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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 18th Jan 2021 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Alex Reilley – let’s give the entrepreneurs and job creators of the future one last shot of support: Loungers chairman Alex Reilley has called on the government to give the entrepreneurs and job creators of the future one last shot of support because time is running out for them. Reilley said the government must to scrap employers’ national insurance and pensions contributions for all small hospitality businesses and backdate it to the beginning of November and “refund accordingly”. He said: “If the pandemic had hit 12 years ago when we were a business with nine sites, I very much doubt we’d have survived. In the past 12 years, we’ve opened a further 161 sites and, in the process, created more than 4,500 jobs. How many small, viable hospitality businesses with enormous potential will fail as a result of the government not providing additional support at the 11th hour? Expecting these businesses that have no turnover and nothing left to pay employers national insurance and pension contributions is plain wrong. Everyone in hospitality will do everything they can to keep their teams together and you can guarantee the last penny that goes out the door before it’s ‘game over’ will be on ensuring staff are paid. However, the simple fact of the matter is that if there’s no business left, there’s no jobs, resulting in an unimaginable amount of jobs, that the government has fought to save, being lost. Thousands of hospitality businesses will run out of money in the coming weeks resulting not just in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs but the loss of businesses that can create jobs and play a very significant part in helping any future economic recovery. Rishi Sunak, if you want to invest money to create jobs you need look no further than giving hospitality businesses the extra support they need to survive in order to, genuinely, protect jobs and keep future job creators afloat. Loungers was a small business once and I know how hard this must be hitting small businesses in our sector. I also know the sacrifices business owners will be making in order to try and make it through. Having a business that’s created 5,000 jobs is my proudest achievement but things could have been so different had a pandemic hit when we were small. So, Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson, Kwasi Kwarteng and Paul Scully, let’s get these small businesses through to the other side. You need to scrap employers’ national insurance and pensions contributions for all small hospitality businesses and backdate it to the beginning of November and refund accordingly. Calculate it on a maximum level of historic turnover or number of employees, but target it at small businesses only. Our business will be fine, as will the great majority of big businesses in our sector, albeit we would like an extension to the VAT cut and business rates holiday because this will help us to plan making investments and creating jobs. But let’s give the entrepreneurs and job creators of the future one last shot of support and let’s do this urgently because time is running out.” Reilley also said he was “sick of the government and the media claiming the furlough scheme is a support measure for businesses in hospitality (and other sectors)”. He said: “Furlough costs our business more than £100,000 a week and we have £0 turnover. This is not business support, and claims that it is are deceitful.”

Industry News:

Hudson – foolish for us not to look at the opportunities coming up for smaller operators: Helena Hudson, managing director of cafe concept, The Real Eating Company, has said that for smaller operators, the crisis has undoubtedly opened up a lot of opportunities that “would have never been on the table before”. Talking on Propel’s Lessons & Learning for Lockdown Three video, Hudson said it would be foolish for the seven-strong business to not look at these opportunities before “landlords return to type and start looking again back to bigger companies, their balance sheets and covenant strength”. It comes as the group has lined up a further opening, after securing the former Pret site in Cambridge’s Lion Yard scheme. The company, which made its debut in London earlier this year after securing the ex-EAT site in King’s Road, Chelsea, is also in talks on further sites in the capital. Hudson said: “To a lot of people, it may sound counterintuitive to be expanding at the moment, and I need to caveat this by saying it isn’t a big expansion play, it is a careful growth and a handful of sites we are hoping to secure. Yes, it is clearly a difficult environment but for smaller operators it has undoubtedly opened up a lot of opportunities that would have never been on the table before. That is an unfortunate side effect of, particularly, bigger companies retrenching, CVAs, all of this sort of stuff. It has opened landlords’ eyes to where they are going to get their income from, so they are talking to smaller operators like us. So, there are properties coming up that we would have never been offered before and it seems foolish for us not to look at them, particularly as the rents that are being discussed are significantly less than they were before. It is a real opportunity for smaller operators to make some headway. I feel this is a one-off time and, as things return to normal, I think landlords will return to type and start looking again back to bigger companies, their balance sheets and covenant strength.” The full interview with Hudson will be released on Monday (18 January) at 9am.

Hospitality sector could be operating again by March under tier system: The hospitality sector could be operating again by March if vaccines targets are hit. Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said if 88% of the most vulnerable groups have received their first covid-19 vaccine jab, as intended, by mid-February, then “if we have succeeded in hitting those targets... we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown”. He added: “I think it’s fair to say it won’t be a big bang. It will be done phased, possibly back through the tiered approach that we had before.” If returning to the tier system that was in force before the third national lockdown came into place on Wednesday, 6 January, the sector will still not be allowed to open except for takeaway, delivery and drive-thru services under tier three and four categories. However, tier two restrictions previously permitted pubs and bars to open as long as they were able to serve a substantial meal, restaurants were allowed to open but had to implement table service with alcohol served only with a substantial meal. Rules stated venues must close by 11pm and take last orders at 10pm, and customers were only allowed to attend with people from their own household or “support bubble” unless sitting outside, which was allowed in a group of up to six people. Meanwhile, tier one restrictions allowed restaurants, pubs, cafes and other hospitality venues to open. However, they had to close by 11pm, with last orders at 10pm and provide table service.

GDP figures highlight economic importance of sector, says UKHospitality: Figures published by the Office for National Statistics highlight the economic importance of the sector and reinforce calls for it to be supported and central to the government’s reopening plans, UKHospitality has said. Estimates for November show UK GDP falling by 2.6%, with hospitality, which was effectively closed in England during the month, accounting for just over one third (0.9%) of the decline. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This really hammers home how important our sector is to the economy. When we were open, albeit with restrictions in the summer, our return to growth contributed to the economy growing. The figures highlight our power as an economic driver and show why we should be at the heart of plans to revitalise the economy. Hospitality must be prioritised once vaccines have been rolled out to the vulnerable and an exit strategy has been determined. We need to be supported properly if we are expected to power economic growth and spearhead the country’s revival. The level of support has to reflect the hit the sector has taken and ensure those hardest hit receive the proper help they need.”
 
Supreme Court ruling on business interruption claims ‘could mean survival of sector businesses staring collapse in the face’: The ruling by the Supreme Court that is set to force insurers to pay out on disputed coronavirus business interruption claims could mean the survival of sector businesses that was previously staring collapse in the face, UKHospitality has said. On Friday (15 January), the court said it “substantially allows” the appeal by the Financial Conduct Authority and campaign groups Hiscox Action Group and Hospitality Insurance Group Action. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Businesses took out policies in good faith and it is right that insurers stick to these agreements and honour claims. Should this result in pay-outs to policyholders – a point that is still not clear at present – this could provide an additional lifeline that many businesses desperately need. It could be the difference between keeping staff members on or being forced to let them go; it could mean the survival of a business that was previously staring collapse in the face. Hopefully, this outcome will give many small businesses in the hospitality sector peace of mind and possibly some financial support they need to begin rebuilding.” British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “It is a glimmer of hope in what is an incredibly tough time for our sector. The lack of pay-outs over insurance claims has added to the terrible woes and uncertainty our sector has faced over the past ten months. While our sector is far from out the woods yet, this announcement helps resolve some of the uncertainty it has faced on insurance cover and is warmly welcome.” Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: “This is a moral victory for thousands of businesses that have been placed under unnecessary financial hardship because of the legal process that has been drawn out much longer than was necessary by insurers. It is now very important that insurers do the right thing and expedite the payment process.”
 
More than 800 branded restaurants, bars and cafes close during pandemic: More than 800 branded restaurants, bars and coffee shops have closed since the start of the covid pandemic. Covid has wrought havoc on cash flows of leisure sector operators as they have been repeatedly forced to close or only open under tough restrictions to ensure social distancing. Data compiled for the Evening Standard showed when administrations and company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) are included, branded restaurants, bars and coffee shops with 6,231 outlets have been affected. That compares with 593 closed during the two previous years, which included the one-off corporate shake-ups at Patisserie Valerie and The Restaurant Group (TRG) accounting for almost 150 closures. Many more independent and family-run sites have closed during the period. Casual dining branded restaurants have been particularly badly hit, with major closures including 185 sites at TRG brands Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquitos, 91 at the Big Table, 75 at the Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi and ASK Italian, and, following the latest closures, 96 at PizzaExpress. The figures also include 36 sites shut by Pret A Manger, 19 at healthy eating chain Abokado, 14 at healthy eating brand Tossed and 12 at Mexican brand Chilango. Pubs and bars have been the least affected, but Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers have closed 45 between them. CVAs are used when a group has to renegotiate debts with its creditors and generally involves deals to cut its rents and close outlets. The government has offered grants to companies forced to shut down but they say this is inadequate and have called for business rates and VAT relief to be extended beyond April while they get back on their feet.
 
NI trade body – hospitality being used to ‘balance out house parties’, lockdown will last until mid-April: Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill has said the sector is being used to “balance out uncontrollable risks like house parties” and fears lockdown will last until mid-April. As Northern Ireland recorded another 22 covid-19 deaths and 705 new infections on Saturday (16 January), bar and restaurant owners are bracing themselves for three more months of lockdown. Neil told the Belfast Telegraph on Sunday (17 January): “It is hard to see anything open hospitality-wise before St Patrick’s Day. Hospitality is being used unfairly as a controllable risk to balance out uncontrollable risks like house parties. With a heavy heart we agreed to the latest lockdown, which comes with a high price with businesses never reopening and jobs lost. It is now 299 days since Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown and non-food pubs have been open on just 23 of those days. This comes against a backdrop of pub and restaurant owners introducing the most effective coronavirus preventive measures out of any business in Northern Ireland.” The reopening map being considered by Stormont ministers will see schools reopen following the February half-term holidays, non-essential shops in March, restaurants around the beginning of April, and wet-led pubs after the Easter break (Monday, 19 January). However, this is entirely dependent on current infection levels being dramatically reduced and maintained for a period of time. 

Staycation market expects business boom after lifting of lockdown: Holiday companies in the UK have said they expect business to boom once lockdown restrictions end. West Sussex-based Caravan and Motorhome Club director general Nick Lomas told the BBC, he expects the lifting of lockdown to be like “a cork popping from a bottle”. The organisation, which represents caravan and motorhome users in the UK and Ireland, was founded in 1907 and represents almost one million members. Lomas said: “2020 was a very difficult year for the tourism and hospitality sector. When our campsites were allowed to be open last year we actually saw record levels of bookings, with new memberships up by 14%. Sadly, this surge does not make up for the losses we suffered during nearly six months of lockdown. In fact, we think that 2021 is going to be like a cork popping from a bottle.” Experience Freedom, which operates glamping holidays in the UK, said bookings for 2021 were already up as people looked to spend more time in the “great outdoors”. Smaller operators such as Lincoln-based Anne’s Vans are also expected to benefit. Although owner Anne Davies said no bookings had been taken while there is uncertainty over when lockdown will end, she said: “Based on last year's experience, we are expecting a bumper year in 2021 once this latest lockdown is over.” Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority chief executive David Butterworth said visitor numbers after the first lockdown ended in July last year were “unprecedented” and added: “The challenge for 2021 is to capitalise on this trend and capture the hearts and minds of the people who have experienced the Dales for the first time to make sure they keep coming back.”

Fast food staff in US strike in bid to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour: An estimated 1,000 workers at fast food brands in the US went on strike on Friday (15 January) in an effort to get the minimum wage raised to $15 per hour. Walkouts were planned in more than 15 US cities at restaurants owned by big corporations “for racial and economic justice”. The strike was organised by a campaign called Fight for 15 and Union, an international movement of workers advocating for higher wages, to take place on the day that would have been US civil rights leader Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s 92nd birthday. President-elect Joe Biden has also called on the US Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 – a Democrat policy held since before Donald Trump became president in January 2017 but it is unknown how this will progress because the Democrats have only a slender margin in Congress’ two chambers. Staff from brands such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King and Taco Bell were encouraged to walk out during work time. Karesha Manns, a Memphis McDonald’s worker said in a statement that she makes $10 an hour at her local McDonald’s, “which isn’t enough to pay the bills or support [her] family”. She added: “I’m striking today to carry on [the reverend’s] fight for racial and economic justice in this country, which means every working person earns a living wage and has a job with dignity.” Fight for 15 said: “We know striking works. By standing up and going on strike for $15 per hour and union rights, we won $70bn in raises for 24 million people across the country – more than 30% of the nation’s workforce.”

At-home kits, focus on well-being and street dining among F&B trends set to continue long after pandemic ends as industry ‘rejuvenates’: At-home kits, a focus on well-being and street dining are among the foodservice trends set to continue long after the pandemic has been brought under control as the industry “rejuvenates”, according to a new report. The effects of covid-19 have caused an acceleration in trends such as an increased customer focus on wellness along with a shift in values and need for connection had been reinforced during 2020. The “Foodservice Trends 2021 and Beyond” report points to some of the new innovative ways in which operators have reached their customer base, and examines how the challenges of the pandemic have offered the opportunity to refocus portfolios and search out new revenue streams – many of which will continue to be relevant in a post-covid world. The report is the fifth annual foodservice trends book from consultancy Coverpoint. It said: “Many of the foodservice trends we have seen in the past few years have accelerated in response to the challenges of the pandemic. Pivot, agility and innovation are all buzz words to facing down the covid-19 threat and many of these new ideas are here to stay. Customers have realised the enjoyment of space and privacy resulting from the covid restrictions on the foodservice industry and have felt hygienically safer in many of the environments. Simple and obvious things like contactless payment and restaurant outdoor space taking over from busy roads have increased during the pandemic but seem to make sense for the future too. A look at foodservice through the centuries indicates it will bounce back, return, recover and – most importantly – rejuvenate. From the effects of the French Revolution to Prohibition in the US, the industry has shown how it can rise again, but often with distinct changes.”
 
Proposals revealed for new ‘hidden’ hospitality courtyard in Cardiff’s historic Castle Quarter: Proposals have been revealed for a new “hidden” hospitality courtyard in the heart of Cardiff’s historic Castle Quarter. The scheme, submitted to the city council, will see the demolition and repurposing of a redundant former nightclub that sits in the space behind High Street and Duke Street arcades. A new entrance will be created through an existing passageway off High Street. The proposals are inspired by developments such as Soho’s Kingly Court, which is tucked away behind Carnaby Street in London and home to bars and restaurants. The Castle Quarter Courtyard will create four new spaces designed for independent bars and restaurants around a central, open courtyard. The development will also incorporate several of the arcade’s current retail units – and open up unused spaces on the first and second floors to create more flexible spaces, better suited to the needs of hospitality and leisure businesses. The Castle Quarter arcades estate includes more than 110 retail and leisure units. The arcades are owned by a Mansford fund and the development team includes property consultants EJ Hales, Rio Architects, TLT Solicitors, Avison Young and Knight Frank.
 

Company News:

Deliveroo secures $180m of new funding ahead of proposed IPO: Deliveroo has secured $180m (£132m) in new funding, pushing its valuation to more than $7bn (£5.1bn) ahead of its long-anticipated float. The delivery firm’s latest funding round was led by existing investors Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company. It comes after the company announced plans to expand into about 100 new towns and cities across the UK in 2021. The company said the new funding would contribute to expanding its Editions delivery-only kitchen sites worldwide and its on-demand grocery service. It also plans to extend its Plus subscription service to “new geographies” and offer its Signature service to restaurants, which enables customers to order for delivery via businesses’ own websites. The company said “new initiatives” would also support its delivery riders. Will Shu, Deliveroo’s founder and chief executive, said: “At Deliveroo, we are always focused on developing the best proposition for consumers, riders and restaurants. This investment will help us to continue to innovate by developing new tech tools to support restaurants, to provide riders with more work and to extend choice for customers, bringing them the food they love from more restaurants than ever before. We are really pleased our shareholders see the opportunity and growth potential ahead of us.” Last week, Sky News reported Deliveroo had hired a quartet of investment banks to help it serve up what could be London’s biggest stock market flotation of 2021. It has appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Jefferies and Numis to work on the listing that market sources expect to value it at well over £5bn. The four investment banks will work underneath Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on Deliveroo’s initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to be launched in or around April.

Blackstone in talks to take stake in Butlin’s owner: Blackstone, the world’s biggest private equity firm, is in talks to buy a majority stake in the leisure company behind Butlin’s holiday parks in a deal that will value the business at about £3bn. According to The Times, Blackstone is understood to be holding exclusive discussions with Bourne Leisure, which also runs Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven, the holiday operator. The low-profile Cook, Allen and Harris families, who own the business, will retain a significant stake after the sale. Other parties said to have been interested in Bourne include Cove Communities, an American holiday parks company, and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, the New York-based private equity firm. Bourne is Britain’s biggest leisure business, employing 14,000 staff at peak seasonal periods and attracting more than four million families a year before covid-19. Blackstone’s investment will help to secure thousands of jobs – many of them in deprived areas – and comes after staycations surged in popularity last summer because of foreign travel restrictions.

Greene King brings back team member support fund: Brewer and retailer Greene King is launching its second covid emergency support fund later this month to help its team members most in need during the third lockdown. It follows the first fund that ran from March to June last year, when Greene King donated £650,000 in grants for team members to access essential food and retail vouchers. The funds have, once again, been raised from a combination of voluntary salary sacrifices from the executive board and leadership team at Greene King and a company donation. Chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “It’s a really tough start to 2021, back into lockdown and all of our pubs closed. Most of our team members are furloughed, and we know how severely this is affecting some of our people financially, so we wanted to bring back the Team Member Support Fund to help the members of our team who need it most at this really difficult time. Our industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and when we have been able to open our pubs, our brilliant team members have eagerly welcomed our customers back, safely. But right now, they need our help. One of our key objectives since the start of the covid crisis is to, as far as possible, protect our employees and leased and tenanted partners from the worst impact of it. We’re a family and we want to support each other.” The fund will, once again, be managed independently by Licensed Trade Charity.
 
Tasty draws down £1.25m loan, continues negotiations with landlords: Wildwood operator Tasty has drawn down the £1.25m loan it secured in September and is currently operating 38 sites for takeaway and delivery. The company stated: “As previously announced, the company has now been successful in achieving rent reductions and lease concessions on more than half of the estate. The company is continuing consensual negotiations with landlords and other creditors in respect of outstanding rents and, given the current third lockdown, now anticipates this process will continue into at least March. The company will again be relying on government support for employees’ pay and VAT, and business rates holidays and grants, where available. The bank facility secured in order to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and provide additional working capital support as detailed in the announcement, dated 30 September 2020, has now been drawn down by the company.”
 
Neat Burger secures Victoria site: Neat Burger, the Lewis Hamilton-backed, plant-based concept, has secured its fifth site in the UK, in London’s Victoria. Propel understands the brand has taken the unit next door to Pizza Pilgrims in Buckingham Palace Road for an opening in March. Earlier this month, Propel revealed the company had exchanged on a split of the former PizzaExpress in Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, for an opening in April, as it looks to have ten sites open in the UK before the end of this year. The company, which opened its third London site in Soho’s Old Compton Street at the end of last year, is aiming to open further sites both within London and also outside including in Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool, major airports and train stations, and is thought to have further sites lined up in central London, the City and a major shopping scheme. Marc Rogers at MKR Property has been appointed as sole agent for Neat Burger, to aid in the expansion and securing key locations. The brand opened its first site in September 2019, just off Regent Street in London. It operates Deliveroo Edition sites in Battersea and Whitechapel.

Unsecured creditors of Sayers the Bakers set to receive dividend of 3.6p in the pound: Unsecured creditors of north west-based independent retail bakery Sayers the Bakers and sister brand Poundbakery, which went into administration in 2019 and was subsequently bought, are set to receive a dividend of 3.6p in the pound. An administrator’s progress report by Sarah O’Toole and Jason Bell, of Grant Thornton, also revealed secured creditor Montague, which is owed almost £4.7m, has yet to receive a payment and there is “likely” to be a shortfall. Estimated preferential claims are £101,266, although this figure is yet to be finalised. This is “comprised largely of unpaid pension contributions and includes amounts in respect of employees who transferred with the sale of the business”. The administrator said it expected the full amount to be paid within the next six months. As previously reported, Sayers the Bakers went into administration at the end of 2019 after four years of continued losses. Karen Wood acquired the business’ assets and formed a new company, Sayers and Poundbakery, which is run by the former management team led by Mark James and David Silvester. Operating since 1912, the business employed more than 1,500 people at 167 Sayers, Poundbakery and Poundcafe stores and its manufacturing and distribution centres in Bolton and generated turnover of £50m. The new company took on the bakery and distribution centre in Bolton and the majority of bakeries in northern England, North Wales and Yorkshire. The shops continue to be branded as Sayers the Bakers and Poundbakery.
 
Elliott steps down as Five Guys group finance director: Holly Elliott has stepped down as group finance director of Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept, Propel understands. Elliott joined the burger brand in the summer of 2016, when the company was gearing up to open its 15th site in the UK and make its debut in France. Before joining Five Guys, she spent a year as chief financial officer at Nails Inc UK and before that was finance director for Caffe Nero UK for four years. Propel revealed last week Five Guys had further strengthened its 2021 UK openings pipeline, with the addition of three leisure park-based sites. The circa 100-strong brand has secured the former Frankie & Benny’s sites in Crest Road, High Wycombe, and at the Gate Leisure Park, Chichester, for openings later this year. The company has also taken on the ex-Pizza Hut site at Stevenage Leisure Park, Hertfordshire. Last month, Propel revealed Five Guys had secured a site in London’s Brixton. It secured a newly developed site near Brixton’s Atlantic Road, and hopes to be on-site this month. It has also secured a site at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, which is due to open in the first quarter of this year, alongside Starbucks and Wagamama. As previously reported, it will also open in the Edinburgh St James development this summer. 

Sherrington steps down as Drake & Morgan chief financial officer: James Sherrington has stepped down as chief financial officer at Drake & Morgan, after three years in the role and six years with the Bowmark Capital-backed, London-based bar operator, Propel has learned. Sherrington joined the business as finance director in 2014, before being promoted to chief financial officer of the business in 2017. Sherrington joined Drake & Morgan from Caprice Holdings and the Birley Group where he was the finance director, reporting directly to Richard Caring. Propel understands that Sherrington has been replaced by David King, former head of finance at Fuller’s and Vue Entertainment, and ex-finance director of Deep Blue Restaurants.

Sugoi JPN opens third London site for Arepita Sliders concept, in Wimbledon: Japanese and Latin American fusion concept Sugoi JPN has opened a third site for its Arepita Sliders concept, in Wimbledon, Propel has learned. The outlet is located in The Long Shop in Watermill Way and also offers delivery via Deliveroo within a 2.5-mile radius. The opening marks the latest step in the ambition to launch 20 sites for Arepita Sliders across London during the coming year, with a target of 50 overall. The sites offer arepa – pan-fried corn buns that originated in the area of South America that is now Venezuela and Columbia. The menu works by offering arepa and separate fillings, including pulled beef, black bean, pico de gallo (tomatoes, coriander, red onion and lemon juice) and reina pepiada (a combination of chicken, avocado, red onion, mayo and coriander), which customers can “FIY – fill it yourself”. Arepita Sliders also claimed its arepa help meet the needs vegans and gluten-free customers and help tackle food waste by being fine for consumption the following day by toasting the arepa and chilling the contents ready for reheating.
 
Tim Hortons launches online UK retail store: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons has launched an online UK retail store. The brand, which has 25 sites across Britain, has brought its selection of coffee, French vanilla and hot chocolate to be enjoyed at home through a partnership with Amazon Shop. There are also ceramic mugs, travel flasks and reusable straws available to additions to order. The full range of products and merchandise is also available to purchase directly in Tim Hortons’ UK restaurants. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of Tim Hortons UK & Ireland, said: “2020 showed us the extreme passion and dedication of our fans with hundreds getting in touch to find out where they could purchase their favourite items to enjoy at home while our restaurants were closed or travel was limited. We hope the huge community of Canadians and Tim Hortons fans living in the UK are able to find some comfort in a taste of Canada served in their own homes.”

Fledgling leisure brand Bike & Boot Inns: Bike & Boot, the leisure brand from former Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants managing director Simon Rhatigan and wine merchant and restaurateur Simon Kershaw, has announced plans to open a new site in the Peak District in March 2022. Plans for the brand’s second hotel have been approved and will see a new property open in the Hope Valley, Peak District’s National Park. It will follow the opening of the 65-bedroom Bike & Boot in Scarborough, which launched in July last year and achieved occupancy rates of 95% during the peak of the summer. Rhatigan and Kershaw said they had a further three sites in various stages of planning across the north of England, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland. Speaking on the news of the brand’s second hotel, they said: “We are thrilled with the location of the next Bike & Boot hotel; it’s another site that hugely complements the ethos of the brand. With the strong demand for staycations and the success of our first hotel in Scarborough, we feel confident that our second site will be well received. We can’t wait to welcome guests.”

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