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Wed 2nd Dec 2020 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Alex Moore – without landlord flexibility, restaurants can’t survive right now: Rosa’s Thai Cafe co-founder Alex Moore, who invested in vegan restaurant and bar concept Redemption in September, has told Propel that “without landlord flexibility, restaurants just can’t survive right now”. With the rent enforcement moratorium set to finish at the end of this month, industry bosses have warned of a “bloodbath” if the government doesn’t step in. Moore agrees with that sentiment and said the level of support being offered by landlords of his various businesses had varied greatly. He praised West End landlord Shaftesbury for its support of Redemption, which is based in Seven Dials, and said: “Unlike some of our other landlords, it understands the severity of the situation the hospitality industry is facing. Without landlord flexibility, restaurants just can’t survive right now.” Since Moore invested in Redemption with wife Saiphin, along with Rosa’s finance director Tom Kristensen, through their company Atomex, the concept has introduced a new menu. The business is now being run by Raquel De Oliveira, who is also managing director of Peruvian restaurants Ceviche and Andina, which were also rescued from administration. Moore said: “Seven Dials is the perfect place for us to rebuild Redemption. The location complements the brand – in fact, the location is part of the brand. We have crunched the numbers and there’s just enough in the piggy bank left to get us through this. When the dark clouds start to disappear, we plan on still being here and to prosper again as the sun starts to shine. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another. Redemption is its own beast with its own strengths and own challenges. That old gem of wisdom about ‘what got you here won’t get you there’ comes to mind. I still firmly believe the vegan movement is going one way – and one way only. In 50 to 100 years from now, I still think people will look back at us now and be horrified humans were still eating other animals at the beginning of the 21st century.” Shaftesbury restaurant director Julia Wilkinson said: “Shaftesbury has worked hard to build up a community of unique, independent food and beverage venues in Seven Dials and, with our support, these kinds of operators have been better equipped to be agile and adaptable during tough times, compared with larger chains. Since its launch, Redemption has been a fundamental part of our dining offer and has drawn many visitors for its philosophy, menu and atmosphere. In light of this, we wanted to provide as much flexibility as possible.”

Industry News: 

COREcruitment to feature in latest The Supplier Perspective video: In the latest in Propel’s video interviews with leading suppliers, Mark Wingett talks to Krishnan Doyle, managing director of international recruitment consultancy COREcruitment, about how the recruitment landscape has changed during the duration of the crisis, the effect movements such as Black Lives Matter have had on recruitment, what is going to happen to salaries next year, dealing with candidate and client-driven markets, and what the long term looks like for the sector and jobs. The video will be released on Wednesday (2 December) at 3pm.
 
£1,000 payment for wet-led pubs ‘not even a token gesture’: The £1,000 one-off payment to wet-led pubs forced to close “does not even count as a token gesture”, sector bosses have said. Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the payment during a debate in parliament on the new tier restrictions on Tuesday (1 December). But the support falls far short of the minimum required to save businesses and prevent unemployment, UKHospitality warned. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “A one-off payment of £1,000 for pubs forced to close does not even count as a token gesture. Equivalent to just 1.1% of last year’s takings, it falls far short of the bare minimum required to keep these businesses alive. The government’s entire approach to this lacked any sliver of logic, as evidenced by the farcical debate around Scotch eggs over the past 24 hours. There needs to be a much clearer and supportive approach from the government and this means providing far more support immediately. The new tier system condemns nine out of ten hospitality businesses to being unviable by the new year. This is not just a threat to community wet-led pubs but also neighbourhood restaurants independent hotels, nightclubs and other hospitality venues that are now staring failure in the face. It is vital the government brings forward a more comprehensive package of emergency and long-term support to stave off the collapse of the third largest sector and export earner – a sector vital to our economic recovery.” British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said the “meagre” £1,000 one-off payment puts 80% of England’s pubs at risk of closure. She added: “It is, quite frankly, an insult to thousands of pubs across the UK that are on their knees. It barely touches the sides of what pubs up and down the country require to cover their costs and ensure they survive. Nor does it recognise the inherent danger they are in heading into the next year without more support should the tighter tier system remain unchanged. This December, the average pub will lose £47,000 in revenue. A £1,000 payment is not even a sticking plaster.” Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of brewer and retailer Greene King, said: “The £40m support fund for wet-led pubs only equates to around £1,000 per pub – which simply isn’t enough and won’t touch the sides of the financial hole that’s left for pubs over what is traditionally the busiest trading period of the year. Jobs and livelihoods are at risk. Unless the government urgently reviews the restrictions, many pubs face permanent closure.” Campaign for Real Ale chairman Nik Antona said: “A one-off £1,000 grant simply isn’t enough to compensate wet-led pubs in tier two and three areas in England that will be forced to close at what should be their busiest time of the year.” Phil Whitehead, managing director, western Europe, at Molson Coors Beverage Company, said: “We are staggered and disappointed by the measly measures announced by the prime minister. These pale in comparison to the devastating hit that pubs across the UK are suffering as they are forced to shut their doors during their most important time of the year.”
 
Michael Gove rules out potential need for ‘vaccine passports’, confident there will not be another lockdown: Senior cabinet minister Michael Gove has ruled out the possibility of introducing “vaccine passports” to prove to pubs, restaurants and other hospitality and leisure businesses that each customer has been vaccinated against covid-19. Responding to the suggestion on Monday (30 November) by business minister Nadhim Zahawi, who has been appointed to oversee the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, that people could need an “immunity passport” to get into hospitality venues, Gove told Sky News: “I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in government who is. The most important thing to do is make sure we vaccinate as many people as possible. There are three vaccines that are going through appropriate testing now to make sure that they’re absolutely safe and the most important thing is to make sure we get as many people as possible – starting with the most vulnerable, and then those who work on the frontline of the NHS – vaccinated effectively.” He also said there were a significant number of conspiracy theorists who oppose the idea of receiving the vaccine and said: “That’s a big challenge because we’ve got to persuade people who are opposed to taking a vaccine that it’s in all of our collective interest.” It is estimated that for herd immunity to be achieved, between 50% and 80% of the population need to get a jab, dependent on how effective the vaccine is. Gove also played down the chance of another national lockdown in England next year following concerns from scientists the Christmas rules relaxation will lead to a growth in coronavirus cases. He said: “I’m as confident as confident can be that we won’t need one.”
 
Revamp alcohol duty system to boost hospitality businesses and public health, say trade bodies: UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have called on the government to revamp and simplify the system of alcohol duty in order to boost businesses and deliver on the government’s public health initiatives. Responding jointly to the government’s review of the alcohol duty system, the submission calls for the system to be revised in order to incentivise consumption in pubs and hospitality businesses. The trade bodies are calling for a duty discount for draught products and a rebate for bottles or cans sold through hospitality premises. The new system would also simplify the way in which products are taxed with duty increasing with the alcohol by volume of the final product for each drinks category. In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “The current system of alcohol duty is a complex beast. There is, without doubt, scope for reviewing and simplifying it in order to get the best out of it for both businesses and the exchequer. What is absolutely clear is there should be a separate, discounted rate for alcohol consumed in pubs and hospitality businesses. The benefits of a distinct rate of duty for the on-trade, which has long been advocated for by the sector, are obvious. If we are serious about promoting healthier attitudes to alcohol, then it makes sense to incentivise safe and supervised consumption in pubs, bars and the wider hospitality sector. A shift in drinking habits away from unsupervised off-trade alcohol to the on-trade would also deliver a tax and employment boost. With the future of the hospitality sector, and indeed the entire UK economy looking perilous, the boost for businesses and their employees would be invaluable.”
 
Initial footfall boost seen in Wales following lockdown appears to dip: The initial footfall boost seen in Wales following the lifting of lockdown restrictions appears to have dipped slightly, according to data from Wi-Fi solutions provider Wireless Social. In Cardiff on Saturday (28 November), footfall dropped by 13% compared with the previous Saturday (21 November) and on Sunday (29 November), footfall dropped by 20% compared with the previous Sunday (22 November). Footfall across the country at the weekend as a whole was at minus 31% of February’s footfall. In England, with the lockdown still ongoing, footfall showed very little change from the previous three weekends. London was the city that appears to have fared the best, with Saturday’s footfall at minus 59% of the footfall seen in February and minus 61% on Sunday. In Scotland, footfall in Glasgow, which is subject to level four restrictions and where pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed, was the same as the previous weekend. There was also no noticeable change in Edinburgh’s footfall, where the city is subject to level three restrictions, which means cafes, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open until 6pm to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks. Across the whole of the UK on Saturday, footfall was at minus 68% of that seen in February, and minus 66% on Sunday.
Wireless Social is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News: 

Black Sheep Coffee looks to tempt Caffe Nero landlords to switch brands: London-based speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee has sent out an email aimed at Caffe Nero landlords, looking to tempt them to change to its brand. In the email seen by Propel, Black Sheep Coffee said: “Are you a Caffe Nero landlord? Have you been served with a CVA notice and can’t help but think you’re getting the short end of the stick? Then you probably are, but don’t worry, we are here to help. At Black Sheep Coffee, we’re raising money to take over Caffe Nero’s sites to save jobs and continue on our mission to rid the world of boring, average-tasting coffee.” The email also puts out a call to possible investors: “If you are an investor looking for a young and hungry company that wants to help make the world a better place by getting rid of plastic and supporting our homeless communities, then click the button below to find out how you can get involved and become part of the Black Sheep Coffee family that, every day, is growing bigger and stronger.” Black Sheep, which operates circa 35 sites – with the majority in the capital, raised £13m in new investment last year. It also added eight sites to its London estate with the purchase of the former Taylor St Baristas estate.

BrewDog co-founder sets out ten best decisions and says ‘we gambled our entire future when launching Equity for Punks’: BrewDog co-founder James Watt has set out what he believes are the ten best decisions he has made as chief executive of the Scottish brewer and bar operator, including launching Equity for Punks, building a brewery in America and pivoting to produce hand sanitiser. The list comes a few days after Watt set out his top ten worst decisions. On launching Equity for Punks in 2009, Watt said: “We pioneered a whole new generation of business models and inadvertently kick started the crowdfunding revolution. But it was anything but straightforward to do at the time. The first seven legal companies we spoke to told us what we were trying to do was impossible. Undeterred, we persevered regardless. Equity Punks One, launched in 2009, cost us £100,000 to set up and at a time when we only had £40,000 in the bank. We gambled our entire future on this completely untried and untested idea.” He also highlights becoming a Real Wage Employer in 2014. He said: “My happiest ever BrewDog memory was announcing this move, live on stage at our 2014 annual general meeting with thousands of our Equity Punk investors in attendance. Investing in our amazing people is core to what we believe in, and we fully believe that our long-term destiny will be determined by how well we look after our team.” On building a brewery in the US, in Columbus, Ohio, Watt said: “We, somewhat bullishly, decided we should build a brewery in America. I then spent five days in the US looking at potential locations. I spent a day each in Philly, Boston, Charleston, Columbus and Chicago. I was in Columbus for less than 24 hours but I loved the city – the energy, the vibe and the people. I got back to Scotland and I told [BrewDog co-founder] Martin [Dickie]: ‘I know you have never been to Columbus, I know I have only been there for a day, I know we have done zero diligence or any feasibility work whatsoever and it is going to cost us £30m that we do not have or have any idea how we are going to get, but we should definitely build this thing.’ He agreed. We definitely did not overthink it.” Watt also highlighted the group’s employee of the month scheme, use of video blogs, Unicorn funds and becoming carbon neutral in his top ten.
 
Greene King tied tenants to continue to receive 90% rent concessions in tiers two and three: Brewer and retailer Greene King has announced its tied tenants in tiers two and three will continue to receive a 90% rent cut from Wednesday (2 December). Tied tenants in tier one will receive a 40% rent concession. However, as it stands, none of Greene King’s 875 pubs in England are in a tier one area. This mirrors support in Scotland where pubs in levels two to four are receiving a 90% rent concession and those in levels zero to one are receiving a 40% rent concession. Greene King Pub Partners’ financial support for its tenants stands at £25m. Greene King Pub Partners managing director Wayne Shurvinton said: “We supported our tied partners through the recent November lockdown with a 90% rent concession and that will remain in place as the tier system is a lockdown in all but name for the majority of pubs. Despite investing hundreds of thousands of pounds over the summer to install safety measures, our tenants have still been closed down for Christmas by the government, even though they have done everything that was asked of them. We are providing this rent concession to do what we can to help what are profitable and viable businesses get through winter so they can begin rebuilding in 2021. Unfortunately for some, rent concessions may not be enough and without further government support, such as increasing grants, extending the VAT hospitality cut to include alcohol and bringing back the Job Retention Bonus, thousands of pubs remain at risk across the country.” Alongside rent concessions, Greene King Pub Partners can also benefit from a discount on barrels purchased from Greene King until the end of March 2021, with tied tenants receiving a trade credit of £35 per barrel. Greene King Pub Partners will review the level of rent support every four weeks.
 
EG Group signs deal to roll out 150 Cinnabon sites across UK: EG Group, the forecourt and roadside operator, which is currently bidding to takeover Caffe Nero, has announced it has partnered with Cinnabon to roll out 150 sites under the US bakery brand across the UK over the next five years. Propel revealed in October, the two businesses were in talks to relaunch the bakery brand in the UK, with the first site under the new agreement set to open on Friday (4 December) on the Frontier Park development, off Whitebirk Roundabout, near Blackburn. Additional bakeries are set to open their doors as early as January. Cinnabon previously operated a handful of sites in the UK, including one at the Trocadero in Piccadilly at the start of the previous decade, before retreating from the country. “Cinnabon is a well-recognised and enjoyed brand,” said Mohammed Tayab, EG Group’s food and beverage director for Europe. “We are delighted to be able to serve our UK customers with delicious, freshly baked products when they want to treat themselves. EG Group has once again partnered with another global brand, bringing the ultimate convenience to customers.” Sean Wooden, vice-president, managing director at Focus Brands EUMEA, added: “Focus Brands International has been working closely with the team at EG Group to be able to deliver the world’s most famous cinnamon roll and provide a moment of sweet escape for UK residents and travellers.” EG Group said the Cinnabon dough will be produced from scratch at a central kitchen in Frontier Park, Blackburn, and distributed daily to stores within EG Group locations. The dough will then be hand-rolled and baked in store. Its production facility will support up to 50 stores with daily deliveries of fresh dough. EG Group plans to open 150 stores over the next five years across the UK, creating up to 2,000 jobs nationwide. 

Pilpel secures Canary Wharf site: Family-owned restaurant group and falafel bar Pilpel, which specialises in Middle Eastern street food, has secured a site to open its seventh venue in London, Propel has learned. The company, which also operates the Badolina brand in the capital, is understood to have secured the ex-Birleys Sandwiches sites in Churchill Place, with the new site opening this week. The group was founded by Uri Dinay and Joseph Cohen, and also operates Pilpel sites in Aldgate, two in Smithfield and others in St Paul’s, Lime Street and Fleet Street. Sammy Weinbaum at CDG Leisure acted on the Canary Wharf deal. 
 
Flat Iron hits ten with Marylebone launch: Flat Iron, the “single steak” dining concept backed by private equity firm Piper, is to open its new site in Marylebone on Wednesday (2 December). The company is launching the restaurant – its tenth in total – in James Street. The site has 74 covers inside and a heated outdoor terrace. Founder Charlie Carroll said: “James Street is a really exciting move for us, especially in such a challenging time. We have spent these past few months working on some new specials such as the bone marrow mash and wagyu beef burger. Our mindset hasn’t wavered since we started as a pop-up; great steak for everyone, unparalleled quality and doing a small number of things really well.” 
 
Gordon Ramsay to launch Street Burger site in St Paul’s: Gordon Ramsay has announced he will open a new restaurant, named Street Burger, in London’s St Paul’s area this week. Ramsay said the site will launch in the One New Change development, where he opened Bread Street Kitchen in 2011. He said: “We started doing pop-ups a couple of years ago. We’ve got this beautiful concept called Street Burger at One New Change kicking off literally days from now.” Ramsay said Street Burger will offer a burger, fries and drink for £15 a head and seat 60 customers. Chips will be made using a potato brand overseen by Pierre Koffmann, who Ramsay trained under as a young chef. The chef announced at the end of October, he will open a third site in London under his £15 all-you-can-eat Street Pizza brand this month, in Southwark. The new site will open under the chef’s Union Street Cafe site in Great Suffolk Street. He also operates Street Pizza sites in St Paul’s and at his York & Albany site in Camden. He has also recently launched the first UK Gordon Ramsay Burger at Harrods. In August, accounts for Ramsay’s restaurant business showed it made a profit of more than £15m last year and that he was still planning to open 50 venues across the UK. The chef is also planning a major expansion into Asia with 200 sites in the next five years. 
 
Wendy’s signs ‘industry’s biggest team-up with a cloud-kitchen operator’ for 250 sites in India: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, which is set to make its UK return next year, is to partner with Rebel Foods on what it calls the “industry’s biggest team-up with a cloud-kitchen operator”, to open circa 250 sites in India. Rebel Foods is the world’s largest cloud-kitchen operator, with more than 300 locations. Wendy’s is also looking to open about 150 physical stores in the country over the next decade, up from its current nine. Franchise partner Sierra Nevada Restaurants will help with both the cloud kitchen initiative and the physical store expansion. “India is one of our high-growth, high-potential markets,” Wendy's chief development officer Abigail Pringle told Bloomberg. “I don’t know of any other global brand that has announced this kind of significant multi-year, multi-unit commitment.” Last month, Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, said the company had a strong pipeline of locations in place in the UK, including some drive-thrus. In an update to investors, Penegor said the company was also engaging with potential franchise candidates to “build out the market with us”. It is set to open a site in Reading in the spring.
 
Inamo to reopen following lockdown with Eat Out (Early) to Help Out offer: London-based futuristic restaurant brand Inamo is reopening its sites on Wednesday (2 December) – with an Eat Out (Early) to Help Out offer. Every weekday until 30 December, from 1pm until last sitting at 4.45pm on Monday and Tuesday, and until 3.45pm from Wednesday to Friday, Inamo will offer £10 off the bill for each guest dining on its à la carte menu. Customers need to make a reservation using “Eat Out To Help Out” as a booking note during the dining times listed to qualify. Meanwhile, Club Mexicana, the vegan restaurant concept that offers Mexican and Californian-inspired street food, will reopen its Kingly Court and Seven Dials Market sites offering limited-edition tacos and burritos all given a Christmas twist. Club Mexicana will also be launching a new range of festive feasts and DIY taco kits available for delivery nationwide as well as a New Year’s Eve taco box. Japanese restaurant Bisushima, the brainchild of Sergey Men, will also reopen on the rooftop of the Page8 Hotel in St Martin’s Place. The venue only launched two days before the latest lockdown.  
 
Local operators Bross Bagels and Salerno Pizza secure space at Edinburgh’s St James Quarter: Local operators Bross Bagels and Salerno Pizza have become the latest companies to secure space at Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, Propel has learned. Bross Bagels has signed for 1,200 square foot space on level one of the development, facing out to Picardy place, while Salerno Pizza has taken 3,500 square foot site on level four as part of St James Quarter’s premium dining terrace. Both will launch in spring 2021. Bross Bagels founder Larah Bross launched the company’s debut restaurant in Edinburgh in 2017 after moving from Montreal to Scotland in 2006. The concept, which offers “Montreal-style bagels with NYC deli-inspired fillings” currently operates six sites across the Scottish capital. Salerno Pizza is the brainchild of siblings Ryan and Danielle Dexter who, on the back of their extensive work in their family restaurant in Princes Square in Glasgow, are now setting up their own venture to bring “Napolitana pizzas to Edinburgh at affordable prices”. Ed Corrigan at St James Quarter, said: “We are curating a truly complementary mix of international eateries while preserving the development’s Scottish roots and links with the local community. That’s why we’re really proud to be able to collaborate with local entrepreneurs such as Bross Bagels that has absolutely taken the Edinburgh scene by storm, and Salerno Pizza that will be launching an exciting, never-before-seen concept at St James Quarter.” Bross said: “Our aim is to make the new Bross an essential and exhilarating foodie experience that no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without. Like Swartz is to Montreal and Katz’s to NYC, we want to deliver something above and beyond expectation with our house-cured salt beef and pastrami, a range of vegan meats that even people who are annoyed by vegans will get excited about and, of course, our infamous bagels from our own bagel bakery 20 minutes down the road in Portobello.” Everyman Cinema, a new food hall from Bonnie & Wild, @Pizza, Five Guys, Sushisamba and The Alchemist have already signed up for the scheme.

Puttshack to stagger reopening of its three UK sites: Indoor mini golf experience Puttshack will stagger the reopening of its three UK venues. Guests will be welcome at its Lakeside and White City venues from Thursday (3 December) while its flagship Bank venue will open its doors on Wednesday (9 December). Online bookings are being taken already and sites will reopen under covid-safe rules with customers having to wear masks unless they are eating and drinking, and anyone wishing to drink alcohol will have to order a main meal. All three sites will operate under tier two coronavirus restrictions. Puttshack UK managing director Hugh Knowles said: “After another period of having to close our doors, we’re delighted that, once again, we can welcome guests back to our venues and offer some much-needed fun this festive season. We’re particularly excited about reopening our Bank site for the first time since March.” Puttshack was founded by Steve and Dave Jolliffe, founders of Topgolf and World Golf Systems, and Adam Breeden, co-founder of Flight Club, AceBounce and All Star Lanes. The company is globally headquartered in Chicago.

Bao group announces opening date of its fourth site – Cafe Bao: Cafe Bao has announced it will open in King’s Cross on Wednesday, 9 December. Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, the founding trio of Bao, originally planned to open their latest site in May. The cafe promises to offer a dining experience inspired by the western-style cafes found throughout Asia, and will also feature a counter dedicated to Bao Bakery Goods. Walk-ins will be catered for during its opening week with online bookings accepted from Tuesday, 15 December, meanwhile delivery and click and collect are also available. The venue will be located in Pancras Square. Its all-day menu will offer new dishes filled with the twists Bao has become known for, plus favourites too. The new opening marks the first time Bao Bakery Goods has been available. It will feature a bespoke Bao-making service as well as a series of workshops. Co-founder and food art director Erchen Chang said: “The inspiration for Cafe Bao stemmed from Yoshoku cuisine, an interpretation of western food seen through an Asian lens. This style of cooking is something that’s always resonated with us and made us feel quite nostalgic.” 
 
Rudie’s Jerk Shack to open third site, in Brixton Village on Thursday as it returns to full-service format: London-based Rudie’s Jerk Shack, the Jamaican-inspired concept from Matin and Michelle Miah, will open its third site, in Brixton Village on Thursday (3 December). It marks a return to the full-service format for Rudie’s, which has agreed a deal with landlord Hondo Enterprises. Split across two levels, the 50-cover restaurant, with indoor and outdoor table service, will be located in Market Row. The menu will feature its famed “Real Jerk” with meat and fish marinated for 24 hours in its secret blend of herbs and spices, before being grilled and smoked slowly over charcoal in a steel drum. Traditional Jamaican street food dishes will be given the contemporary Rudie’s treatment alongside a rum bar. The Brixton site will join Rudie’s Jerk Shack’s two grab-and-go outlets, at Boxpark Shoreditch and Borough Market.
 
Daish’s Holidays strengthens hotel portfolio as part of Robinsons Holidays acquisition: Daish’s Holidays has completed the acquisition of Robinsons Holidays to expand its portfolio to 12 hotels. Daish’s welcomed the Imperial Hotel in Eastbourne and the Abbey Lawn Hotel in Torquay to its ranks plus 13 coaches that will operate from a range of pick-up locations in the north west. Daish’s managing director Jeanne Wilson said: “We are thrilled to confirm Robinsons is joining our family business. There is a fantastic synergy between the two companies and we are committed to building and enhancing Robinsons’ offering that has been established in the UK for almost 100 years. Growing our reach into the north west has always been a business goal of ours and we are pleased to provide fantastic new holiday options for our loyal guests.” The newly acquired hotels will have live entertainment nightly and benefit from package deals, including half board and coach transport. The hotels will open in February. Daish’s Holidays is a family-owned and operated business that now has 12 hotels located in ten destinations across England and Wales. 
 
Golden Gai from Angelina team to double up with Soho launch: The team at Japanese-Italian restaurant Angelina in Dalston will open its Golden Gai bar in Soho on Thursday (4 December). The original Golden Gai was a six-seater bar within Angelina while the new incarnation will be much bigger but will continue the mix of Italian and Japanese flavours in its food and drinks. The bar is taking over the space that used to be Italian wine bar Vetro. Food on offer include an Italian cheeseboard with Japanese additions such as aged tofu with moromi-miso; chicken karaage; otoro (tuna) with lardo; and piadine (folded flatbreads with melted Italian cheese), with toppings such as caviar and fresh truffle. New cocktails will come from head bartender Wilson Salemos, who will also be head up Golden Gai. They include Itameshi – Vin Santo, Montanaro Rosso, whisky and fish dashi; and The Ceremonial Sour – Yama matcha with matcha Kit Kat, double cream and coffee. Hot Dinners also reported there’s a wine milk punch, made using waste white wine mixed with milk and filtered until clear, which is also going to be used in its Milk & Melograno – pomegranate punch with grappa, sake and rum. 
 
Former Claridge’s pastry chef launches vegan cookie concept: Former Claridge’s pastry chef Kimberly Lin has launched vegan cookie brand Floozie Cookie, which is to operate a three-month pop-up in London’s Covent Garden. Lin has agreed a deal with Capital & Counties Properties for the residency at 5 James Street from Saturday (5 December). The all-vegan restaurant will serve Lin’s signature “stuffed cookies” in six flavours, alongside plant-based hot chocolate and milk. Lin said: “I always had a fantasy project in my head; to offer a simple treat within a luxury Art Deco store design. I chose the cookie because it has always struck me as underrated and overlooked but to me it expresses care, skill and creativity. Why Floozie? I’ve always loved the joyous rebellion of the ’20s that came after the wartime economy; the spirit of mankind to celebrate freedom through creativity shaping music, fashion and food has always been an inspiration; the flappers and the floozies, I love it all.” Lin will be joined by luxury Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus, which is opening a store in the Market Building, selling handcrafted, artisanal chocolate, truffles and ice cream. They are two of four new openings in Covent Garden with sneaker and streetwear store Kick Game and British coat maker Mackintosh also joining the line-up. As previously reported, Big Mamma Group, the operator behind the London-based restaurants Gloria and Circolo Popolare, will also be joining the estate in 2021.
 
The Arcade Warehouse to double up with new site: The Arcade Warehouse, which is operated by Caton Airey and Dan Rees, is set to open a new site in the new year in Lincoln, creating ten new jobs. Chartered surveyor Banks Long & Co has brokered a deal with The Arcade Warehouse by leasing its former retail showroom in Dixon Street. The duo’s Scunthorpe Warehouse launched earlier this year and they plan to install more than 100 machines, plus a cafe and bar, serving hot food and both alcoholic and non-alcohol beverages in the 6,097 square foot space. Airey and Rees, who also run an IT company, hope to launch the new gaming centre in February but, if further restrictions are imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, that could be delayed until nearer April. Airey said: “We are thrilled with the Dixon Street premises, which we will be configuring to accommodate an amazing selection of retro-gaming and e-sports machines, including pool tables, driving and shooting challenges, touchscreen games and those using virtual reality technology.” Appealing to all age groups, The Arcade Warehouse will also be able to host parties and be available for private hire. People will pay an entrance fee then be free to play on all the individual machines.
 
Dishoom releases spice set and bottled cocktails for home delivery: Indian restaurant Dishoom has released a spice set and bottled cocktails for home delivery. The Dishoom Masala Dabba is “the perfect companion” to the Dishoom cookery book, which is a collection of nine of chef Naved Nasir’s go-to spices and signature blends, presented in a reusable dabba – a silver metal storage tin for spices, as found in Indian kitchens. Meanwhile Dishoom has also made its first set of bottled cocktails available from its Permit Room. The Permit Room is where batching and bottling of cocktails takes place, and on offer are the India Gimlet, Sonia’s Negroni and Permit Room Old-Fashioned for home drinking. These items join many others including bacon or vegan sausage naan roll kits.

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