much stronger position to begin rebuilding next year.”
UKHospitality is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Pubs to close at 11pm in Northern Ireland: Licensed premises in Northern Ireland will have to close by 11pm, first minister Arlene Foster has announced. The move is effective from Wednesday (30 September) and applies to pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as hotel and guesthouse bars. No alcohol or food will be served after 10.30pm and all customers must leave by 11pm. Foster said: “This brings the normal closing times forward by half an hour and there will be no late licences. The intention behind the earlier closing time is that socialising later in the evening is considered to increase the risk of virus spreading because people adhere to the rules less strictly after consuming alcohol and in venues where they are used to mixing freely.” The new ruling also includes weddings and other social events. Off-licences and supermarkets already have to stop selling alcohol at 11pm ensuring a level playing ground for all. She added: “Some will make the point that pubs and bars closing at 11pm will drive people to house parties and we recognise this risk. However, house parties and gatherings in our homes are illegal – the restrictions already in place ban people from more than one household to be in a private dwelling or more than six people from no more than two households to be in a private garden. The restrictions will be kept under constant review and measures will be removed if possible but, equally, they may be added to if necessary.”

Retail rent arrears to exceed £2bn: Retailers will owe more than £2bn in arrears after Tuesday’s (29 September) third quarter rent day, retail property body Revo has estimated. The organisation’s chief executive Vivienne King has warned less than 50% of rent due is expected to be paid at the quarter date. King said: “Retail property owners are braced for another hugely damaging quarter, with fears that, once again, less than 50% of rent due will be paid by operators whatever their balance sheets, adding to the total £1.5bn of rent unpaid at the first and second quarters. The government’s decision to extend the moratoria has simply fuelled the confidence of the well-heeled to continue exploitation of a system intended to protect businesses in genuine distress. There is little justice in singling out property owners as the fall guys to indiscriminately compensate large and valuable operators for their cash flow. But, having done so, the repercussions will reverberate through the economy for years to come as the capital for regeneration dries up, investors look to safer havens elsewhere and anyone who has put their savings into retail property faces huge losses. Moreover, with the rental shortfall in the retail sector alone set to exceed £2bn, the stress may begin to have material impacts on credit supply if lenders find themselves overwhelmed by defaulting borrowers. Revo is calling for the government to review its decision on extending its ban on evictions and “aggressive” rent collection tactics.
 
Lock-down city leaders warn ‘unenforceable’ rules will trigger hospitality collapse: Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester face mass redundancies and “boarded-up high streets” amid a collapse of the hospitality sector unless coronavirus restrictions are reviewed, the cities’ leaders have warned the government. A letter to health secretary Matt Hancock and business secretary Alok Sharma from the leaders and chief executives of the three city councils said restrictions in place in the regions were threatening a “huge, disproportionate” economic impact. They said hotel occupancy was down to 30% and footfall had dropped by up to 70%, reports Sky News. In the letter, they said: “The stark reality is these businesses are facing the prospect of a complete decimation in trade, not just in the short term but as we look ahead to the sector’s traditional lifeblood of the Christmas period and almost certainly continuing into spring/summer of next year, which we know, with certainty, will result in mass-market failure, huge levels of redundancies and depleted and boarded up high streets.” They said coronavirus guidance in place in the cities that advises people not to mix with other households was “unenforceable” as well as being “contradictory and confusing”. They urged ministers to make the advice law, and compensate businesses with a package of support – or allow mixing within the “rule of six” in controlled environments. A law banning the mixing of households in public spaces – including pubs and restaurants – was announced for parts of north east England on Monday (28 September), but it remains advice rather than law for other areas in the north. Leaders of the cities also called for the government to review the 10pm curfew and discuss concerns with local authorities and businesses in advance.

Scottish Hospitality Group urges politicians to recognise role sector can play in preventing covid spread after members report just 17 cases since reopening: The Scottish Hospitality Group is calling on politicians to recognise the crucial role the industry can play in helping combat the spread of covid-19 after revealing its members have served almost 1.9 million customers since venues reopened  – with only 17 confirmed cases recorded among customers and staff. Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for group, whose members employ more than 6,000 people, warned tighter curfews and shutdowns would dramatically increase the spread of the outbreak as people would simply continue to socialise at home. He said: “Bars and restaurants are a crucial part of the solution to combat covid, not the problem. If they are closed down, even for a short time, all the evidence shows people will simply socialise at home, without any of the safeguards we’ve spent months implementing.” The group has written to senior politicians calling on them to see for themselves the comprehensive steps hard-working staff members are taking to protect customers. Montgomery, who operates two hotels in Dumfries & Galloway, said: “As well as the public health risks of shutting down the Scottish hospitality sector, the economic cost will be catastrophic for an industry worth £10.6bn to the Scottish economy annually and which employs 285,000 people. Many of those jobs will be lost forever if businesses, which are already on their knees, are forced to close. We are urging politicians of all parties to protect the sector to enable us to protect our communities.”

PM branded ‘grossly incompetent’ after failing to explain new legislation: Prime minister Boris Johnson bumbled his way through an explanation of regulations due to be implemented in the north east, and other areas of the country, on Tuesday evening (29 September). When asked if he could clarify new rules on whether people could socialise in pub gardens, Johnson tied himself in knots. He said: “In the north east and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities... but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside.” However, he issued a correction on Twitter later that stated: “Apologies, I misspoke today. In the north east, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside. This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high-risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities.” Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said on Tuesday: “For the prime minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent. These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country [on Tuesday night]. The Government needs to get a grip.” Following the publication of guidance from the Department of Health, it is understood pub and restaurant gardens are not covered by the new legal restrictions. The guidance for the affected areas does not state that socialising in a “public venue” will be against the law. Instead, it advises against doing so and remains as “guidance”. 
 
Sacha Lord joins NTIA board: Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife and The Warehouse Project, and night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, has joined the board of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). Michael Kill, NTIA chief executive, said: “It is clear Sacha’s heart and soul is deeply embedded within this industry and we feel his passion and drive for change is self-evident from the impact he has had on the sector within Greater Manchester in his role as night-time economy adviser. His engagement will add another dimension to the NTIA board and its fight to stand up for what seems more and more like an exiled sector.” Lord added: “During the past few months, it has become clear the nightlife sector needs to work together – not only to help the industry pull through these difficult times but to co-ordinate and shape a way forward so that we can recover, stronger than ever. I have known and worked alongside the NTIA and Michael for many years and I credit him as one of the most knowledgeable and expert voices in the night-time economy. I have been extremely impressed by his drive to speak out against policies that have crippled our sector, and he has been instrumental in helping industry leaders and operators navigate this turbulent period.”
 
Prestige Purchasing introduces free one-day diagnostics check: Prestige Purchasing is introducing a free service to help operators understand the key risks and commercial opportunities present within their supply arrangements. It is available to any hospitality operator with an annual (pre-coronavirus) supplier spend of more than £10m on food and beverage. The service collects and analyses data in advance then hosts a meeting of key stakeholders prior to delivering a high-quality report at the end of the day. The report includes analysis of supplier spend, supply strategy, ingredient pricing, ranging, delivery profiles, supplier management, technology, measurement, and organisation – benchmarking performance against peer businesses and identifying future risks/opportunities. Prestige Purchasing founder and chairman David Read said: “We want to do all we can to help our sector survive and thrive in the months and years ahead. A key part of success for operators will be having the best performing supply chain in terms of cost, value, availability, quality, service, and innovation. Supply excellence doesn’t happen by accident, and our professional insights and industry-wide perspective will help operators identify improvement goals and develop robust plans for the difficult road ahead.” Details of this free service can be found here.
Prestige Purchasing is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 
  
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury hotel business that is looking to speak with passionate and experienced restaurant managers. The position is based in Peterborough and will pay up to £35,000. The main goal for the incoming restaurant manager is to ensure the restaurant, within this new five-star property, operates efficiently and profitably. The restaurant manager is responsible for the business performance of the restaurant, bar and terrace, as well as maintaining high standards of food, service, and health and safety. Alongside the operations manager and other heads of departments, the candidate will have input into the strategic planning, shift pattern organisation and day-to-day management activities. The hotel is a smaller independent business that has an outstanding reputation within the industry and, as such, has helped to establish the careers of many successful hoteliers, restaurateurs and chefs. This business will make available the opportunity to progress to other reputable and award-winning operations with confidence and ability. Anyone interested can email their CV to Stuart@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatThe Virus campaign member 
 

Company News:

BrewDog to extend franchise agreement with Red’s to four new sites: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to extend its franchise agreement with smokehouse brand Red’s True Barbecue to four further sites, Propel has learned. The two groups that first teamed up at the BrewDog site in Call Lane, Leeds, will open new sites over the coming months in Headingley, Lincoln, Huddersfield and Bradford. In each, BrewDog will open a bar, with Red’s overseeing the kitchen operation. The Headingley site will see a conversion of the existing Red’s site, while the two companies will also take over the Brew Haus sites in Bradford, Lincoln and Huddersfield. Early this summer, Red’s, which was founded by James Douglas and Scott Munro, launched a site focused on takeaway food in Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield. The group’s other sites are in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester. A BrewDog spokesperson told Propel: “We are delighted to be entering a new phase in our long partnership with James and Scott at Red’s True Barbecue, previously their team have supplied the food to our Call Lane, Leeds, bar and took over the food operation of our Leicester bar in 2018. We love working with James, Scott and the Red’s team and are excited to start opening four new BrewDog franchise locations over the coming months.” Tokyo Industries, the bar and nightclub operator led by Aaron Mellor, invested in Red’s last summer.
 
Pret appoints Laura Grant as new global procurement director: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-owned brand, has appointed Laura Grant, formerly of Virgin Atlantic, as its new global procurement director, Propel has learned. Grant joins Pret after almost 14 years at Virgin Atlantic, most recently as vice-president of strategic projects, where she oversaw a portfolio of initiatives across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Speaking last week, Pret A Manger chief executive Pano Christou said the coronavirus pandemic had given him the licence to “rip up the rule book” and “take some risks” as he bids to turn around its fortunes. The company’s mantra, according to Christou, had been to follow the skyscrapers and “now we need to follow the people”.

San Carlo Group reports ‘much more positive trading than forecast’ since reopening, secures loan to strengthen balance sheet: San Carlo Group has reported trade has been “much more positive than forecast” since reopening while the business has secured a bank loan to strengthen its balance sheet as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. The company, which operates the San Carlo and Fumo restaurants, said it had – and would continue to – make use of the government’s furlough scheme until it closes at the end of October. Writing in the company’s accounts for the year ending 30 September 2019, the directors stated: “Detailed forecasts and cash flow projections have been prepared up to September 2021, the group is constantly reviewing and updating these based on capacity levels, trends, and changing government guidelines. Based on these assumptions and forecasts, following the pandemic outbreak, the group/company has agreed a bank loan repayable over four years, to further strengthen the balance sheet and provide sufficient headroom for the next 12 months, as well as providing additional funding to take advantage to the opportunities that may arise.” The company report turnover for the year ending 30 September 2019 increased to £59m, compared with £54m the previous year following a full 12 months’ trading for San Carlo in London’s Regent Street and rooftop restaurant Alto at Selfridges in the capital. Pre-tax profit rose to £1.8m, compared with £3,700 the year before. The group operates circa 20 sites across the UK.     

Street Feast founder brings together London chefs under one roof for workspace and restaurant concept in Shoreditch: Dominic Cools-Lartigue, the founder of street food market concept, Street Feast, is bringing together some of London’s top chefs together under one roof in Shoreditch. The Tramshed Project is a “membership-free destination for co-working, eating and learning” that will launch on Friday, 9 October. The site will feature a workspace, kitchens serving a diverse range of food from around the world, and a 2,000 square foot basement gallery that will play host to a line-up of curated events, residencies, talks and workshops. Cools-Lartigue will be working with chefs including Zoe Adjonyoh, James Cochran, Andrew Clarke and Daniel Watkins in the grade II-listed property in Rivington Street, which was previously home to Mark Hix’s Tramshed restaurant. Adjonyoh has devised a menu of Ghanaian cuisine inspired by traditional recipes and featuring flavours and ingredients from across West Africa; Cochran – owner and head chef at 12:51 – will be on-site serving a selection of fried, jerk-infused treats, and there will also be a menu of smoked meats and plant-based dishes from Clarke and Watkins. All of the menus can be enjoyed in The Tramshed Project’s main hall – a dining space with seating for up to 120 people. Upstairs, the building’s “Library” will also have space for up to 40 people around a kitchen counter that will play host to food and drink-pairing events and collaborative dinners and takeovers with chefs. Cools-Lartigue said: “Among the many lessons of lock-down, we learned the power of purpose. We heard countless tales of communities coming together to do good and help their neighbours in need. That same spirit of togetherness is at the heart of our approach to opening The Tramshed Project.” The Tramshed Project, which will have covid-safety measures in place, will also become a local food hub distributing food to vulnerable people through local charities in Hackney. 
 
Hotel Chocolat sees profit melt away as it counts costs of pandemic: Hotel Chocolat has seen profits melt away as it counts the cost of the pandemic. The company, which operates circa 130 stores, reported a pre-tax loss of £7.5m for the year to 28 June, compared with a profit of £14.1m the year before. It was dragged into the red after writing down the value of assets by £10m due to the “current disruption”. Sales had been up by 14% in the first half of the year, but tumbled by 14% in the second half, which included the key Easter period when stores were closed. More recent trading showed how sales have shifted towards online, with digital demand up 150% over the summer. Meanwhile, the company has closed five sites in commuter locations due to reduced footfall. It said there had been a drop in “impulse” sales, particularly in London. The group said it was in discussion with landlords “to find collaborative solutions to the ongoing disruption”. Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: “While uncertainty will continue for all of us in the coming year, our pipeline of potential growth opportunities has never been stronger. We are working hard to anticipate potential trading scenarios for the year ahead and are planning prudently to be ready to adapt quickly and effectively as the situation evolves. I am confident the strategic progress we have achieved over the past year will build a stronger business in the medium term with greater growth, profitability and brand appeal.”

The Coal Shed to reopen with new menu from ex-Hawksmoor chef and rare breeds farm tie-up: The Coal Shed will reopen on Thursday (1 October) boasting a new menu from former Hawksmoor chef Lewis Hannaford and a partnership with Lake District Farmers. New head chef Hannaford has more than 25 years’ experience in kitchens, including a role as executive chef at the Hawksmoor Group. Diners can expect to see dishes such as Lake District lamb grilled rump with glazed hot pot and roasting juices; smoked beef short rib for two with garlic-fried potatoes, barbecued hispi and autumn slaw; and Robata-grilled scallops, yuzu caramel, shaved fennel and apple salad. These mains will be joined by a range of small plates, including sea bream crudo with horseradish buttermilk, nori oil and kohlrabi; smoked pork belly with burnt onion raita and padron pepper jam; and Korean-fried chicken with fermented chilli mayo and pickles. The restaurant’s new partnership with Lake District Farmers will see rare and heritage breed cuts delivered to the restaurant daily. Dishes come served from an open kitchen that showcases the specialist charcoal cooking The Coal Shed is famed for. This is the final site to reopen from the Raz Helalat Black Rock Restaurant Group, which also owns The Salt Room and the original The Coal Shed in Brighton.

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