Story of the Day:
WatchHouse to ramp up openings, secures first regional site, plans international launch: Edition Capital-backed coffee concept WatchHouse plans to open a further six sites in the UK by the end of this year, including its first regional launch in Bath. At the same time, Propel has learned the six-strong, London-based company is also in advanced talks with an operator in Scandinavia in regards to become the brand’s master franchisee for the Nordic regions. Founder Roland Horne told Propel the group has ambitions to reach “triple figures” in the UK in terms of sites, by “creating genuine, authentic local hubs”, and had a long-term ambition to launch in the US. For its London expansion plans, the company will open a site, its largest to date, later this month in the “Can of Ham” building in the City on 19 April. The 3,900 square foot cafe will stretch over three floors with seating for more than 70 guests in total, alongside an outdoor terrace that will seat 30. Following the opening of the St Mary’s Axe site, WatchHouse will then open sites in Bishopsgate, Seven Dials, Marylebone and Covent Garden within the next six months. WatchHouse Bishopsgate will open in July, offering a grab-and-go service five days a week. The opening of WatchHouse Seven Dials, which Propel understands will be on the former TimberYard site, in August, will be the first time the company expands into the centre of London. This will be followed by the arrival of two more sites in central London, with WatchHouse Marylebone, in New Cavendish Street, and WatchHouse Covent Garden both opening in the autumn. WatchHouse will open its first site outside of London, in Bath, in the autumn after securing the former Radley shop in the city’s Old Bond Street. The company, which last month appointed Andrew Walker – former chief executive of EAT and ex-managing director of Pret A Manger – to its board, said it had used the past year in order to significantly expand across all areas of the business, including the development and opening of its own roastery and central production units, both of which mean the majority of products sold within its sites are produced by the company itself. Horne said: “To have been able to use this time to take all of our coffee roasting and food production fully in-house has been game-changing and sets us up to scale the WatchHouse estate with even greater consistency.”
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Music and technology provider Startle has launched its customer experience research report and webinar, which includes a roadmap for effective recovery and resurgence. A spokesman said: “Over the past year, consumer’s choices were dramatically reduced but when lockdown lifts, choice will once again open up. This presents a unique moment to (re)capture customers. Building on Startle’s ‘Mind The Gap’ research report findings, our recent webinar: ’Are you ready for love?’ asks how hospitality can curate magical ‘first’ in-store experiences once more using music, tech and behavioural science.” Startle is joined for the webinar by Richard Shotton, author of the best-selling book The Choice Factory; Shereen Ritchie, managing director of natural fast food brand Leon; and Craig Bunting, director of independent coffee brand Bear. The first 50 to download it will receive a free box of goodies, including chocolate and coffee.
Take a look at the report or watch the webinar here. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email email@example.com
Startle is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
Host of companies upgrade Propel Premium service to unlimited number of recipients for £895 plus VAT per annum:
A host of companies have upgraded their Premium subscriptions to have unlimited numbers of staff members receiving Propel Premium – this costs £895 plus VAT per annum. One operator, for example, has now added 273 recipients to its Premium subscription for £895 plus VAT. Managing director Paul Charity said: “I won’t name the company but it’s a very smart move from an operator, generally regarded, as best-in-class. It means swathes of its senior management are reading the news first – and have access to our videos and support material.” The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Charity added: “Propel Premium is becoming an invaluable learning and insights resource to the sector. We will be broadening our library of videos over the coming weeks with further sector leaders sharing their expertise on a variety of subjects.” Premium subscribers already receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews. Subscribers also receive exclusive access to the Propel multi-site operator database, which was fully updated and released last week. The exhaustive database of businesses, which comprises 1,628 companies, is the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector – and reflects the tumultuous changes of the past year with several hundred businesses disappearing and replaced by several hundred new ones. A new multi-site database will also be sent to Premium subscribers at the end of each month with a report on new companies and changes in the multi-site universe. It provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion column, Draft House founder and The Breakfast Club chairman Charlie McVeigh examines whether the quick service restaurant sector is ripe for a consolidation play. Meanwhile, Mark Wingett looks ahead to the beginning of the sector’s reopening and the mixed emotions that are currently swirling around the market. There will also be the latest sector whispers from Premium Diary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Propel Friday Wrap video series continues with Rekom UK chief executive Peter Marks: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (9 April) at 3pm. The new series, which is sponsored by innovative staffing solution provider Stint, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing this week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by Peter Marks, chief executive of Rekom UK, the UK’s largest nightclub operator, to discuss how the business is gearing up to reopen, life under new ownership, where the late-night sector goes from here and his thoughts on “vaccination passports”.
Abramson – the bottom line is the government is giving six options for what to do at the end of the moratorium: David Abramson, chief executive of lease restructuring experts Cedar Dean Group, has said the “bottom line” from the government’s call for evidence on potential interventions to the rent debt situation leaves six options, which include allowing the moratorium on evictions to expire on 30 June, and “non-binding adjudication between landlords and tenants”. Launching the process, which will last until 11.45pm on Tuesday, 4 May, the government said if there is evidence productive discussions between landlords and tenants are not taking place, and that this represents a substantial and ongoing threat to jobs and livelihoods, it “will not hesitate to intervene further”. After Abramson said: “Five clicks and you finally arrive at the online survey. Anyone would think they were hiding it. It’s 93 questions and is way too complex and off-putting to many businesses that are busy trying to reopen locations from next week. Saying that, something is better than nothing and we would encourage those that have the resources to have a go at filling it in. I did it with one client today and it took around 60 to 90 minutes. The bottom line is they are giving six options for what to do at the end of the moratorium. 1. Allow the moratorium to expire on 30 June 2021. 2. Allow the moratorium on commercial lease forfeiture to lapse on 30 June 2021 but retain the insolvency measures and additional rent arrears amendments to Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) for a period. 3.Target existing measures to businesses based on the impact that covid has had on their businesses for a limited period. 4. Encourage formal mediation. 5. Non-binding adjudication between landlords and tenants. And 6. Binding non-judicial adjudication between landlords and tenants.”
Operators’ update on reopening plans: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has announced it will only be accepting walk-in bookings as it opens a number of its Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Firejacks sites for outdoor dining on Monday (12 April). TRG said given the “significant demand” for reservations at restaurants with outdoor seating, it has decided to take walk-in bookings only. TRG managing director leisure and concessions Jonathan Knight said: “It has been a long time coming and now we are finally able to reopen these restaurants and welcome back our guests, albeit for ‘dine out’ until 17 May. Our priority, as always, will be to ensure the health and safety of our teams and of our guests while providing a safe dining experience with great food, drink and service.” Nine Chiquito, 42 Frankie & Benny’s and two Firejacks restaurants will open from Monday. Opening times will be weather dependent with click and collect and delivery to continue across all sites. Meanwhile, Pret A Manger and Five Guys have both updated their respective reopening plans. Pret currently has 276 shops operating for takeaway and delivery, and it has announced a further 47 shops will reopen by Monday, with outdoor seating to be offered at as many shops as possible. More of Pret’s 389-strong UK estate will open before the end of April, with dates for some of these, such as those travel hubs, are to be confirmed. The company said it hopes to have all indoor seating areas at all open shops open from 17 May in line with the government’s roadmap. It said its sites would be operating reduced hours, while menu items available will vary by shop. Employees and customers visiting Pret will be expected to wear face coverings, with protective Perspex screens fitted to the till counter. The number of people allowed inside at any one time will be restricted. Meanwhile, Five Guys plans to open 48 of its 112 UK sites for outdoor dining from Monday. Indian restaurant group Dishoom will reopen its Shoreditch and Carnaby restaurants in London with both sites offering a short menu. The company aims to reopen its other venues in line with dine-in restrictions being lifted in May.
Feed It Back survey – two thirds of customers plan to eat out more post-lockdown: Two thirds of people have said they will eat out more often post-lockdown while 36% plan to spend money in independent restaurants, according to the Customer Pulse Survey by guest feedback service Feed It Back. The study analysed data from an 11,000-strong database of pub, bar, restaurant and fast casual operator mailing lists. It claimed 18 to 34-year-olds are the most keen to get out more while consumer intentions to support independents are highest among older respondents. Meanwhile 18 to 24-year-olds are driving pent-up demand to get back into bars more specifically than other venues. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “Pre and post-covid customer sentiment towards going out has changed. Operators need to take note in order to make a success of reopening. There are also renewed intentions to support independent restaurants, albeit some customers may think of smaller brands as independent. Covid has meant more guests are more likely to stick to what they know and love initially, and are inclined to continue to stay relatively local when drinking and dining out to begin with.” The report also issued advice on reopening for the on-trade. This included ideas such as aim to create a local independent vibe, even if you are a national brand; team friendliness is a big factor so service with a smile, even while wearing a mask, is essential; use fewer menu changes and just add seasonal specials; consider table spacing, particularly when not busy; if using mobile ordering technology, make sure you have physical menus on hand; some customers may want walk-in service rather than pre-booking so consider how you might cater for that; and use clear communication (and apologies) if items are not available on the day.
New report claims pandemic has forced recognition of climate change issues but offers opportunities to foodservice sector: The effect of the pandemic means foodservice businesses must think about sustainability and climate change but it has also provided new opportunities, according to the Footprint Sustainability Index 2021, which launches on Friday (9 April). The report, which has been compiled by Footprint Media Group in association with Nestlé Professional, is a guide to a more sustainable future for the foodservice sector. It identifies key trends – such as harnessing technology to tackle deep-rooted problems such as food waste while improving communications with consumers – to enable foodservice leaders to capitalise on new business opportunities and develop responsive strategies. Key statistics include 87% of industry insiders believe food waste is a priority, 68% say covid-19 increased disposable use, 77% said tackling disposables is a priority and 52% said sustainable diets are a vital industry trend. The research found clients, consumers and employees’ sustainability concerns have become an even more powerful force, while sustainable diets continue to grow in understanding and importance. Footprint Media said: “The collaboration, communication and innovation demonstrated during covid-19 must be harnessed to solve the climate crisis.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is on the lookout for experienced senior business development managers for a growing business. This growing SaaS platform has strong connections to the hospitality sector and is all about ensuring customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and team well-being. Flexible on candidates, based UK wide, this role is paying £55,000 plus commission. The senior business development manager will focus on managing UK sales into hospitality businesses for the SaaS platform. They will seek out and attract new business, attend networking events, approach and sell in a consultative manner, close deals and demonstrate impeccable product knowledge. The company has had huge growth over the past three years and is looking for more than one senior business development manager to start immediately. Anyone interested can email Hayley@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
Butcher – we will reopen Upham this spring with a significantly enhanced business: David Butcher, managing director of Upham Inns, the 15-pub, Hampshire-based premium pub group chaired by Kevin Todd, has said that it will reopen this spring with a “significantly enhanced business”. Butcher told Propel: “The business successfully renegotiated a 150-year sale and leaseback of the pub assets in June 2019, however, this was at the expense of a focus on our short-term trading performance. Consequently, we restructured the leadership team during the autumn, including the appointment of Kevin as executive chairman, as well as key changes to the management team. Following this, we saw a steady recovery in our like-for-like sales from December 2019 until the impact of covid began.” Butcher said that in the subsequent financial year, despite the inevitable disruption of covid, the business has focused on a major turnaround plan. He said: “We have made key appointments to our new management team that have enabled us to transform many aspects of our premium inns business, including our food and drink offer, marketing, supply chain management, people management and operational disciplines. We have also developed the branding for our pubs with rooms offer under the sub brand of ‘Charming Bedrooms’. During the lockdown period, we have invested in the renovation of three of our locations, most notably the Old Mill riverside pub and dining near Lymington in the New Forest, which we will reopen in April. We began to see the impact of our turnaround last summer when we saw our profit performance up 275% over the four-month summer period driven by strong sales performance despite the impact of covid, albeit against a weak performance the previous year and with the additional benefit from the VAT reduction and the Eat Out To Help Out scheme.” Todd said: “Upham Inns is a delightful business with strong potential. David and the team have delivered the start of a business turnaround in the past year that puts Upham Inns in a great position for future growth and success. We’ve still got a lot to do, and clearly covid has slowed many of our plans, but I am delighted with the progress that has been achieved to date and excited by the future potential of this business.”
Ex-Be At One HR director teams up with friends to launch barbecue smokehouse concept: Graham McDonnell, former HR director at Be At One, has partnered with two friends to launch a smoked barbecue concept, which is about to open its debut bricks and mortar site, Propel has learned. McDonnell, who was with Be At One for seven years, has teamed up with Jermaine Weeden and Colin Marshall to launch Wide & Narrow Smokehouse. Having operated its “Smoke Truck” along the A24 corridor in Surrey and West Sussex for the past six months, Wide & Narrow will be operating a residency at The Shelley Arms in Broadbridge Heath from Monday (12 April). It will offer a menu of slow-cooked barbecue dishes daily at the pub in Old Guildford Road. McDonnell – who has also previously worked for sector companies including Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay, London bar operator Adventure Bar Group and Fridays – decided it was the right time to pursue his dream to launch authentic smokehouse barbecue to the UK, along with his two partners, after being made redundant as a result of the pandemic. He said: “We decided to take our lifelong experiences and love of barbecue and music to launch Wide & Narrow Smokehouse. We invested money into an Airstream and several smokers, and hit the road serving up authentic low and slow smokehouse barbecue. The eventual goal was to have a restaurant and it’s great we are going to have that at The Shelley Arms.” The menu has been developed by Marshall, who previously worked as catering manager for the Civil Aviation Authority at Gatwick airport, while Weeden has spent his career in sales and hospitality. McDonnell said the trio were also in talks to set up another residency for the concept.
Tonkotsu to replace Polpo in Brighton: Ramen restaurant group Tonkotsu will open its latest site, and first “proper” restaurant outside London later this summer in Brighton, Propel has learned. The company, which operates a concession within Selfridges in Birmingham, will replace Polpo in the city’s New Road, with an opening scheduled for mid-June. Tonkotsu, which is backed by YFM Equity Partners and chaired by Sarah Willingham, currently operates 12 sites across the capital, including a site in Walthamstow, which it launched in November last year. The business was launched in Soho in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds.
Vegan pasta concept Pastan to open first restaurant in Covent Garden: Vegan pasta concept Pastan, which launched last year as a delivery-only venture, will open its first restaurant next week in London’s Covent Garden. The business, which is the brainchild of Jerome Ibanez, formerly head of operations at Friska, and chef Dean Fawcett, will open the restaurant at 1 Neal’s Yard on Monday (12 April). It launched through a dark kitchen in east London last year and opened in a further dark kitchen with Karma Kitchen out of Wood Green earlier this year.
Cricket-based concept Sixes secures flagship London site: Sixes, the cricket-based competitive socialising concept from the founders of Mac & Wild, has confirmed it has secured a flagship central London site, in Fitzrovia. As revealed earlier this year by Propel, the company has secured the former Villandry site in Great Portland Street for an opening later this summer. The concept is the brainchild of Mac & Wild founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, but run as a separate business from their restaurant operation. Launched briefly last December in Fulham’s Farm Lane, the business is backed by a number of former professional cricket players, including ex-England captain Sir Andrew Strauss. It is thought the company is in advanced talks for the concept, which features a cricket simulator, restaurant and bar, to make its regional debut later this year. Will Biggart, of Torridon, acted for Sixes, while Laurie Stokes at Nash Bond acted for the landlord.
Flight Club to launch in Dublin: Flight Club, the darts concept owned by Red Engine, has partnered with Loyola Group to bring Flight Club to Ireland. The first venue is planned to launch in Dublin in 2022. Flight Club co-founders Paul Barham and Steve Moore said: “When we look at potential partnerships for bringing social darts to new audiences, we’re committed to ensuring we have the right fit with a team. We can’t wait to share more about what we’ve been working on together with Loyola Group and are so excited to see that ‘dartometer’ ticking in even more venues.” Stephen Cooney, director and co-owner of Loyola Group, added: “As a franchise partner of Flight Club in the UK, we are incredibly proud to be bringing this brand to life in Ireland. We have seen the huge success of the concept in England and the US and are excited to launch in early 2022.” Flight Club operates six venues in the UK and two in the US, with openings lined up in Bristol, Leeds and Perth in Australia. Loyola Group owns and operates six venues in Dublin and owns a significant share in Base Wood Fired Pizza. The group also own The Cheeky Pup in Quinta do Lago, Portugal, and is due to open two new venues in the country this summer.
Parched London acquires Camberwell pub from Young’s for fifth site: Parched London, the team behind The Montpelier and White Horse pubs in Peckham, has acquired its fifth site in the capital, Propel has learned. The company, which is led by Isaac Tooby, Michael Robinson and Shane Ranasinghe, has acquired the freehold of The Grove House Tavern in Camberwell from Young’s. The company said: “We are excited to be part of the local community with our sister pubs in Peckham, The White Horse and The Montpelier nearby; The Roebuck in Borough; and The Railway in Streatham. The Grove House Tavern is a welcome addition of our south London family of pubs.”
David Elliott appointed new chief finance officer at Malhotra Group: David Elliott, currently of KPMG, is set become the new chief financial officer of Newcastle-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Malhotra Group. He is due to leave the office of KPMG in Newcastle at the end of April where he has held the position of senior partner since March 2017. From 2008, he led the tax practice there and, prior to that, was tax director with PwC for 17 years. According to the Newcastle Magazine, Elliott is due to take up his new position at Malhotra Group on 1 May to coincide with the departure of its current group finance director, Andrew McColl. Meenu Malhotra, group chairman of Malhotra Group, said: “On behalf of our family and company, I am absolutely delighted David has agreed to join us at boardroom level, especially at a time of great excitement for the group with expansion happening both in the UK and India. His experience and expertise will be invaluable to the company’s affairs and to me personally as we continue with our strategic growth plans.”
Soho House takes step towards $3bn float in the US: Soho House, the private members' club operator, has taken a significant step towards a stock exchange listing after kicking off a formal registration process in the US. Sky News reported Soho House, this week, submitted a confidential filing for an initial public offering (IPO) in New York that will value it at more than $3bn (£2.1bn). Banking sources said on Thursday that the flotation, which will crystallise a big paper windfall for the company’s founder, Nick Jones, could reach a valuation of as much as $4bn (£2.9bn). The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the first formal step towards Soho House making a long-awaited public markets debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are leading the Soho House IPO. Last month, Nick Jones, the founder and chief executive of Soho House, admitted he was “exploring seriously” a float for the business in New York, aiming to capitalise on America’s buoyant equity markets. The business operates 27 private members’ clubs from Los Angeles to Mumbai.
Former Perilla chef partners with White Rabbit to launch restaurant in Cambridge: Chef Adam Wood, previously of London restaurant Perilla, has partnered with White Rabbit, to launch a restaurant in Cambridge. Wood will lead the kitchen at Garden House, which will be based within Graduate Cambridge, on the banks of the River Cam. Graduate Cambridge, which was previously the Doubletree by Hilton Cambridge City Centre, will house the Garden House and Garden Bar, as well as a cafe and flexible gathering space, all developed in partnership with White Rabbit Studio, the creative arm of White Rabbit Fund, which backs Lina Stores, Kricket and Island Poké. Wood will focus on open-flame cooking and seasonal East Anglian produce with seasonally changing dishes. Nestled in the centre of the hotel will be a large, oval bar focusing on a range of British, European and new world wine, together with cocktails. The cafe’s menu takes its inspiration from the Garden House and will offer burgers and seasonal salads, along with fresh bread and pastries. In addition, the space will offer private meeting rooms with their own exterior terraces.
Everyman boosts food offer ahead of reopening: Cinema company Everyman Group has strengthened its food offering ahead of reopening next month. It stated: “There has been a roadmap set out by the government to reopening on 17 May when, if the vaccine rollout continues as planned, we plan to reopen all our venues. We are highly optimistic for the coming year post-lockdown and continue to be confident in people’s appetite to safely socialise and be entertained. We believe we will be in a strong position once it is safe to welcome back our customers and teams. The coming year’s film slate is strong and varied, set to entertain people of all ages and demographics across the UK. We are also looking forward to unveiling an enhanced venue experience in the coming months. We have expanded our menu offering and have upgraded our kitchens in order to provide improved hospitality. We have made light refurbishments in a number of venues and upskilled staff by offering training during lockdown. While uncertainty does, of course, remain around the future, we are eager to welcome back customers and look forward to providing them with an exceptional experience out, so deserved after nearly a year at home.” Alex Scrimgeour, chief executive of Everyman, said: “While it has been an unprecedented and extremely challenging year, it is clear to me the team has done an excellent job in navigating those challenges. They minimised all costs during periods of closure, strengthened the group’s balance sheet, worked with our landlords to achieve rent concession and, not least, remained actively engaged with our people and customers throughout. During times in the year when our venues were able to open, the group continued to enjoy the strong demand for the Everyman offering that it has seen for many years previously. Its innovative approach to providing new content was also welcomed, with the exclusive screening of Gorillaz concerts as well as old James Bond films both proving popular, for example. Moving forward, we remain confident the nation’s love of film remains and that our premium offering sets us apart. We will be in a strong position to bounce back, with a great opportunity to return to expansion once more when it is safe to welcome back our customers and our staff in just over a month’s time.” The company reported total revenue for the year to 31 December 2020 was £24.2m (FY19: £65m) as a result of five months of closure. It had an operating loss of £19.2m (FY19: £4.8m profit).
Le Bab to launch restaurant and bar concept with German Kraft Brewery and Jim and Tonic next month: Modern kebab concept Le Bab will open a restaurant and bar concept in partnership with German Kraft Brewery and urban gin distillery Jim and Tonic next month. Kraft Dalston will launch within aparthotel brand Edyn Group’s Kingsland Locke site on Monday, 17 May. Kraft Dalston will house a sustainably managed microbrewery and gin distillery, and sees Le Bab expand east in the capital for the first time. The joint venture will see gin and German-style fresh beer paired with kebabs, mezze and snacks. The lower ground floor includes a DJ booth looking out over the dining room. The ground-floor bar will be home to six stainless steel beer tanks producing German Kraft Brewery’s range of beer, with the gin distillery from Jim and Tonic on the lower ground floor below. They will both be visible from the restaurant through glass walls. The food menu will feature new slider-sized kebabs from Le Bab, cooked on a wood-fired robata and served with its homemade sourdough flatbread. The menu at Le Bab will be supported and paired with a curated wine list. Le Bab runs Middle East kebab-focused restaurants in Soho and Covent Garden, and this will be its fourth site.
Lane7 founder to launch outdoor entertainment experience in North Shields: Tim Wilks, founder of Lane7, the bowling alley, ping pong and karaoke concept, is launching an outdoor entertainment experience outside his Gutterball site in North Shields. Burn It Up will host festival-style street food, drinks, and entertainment from Monday (12 April) at its location opposite Royal Quays. With plans to cater for up to 1,000 guests across the 1.6-acre space, the site will have five areas – The Pavilion, The Picture Yard, The Village Hall, Gin Garden and Feastery Street – a street food collective offering the best of the north east’s street food traders. Burn It Up will also feature fairground rides, live music, comedy nights and bingo in the 400-seater Pavilion. The Picture Yard will play host to screenings of cult film and live sport. Wilks said: “With outdoor socialising becoming the new norm in hospitality, we want to inject some much-needed entertainment back into the calendar. We’re encouraging everyone to book ahead and it’s heartening to see those bookings coming in thick and fast.”
Brewhouse & Kitchen to offer co-working spaces: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the 22-strong brewpub group, is to offer co-working spaces at its sites. The company has partnered with co-working business Phlex, which is creating local co-working spaces up and down the country in existing pubs, restaurants, hotels, churches and service facilities. Led by co-founders, registered osteopath and chartered ergonomist, Jill Farmer, and marketing consultant, Caroline Sumners, Phlex aims to set up co-working facilities in local communities outside of major cities. Local facilities will offer socially distanced co-working with bespoke deals to encourage workers to get out of the home and into venues to support hospitality businesses. Sumners said: “Working remotely doesn’t mean having to work from home – there are so many advantages to local co-working for workers and also for the local pubs who need to stimulate custom.”