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Fri 20th Nov 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Deltic calls for rent-free period to avoid closure, Cineworld mulls CVA: The Deltic Group has called for rent-free periods from landlords in order to help it secure a sale to stop it from closing while Cineworld eyes a company voluntary agreement (CVA), as the pandemic continues to take its toll on the sector. The Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said the company faces collapse unless a sale is agreed imminently – putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk. Marks sent a letter to property owners seeking a rent-free period potentially lasting several months, reports Sky News. Marks told landlords the rent-free agreement was essential because “no interested party is prepared to proceed and accrue a rental liability without the knowledge that long-term occupation of the property can be secured”. He warned “without a successful sale, the business will have no option but to be closed”. Deltic, which traded from 52 venues across the UK until the first lockdown in March, has faced enforced closure of its sites for most of the year. “The management team of Deltic Group firmly believes when it is allowed to open, it will once again have a viable long-term business,” Marks told landlords. “In the interim, any investor will have to fund substantial holding costs to maintain the staff and meet statutory obligation until the clubs can be reopened. Parties that have expressed an interest in acquiring Deltic include the private equity firm Greybull Capital, which has backed companies such as Monarch Airlines and British Steel. BDO, the accountancy firm, is advising Deltic on the process and is expected to select a preferred bidder within days. Meanwhile, cinema operator Cineworld is looking to arrange a rescue deal that could mean UK cinema closures. One option being discussed with bank lenders is a CVA, an insolvency process that could help Cineworld cut its rent bill. According to the Financial Times, Cineworld has appointed restructuring firm AlixPartners. Cineworld swung to a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) loss for the six months to June after it was forced to temporarily close some cinemas, and movie studios delayed the release of some blockbusters. The cinema giant warned in September it might need to raise more money in the event of further coronavirus restrictions or film delays due to covid-19. All cinemas in England have been closed during the second lockdown, which began on 5 November. The company has been in talks with lenders to try to negotiate waivers on banking agreements, which fall due in December and in June next year. The Financial Times said Cineworld had been negotiating individually with landlords for rent cuts at its 127 sites.

Industry News:

Propel Friday Wrap video series with JD Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin: Propel continues its Friday Wrap video series on Friday (20 November) at 3pm. The series sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing the key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector of that week, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by JD Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin, to discuss where the pub sector goes from here; the company’s strategy through lockdown; if he has any regrets over his approach; and his frustrations with the government’s handling of the crisis. 

Propel’s ‘lessons of lockdown’ video series to feature Kris Gumbrell next: In the latest Propel “lessons of lockdown” 15-minute video, Ann Elliott talks to Kris Gumbrell, chief executive of Brewhouse & Kitchen, the 22-strong brewpub group. Gumbrell talks about the lessons of the first lockdown that he is applying to this lockdown. The video will be released at 9am on Friday (20 November).
 
Paul Charity to explore how pub landscape has transformed in a generation as part of latest Propel Premium column: Propel managing director and founder Paul Charity will explore how the pub landscape has been transformed in a generation as part of this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (20 November) at 5pm. “It’s almost laughable how misguided public perceptions can still be about pubs,” he writes in his 1,500-word piece. There will also be the latest sector rumblings from Premium Diary. 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. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

ONS – one in three hospitality business fear they might not survive next three months: One in three restaurants and hotels fear they might have to shut for good within the next three months as the sector is badly hit by a second lockdown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 34% of businesses in the accommodation and foodservices sector have “little or no confidence” they will last beyond the end of January. Overall, one in seven (14%) British businesses fear the same fate, a survey carried out in the first two weeks of November showed. Only about one in five (21%) hospitality businesses said they are highly confident about their future, 36% said they are moderately confident, while 10% said they are not sure. The ONS said 13% of the businesses it surveyed said they had paused trading and did not intend to restart within the next two weeks at the time the form was filled out. The worst hit sector is hospitality, where just 63% of companies are currently trading. Other ONS statistics show the economy is still much slower than usual. For instance, it reported road traffic is around 22 percentage points lower than it was in early February. Its figures show the total number of online job adverts increased slightly earlier this month, but are still only at 68% of the average from last year. The proportion of adults shopping for anything other than food or medicine halved to only 10% – the lowest level since the middle of June.
 
NTIA ‘cautiously optimistic’ as Supreme Court hearing over business interruption claims closes: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said it is “cautiously optimistic” as the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) appeal case at the Supreme Court over non-payment on business interruption insurance policies due to coronavirus drew to a close. The four-day hearing was challenging a successful test case brought by the FCA in September on behalf of holders of “business interruption” insurance who were denied payouts because of strict policy definitions. The core argument brought by the FCA and its lead lawyer Colin Edelman QC at the time was insurers demanding proof of local disease cases and arguing that businesses would have lost money anyway because of wider disruption defied “common sense”. The NTIA and its insurance broker NDML said: “It was clear the judges engaged positively with our policy wording leading us to be guardedly confident the appeal has viewed the FCA’s arguments in a positive light. Highlighting how insurers shouldn’t ‘cherry-pick’ between policies and clauses, we were pleased to see how Mr Edelman QC interrogated the original judgment in order to highlight how wordings such as our own ‘QBE-2’ policy should mirror that of the wider result, creating a level playing field in favour of policyholders. With the case only just complete, and the ink not yet dry on the court transcripts, there is still a lot to play for. However, the receptive attitude of the judges and their acknowledgement of Mr Edelman’s interpretations means we were far from discouraged in our hope the Supreme Court will eventually rule in favour of the FCA and our clients.”
 
Mintel – foodservice spend to fall by £44.3bn in 2020 as consumer spend drops £183.6bn: Spending in foodservice is expected to fall by £44.3bn (57.8%) in 2020 compared with the previous year due to the covid-19-induced lockdowns, according to new research from Mintel. This equates to a drop of about £1,593 per household. It comes as Mintel forecasts UK overall consumer spending will fall 14.9%, to £183.6bn this year, with the biggest decreases occurring in the transport, foodservice and holiday industries. Consumer spending in these three categories will fall by £140.1bn in total, or just over £5,000 per household – representing about 77% of the overall decline in consumer spending this year. But these three categories are expected to bounce back the strongest in 2021. Spending on foodservice will rise by £17.7bn compared with 2020, transport will increase by £32.3bn and holidays by £19.2bn. This represents an increase in spending of just under £2,500 per household; but still only represents a return to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the three sectors that will experience the biggest increase in consumer spending this year – totalling £11.2bn or just over £400 per household – are food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks purchased via retail channels and consumed at home. Jack Duckett, Mintel associate director of consumer lifestyles research, said: “Although consumer spending will recover from this year’s astonishing £180bn drop, it will undoubtedly be a long path to recovery – Mintel forecasts suggest pre-covid levels will not return until 2023 at the earliest.” 

Tier four lockdown ‘piles pressure on Scottish pubs and supply chains’ says brewer Harviestoun: Harviestoun Brewery co-managing director Stuart Cook has claimed the move into tier four lockdown for parts of Scotland from Friday (20 November) “piles on the pressure on Scottish pubs and the supply chains that support them”. The hospitality industry in 11 authorities that includes 2.3 million people across west and central Scotland will be closed for three weeks from 6pm as the Scottish government bids to bring “stubborn” coronavirus rates under control. However, Cook said the lockdown move will be “incredibly damaging to an industry already on its knees”. He told The Herald: “This just piles on the pressure on Scottish pubs and the supply chains that support them. Not only is this a devastating blow to the trade but, with no insight to when the industry can open again, the sector will be unable to plan for its busiest time of year. Harviestoun Brewery, just like all other breweries needs a schedule so we can plan in and return to brewing for the pubs. The tier four announcement is of no help whatsoever in these almost terminal times for the Scottish on-trade.” Craft beer brewer Harviestoun is based in Alva and has a ten-strong line-up of beers. 
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury resort, based in Seychelles, which is recruiting an executive chef. It is seeking to speak to accomplished senior chefs who are passionate about great food and looking for a new adventure abroad. The position will have full responsibility for building a team, planning the opening and leading the ongoing daily management of all areas of food in this new luxury resort. The ideal candidate will have at least two years’ experience in a similar role, an international recognised degree or diploma, strong menu development experience and a flair for managing large teams in a premium kitchen setting. Additional experience in creole, Japanese and/or Mediterranean cuisine would be an advantage. Relocation will be offered alongside a salary of circa $7,000 a month plus full expat benefits. Anyone interested can email their CV to michelle@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

AB InBev to fully integrate Camden Town Brewery, managing director Keary to step down: Camden Town Brewery, which was acquired by AB InBev in an £85m deal in 2015, is to be integrated into the global brewing company from January, in a move that will see the brewery’s current managing director Adam Keary step down. Keary, who initially joined the business as its sales director in April 2017, before becoming managing director in August 2019, will step down in March next year, while founder Jasper Cuppaidge will move into a consultative role with AB InBev. On possible redundancies, AB InBev said it anticipates retaining “most of the talent from Camden, and we are aiming to reduce any potential total impact to a minimum by reviewing alternative opportunities for any employees within the company”. Keary said: “Camden is about to turn the next exciting chapter in our story, by integrating fully into the UK arm of our parent company AB InBev, Budweiser Brewing Group. We have achieved a huge amount over the past ten years, and by making the transition, our brand and our breweries will be well positioned to continue that into the next ten and beyond. We will be unifying the two businesses, bringing the best of both and, ultimately, creating one bigger and better partner for all of our customers. Our guiding principle has never changed: to brew great, fresh beer and bring it to our consumers in an engaging way that, ultimately, makes beer better. Along the way we’ve had many milestones, from winning World Beer Cups, to opening our brewery in Enfield, to signing our deal with Arsenal FC and partnering with AB InBev in 2016. We started this year on a trajectory of over 50% growth, which means we would be almost five times bigger than 2016. This integration will also bring great opportunities for the beer team at Camden as they join the biggest brewer in the world. For myself, I will be managing the business and supporting the team through the transition. It’s been an absolute pleasure working at Camden and I’m excited to watch it’s continued success from the sidelines.” Paula Lindenberg, president, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said: “As Camden has continued to see phenomenal growth, with the start of 2020 showing an anticipated tenth year of plus-50% consecutive gains, now is the time to fully integrate to keep up with consumer demand and to grow further. We believe our teams complement each other and our ambition is the same. Camden Town Brewery will continue to be focused on getting more fresh, high-quality beer into the hands of more people in the UK.”

Sandwich and deli chain Birley’s placed on the market: Birley’s, the sandwich and deli chain founded by Robin Birley, has become the latest London-based food-to-go operator to be placed on the market, Propel has learned. The nine-strong company, which is led by Paul Salter, is understood to be working with advisers from Lambert Smith Hampton on an accelerated sales process, with a bid deadline believed to be next Wednesday (25 November). It is thought that a restructuring of the business would be part of any sales process. Birley’s, which was founded in 1990, currently operates sites across the City and the capital’s financial district, including stores in Cannon Street and New Street Square in the City, and Churchill Place and Bank Street in Canary Wharf. 
 
The Real Eating Company makes London debut: The Real Eating Company has opened its first site in London, in Chelsea, Propel has learned. The Helena Hudson-led business has opened on the ex-EAT site in Kings Road, its third conversion from EAT to Real Eating Company in total. Earlier this year, the company open its sixth site in the south east after securing the former EAT site in Canterbury, Kent. The unit in Whitefriars Street is due to open later this month. Last summer, the company converted the EAT site in Chichester’s North Street to its brand. The Real Eating Company also operates a second site in Chichester plus units in Horsham, Bournemouth and Portsmouth.

Starbucks to hike staff pay in US: Starbucks will hike pay for baristas, shift supervisors and cafe attendants at its US outlets by at least 10%, effective from Monday, 14 December. The company will also boost starting pay by 5% in order to help attract and retain employees. The details were contained in an internal memo, reports Business Insider. The increase is “one of the most substantial investments in pay in our company’s history,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks’ president of US retail, wrote. Employees who have been with the company for three years or more will get at least an 11% pay hike, and the company will increase the premium it already pays above minimum wage in every market, it said.
 
Chik’n makes dark kitchens move: Chik’n, the fried chicken concept from the team behind Chick ’n’ Sours, has opened two dark kitchens sites in London. The three-strong brand is now available out of the Deliveroo Editions in Battersea, and the Dephnas Kitchen in Park Royal. Its three restaurants in Angel, Soho and Marylebone are also still open for delivery. Meanwhile, Carl Clarke, chef and founder of Chick ’n’ Sours and Chik’n, has gone past his fund-raising target to be able to launch his plant-based noodle product Future Noodles. Clarke launched a campaign on Kickstarter at the start of September with the aim of raising £50,000 for the creation of the product. So far, 751 backers have pledged £55,050 to help bring the project to life.
 
Bulldozer Group and Caring both interested in Mount Street site for new restaurant opening: Serial sector investor Richard Caring and Bulldozer Group, the Dubai-based hospitality group, have both shown an interest in opening a restaurant on the ex-Porsche Garage site in Mount Street, Mayfair, Propel understands. It is thought Caring, who backs Caprice Holdings, the Ivy Collection and Bill’s, has held a long-term interest in the site for one of his higher-end restaurant concepts. Propel also understands the Bulldozer Group, an investment and brand management company led by entrepreneurs Evgeny Kuzin, Maxim Vlasov and Alexander Orlov, has shown an interest in the site for a launch of its high-end, Greek restaurant brand Gaia in the UK. Bulldozer currently develops, owns and operates a number of restaurants and nightlife venues in the United Arab Emirates, including Cipriani Dubai, with plans for global expansion.
 
Angelo Sato set to open Humble Chicken concept Soho: Angelo Sato, former head chef of Tom Sellers’ Michelin-starred Restaurant Story in Bermondsey, south east London, is set to launch a new concept, Humble Chicken, in London’s Soho. Propel understands Sato has secured the site in Frith Street, which formerly housed Barrafina and, more recently, Scott Hallsworth’s pan-Asian restaurant Freak Scene. Humble Chicken is set to offer “Yakitori-focused Japanese tapas, and take chicken to a new level, exploring nose-to-tail eating never seen before”. Sato moved to London from Japan in 2009, working under the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Tom Sellers before starting his own venture, Yatai, in 2019 at Market Hall West End near Oxford Circus. Since the pandemic, Yatai has remained available to Battersea residents for delivery via Deliveroo as well as click and collect. The concept was brought to life in 2019 by Japanese-born Sato following a bento box pop-up called Mission Sato, in Old Street – and the launch of his first permanent grab-and-go concept, Omoide, in 2018. Davis Coffer Lyons was understood to be marketing the Frith Street site.
 
Staycity completes €70m refinancing to support business and fund expansion: Aparthotel operator Staycity has completed a €70m debt and equity refinancing as it continues with its European plans to almost double the size of the company over the next 18 months and to operate 15,000 keys by 2026-2027. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) took part in the fund-raising, taking a 13% stake in the business. In support of this investment, ISIF has also committed a debt financing position. As part of the deal, existing shareholders have agreed to invest €7m for ordinary equity alongside ISIF. With cash and undrawn facilities of €50m to €60m, Staycity said it was in a strong position to deal with the impact of the pandemic on its business over the next couple of years and maximise opportunities that are likely to emerge in the recovery phase. In addition to the equity raise, a new €33m (£30m) loan from UK bank OakNorth was used to top up cash and repay existing debt. Staycity chief executive and co-founder Tom Walsh said: “Despite unprecedented challenges, we have achieved occupancies above 50% [in the] year to date. This is significantly ahead of traditional hotels and underpins the robustness of the aparthotel model, which is increasingly regarded as an attractive asset class. We are delighted to have negotiated this funding, which gives us ample liquidity to withstand current challenges and fund future expansion and investment.” Over the next 18 months, the group, which has 21 aparthotels will open ten properties in locations including Manchester, Dublin, Bordeaux, Paris, London and Frankfurt and almost double its operating estate to more than 5,100 keys. Walsh added: “It’s apparent that full recovery will take some time to achieve but the recent news of the success of the vaccine trials is positive news for the future. Leisure travellers have already demonstrated a demand for short breaks and city-based staycations nearer to home and we are well placed to see our occupancies rise as a result, particularly as our self-catering apartments make social distancing easier.”
 
Hawthorn sells Liverpool pub to long-term leaseholder: Hawthorn Leisure, the pub operations arm of NewRiver, has sold the Roscoe Head in Liverpool, to the long-term leaseholder and tenant Carol Ross. The pub has been in Ross’ family for 40 years, under a number of different owners. NewRiver acquired the pub in 2016 from Punch and it subsequently transferred to the Hawthorn operating platform in January 2019. Ross said: “I’m extremely grateful to Hawthorn for agreeing to sell the pub. Although I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with it, I have been extremely impressed by the way it has supported all its publicans during this pandemic.” Andrew Parker, director of leased operations at Hawthorn Leisure, added: “Carol is an institution at her pub, and it was clear the best thing to do would be to allow her to purchase the freehold and keep this fantastic pub in her family for years to come.” Hawthorn Leisure operates more than 700 community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales. Throughout the pandemic, the company has provided bespoke support for its partners, including continued rent credits to support pubs during further national and tiered local lockdowns.
 
Tonkotsu to open 12th London site next week, in Walthamstow: Ramen restaurant group Tonkotsu will open its 12th site in London next week, in Walthamstow. The company will launch the venue in Hoe Street on Thursday, 26 November, initially offering click and collect and delivery. The Walthamstow site will offer the brand’s signature ramen bowls alongside gyoza and its chicken kara-age. The drinks list will feature a sake made specially for the restaurant by the Tsuji Brewery in Okayama, and a new Minkan Shimoda Pale Ale made in collaboration with Thornbridge. There will also be beer from Walthamstow’s own Signature Brew as well as Japanese whisky, wine, cocktails, low-alcohol options, soft drinks and tea. Tonkotsu was launched in Soho in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds. As well as its London sites it also operates a concession within Selfridges in Birmingham.
 
Iberica gears up for Christmas with at-home food and hamper deliveries plus wine tasting with a sommelier: Spanish restaurant group Iberica is gearing up for Christmas with at-home DIY kits, tapas and hampers for delivery – and virtual wine tasting via Zoom with a wine sommelier. The restaurant menu – Nacho Manzano At Home – has been curated by Michelin-starred executive chef Nacho Manzano and serves two, starting at £55. It includes charcuterie of Juan Pedro Domecq, 100% Ibérico bellota ham, Cecina de León, air-cured beef, nine ready-to-cook Ibérico ham croquettes, Pitu chicken rice and Spanish rice pudding. A Feast Box is also available starting at £66 per person. The restaurant menu is only available within 2.5 miles of sites in Victoria, Farringdon, Marylebone, Canary Wharf and Leeds. There are four hampers to choose from, which can be delivered nationwide, the Iconic Hamper has classic Spanish products, bottle of rioja crianza, chorizo and extra virgin olive oil; the Deluxe Hamper has 14 premium Spanish products such as sparkling wine, truffle-infused manchego, hand-carved jamon, extra virgin olive oil and anchovies; the Charcuterie Hamper features a selection of cured meat and jamon from Juan Pedro Domecq with a bottle of Alfonso, Oloroso sherry; and the Sweet Treat Hamper has a combination of a sweet sherry made with Pedro Ximenez and Turrón. Prices range from £30 to £150. From £55, guests can book a Zoom event with friends, family or colleagues to enjoy alongside recommended seasonal wines by Iberica’s sommelier Graziano Cocco and head bartender Nacho Ordiz. Wine will be sent out before the event. Customers can also order store cupboard essentials. Deliveries begin on Tuesday, 1 December. 
 
Grubie to launch home-cooked meals delivery service: New platform Grubie will launch its delivery services of home-cooked food for customers who don’t have time or can’t be bothered to cook themselves early next year. The business that will connect home cooks with customers in their area already has hundreds of chefs ready to operate from their homes, producing meals such as Italian pizzas, Sri Lankan curries, vegan favourites, Mauritian and Caribbean fusion and Nigerian dishes. Founded by Dee Perera and Mehmet Kocaman during the first lockdown, the friends found that while working across the UK hotel life gave them a roof and gym facilities but the variety of takeaways was uninspiring and they wanted honest and simple home-cooked food. Perera said: “The UK is a melting pot of many different cultures and backgrounds but, once you get out of the big cities, it isn’t represented in the food – especially takeaways – on offer. We wanted to showcase how amazing different foods that are being cooked in home kitchens every day are and give people a healthier choice when ordering food online.” All home cooks will be council-registered and meet a minimum Food Standards Agency rating of three stars. Grubie will launch in mid-January 2021 for collection and delivery in London, Birmingham and Manchester before a rollout nationwide in spring.

Kokoro to open Chichester site: Sushi and bento brand Kokoro is to open a site in Chichester, West Sussex. The company has been given the go-ahead by Chichester District Council to convert the empty premises in North Street. Changes to the outside of the front of the building are expected to be minimal and will include a new fascia panel and new signage, reports the Chichester Observer. Kokoro operates 30 sites across the UK, mainly across the south of England. It is set to open an outlet in Oxford next month, according to its website. 
 
Bristol-based restaurateur to launch Sri Lankan concept: Bristol-based restaurateur Raja Munuswamy is to open a new Sri-Lankan concept in the city. Munuswamy, who is behind Indian restaurant Nutmeg in Clifton, is launching Nadu in Stokes Croft. It will take over the space most recently occupied by Masa + Mezcal, which announced it had closed permanently in August. Nadu means “land” or “place” in Tamil and the concept is inspired by Munuswamy’s Tamil heritage. Tamil food is based on the concept that food shapes the personality, mood, and mind, and Nadu’s menu has been created with this in mind by head chef Saravanan Nambirajan, who has worked in a number of Michelin-starred kitchens across the world. The menu will showcase a range of fish and meat dishes, alongside vegetarian and vegan small plates, all of which can be enjoyed alongside a cocktail menu. Munuswamy told Bristol Live: “We’re excited to be bringing the food and drink of our ‘nadu’ to Bristol and look forward to sharing dishes from our childhoods including bone marrow curry, spring hoppers, coconut stew and – above all else – the share and tear dosa.” The restaurant is set to open when the national lockdown lifts.
 
Marston’s to open new city centre offices: Marston’s has been given the go-ahead to move more than 250 of its employees to vacant offices in Wolverhampton. St John’s House and Dale House in St John’s Square will be the base for staff members who are relocating from outside of the city. The four-storey building is empty and includes lower ground and ground floor parking, reports Insider Media. A document submitted to City of Wolverhampton Council said: “The redevelopment and refurbishment will maintain jobs for local people in the city and the proposals are key to bringing life back to the site, and employment to this part of Wolverhampton city centre. The proposals will mean the siting of more than 250 staff who will contribute to the immediate locality’s economic vitality.”
 
Anna Tobias’ debut site Cafe Deco opens for takeaways lunches: Chef Anna Tobias, formerly of River Cafe and Rochelle Canteen, has opened her debut site Cafe Deco for takeaway lunches and as a shop in Bloomsbury. The wine bar and restaurant, located at Store Street, has been earmarked to open for indoor dining and drinking in December. Tobias is partnering with the team from 40 Maltby Street to offer “full lunch with a couple bottles of wine” with a “larger focus on takeaway than initially thought: sandwiches, a pork pie, for the students and business people.” 
 
Surrey-based micro-brewer The Park Brewery smashes £100,000 fund-raising target as it returns to crowdfunding scene: Surrey-based micro-brewer The Park Brewery has smashed its £100,000 fund-raising target after returning to the crowdfunding scene to support its growth plans. The company, which is running the campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, is offering 5.75% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £2.3m. The Park Brewery has raised more than £140,000 from circa 190 investors. The company will use the funds to add further tanks to increase brewing capacity as well as for marketing purposes. The pitch states: “This year, due to the pandemic, the business model had to change. We managed to purchase a second-hand canning line, set up an e-commerce site and sell direct to customers through home deliveries within a week of lockdown. Since then, we have completed about 2,000 home deliveries and gained over 1,700 new customers in 2020. And these numbers keep growing. Although we had a significant increase in capacity and output we still feel that we are a bit of an undiscovered gem in the brewing world. This investment will help us develop our marketing strategy, increase direct sales, enhance our range, create more employment as well as purchase much-needed additional tank space to meet demand.” The company was founded in autumn 2014 by husband-and-wife team Josh and Frankie Kearns with an initial £5,000 set-up producing just 200 litres a brew. It raised more than £300,000 on Crowdcube in 2018 to relocate to a new home in Kingston, add a taproom and increase production fivefold. 
 
Blackpool-based hotelier acquires Lancashire luxury holiday resort: Blackpool-based hotelier Adam Johnstone has acquired a luxury holiday resort in Lancashire. Johnstone, who owns Tiffany’s Hotel in Blackpool, has bought Cleveley Mere, a holiday resort consisting of luxury waterside lodges based outside of Scorton, for an undisclosed sum. Cleveley Mere has eight lodges and cabins based around the 34-acre gated site. In addition to the range of four and five-star lodges, the resort offers access to fishing on the lake, along with bikes and water sports and children’s activity areas. Johnstone is planning to expand the site with seven new lodges, in addition to hot tubs overlooking the lake and a new feature on the lake itself. There is also a plan to diversify the business by offering corporate and wedding packages. He said: “There is a huge potential on the site to create a secluded holiday retreat for families with a range of outside and water based activities.” Johnstone was advised by law firm Napthens on the deal.
 
Tomos Parry to reopen Brat residency at Climpson’s Arch for collection: Michelin-starred chef Tomos Parry is relaunching the residency of his Brat concept in the outdoor space at events hub Climpson’s Arch in Hackney for collection. The chalkboard pick-up menu, which will be available from Saturday (21 November), will feature wood-fired bread and snacks to go. There will also be a menu of dishes available to pre-order via WhatsApp including aged roast duck, Jersey beef chop and its signature whole turbot with a selection of Brat’s side dishes such as its smoked potatoes and grilled red peppers. Wine from the Brat Redchurch Street cellar will also be on sale.
 
Hotel firm operating from grade I-listed manor house goes into liquidation: Great Dean, which traded as Kitley House Hotel near Plymouth, has been wound up after covid-19 put its future into danger – leading to the loss of 20 members of staff. Castle Hill Insolvency has been appointed as liquidators for the business that ran the award-winning hotel and wedding venue from a 500-year-old, grade I-listed manor house, on Kitley Estate, at Yealmpton. Great Dean’s financial statements for the year ended 31 October 2019, revealed a deficit on its balance sheet of £512,874. This had grown from a £117,401 deficit at the end of October 2018 – Great Dean’s first year of trading. Its financial statement read: “While these accounts are not directly impacted by the global covid-19 pandemic, trading circumstances experienced post-year-end have led to significant uncertainties regarding the ability of the company to continue as a going concern.” 
 
Lane 7 to launch Lost in Wintertown outdoor party zone for Christmas: Lane 7-owned Gutterball – the bowling alley with mini golf, pool, karaoke, ping pong and arcade games – will launch an outdoors winter party zone called Lost in Wintertown. The concept, devised by Lane 7 owner Tim Wilks and former Tokyo Industries operations director Nigel Holliday, is set to open in Royal Quays, North Shields, after lockdown ends, on Friday, 4 December. Lost in Wintertown will comprise of a party zone with fairground rides, fire pits, tipi-style bars, street food vendors and there are plans to host a Christmas pantomime and themed party nights in a 200-seater covered arena called the MegaDome. The arena is poised to host performances including the pantomime Aladdin, Disney-themed sing-a-long events and night-time party nights featuring Queen, ABBA and Beyonce tribute acts plus live singers, DJs and comedians. Wilks told Chronicle Live: “With all kinds of family-orientated fun, pantomimes and work Christmas parties being cancelled this year due to covid-19, we want to inject some much needed festivity back into the calendar.” Holliday added: “Lost in Wintertown brings together a range of key attractions from all of those things people are going to miss most this winter, not least in the run-up to Christmas. As two operators with a long history in leisure, and recent experiences of operating leisure businesses during the pandemic, we will be strict on maintaining all appropriate safety measures.” Lost In Wintertown is planned to continue operating into the new year.
 
Hakkasan Group launches wine delivery service: Hakkasan Group has launched a direct-to-home wine delivery service. It follows the launch of its home delivery service, Hakkasan at Home, in March. The wine lists from Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair can be delivered nationwide across the UK, or alongside Hakkasan’s Cantonese dishes to London postcodes only. The Wine by Hakkasan selection is carefully sourced from leading vineyards across the world and exclusive to Hakkasan. In addition to individual bottles, which can be mixed and matched by the customer, the Hakkasan wine team has also created a selection of mixed cases. 
 
Radisson Hotel Group to open sites in Newcastle and Sheffield: Hotel group Radisson has announced it will open a 200-bedroom site near to Newcastle United football club in 2023 and another in Sheffield city centre. The Radisson Red boutique site will be the first in the north east of England as part of £120m development scheme, One St James. Developer High Street Group is driving forward the scheme at Strawberry Place after snapping it up in a £10m deal at the start of the year, with the site set to include more than 300 apartments, public spaces and a range of bars and restaurants. The Radisson Red hotel is aimed at the Millennial market and will include a sky bar, restaurant, alfresco space on the roof, conference and banqueting facilities, informal meeting spaces and a residents’ gym. Meanwhile, the hotel chain has been given the go-ahead for a site in Sheffield that is expected to open in August 2021. The Radisson Blu hotel will have a rooftop bar and restaurant after Sheffield City Council and its development partner, Queensberry, submitted proposals as part of the Heart of the City scheme. The development on Pinstone Street will overlook the Peace Gardens and will be housed behind the facades of Palatine Chambers and City Mews. A second building, containing the majority of the hotel’s 154 bedrooms, will replace Barkers Pool House on Burgess Street. Food, drink and retail businesses will take up space on the ground level. 
 
Gym operator Anytime Fitness secures Daventry site: Anytime Fitness, the 24-hour gym operator, has secured a site in Daventry, Northamptonshire. The company has agreed a 15-year lease for a former cinema building at the Bowen Square shopping parade with landlord LCP. The deal for the two-storey, 7,600 square foot building marks the first tenancy LCP has agreed since it took over the ownership and management of the complex last month. Work on transforming the building will begin this month, with an expected opening date in the first quarter of 2021. Raja Hasib, company director of Anytime Fitness Headington (Oxford), said the gym would be the first to operate “round the clock” in Daventry and will be equipped with top-of-the range free weights, cardio and functional equipment. It will also have dozens of exercise classes every week. LCP asset manager Martin Wade added: “We are pleased to have completed our first deal within a few weeks of taking over Bowen Square. By attracting a well-known gym brand to the shopping parade, we’re already expanding the offering for the local community, with a welcome and much-needed leisure facility.”

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