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Wed 16th Jun 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

English and Scottish sector leaders demand government support after reopening delayed: Sector leaders in England have written to prime minister Boris Johnson demanding support for the industry, following the delay to the roadmap for reopening that will mean restrictions are not removed until 19 July at the earliest. The group, which includes trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and the Campaign for Real Ale, as well as the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, which collectively run about 3,500 UK pubs, have urged Johnson to delay the reintroduction of business rates payments, which would cost the sector some £93m in just July, by at least three months. They have also called on the prime minister to prioritise the additional £1.5bn business rates support package announced back in March, to ensure eligible businesses such as brewers could apply as soon as possible. A spokesman said: “Many pubs cannot break even under current restrictions and about 2,300 still remain closed. It is now absolutely critical the government provides our sector with further support – else the recovery will be over before we’ve even been given a chance.” Meanwhile, Scottish operators have called on the Scottish ministers to “get out from behind their desks” and see first-hand the struggles the sector is facing after the government said the move to the lowest level of restrictions was “likely” to be pushed back three weeks, until mid-July. Sector bosses have also called for “proper” financial support to be put in place in the event of restrictions continuing. In Scotland, where the next full review of the level of restrictions is due to take place next week, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “unlikely” that any area would see restrictions eased on 28 June – the date it had been hoped all of Scotland would move into level zero restrictions. UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “The announcement that progress towards level zero has stalled adds to the continuing uncertainty for hospitality businesses.” Scottish Hospitality Group spokesman Stephen Montgomery added: “The government has shown it can be flexible and understanding when it wants to, as we’ve seen with the Euros and the Fan Zone (area for 17,000 football fans to gather in Glasgow and watch the Euros). A first step would be to base decisions more on hospital data than cases as these clearly tell a different, more important story.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Imbibe Live readies to welcome back the industry this September: The UK’s leading drinks’ industry event, Imbibe Live, will be returning to London’s Olympia from 13-14 September. This year’s event, which will take place in accordance with strict standards of health and safety, will welcome visitors from across the industry, offering the opportunity to discover a wealth of new products and attend insightful seminars from industry leaders. A spokesman said: “The Imbibe Live team has spoken to industry figures this year to really understand what the community needs. In response, a tailored programme of insightful content will explore the issues that are currently shaping a post-covid world, while showcasing some of the best drinks in the market with the continuation of Imbibe Live’s renowned tastings. Registration for the event is open now and Propel readers are encouraged to be a part of the reunion, as we focus on this crucial recovery period for hospitality and the wider sector.” Visitors are being asked to register as early as possible to secure a place as pre-registration is essential. To do so, click here. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Dozens of companies upgrade to offer entire staff unlimited access to Propel Premium: Dozens of companies have upgraded to offer their entire staff unlimited access to Premium, which costs £895 plus VAT per annum. Among the companies upgrading are Hawthorn, Greene King, Vapiano, Beds & Bars, Papa John’s, CKE Restaurants, Welcome Break, Dodo Pizza, Deloitte, Sky, Molson Coors, Heineken, Access Group, Boutinot Wines, KBE Drinks and Bidfood. Premium subscribers get two updated databases per month. One is a database of multi-site companies, now numbering more than 1,800 (and operating 58,787 sites) and the second, The Propel Blue Book of Turnover and Profitability provides a five-year profit and turnover overview of the sector’s top 250 companies, whose turnover is £27bn. 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. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Osmond – if pubs start to lose seasonal trade they will not survive the summer: Serial sector investor Hugh Osmond has said it is “outrageous” the government has delayed “Freedom Day” by a month, and if pubs start to lose their seasonal trade, “they will not survive the summer”. Osmond, ex-chief of Punch Taverns and formerly PizzaExpress, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is outrageous it is delaying it a month when daily deaths are in single figures. There is a complete lack of understanding by the government of the human issues involved. The nightclubs that were all expecting to open, those pub businesses that haven’t been viable for more than a year. Each and every one of those is a livelihood – how do you balance 100,000 jobs against a handful of deaths? I gave up a career in medicine to pursue hospitality and I’ve been in all forms of it all my life and this is an absolute disaster. There were just three deaths yesterday, and eight the day before, and 3,000 other deaths over those two days. The hospitalisations and deaths are lower than the absolute best case forecast from SAGE. And if we are better than the very best, how much better do we have to be before we are allowed to open? At the same time, the Office for National Statistics is saying one in five pubs are now likely to have to close on top of the 2,000 in 2020. We’ve got 15 months’ rent backlog, we’ve got businesses going to the wall every day and the numbers are better than the best case scenario. The average independent owner of a pub or cafe is taking about £10,000 a week, out of that they have to pay their rent, their rates, but – most importantly – that’s what they have to live on. It’s quite often the home in which they and their family live. If pubs start to lose their summer trade, where they do a very large proportion of their business, they will not survive the summer.” Julian Metcalfe, founder of Pret a Manger and Itsu, told the Daily Mail: “Our industry and many other businesses on the high street have been decimated. There are a great many companies that have now been thrown into absolute chaos. The government should respect the data.”

UKHospitality Cymru urges new minister to adopt fresh funding to save and grow Welsh jobs and businesses: UKHospitality Cymru director David Chapman has met with Vaughan Gething, the new Welsh economy minister, to raise sector concerns relating to recovery from the pandemic. At the meeting, Chapman set out the urgent need for further relaxation of restrictions, warned of the financial damage inflicted by enforced sub-viable trading and two-metre social distancing, and advised of chronic staffing shortages and of the desperation of still-shut parts of the hospitality sector. He told the minister of the perilous financial position of most hospitality businesses and proposed consideration of a new, nine-month, “smart” funding strategy to help businesses survive, recover and protect jobs going forward. Chapman said: “In a valuable hour-long meeting that brought key industry representatives together to brief the new minister, he clearly recognised the critical and fragile position of many hospitality businesses while trading under existing restrictions.” Chapman said he hoped discussions would reconvene in early July and UKHospitality Cymru will continue to have day-to-day conversations with his officials. During the discussions, Chapman also championed the essential need to position hospitality at the very heart of the next five years’ economic policy in Wales. 
 
UK footfall remains consistent despite hot weather and start of Euros: Footfall across the UK continued to remain consistent in the second week of June compared with the previous week despite the hot weather and start of the Euros, according to the latest data from Wi-Fi solutions provider Wireless Social. The period saw UK footfall at 42% of pre-covid levels, with London the only city above the UK average, with levels at 48% of those seen before the pandemic. The next busiest cities were Birmingham and Cardiff, with footfall levels at 38% of those pre-covid. Newcastle has consistently seen footfall furthest away from pre-covid levels – last week it was at 21% of those seen before the pandemic. Wireless Social statistics found lunch remained the busiest part of the day, taking 41% of the footfall, while breakfast accounted for 30% and dinner 29%. 
Wireless Social is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Just Eat Takeaway.com completes £5.75bn Grubhub deal: Just Eat Takeaway.com has completed the acquisition of Grubhub for £5.75bn. The all-share merger represented Just Eat Takeaway.com’s entry into online food delivery in the US and “builds on the strategic rationale for the company’s merger with Just Eat”, the company said. Grubhub founder Matt Maloney is to be appointed to the Just Eat Takeaway.com’s management board, while Grubhub directors Lloyd Frink and David Fisher will join the supervisory board. Just Eat Takeaway.com stated: “As a result of the transaction, the enlarged group is now built around four of the world’s most attractive markets in online food delivery – the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, increasing the enlarged group’s ability to deploy capital and resources to strengthen its competitive positions in all markets.” The combined company will have more than 70 million active customers who place close to 600 million orders a year. Just Eat Takeaway.com first confirmed it was in advanced talks to buy Grubhub in June last year.
 
HGEM survey – young people prefer apps to paper menus: The majority of consumers (54%) want paper menus and a server taking orders and payments, but in younger people that balance is shifting towards favouring technology, according to a survey by guest experience management company HGEM. Three in five (60%) people aged 18 to 35 prefer an app, or a combination of an app and human interaction to traditional ordering and payment methods. Fewer than half (49%) in the 36 to 45 age category indicated an app or a combination of app and human interaction as their preference, and that percentage drops to less than a quarter (24%) among the 66-plus category. Men are much more likely to favour apps, or a combination of an app and human interaction, over traditional ordering and payment methods, with 62% stating apps as their preference. For women, the figure was 40%. Meanwhile, four in five consumers said they would be more inclined to revisit venues that had a good loyalty programme. However, interest in such schemes drops to 67% in the 56 to 65-year-olds category, and to 44% in those aged 66 and older. According to the survey, the top three factors in choosing whether to revisit a venue are food and drink quality, service and value for money. The younger the customer, the more important trendiness, location and value for money are as deciding factors. Women tend to look more closely at cost and have a keener interest in the “trend factor”, while men are more interested in value for money.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an expanding contract catering business. It is looking to develop its senior team to be best positioned post-pandemic, and is keen to appoint a head of sales. Based in London, the position is paying up to £100,000, plus a package. The individual will ideally have a track record of leading sales and winning bids based on innovation and quality. Anyone interested can email Dan@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News: 

Rosa’s Thai Cafe secures two further London sites: TriSpan-backed Rosa’s Thai Cafe is set to further add to its presence in London, with openings in Bloomsbury and King’s Cross, Propel has learned. The company has secured the former ASK Italian unit in Grafton Way for an opening later this year, and a shell unit of Caledonian Road. Last month, the Gavin Adair-led business opened its first Midlands restaurant, at Paradise Birmingham. The company is also currently on-site at the ex-Bella Italia site in Baker Street for an opening this summer. The 24-strong group, which was founded by Alex and Saiphin Moore in 2008, also operates a handful of delivery kitchen sites. The business plans to open up to six new restaurants this year and continue to add to its delivery kitchen estate. Thomas Rose, of P-Three, acts for Rosa’s.

Joe & The Juice to replace Caffe Nero in Soho: Denmark-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice is to further add to its presence in central London, with an opening in Soho. The company, which currently operates circa 50 sites in the UK, including about 40 in the capital, is understood to have secured the former Caffe Nero site on the corner of Lower James Street for an opening later this year. The business recently opened at the Bentall Centre in Kingston. Etch Group acted on the Soho deal. 
 
Hard Rock buys London building housing its first cafe: Hard Rock International has marked its 50th anniversary by buying the building that houses its original cafe in London. The company has acquired the building in Old Park Lane, where the debut cafe launched in 1971, for an undisclosed sum. Hard Rock purchased the 13,832 square foot building from Amsprop Estates. It spans seven floors including the basement and ground floor occupied by the cafe, and first floor offices. Stefano Pandin, area vice-president, Hard Rock Cafe International, said: “London is where Hard Rock Cafe’s story all began and where we will be making memories for many years to come.” The brand also kicked off its anniversary celebrations last week with the unveiling of a new partnership with footballer Lionel Messi, who will serve as brand ambassador for the next five years as the first athlete to partner with Hard Rock. Propel reported earlier this week Hard Rock has also extended the lease of its site in London’s Piccadilly until 2037 and the UK business has received a letter of support from its US parent committing financial support so it can meet its liabilities over the next year.
 
Taster smashes initial £250,000 crowdfunding target within hours of launch, more than £450,000 raised so far: Delivery-only kitchen concept Taster, which was founded by one of Deliveroo’s early executives, Anton Soulier, has smashed its initial £250,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube within hours of the campaign launching. As revealed by Propel last month, Taster is embarking on fundraising to increase its presence across the UK, France and Spain, and drive rapid expansion into new cities. It has already hit its initial £250,000 target and has so far raised more than £450,000 from about 350 investors, with 30 days of the campaign remaining. Taster is offering 0.4% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £100.5m. The pitch stated: “To date, Taster has launched five highly successful digital restaurant brands with chefs and food personalities, is available in 11 cities across the UK, France and Spain, and accounts for more than 20 partners. In 2020 alone, our revenue grew 110% to €10.5m (P&L minus €4.2m) and we delivered more than one million meals. Our immediate ambition is to increase Taster’s presence across the UK, France and Spain, and drive expansion into new cities, as well as to support the launch of two new consumer brands this year. Our ultimate goal is to take Taster global through more restaurants brands and licensed partner restaurants. To date, Taster has raised $50m. In April, Taster 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. Soulier’s goal is to expand from 11 European towns and cities 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 – but won’t launch any others.

White Rabbit Projects to open restaurant and bar at East Lothian hotel on Scotland’s Golf Coast: White Rabbit Projects, the Chris Miller-led business, is set to open two projects at the Marine North Berwick hotel on Scotland’s Golf Coast in East Lothian in the summer. The Victorian-era hotel, which is part of the Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts collection, will house The Lawn restaurant and The Bass Rock bar and lounge. MasterChef: The Professionals semi-finalist Chris Niven, previously executive chef at The Fairmont, St Andrews and The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh, will head up The Lawn restaurant, focusing on the best ingredients from East Lothian and the surrounding area, served in a relaxed setting. Niven will also oversee the menus for the hotel’s bar and lounge, The Bass Rock. There will be a range of small and large dishes to choose from such as Loch Fyne oysters, mackerel pate and a steak and bone marrow burger. He said: “Dishes will not be complicated, the flavours of the produce will really shine through. North Berwick is such a beautiful location with a real sense of community. It is not too far from Edinburgh as well, making it the perfect escape from the city.” White Rabbit Projects is also set to launch three dining concepts – 18, The Bridge and One Under Bar – at Rusacks St Andrews hotel, which is also part of Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts and owned by Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners. The hotel is set to open this month, followed by the restaurants in July, which will be led by inaugural MasterChef: The Professionals winner, Derek Johnstone, who won the competition in 2008. 
 
Wingstop secures Manchester site: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out US chicken brand Wingstop across the UK, has secured its first site in the north west, in Manchester. As flagged up by Propel in March, the company has secured the former Bella Italia in the city’s Piccadilly Gardens. In March, the business agreed a “trilogy” deal with landlord Hammerson to open three new regional locations at its Bullring (Birmingham), the Oracle (Reading) and Cabot Circus (Bristol) schemes. It has since opened the Reading site and will open on a former Pizza Hut site in Kingston-upon-Thames at the end of this month. It currently operates five restaurants and a handful of dark kitchens. It has plans to reach 20 locations in the UK by the end of 2021. Last month, US chicken brand Wingstop, which has more than 1,500 locations worldwide, announced a minority investment in the UK business, which is operated by its UK franchisee, Lemon Pepper Holdings. The company said the investment follows strong performance in the UK and underscores the brand’s confidence in the market as a key growth lever for global expansion.

Living Ventures opens second Grand Pacific site as part of £16m Leeds hotel revamp: Living Ventures, the Paul Moran-led group, has opened its second site under its Grand Pacific restaurant and bar concept in Leeds. The company, which opened the first Grand Pacific in Manchester in 2017, has opened the venue in The Queens Hotel, in Leeds, which is part of The QHotels Group. It forms part of a £16m refurbishment of the hotel. The 100-cover restaurant, private dining rooms and bar offers flavours from “far-flung lands fused together with quintessential British classics” as it “aims to recreate the golden age of high society with a sumptuous, yet relaxed, charm accompanied by great service”. In addition to the main restaurant and bar, the hotel is home to Cafe Pacific, an all-day social hub offering coffees, drinks and snacks. The refurbishment of the City Square hotel has included a renovation of all bedrooms, as well as adding an additional 17 bedrooms, bringing the total to 232. Hotel management said it has seen a huge spike in bookings, given the boom in staycations due to the ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic. 
 
Portfolio of eight pubs let to Marston’s on market for £21.6m revealed: The portfolio of eight pubs let to Marston’s that has been put up for sale with a guide price of £21.6m has been revealed. Aviva Investors has instructed CBRE to sell the group of pubs, which are located across the UK, with the guide price reflecting a net initial yield of 5.75% in the first year, rising to circa 7.75% in year ten and almost 18% by lease expiry in 2055. The pubs are being marketed under the name Project Gold, Propel has learned. The pubs have a total rent roll of £1,326,506 per annum, subject to Retail Price Index-linked rent reviews, collar and capped at 1% and 4%. The rent was originally set in 2014 at projections of circa 35% of Ebitdar. The pubs are the Blaina Wharf, Newport; Featherbed, Shrewsbury; Flying Shuttle, Haverhill, Suffolk; Market Cross in Dunstable, Bedfordshire; Sweet Chestnut, Dunfermline; Three Lights, Fleetwood, Lancashire; Waterwheel, Port Glasgow; Inverclyde; and White Willow, Bridgwater, Somerset. Additionally, each lease includes the provision for the tenant to benefit from a £1 buyback option in 2055. David Fraser, senior director and investment specialist in CBRE’s operational real estate team, said: “The portfolio comprises high-quality real estate that benefits from good underlying fundamentals and a strong return profile, in a sector that we expect to flourish as we continue to come out of the pandemic.”
 
Nationwide healthy meal plan delivery service KBK reports 518% growth in new customers: KBK, the nationwide healthy meal plan delivery service, has reported a 518% growth in new customers in the past 18 months as the demand for meal plans continues. KBK has also seen an upward trajectory in sales, with the ready-meal delivery services booming, as new customers report a sense of urgency to become healthier. With KBK continuing to grow, last year the business acquired Gymology, a Manchester-based business with a similar concept to the KBK brand. KBK operations director James Anderson said: “The meal plan industry has seen a huge spike in demand since the start of the pandemic last March, with many looking to lead a healthier lifestyle or for those who were unable to visit a supermarket last spring/summer. This year, we expect to see even further growth of the brand, with more consumers than ever making meal plans a part of their everyday life.” Although the meal plans have been merged to be part of the KBK brand, the Gymology brand will focus entirely on the fitness industry with the first Gymology boutique gym open at MediaCityUK, Manchester. The ingredients in each of KBK’s plans are sourced directly from farms and local markets. The plans on offer include “Get Lean”, “Everyday”, “Build”, “Vegetarian”, “Plant Based”, “Juice Cleanse” and “Soup Cleanse”.
 
Flagship Angus Steakhouse site comes to market: The property currently occupied by Angus Steakhouse’s flagship site in London’s Piccadilly Circus has come to the market, Propel has learned. Savills is understood to have been appointed to market the site at 21-22 Coventry Street. The site is available by way of an assignment of the existing lease until December 2032. The current rent passing is £1,460,000 per annum. In March, it was reported that Angus Steakhouse, part of the Gateshead-based leisure group Noble Organisation, had asked restructuring experts from KPMG to negotiate rent concessions as the closure of its restaurants put its finances under severe pressure. It operates five sites in visitor hot spots, such as Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square in the capital. KPMG had written to its landlords requesting a rent holiday until lockdown trading restrictions come to an end. While some have agreed to the plan, without unanimous support the company risks running out of money, according to the Daily Telegraph, which first reported the story. Landlords were being asked to accept the payment of rent on a daily rate rather than quarterly once its restaurants had reopened, the report said. It is thought the company may have had to hand back the lease on the Piccadilly site to the landlord.
 
Lakeland Inns appoints new executive chef: Cumbria-based pub group Lakeland Inns has appointed Darran Hargan as its new executive chef. Hargan will oversee the food offer and the development of the kitchen teams at the group’s five Lake District venues. As well as holding senior chef positions, Hargan also spent three years as an assessor for NVQ hospitality and management trainees across the area. Lakeland Inns managing director Kirsty Ridge said: “We’re delighted to have been able to welcome someone as experienced as Darran on board to help steer the vision for each pub and to bring out the very best in our teams.” Lakeland Inns’ portfolio includes The Commodore in Grange, The Royal Oak Inn in Curthwaite and The Sun in Ulverston. It also operates eco-brewery The Lakeland Brewhouse.
 
High-end grocery store and food hall featuring three restaurants launches in Islington: A high-end grocery store and food hall featuring three restaurants has launched in Islington, north London. The Boutique Grocer, located in Islington Square, is the brainchild of firefighter turned food entrepreneur Nick Scallan. As well as offering a range of products, the site is also home to a coffee shop, wine bar and three restaurants in its food hall, reports Hot Dinners. The restaurants are run by oyster and seafood concept The Raw Boys, which has popped up in Borough Market and The Chiltern Firehouse; Waterloo-based Vietnamese restaurant concept Banh Bao Brothers; and Pasta Nostra, the Shoreditch-based restaurant from Michelin-trained chef Wilfred Mafham and Luca Cianti.
 
East Yorkshire-based operators acquire second site: East Yorkshire-based operators Chris and Simon Leahy have acquired their second site. The brothers, who own Cassiel Bar & Kitchen in the village of Cottingham, are launching Raph’s Bar and Grill in the former NatWest bank premises across the road. The property is now being fitted out, following the renovation project that has seen the vault converted into a cellar. Cassiel opened in August last year and in spite of the stop-start impact of lockdowns, the Leahys decided to press ahead with phase two of their plans. They are going through the licensing process now and plan to open Raph’s Bar and Grill in September, serving drinks, homemade pizza and made-to-measure steaks, with regular live music and space for up to 60 customers. Chris Leahy said: “Nothing is risk-free and we have taken a bit of a gamble but we believe there is plenty of trade in Cottingham – it’s said to be England’s largest village – and, as restrictions ease, customers will become more confident and business will increase. The biggest challenge we face at the moment, in common with the rest of the hospitality sector, is recruiting and retaining staff but we’re optimistic and we hope the quality of our offer and our working environment will appeal to people looking for work in an industry that has a bright future.”
 
Team behind Taka opens Japanese restaurant Maru: The team behind Japanese restaurant Taka has opened Maru, in Mayfair. Maru, led by executive chef Taiji Maruyama and partners Andrey and Anastasia Datsenko, serves a 20-course omakase-style, farm-to-table inspired, tasting menu and claims to be the first Japanese restaurant in the UK to specialise in the culinary technique of dry-ageing fish, in-house. The restaurant seats six people who are served from behind the counter by chef Maruyama and his team. The “omakase” menu, which means “I’ll leave it up to the chef”, is an innovative take on traditional Japanese cuisine, combining British ingredients with classical training and techniques. Maruyama has previously worked in Tokyo, and at Nobu, Beaverbrook and Taka. Maru is based in Shepherd Market, with the 20-course menu having a supplementary drink pairing, including wine, champagne, sake and tea.
 
Ibis Styles hotel in Reading sold off £4.5m guide price: The Ibis Styles Reading Oxford Road hotel has been sold off a £4.5m guide price to a private purchaser who intends to continue running it as a hotel. The hotel is located on a 0.74-acre roadside site and has 97 bedrooms with a supportive pre-application for development into a six-storey apartment block with 73 residential units. Paul Barrasford, director in the Hotels Agency team at Colliers, said: “The fact the new owner intends to continue running it as a hotel underlines the resilience of the UK hotels market to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and the demand for substantial, branded hotel stock.” The hotel was sold through property specialist Colliers and the final price was not undisclosed.
 
Ricker Restaurants to reopen La Bodega Negra this month with new head chef: Ricker Restaurants will reopen its Mexican street food restaurant La Bodega Negra in London’s Soho next week with a new head chef at the helm. The restaurant in Old Compton Street will welcome customers again from Tuesday, 22 June, while its street level venue Upstairs at La Bodega reopened on Tuesday (15 June). The reopening coincides with the appointment of new head chef Gustavo Giallonardo, who has created a modern Mexican food offering. New dishes will include pork chop with pasilla negra salsa and sweet potato, and a black mole quesadilla with truffle, Monterey cheese and salsa verde. The full menu will be available in the main restaurant while Upstairs at La Bodega offers a smaller food selection, with more experimental dishes being developed and offered. The space will open with an outside terrace and ceviche bar. Having honed his skills in Buenos Aires, Giallonardo headed to Europe. Following a year in Spain, he made the move to London where he has worked in restaurants including Oriole.
 
Plans submitted for £60m surf park at TraffordCity: Plans to make TraffordCity in Greater Manchester home to the north west’s first surfing lagoon have been submitted. The £60m plans lodged with Trafford Council by Belfast-based property developer McKinney Group would see the former container-base site transformed into a surfing facility that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Alongside the surf lake will be space for a cafe/restaurant terrace, pop-up beach bars, surf shop, and changing facilities all within an interactive environment with everything from pump track and fitness zone to a half pipe/boarding area, and exercise, bouldering and balancing zones. McKinney Group managing director Billy McKinney said: “TraffordCity already has a huge and growing leisure offer and we are looking forward to bringing something new to the area that is thrilling, interactive and accessible, to be enjoyed by surfers of all abilities and look forward to getting people on the waves by 2023.” The site in TraffordCity, owned and managed by Peel L&P, encompasses The Trafford Centre and its surrounding 3.5 million square foot of retail, leisure and office space.
 
Gastropub manager opens wine shop with deli to follow, seeking further sites for expansion: A gastropub manager has opened a wine shop and has plans to open more with complementary delicatessens. Luke Morland and co-owner Craig Buchan opened their debut wine shop, Reuben & Grey, in the Old Town Hall in Market Square, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. The business plans to open a chain of wine shops and high-end delicatessens across the region at pace. It intends to add a deli to the site in the next couple of months and is searching for more premises in Knaresborough, Harrogate and beyond. The deli will offer a selection of luxury produce, with much of it sourced from local suppliers. The wine shop offers hundreds of wines from around the world, including an extensive choice of natural and organic wines and English wines, as well as local beers, gins, rums and whiskies. Morland, who has run the Bay Horse Inn gastropub for the past five years and worked as a front-of-house manager at nearby Goldsborough Hall, said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen a real shift in the way people shop and eat. We will be showcasing artisan suppliers both through our fine wine store and, later, through our gourmet deli, and we believe that there is real public support for an initiative like this.”

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