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Thu 10th Dec 2020 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

TGI Friday’s sees like-for-likes outperform market by 9.5%, plans to open circa five sites a year as it estimates market capacity will shrink up to 30% post-covid: TGI Friday’s saw like-for-like sales outperform the market by 9.5% on an average weekly basis up until the latest lockdown following reopening in July. The company, led by Robert Cook, is also planning to open circa five sites a year in medium term under its eponymous brand and new 63rd+1st concept as it sees a “significant opportunity for growth”, estimating the market capacity will reduce between 20% and 30% post-covid. It is also set to open its first dark kitchen, which will “further extend Friday’s geographic reach for hot food”. Parent company Electra, which is looking to sell its assets and return cash to shareholders, provided the update as it reported results for the year ending 30 September 2020. The private equity firm said the value of TGI Friday’s stood at £106.6m as of 30 September 2020, down from £118.8m in March and £141.4m from September last year. However, Electra said it was confident performance would return to pre-pandemic levels “given the new management team has rejuvenated the brand, improved the offerings and is adding new revenue streams”. TGI Friday’s had net debt of £39m at the end of the period, after adjustment for covid-related accruals. Electra stated: “Most recent current trading is encouraging and management is confident of Friday’s ability to perform strongly as it emerges from covid-19 disruption. While the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic has delayed the demonstrable financial impact of some initiatives, results to date and extensive consumer research indicate the developments made are being well received by existing, returning and new customers. While market conditions have varied dramatically over the period since resumption of trade, Friday’s has experienced a high level of customer demand throughout with like-for-like revenue growth outperforming the market by 9.5% (source: Industry CGA Peach Tracker) on an average weekly basis between resumption of dine-in sales in July and November. The customer-orientated improvements and strategic initiatives implemented during this period have contributed to Friday’s strong performance in revenue, margin and cash generation. Friday’s enjoys the continued support of its banks, with modified covenant tests being in place until March 2021, pending a reset that will be influenced by market conditions at that time.” Click and collect is now operating from almost 30 of its 87-strong estate while its “cocktails at home" and “Friday’s at home” boxes being launched for home delivery “has extended Friday’s geographic coverage nationwide”. The first 63rd+1st site – its smaller format “cocktails and sharing plates-led experience” – will open in Cobham, Surrey, next month with further sites in the pipeline. Electra added: “With estimates of the reduction in market supply post-covid-19 being in the range of 20% to 30%, we anticipate a significant opportunity for growth. Friday’s medium-term development plan is for net new site development of about five stores per year, which is self-funded from cash generation. This 6% per annum increase in current site numbers will deliver further growth on top of the growth opportunity from the existing estate. Current market conditions give attractive opportunities for highly cost effective new site acquisition.” Electra paid £142m for its 99% ownership in TGI Friday’s, having made its initial investment in 2014.

Industry News:

UKHospitality welcomes extension of rent moratoria to avoid ‘bloodbath’ but insists more financial help needed: UKHospitality has welcomed the rent moratoria extension but insists long-term support is still necessary for survival of businesses in the sector. The trade body added a commercial property review would give the opportunity to implement a long-term fix. It said the announcement by the government on Wednesday (9 December) to the lease forfeiture and debt enforcement moratoria “will help avoid an immediate bloodbath of business failures” but financial support is necessary to fight covid-related rent debt and landlords must be “brought to the table” to find a solution otherwise “the alternative is a calamity of evictions on 1 April”. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a very welcome respite and it will be crucial in ensuring more businesses do not fall off an immediate cliff edge. Hospitality businesses that have been hammered all year long were staring down the barrel of mass failures and job losses without this. If it is to be the final extension to the moratoria then it is absolutely crucial it is followed swiftly by a cohesive and comprehensive package of recovery measures from the government. The focus now needs to turn to helping businesses begin to get back towards full strength and trade their way out of danger. An extension to the business rates holiday and VAT cut are a must, alongside loans to tenants where landlords have provided rent concessions. The government must facilitate a resolution to the problem of rent debt that has built up over a devastating year. The forthcoming enhancements to the code of practice must bring landlords to the table to find a solution. They cannot be allowed to simply wait until April in order to evict and wind-up businesses. The review of commercial property legislation, due to begin in the new year, must also be delivered at pace. We have been calling for this for a long time and it needs to happen sooner rather than later if we hope to see more businesses benefit from it.” Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill added: “Consideration needs to be given to a more robust code of conduct that would require some mandatory elements within it, similar to the Australian model, ensuring each stakeholder comes to the table to resolve this current situation.”
Chief scientific adviser admits no real hard evidence on curfew times: Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has admitted there was “no hard evidence” imposing curfews was effective in bringing down coronavirus cases. Speaking to the science and technology committee chair Greg Clark why a 10pm curfew, which since been pushed back to 11pm, was introduced, Vallance said alcohol was likely to increase risk of infections through interactions. Sir Patrick was also asked if there is specific modelling to show whether covid-secure measures pubs, bars and restaurants have taken in the UK have made a difference to infection rates. He replied: “It’s just not possible to model that with any degree of accuracy.” The 10pm curfew was introduced in September as part of new national measures in a bid to prevent another lockdown. It was pushed back to 11pm after the tiers system came back in at the start of December. Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty, said he couldn’t rule out further lockdowns being needed even after the rollout of the vaccine – with restrictions set to stay until the spring at least.
Dutch study finds closing hospitality had no effect on spread of covid-19: The closing of pubs and restaurants had virtually zero effect on the spread of covid-19 in Holland, according to a leaked study from the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. The study showed when the Netherlands shut its bars and restaurants on 14 October, the R-rate was measured at 1.08, according to the paper leaked to De Standaard. At first, the rate fell to 0.82 but by 13 November, with all hospitality still shut, it was back up at 1.04. The scientists concluded: “This suggests the influence of the catering industry on the R-value is very small, and the decrease and increase since 14 October must be explained differently.” The study said, according to the ministers, people are mainly transmitting the virus in home situations. It said by reopening restaurants, “unsafe home visits” could be severely curtailed. According to reports in Holland, it also said “because the restaurants have to adhere to strict coronavirus protocols, it would be ‘conceivable’ the R-value will fall”. However, on Tuesday (8 December), Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said he was unable to announce any further relaxations of the country’s current covid-19 measures.
All-Party Parliamentary Group formed to give ‘world-leading’ night-time sector a voice in Westminster: The night-time economy will have a voice within government after cross-party MPs and peers formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to save the “world-leading sector”. The group, chaired by Labour MP Jeff Smith, will provide a key voice for the sector in parliament to address the immediate covid-induced crisis facing, financial support and future challenges. Most night-time businesses have been ordered to remain closed since March. There has been concern the sector has been particularly under-represented politically, and undervalued culturally and economically by the government, with many misconceptions around business models and market segmentation. The APPG will be supported by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which will provide expert industry insight and secretariat services to the group. Smith said: “The night-time sector is hugely important to both the UK economy and our cultural identity. But in the past nine months, it has faced enormous challenges, and thousands of bars, nightclubs, and live events businesses are at risk of collapse. As a former events manager and DJ, I feel strongly about the importance of these businesses, so I am pleased to be chairing the new cross-party group to support night-time industries. We will be working hard to ensure that this usually viable, thriving and world-leading sector can not only survive the covid crisis but prepare for a prosperous, long-term recovery.” NTIA chief executive Michael Kill added: “It is vitally important the night-time economy has its own voice and alongside businesses, associations and participating parliamentarians, we welcome the All-Party Parliamentary Group to further support and clarify the challenges around the industry, and help recognise its cultural and economic value both within the UK and internationally. We are extremely pleased to have the support of many cross-party parliamentarians, and believe this group will have a substantial part to play in the regeneration of the night-time economy in the next 12 months.”
Scottish government pledges £570m to support businesses: The Scottish government has pledged a further £570m to support businesses. It is part of more than £1.8bn of extra funding being allocated to tackling the impact of coronavirus in Scotland. Support for business and the wider economy of £570m will include grants via the Strategic Framework, funding for local support packages, the newly self-employed hardship fund, digital support, Local Authority Discretionary Business Funding and remaining allocations from the £97m support for culture and heritage. The funds include £1.8m ring-fenced for breweries. The funding was detailed in a letter from finance secretary Kate Forbes to the Scottish parliament’s finance and constitution committee. She said: “The UK Treasury has indicated this funding covers the period up to March 2021, so I have allocated £330m as a contingency to ensure we are in a position to provide further support to health and businesses, including for issues arising from Brexit, as it is required over the coming months.” Society of Independent Brewers chief executive James Calder said: “Small breweries are running on empty and face lacklustre Christmas sales ahead – come January many will face closure without this promised support.” The latest covid-19 consequentials bring the total received by the Scottish government to £8.2bn.
Placing London into tier three restrictions would be ‘killer blow’ to hospitality: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said placing London into tier three restrictions would be a “killer blow” for the sector. Data from Public Health England showed London’s infection rate is almost 170 per 100,000 people, which is about 13% higher than the national average. However, hospitality leaders have re-emphasised the on-trade is safe and temporarily closing sites across the capital will lead to permanent closures. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told City AM: “The prospect of London moving into tier three would deliver a killer blow that many hospitality businesses simply wouldn’t recover from. Hospitality has continued to take on a disproportionate burden to allow other parts of the economy to reopen during this crisis. These businesses have invested significant time, effort and money to create covid-secure spaces, and they can play a role in keeping transmission rates down.” Nicholls cited the retail industry for the recent spike in infections after the capital’s major shopping destinations saw a 93.5% jump in footfall over the weekend. She added: “The increase in infections that are being reported in London boroughs are also not a result of the recent reopening of the hospitality sector as we know due to the incubation period of the disease. Any harsher restrictions placed on the capital’s hospitality sector would have questionable effect on reducing transmission while plunging the sector into an even deeper crisis that would result in many more business failures and jobs lost.” Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: “It’s hugely concerning that cases are rising, with potential for further restrictions if London moves into tier three, but I can only reiterate that given the limitations faced by the restrictions against the hospitality sector we continue to be covid-safe. However, there are concerns around the behaviour evidenced from the weekend across other sectors and, with this, it’s hardly surprising London is under scrutiny once again. Let’s just hope that government is as swift in its proportionate financial support as it is in placing restrictions on businesses within this key trading period.”
Decision to keep Edinburgh in level three ‘costing pubs £3.2m’: The decision to keep Edinburgh in level three, despite the indicators showing continued improvement, could cost pub businesses up to £3.2m in lost turnover if there’s no change before January, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has warned. Analysis by the trade body suggested only 92 pubs in the city are open in level three but if it was moved to level two that would increase to 277 – 60% of Edinburgh’s pubs and bars. SBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The decision to keep Edinburgh in level three was absolutely heart-breaking for the 185 pubs and bars that would otherwise have been able to open and start rebuilding their trade. The Christmas and new year periods are critical to the year-round viability of many of these businesses, and if there’s no movement at the next review point, we’ll likely see some of these pubs never reopen. These businesses have invested significantly in their premises to ensure they are covid-secure. It is simply unfair to keep moving the goal posts on them. Level two still presents significant viability challenges, particularly on the time restrictions, but at least businesses would be able to start the recovery process and bring some much-needed relief over the Christmas period. We strongly urge the government to rethink its decision.”
Former Deliveroo MD launches platform pairing hipster food brands with top London hotels and pubs: Dan Warne, former managing director of Deliveroo, has launched an initiative pairing fledgling hipster food brands with premium London hotels and gastro-pubs. Warne has secured £2.5m from hospitality investor Imbiba, and tech venture capital funds including Kuvi Capital and Oasthouse Ventures for his Sessions brand, which already provides an “incubator” for new chefs at his Brighton-based Shelter Hall food hall. Warne said the Sessions Accelerator scheme aims to give start-up and street food brands “the chance for rapid scale, while also offering operator hosts a valuable new revenue stream in a profitable area”. Restaurants already signed up include Halo Burger, Lost Boy’s Chicken and Fanny’s Kebabs, with hotels on board including the Montcalm Hotel in Finsbury Square. Warne said: “We’re looking to provide the best platform for these brands to grow. Fortunately, we have an amazing food hall incubator to help us source great founders and concepts. Delivery will be integral to any business moving forward, but the same craft and attention applied to physical concepts needs to be used for delivery, particularly as it becomes an ever-important part of our lives.” Sessions launched in 2019 and opened its first food hall in Brighton as the pandemic hit this year. It is already seeking top London-based chefs to join a new food business founder development "incubator” in west London next year, when it is set to take on running the food and beverage offering at Shepherd’s Bush Market.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an international property company that has embarked on a major growth plan. To support the business through this period of development, it is looking to appoint a chief financial officer. The position would suit someone living in the Home Counties and the salary would be between £120,000 and £150,000. The chief financial officer will support a very committed and inspirational chief executive and the position will cover the full finance function as well as working collaboratively in the full business leadership. Anyone interested can email 
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

Fleet to step down as Flat Iron managing director: Jo Fleet is to step down as managing director of Flat Iron, the ten-strong “single steak” dining concept backed by private equity firm Piper, in the new year, to “pursue other opportunities within the sector”, Propel has learned. Fleet joined the then five-strong Flat Iron in 2017, from Wahaca, where she had been managing director since 2010. Previous to that, she spent more than ten years at ASK Italian and Zizzi, part of the then Gondola Group, as chief executive. Flat Iron will continue to be led by founder and chief executive Charlie Carroll. Fleet said: “I have enjoyed my time immensely at Flat Iron working with a really fun and creative team. The pandemic has obviously been hugely disruptive but Flat Iron is now in a good place and I feel now is the right time for me to move on and pursue other opportunities within the sector.” Carroll said: “Jo is an industry legend and we have been incredibly lucky to have the benefit of her talent and experience over the past few years. We will all miss her greatly but are excited to see what she does next.” Earlier this month, Flat Iron opened its latest site, at 42-44 James Street, Marylebone. In October, Propel revealed the company had completed a £6.9m refinancing with incumbent lenders ThinCats. Flat Iron, in which Tom Byng is a non-executive director, secured £5m of funding from UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises lender ThinCats in January 2019 to fund its expansion plans.
Just Eat to create more than 1,000 jobs through new employment model that secures staff income: Food delivery service Just Eat has announced it will introduce a new employment model that will create more than 1,000 jobs and will pay its gig economy workers by the hour rather than per job, therefore, securing a guaranteed income. All couriers contracted by Just Eat will also be entitled to minimum/living wage, pension contributions and statutory benefits including holiday pay, sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay and parental leave. Central London will be the first area to get the new terms, followed by Birmingham and other cities in the new year. All agency workers will benefit from bespoke training, and to help protect couriers, they will be covered by the relevant insurance. Alongside this, couriers will be provided with e-bikes/e-mopeds for launch, helping to reduce takeaway delivery contribution to UK emission levels. Just Eat UK managing director Andrew Kenny said: “We believe it is our responsibility to offer couriers a wide range of working options and benefits. From our experience in other European markets, we know many couriers value the benefits and protections our new model offers and with the use of electric vehicles, this launch will also help us build a sustainable future for food delivery in the UK. This is an important step forward for us.” The news has been welcomed by Matthew Taylor, the author of the Taylor Report, which the government commissioned in 2017 to call for more security of employment. Unions have also been pressing for such reforms, especially when demand fell in April during the first lockdown when some riders complained they were not making enough money to live. Staff will be able to opt out of the new system and continue to working as independent contractors if they wish. Taylor said: “This looks like a fundamental and very welcome shift in the business model of Just Eat and one that I hope others will follow.” 

Phil Derbyshire appointed group property director at TRG: Phil Derbyshire, property director at Wagamama, is to become group property director of parent company The Restaurant Group (TRG), Propel has learned. Derbyshire has been property director of Wagamama since the start of 2018. He joined the Emma Woods-led business after less than a year as group property director at the Julian Metcalfe-led Itsu. He stepped down as group property director of the then Casual Dining Group at the start of 2017 after 15 years with the company. He has also had stints at Whitbread and TGI Friday’s. Derbyshire replaces Keith Janes, who is stepping down as group property director of TRG, after more than six years in the role. Janes is understood to be leaving TRG to take up a role with a property business. 

Five Guys UK builds 2021 pipeline, secures Brixton site: Better burger brand Five Guys has begun building its 2021 opening’s pipeline, including securing a site in London’s Brixton, Propel has learned. The circa 100-strong brand is understood to have secured a newly developed site near Brixton’s Atlantic Road, and hopes to be on-site in January. It has also secured a site at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, which is due to open early in 2021, alongside Starbucks and Wagamama. As previously reported, it will also open in the Edinburgh St James development next year. Five Guys has opened nine sites this year, with launches in Crawley and Enfield recently coming online. It will open its last site for 2020, in Parrs Wood, Manchester, later this month. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Brixton deal.
Zip World awarded £4.4m to build new attraction in south Wales: LDC-backed leisure company Zip World has been awarded £4.4m in Cardiff Capital Region funding to support the development of a new south Wales attraction. Cardiff Capital Region’s (CCR) regional cabinet has agreed to provide a five-year repayable loan to Zip World to support plans to replicate its successful north Wales adventure business on the CCR Tower Colliery site. The Zip World Tower Project is expected to create an anchor visitor destination in the city region and, in so doing, complement and support other regional attractions, as well as local suppliers, accommodation providers, cafes and shops. Cllr Andrew Morgan, CCR cabinet board member and leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted the Cardiff Capital Region cabinet has approved the investment loan in Zip World. This project has the potential to bring an extra one million visitors to south Wales over the first five years, provide much needed sustainable employment opportunities for the local communities and provide a tremendous boost to the wider regional economy.” Zip World president and founder Sean Taylor added: “This is our first site beyond the north Wales border and we are hugely proud and excited to bring our brand of adventure to the Valleys. Both the area’s landscape and rich mining heritage offers Zip World visitors something truly unique and an experience to remember with family and friends.” Zip World was given the green light to install a zip line in Liverpool but plans were overturned in September by mayor Joe Anderson.
Kendal-based operators take on Daniel Thwaites pub for third site, eye further growth: Kendal-based operators Joshua Macaulay and Chris Moss have taken on their third pub in the Cumbrian town. The duo have added The Gateway Inn to their portfolio, which is owned by brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites – and are eyeing further growth. The Gateway Inn includes a bar area, a restaurant with about 70 covers, a conservatory area, nine letting rooms and landscaped grounds. “The Gateway stood out as a site with fantastic potential and we thought we could make something really special there,” Macaulay told the Cumbria Crack. Macaulay and Moss also operate Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Highgate and The Duke of Cumberland in Appleby Road. Macaulay said the three venues were able to offer customers different experiences. He added: “The Duke of Cumberland is a mighty, traditional, local brewhouse-style pub. The Fleece Inn is our gastro-pub and town centre bar. The Gateway Inn is our most premium offer and is a fine dining, special occasion type of place. It is the perfect site for that kind of establishment. It is in a really iconic location and is a lovely, old, imposing building. We are keen to grow and expand while people still want to come to our pubs and enjoy them and have a good experience.”
Uli team to open south east Asian restaurant Huo in new year: The team behind south east Asian food brand Uli in Notting Hill is set to open Huo restaurant in west London early next year. Huo will take the space that was used by healthy eating cafe group Farm Girl in Chelsea. Restaurateur Michael Lin has devised the menu for the Park Walk venue, which offers similar fare to Uli. Customers can expect a range of snacks, small plates and main dishes, all made “using traditional Chinese, Thai, Malay and Singaporean disciplines”. Lim’s partner Graham Rebak said: “It might feel like we’re going against the grain opening a restaurant in the current climate but we’ve taken our time over Huo and it now feels like the right moment to launch.” Huo will also have a separate bar area that will offer a range of unusual Japanese whiskies, vodkas and craft beer.
Farm Fetch and Melt Chocolates sign for sites in Chelsea: Boutique food business Farm Fetch and luxury sweets producer Melt Chocolates have taken sites on The King’s Road as part of the Sloane Stanley estate. Farm Fetch, which will be opening its debut shop in the new year, works with small-scale artisan food producers globally to provide healthy food with an environmentally friendly conscience. The Chelsea store will feature a delicatessen counter with a cafe dining area with up to 20 covers. A “la gastronomia” bar will serve products such as fresh fish, meat tartare, fine cheeses and charcuterie, plus seasonal specials with wine. Melt Chocolates, has opened a pop-up kitchen to complement its stores in Notting Hill and Holland Park. It has been offering virtual courses and chocolate tasting on Zoom, and has focused on takeaway and delivery services during lockdown. Ennio Lizzi, founder of Farm Fetch said: “We realised now was the perfect time to launch our concept in London.” Melt Chocolates chief executive Andrew Nason added: “Since lockdown, we have worked hard to keep our business growing, and after launching a successful online offer, we feel now is the time to expand our services to the community in and around The King’s Road.” Savills and Miles Commercial represented Sloane Stanley. TK Retail Property Consultants represented Farm Fetch and Melt Chocolates represented themselves.

Brasserie Bar Co expands ‘Voila At Home’ offer into pub estate: Brasserie Bar Co, the Richard Ferrier-led operator of the Brasserie Blanc and White Brasserie Company, has expanded its “at home” range into its pub estate, Propel understands. Launched last month through the Brasserie Blanc in Beaconsfield, the “Voila At Home” offer has now been expanded into the group’s restaurant in Fulham Reach, London. It has also been made available through its White Brasserie sites in Chobham, Teddington and Ruislip. The new service allows consumers to “create and serve restaurant-quality food and drink at home”. 
Founders of The Camden Grocer to launch new food hall in Stratford next year: Scott Winston and Matthew Bunch, founders of luxury deli concept The Camden Grocer, will open food hall Stratford Grocer & Co in The Gantry Hotel in spring next year. Stratford Grocer & Co food hall and cafe will have a capacity of 200 and will sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat from expert London butchers, deli products and premium British cheese, charcuterie, groceries, baked goods, fine wines, beers and spirits. There will also be an in-house artisan coffee roaster at the east London site. An online service will begin this month too, which includes Christmas hampers as part of its offer. Winston – who previously worked for Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges – and Bunch – formerly of cheese shop Paxton & Whitfield – said: “Building on our experience of the past few years and our proud reputation for delivering unique and engaging food retail concepts, we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring the spirit of The Camden Grocer to Stratford. It is a great opportunity for us to reach a new audience in a new format space, and we’re confident that Stratford Grocer & Co will be a hit with local residents and workers, as well as serve as a destination for curious food folk from further afield.” The Gantry Hotel, which also opens in spring will have 291 bedrooms, independent restaurants, bars and a rooftop venue.
Plans for £60m surf park at TraffordCity revealed: TraffordCity will be home to a £60m surf park if proposals are given the go-ahead by Trafford Council in Greater Manchester. A scoping document for the first inland surf lagoon in the region has been submitted by Belfast-based property developer McKinney Group. It will be located on Peel L&P’s brownfield site off Barton Dock Road in Trafford Park and could be open by 2023. The project will create 100 full-time jobs when opened. TraffordCity is a leisure and shopping complex that is already home to the likes of indoor ski slope Chill Factore and a David Lloyd Club. Plans feature a surfing lagoon, bar and restaurant facilities and other interactive attractions such as a pump track and fitness zone, a halfpipe/boarding area and exercise areas, including bouldering and balancing zones. The site will be known as Modern Surf Manchester operated by Wavegarden, which is headquartered in northern Spain and operates surfing lagoons in locations such as South Korea, Melbourne, Bristol and Snowdonia. It has three in construction at present, one in Switzerland and two in Brazil. McKinney Group managing director Billy McKinney said: “This is a really exciting project to be bringing to Greater Manchester. On the back of becoming an Olympic sport, surfing is growing in popularity and our plans will deliver perfect and consistent waves to TraffordCity and build on the region’s excellent and world-leading sporting assets.” James Whittaker, executive development director for Peel L&P, added: “Our vision is to be the UK’s number one destination for retail, leisure and business in a sustainable environment where, over the past 25 years, we have created more than 17,500 jobs and invested over £1.6bn. Modern Surf Manchester will bring something unique to the already-strong leisure offering.” Consultation on the proposals is set to begin next year before a planning application is submitted to Trafford Council.

KBE Drinks appoints new chief operating officer: Drink distributor KBE Drinks has promoted sales director Shaun Goode to lead the business as chief operating officer. Goode will be moving forward with a focused new strategy “to build on the substantial growth the business has seen in recent years, as well as help it to surpass the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic”. He joined the company in October 2016 as sales director and, at the time, KBE was a single-brand business selling Kingfisher Beer in the UK and throughout Europe. The company said, since then, he has been instrumental in elevating the business, which now operates as the exclusive distributor for 14 global beer and cider brands, and also played a key role in growing the company’s flagship brand, Kingfisher, and expanding it into key international markets. Prior to joining KBE Drinks, Goode had acquired leadership experience working with companies including Scottish & Newcastle, Heineken UK and C&C Group building brands across multiple channels. He said: “Times such as these present opportunities, as well as challenges, and the past six months have afforded us a chance to re-evaluate our business and plot a new course forward. As consumers develop evermore curious and sophisticated tastes, we’ll continue to search out new opportunities that will offer something a little different.”
Edinburgh restaurant saved from closure by crowdfunding campaign: Edinburgh-based restaurant Wings has been saved from closure following a crowdfunding campaign. The restaurant, which operates by the concept of “we sell chicken wings and beer”, has been a staple in Old Fishmarket Close for the past seven years, but was on the verge of shutting due to the drop in revenue caused by the pandemic. However, after starting a campaign on Crowdfunder last week, customers have rallied to support the business and it hit its £25,000 target in a matter of days – and has now passed £30,000. On the crowdfunding page, owner Adam Hepburn wrote: “What can we say, eh? We thought this would take all month, you saved us in just over 48 hours. We have been deeply humbled and overjoyed by the response. You saved us. You saved Wings.” The campaign stated: “With our initial target, we will be able to stay open and make sure all of our staff stay safe, are well looked after and keep their jobs for the foreseeable future. With any extra funds, we will be able to expand our menu permanently (something we were testing out right before lockdown hit the nation).”
Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, appoints new on-trade sales director: Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has appointed Jean-David Thumelaire as its new on-trade sales director. Thumelaire has worked at AB InBev for more than ten years, starting his journey in Europe, and most recently worked as director of expansion, growth and strategic partnerships in Africa. The group said Thumelaire would build on the success of the on-trade team, which was previously led by Ryan Fritsch, who managed the function through the initial covid-19 period. Thumelaire said: “I have long admired the great British pub culture, and now I am happy to be a part of it. Covid has shown us how pubs are an essential feature of national life here, playing an important part in local communities. In the immediate weeks ahead, we’ll also be continuing the second rollout of our Save Pub Life programme to support pubs and bars financially at what is usually their busiest time of year – enabling people to support local businesses this Christmas season.” Paula Lindenberg, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland president, added: “JD has had great results growing our brands throughout Europe and Africa, so I have no doubt he’ll be a great asset to the UK on-trade. I’d like to thank Ryan for his hard work as he moves on to a new opportunity.”

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