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Thu 29th Apr 2021 - Parkdean to invest further £70m in its parks amid staycation boom
Parkdean to invest further £70m in its parks amid staycation boom: Parkdean Resorts, which operates 67 caravan, lodge, cabin, glamping and camping holiday resorts, is forecasting a year of rapid recovery in 2021 and is to make a further £70m investment this year – following on from a £70m investment last year – amid a staycation boom. Steve Richards, chief executive of Parkdean Resorts, said: “Despite trading for less than four months of the year, whilst under strict covid restrictions, Parkdean proved exceptionally resilient in 2020, generating £58m Ebitda which is equivalent to 54% of the prior year profits. Our first priority was the safety of our employees, holiday-home owners and guests, and our team worked incredibly hard to create amazing memories for our holidaymakers. I am immensely proud of the commitment and hard work of our people. We are very well placed to benefit from the staycation boom and look forward to a year of rapid recovery ahead. We continue to invest significantly in our parks and customer experience, with exciting new activities and facilities. We also have invested in new accommodation from luxury safari tents to lodges with hot tubs, premium static caravans and newly refurbished chalets. We offer a great variety of accommodation and prices to meet every need and budget and have put in place industry-leading covid-safety standards. It is great to welcome our holidaymakers and owners back, to enjoy everything our parks, and the beautiful British countryside and coastlines, have to offer.” The company reported encouraging trading on four invested ‘parks of the futures’ accommodation, activities, and food and beverage offering, appealing to a wide range of demographics. Revenue in the year to 31 December 2020 was £348m (2019, £453.2m). The £70m planned investment in parks in 2021 (£70m 2020), will include £12m investment in three additional “parks of the future” bringing the total nationwide to seven, to ‘capitalise on the boom in staycations’. The company said it has cemented its partnership with the Bear Grylls Survival Academy following a successful launch in 2020. It reported demand to purchase a holiday home is very strong as people look to spend more quality time with their family and friends. It also said there had been over one third increase in the number of families booking to stay with us for their main holiday, for seven or more nights. 

Propel Premium subscribers to receive updated multi-site database tomorrow, 84 companies added in past month: Propel Premium subscribers will receive the updated Propel Premium multi-site database tomorrow, (Friday, 30 April) at midday. The database has gained an additional 84 companies during the past month. Subscribers will also receive a 4,600-word report on the 84 new brands, concepts and growth companies, many of which have big growth ambitions in Britain. The exhaustive database now holds the details of 1,713 companies – and is only available to Propel Premium subscribers. The go-to database has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector – 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. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Premium subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. 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. Email to sign up.

City Pub Company adds Ladbroke Grove pub to estate, expands holding in Mosaic: The City Pub Group has acquired a 49% stake in Barts Pub, owner of the iconic Kensington Park Hotel in Ladbroke Grove, for £750,000. The KPH is a leasehold pub located 200 metres from Ladbroke Grove tube station. It has large trading areas on the ground and first floors, benefits from seven hotel letting rooms and has potential for a further four letting rooms on the top floor. Ladbroke Grove is a prime residential area in London and the company trades very successfully at the Cock & Bottle, Notting Hill, which is located close by. The City Pub Group will operate the pub under a management contract and has an option to buy the freehold for £5.5m up until March 2024. The company has also increased its stake to 24% in certain companies within the Mosaic Pub and Dining Group, through the acquisition of existing shares in The Galaxy (City) Pub Company, The Pioneer (City) Pub Company and The Sovereign (City) Pub Company for a total cash consideration of approximately £1.18m. The company acquired a 14% stake in the Mosaic Companies in September 2020 and this transaction takes its total investment to £2.42m. The Mosaic Companies own nine prominent pubs, predominantly in London and Birmingham, of which seven are freehold. Mosaic has a strong balance sheet with over £3m in cash deposits and a very strong freehold asset-backing. The City Pub Group and Mosaic jointly negotiate their major liquor supply deals (draught beer, spirits, wines, soft drinks) and the company’s investment will help to cement this relationship. It is the intention of both the company and Mosaic to assist each other in advancements in technology, especially in areas such as the City Club app. Clive Watson is an investment consultant to Mosaic. Richard Prickett, non-executive director of the City Pub Group, is a non-executive director of The Pioneer (City) Pub Company Limited. Clive Watson, executive chairman of the City Pub Group, said:“These two corporate transactions demonstrate that the company can provide liquidity for shareholders in EIS companies on a staged basis, with the aim of significantly increasing the size of the our portfolio over the next two to three years. We will continue to look at selective, high quality single pub acquisitions as well as larger estates.”

Bruntwood and Graffiti Spirit Group to open landmark Liverpool restaurant: Bruntwood Works has partnered with Graffiti Spirits Group (GSG), to open a new restaurant, bar and coffee shop in Liverpool as part of the transformational re-imagining of the iconic Plaza building. ‘The Plaza Restaurant and Bar’ is set to open in Summer 2021, creating a flagship eating and drinking destination for the wider commercial district and the city of Liverpool. A destination all of its own, The Plaza Restaurant and Bar will be taking over the ground floor space of the city’s landmark building creating a transformational arrival experience and putting lifestyle and wellbeing firmly at the centre of the working day. It will include a restaurant, bar and coffee shop operated by renowned Liverpool hospitality brand GSG – the group behind Duke Street Food and Drink Market, Bold Street Coffee, Salt Dog Slim’s and 81 Ltd. Matthew Farrell, co-founder and director of GSG Hospitality, said: “We thought long and hard about the concept for this iconic location and we decided that, ultimately, the building is the destination, and that our operation should celebrate that. This is a new concept for us and we’re really excited about it. Our vision is to create a welcoming, laidback space – an immersive lobby experience where doing emails over coffee blends seamlessly with drinking cocktails with friends. The food will be quality, considered, no nonsense, with a sustainable ethos and use of local suppliers. There’s going to be a large grill element to get stuck into from breakfast through to dinner where we’re going to showcase some brilliant produce. The Plaza is an incredible location and we can’t wait to get stuck in!”

The Inn Collection Group acquires North Tyneside site: The Inn Collection Group has made its North Tyneside debut with the acquisition of The Park Hotel at Longsands beach. The expanding pubs with rooms group has completed on the 53-bedroom venue in Grand Parade, Tynemouth, in an undisclosed deal that brings its estate to 21. With sites in Northumberland, County Durham, Teesside, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Wearside, completion on The Park gives The Inn Collection Group an enhanced presence across the north of England. Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We’re excited to have established a new presence in North Tyneside with a site as unique and dynamic as The Park. It has been a long-term target and we are looking forward to developing the site with a view to maximising the opportunities presented from its location, potential offering and local environment.” The Park will remain closed in the short term while a complex redevelopment of the site is planned ahead of a major investment in the site by the group. The purchase of The Park comes after The Inn Collection Group completed on lakeside venue The Wateredge Inn in Ambleside, Cumbria, last month. The Alchemy-backed group, which is supported with banking from OakNorth, will continue to roll out its “buy and build” freehold growth plans. The Inn Collection Group is preparing to reopen its trading sites on Monday, 17 May and has launched a 200-job recruitment campaign ahead of welcoming back customers. The Inn Collection Group were advised by Imogen Holland, corporate partner at Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway and Neil Hart, managing director at Bradley Hall, on pre-acquisition diligence.

Plans for ‘covid passports’ in pubs and restaurants to be struck off menu: The use of covid status certificates in pubs and restaurants will not become mandatory in the coming months as the government appears likely to recommend they only be used for mass events, it has been reported. A government review into covid certification, or so-called vaccine passports, by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is still ongoing and is expected to produce a report next month. But according to the Guardian, Gove will set out progress on the review in a written statement to the Commons as soon as today (29 April). The newspaper cited Cabinet sources as confirming that the priority for covid certificate use will be for larger events in venues including theatres, sports arenas and music venues. Such certification would require people to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative covid test or the presence of antibodies from being infected by the virus before. A Whitehall source was reported as saying that the team carrying out the review decided to narrow the focus for the certificates on “higher-risk settings that are not open and big events” instead of smaller settings. However, it has not ruled out allowing pub and restaurant owners to decide on their own terms of entry. It is also considering that the passports be used in smaller settings if coronavirus infections start to surge in the autumn in order to allow businesses to remain open.

Jollibee confirms Leeds opening plans: Jollibee, the Philippines fast food group, which last month said it plans to invest £30m on expanding in the UK, has confirmed it will open in Leeds next month. As revealed by Propel earlier this month, the company will open at 92-93 Briggate in the city. The fried chicken brand, which operates about 1,200 sites worldwide, will open a 128-cover site in the city on 10 May. The company plans to be in “every major city in the UK”, and is planning a further 15 to 20 openings here next year. The brand, which plans to open ten new sites in 2021, has secured the former Burger King site in Cardiff’s Queen Street for a further opening this summer. It currently operates three sites in the UK, with a flagship site on the ex-Bella Italia site in Leicester Square, complete with a new store design concept, set to open next. It also has openings lined up in Reading, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Its expansion in Europe will include its first restaurant in Spain, which will open later this year in Madrid. “Leeds is an incredible city filled with culture and great food. We are excited for the people of Leeds to take their first bite of our £3.99 chicken burgers and our brand, new spicy version which we are adding to the menu this month,” Adam Parkinson, vice president of Jollibee Europe, told Leeds Live. “The pandemic has taken a massive toll on the hospitality industry; however, as lockdown eases, we are seeing the potential for a strong recovery. Chicken restaurants are often a key place for young people to socialise, so we’re excited to have a place in which people can create special moments they may have missed during the lockdown.”

Taster raises $37m toward expansion, switches to licensing: Delivery-only kitchen concept Taster, which was founded by early Deliveroo executive Anton Soulier, has raised $37m (£26.5m) of new funding toward further expansion targeted through licensing. UK-based Octopus Ventures was the lead investor, with global venture capital firm Rakuten also participating, alongside the company’s existing investors Battery, Latitude and Heartcore. According to Sifted magazine, Taster, which launched in Strasbourg this week, will soon launch in Manchester and over the coming months, it will steadily launch in many of the other “top cities” in the UK and France. For the last 18 months, Taster has been testing out sharing its supply chain, operations playbook, technology and brand with big and small restaurant partners, including the Hilton in Croydon and independent restaurants like Bombay Burritos. Now, Soulier has decided, this franchise model will be Taster’s sole focus. Soulier said: “We’re going to go 100% down the licensing route. Franchising is a no brainer. A lot of restaurant kitchens are underutilised – and they’re a bit lost when it comes to food delivery: ‘Should I launch my own brand? Which platform should I go to? How should I market myself?’ It’s a win-win situation: we help them – and for us, it’s a great way to expand our brand, very quickly.” Via this model, his goal is to expand from 11 European towns and cities currently to 40 by the end of 2021, and jump from 70 digital restaurants today to 10,000 globally by 2025. Taster will keep its existing ten kitchens in London, Paris and Madrid to test new menus and use as training kitchens for licensees – ut won’t launch any others.

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