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Thu 17th Jun 2021 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Gail’s sees ‘strong interest’ as it seeks new investment partner to help drive business forward, secures Godalming site: Tom Molnar, chief executive and co-founder of Gail’s Bakery, has told Propel the business has seen “strong interest” as it looks for a new investment partner to help drive it forward. Last month, Sky News reported sector investor Luke Johnson was set to make a fresh attempt to sell Gail’s, having backed the business for ten years. But Molnar said it was not a “sales process” – but an opportunity to “reset the investor group”. He said: “We’ve had ten years with the same investors and now it’s time to provide them an exit and identify new investor partners aligned with our team’s plans for the future. The management team has a large stake in the business – and that is not going to change. For us to be successful, we need to have a strong management team working with an evolving set of value-adding investors. We have had great support from Luke and Risk Capital Partners but it is the right time to make changes to set us up well for the next ten years. I started looking early in 2020, but covid disrupted the plans and we had to put all of our energy into the immediate needs of the business. Over the past two months, we decided it was the moment to push forward again. There’s strong interest in the business but I need to make sure we find a good match with our ambitions and beliefs. We believe there is a lot of opportunity to improve the quality of baking in the UK, celebrate some great local producers and build more sustainable food supply chains. The UK consumer deserves to have access to the best food, coffee and baking in the world and we have a strategy to help deliver this.” Gail’s has just opened a site in Reigate, Surrey, for its 69th site to date. The outlet is located in the former Lloyds Bank premises in High Street. Gail’s has also secured a property in nearby Godalming and is set to open the High Street site, which was previously vacant, in the next couple of months. The company was founded in Hampstead in 2005 and is run by Molnar and managing director Marta Pogroszewska. Johnson invested in the business in 2011 and has previously looked at the possibility of selling his stake on at least two occasions.
Gail’s features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book database, which is now available to Premium subscribers. It is ranked the 32nd most profitable hospitality company with a profit of £3,489,000 in its most recent year, converting 3% of turnover to pre-tax profit. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up

Industry News:

Propel Premium subscribers to receive updated database of multi-site companies on Wednesday, 30 June: Propel Premium subscribers will receive the updated database of multi-site companies on Wednesday, 30 June, at midday. The latest database, released at the end of May, saw an additional 108 multi-site companies added taking it to 1,819 businesses with subscribers also receiving a 14,000-word report on the new brands, concepts and growth businesses, many of which have big growth ambitions in Britain. The exhaustive database, due for release at the end of June, will have at least 1,881 multi-site companies listed – 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Perspex screens unlikely to prevent transmission of covid and should be scrapped: Government ministers are being advised that Perspex screens, which the hospitality industry has invested considerable sums on, are unlikely to have any benefit in terms of preventing transmission of covid and should be scrapped. According to a Whitehall document seen by news outlet Politico, problems arising from the screens include them not being positioned correctly, with the possibility they actually increase the risk of transmission by blocking airflow. It said: “Therefore, there is clear guidance to ministers these Perspex screens should be scrapped.” On working from home, the report goes on to say: “The most striking recommendation is the government should not actively tell people to go back to the workplace when the country enters step 4. The paper draws up three potential options on work-from-home messaging: the government could either tell the public to go back to work, remain neutral or encourage people to work from home. Ministers are being advised to reject the first option, and instead err toward caution with a ‘hybrid approach’. While there should be no legal restrictions on who can go to work in step 4, the document says the government is actively looking at ways to help people continue working from home if there is no need for them to be in an office.” It also said while social distancing laws are going to be lifted, ministers are considering bringing in new rules for businesses to help keep workplaces safe, including the possibility of requiring minimum standards of ventilation. There is also a suggestion face masks will still be required in some settings in the long term. The cabinet office stressed to Politico no decision has been made on what guidance will be brought in after 19 July, and it was too early to make any judgments as more data is needed. On the Perspex screen guidance, Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, tweeted: “Shambolic. I’ll file that with the 10pm curfew rule – clueless.”
 
Foodservice prices rise 5% in April as inflation pressures mount: Foodservice prices jumped in April to bring months of benign inflation to an abrupt end, the latest edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index has shown. April’s month-on-month price increase of 5.3% reverses a trend of falling foodservice prices that began in September 2020. It follows warnings from the British Retail Consortium of rising food inflation due to shipping costs, additional border checks and high commodity prices. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index has, meanwhile, reported a 39.7% year-on-year increase in global food prices. The new edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reports falls in only three of its ten categories, with significant month-on-month increases in meat, fish, vegetables, and oils and fats. It predicts food price inflation is likely to intensify in the coming months as a result of factors including renewed restocking demand, production and distribution challenges and Brexit-related costs. Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “We have been predicting the return of food price inflation for some time and the April index confirms the upwards trend is now in motion and is likely to continue.”
Prestige Purchasing is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Alex Polizzi serving guests breakfast at new hotel herself due to staff shortages: Alex Polizzi has called the current shortage of staff in the hospitality industry “heartbreaking” – admitting she had to serve breakfast to 50 guests at her own hotel herself in a “less than perfect manner”. Polizzi, who is the granddaughter of Lord Forte and niece of luxury hotelier Rocco Forte, told ITV show This Morning it was “impossible” to get staff following the pandemic and she had resorted to training people herself for her latest hotel venture. The host of Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector has been renovating The Star in Alfriston, East Sussex, since buying it in 2019, and opened this month after working on the project with her mother Olga. However, she told This Morning hosts the pandemic meant the hotel’s launch had been hit by a “perfect storm”. Talking about the battle to recruit staff, she said: “I’ve never, ever had it as bad as I’ve had it this time. We’re really struggling. I’m taking quite a lot of lovely young people and I’m trying to train them up myself now but it is quite heartbreaking.” Polizzi blamed Brexit, saying “the pool of staff that we used to rely on completely has been taken from us” and added the pandemic has also seen an exodus of migrant staff leaving the country. Earlier this month, UKHospitality said there was a shortfall of 188,000 workers in the industry – equal to a 9% vacancy rate.
 
Oxford Circus to be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas: London’s Oxford Circus will be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas as part of plans unveiled by Westminster City Council and The Crown Estate. The new Oxford Circus plans will be delivered through a phased approach, starting with two “car-free” piazzas in Oxford Street, either end of the Circus, with a target delivery by end of 2021. Work on the transformed Circus will begin later in the year with the scheme also set to include significant improvements to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus, creating more pleasant places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy the centre of the city. It will also introduce additional planting and seating to improve the overall look and feel of the area and encourage dwell time. Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan said: “These new bold plans to reinvent Oxford Circus will see the first significant redesign of the nation’s favourite high street in decades. We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus will instil much-needed confidence in the West End and support local businesses severely affected by the pandemic. We want to bring the excitement and buzz back to these famous streets and make Oxford Circus London’s front door. There is an urgent need to tackle issues with pedestrian congestion and safety, poor air quality and noise. The serious congestion of Oxford Circus, of people and of traffic, is unsustainable and demands action. In the aftermath of the pandemic, and with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, there is an overwhelming need and a compelling opportunity to build back better – a business-as-usual approach will no longer work.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a food brand based in west London that is recruiting a head of marketing. This specialised business operates in a growing sector and is looking to pay between £120,000 and £140,000. This role is all about innovation, passion and creativity. Over the next few years, the business is planning to focus on new product development, international growth and potential licensing agreements. It is looking for someone who understands the food/fast-moving consumer goods space. This position could be covered in a permanent or contract capacity, depending on the candidate’s preference. Anyone interested can email Gemma@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

Chipotle lines up Canary Wharf opening: Chipotle is set to further add to its UK presence with an opening in Canary Wharf, Propel has learned. The company, which recently opened new restaurants in Chiswick and Clapham, is understood to have lined up the former Caffe Nero in Jubilee Place, for an opening later this year. It will become the brand’s 12th opening in the UK, and fourth in 2021, as the business looks to ramp up its expansion plans here. In February, Propel reported that Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive of Chipotle, said the company was ready to move forward with its UK business. Speaking after the company’s fourth-quarter update, Niccol said: “We've got some plans in place for places that we already have our foot in the door. So, think of the UK, France specifically. And so, you’re going to see us starting to really use our stage-gate process to move those markets along.” Since then, the business has opened new sites in Chiswick and Clapham, while it has also launched its second delivery kitchen in London in conjunction with Foodstars, in Bermondsey. Talking at a US conference last week, Niccol again touched on the brand’s ambitions for the UK and Europe. He said: “I’m very excited about what our learning plans are for Europe. I feel like we’ve now put the digital system into Europe, which gives us a new tool as part of our opening approach. And now we also have varying formats, you know, from small to the traditional size Chipotle that you’ve seen – as small as a dark kitchen, only all the way to a full Chipotle. We just opened a restaurant, I guess it was about two weeks ago in Chiswick, and then we’re about to open a new one in Clapham. Our plan was to do this about a year ago to have these things built and already have a year of learning in it but, you know, we’re probably 18 to 24 months out before we get great learnings from the sites we’re opening, but I think it’s the right disciplined approach. We’re a week or two into some of these openings and they’re off to a good start.”
 
Rileys sees sales up 9% on 2019 levels since reopening, 50% of estate refurbished: Sports bar operator Rileys has seen sales at its core portfolio of 13 sites grow 9% in the three weeks since reopening against 2019 levels – and is 33.7% ahead of target, Propel has learned. Prior to reopening and during the third lockdown, Rileys completed the refurbishment of its Victoria and Coventry clubs. In 2020, Rileys refurbished its site in Swansea. In addition, Rileys refurbished its clubs in Liverpool, Harlow and South Benfleet prior to 2020. As a result, half of Rileys’ estate is now refurbished. Rileys said it intends to continue to invest in its estate to grow the business. The recently refurbished clubs include English and American pool tables and snooker. They are also the first Rileys sites to include electronic dartboards. Comprising four lanes, players can choose from a selection of games. Chief executive Craig Mayes said: “We have made significant changes to our operating model, which, in turn, is generating strong sales levels. The third lockdown presented a one-off opportunity to make a significant investment in our two flagship clubs in London Victoria and Coventry. These clubs were our best-performing sites so to see them delivering further growth demonstrates the untapped potential in Rileys. This, together with strong year-on-year performance in the rest of the business, is fantastic restart post-lockdown for our investors, customers and team members.” In addition, Rileys, which is owned by Weight Partners Capital, shows live sport on HD screens around the club, as well as offering a dedicated sports zone serving food with a large cinema-style HD projector. Competitive sport also happens within the clubs by hosting local and national pool, snooker and darts competitions including the Professional Darts Corporation qualifiers.
 
Team behind Cottons concept to open new venture Camden Social: The Rhumshack Group, the company led by Chris Singham, the owner of the Cottons Caribbean Rum Shack concept, is set to open a new all-day venture in London’s Camden, Propel has learned. Called Camden Social, it will be located in Jamestown Road, on the former Byron site. Expected to open next month, it will be a new all-day dining and brasserie concept. Singham launched Cottons in 1985, and it currently has sites in Camden, Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Vauxhall. The group recently opened Tai Pan Alley in Camden, which is a collection of independent outlets, showcasing “the very best of Asian home-style cooking”. 
 
Thai Express lines up three new openings: Thai street food concept Thai Express has lined up three new openings, including its first in Scotland, Propel understands. The company, which was founded in Canada and made its UK debut in 2012, currently operates seven sites in the UK, including a site within bowling alley, ping pong and karaoke concept, Lane7, in Leicester. Propel understands Thai Express, which is headed up in the UK by Uzma Pattani, has lined up an opening in the Edinburgh St James Quarter scheme, in the St James Square area. It is thought it could, like its Leicester site, be opened at a potential Lane7 site in the scheme. Thai Express, which operates more than 200 sites worldwide, is also thought to have openings lined up in Camden and at the Fosse Park, Leicester. 

US chef Nancy Silverton to open debut UK restaurant: US chef Nancy Silverton is to open her debut UK restaurant. Silverton will open Pizzeria Mozza as part of Treehouse Hotel London, the brand from SH Hotels & Resorts that debuted in 2019 in Marylebone. Silverton, who won the James Beard Foundation's “Outstanding Chef Award” in 2014, is the is co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza, Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca as well as the founder of La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. Pizzeria Mozza will be the latest addition to Treehouse Hotel London’s food and beverage portfolio where it will join Madera, The Nest in Treehouse and Backyard. The restaurant, which opens next month, will be located adjacent to the hotel on the ground floor in Regent Street. Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles are co-owned by Silverton and Joe Bastianich, and Bastianich will also be a partner in the London project. The menu will offer a number of Pizzeria Mozza’s pizzas as well as a selection of meat and fish dishes. Bastianich, who is a winemaker, will curate the drinks list. As well as wine, there will be a range of cocktails. Silverton said: “Opening at the Treehouse in Marylebone is like a homecoming for me. In 1977, I was a student at London's Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, and now I am back with my Pizzeria Mozza. It just feels right and I am determined to make my alma mater proud of their former student.” Matt Erickson, president of food and beverage at SH Hotels & Resorts, added: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Nancy and this amazing brand over the pond to our guests in London.”

Livelyhood to open Bromley pub for seventh site, eighth to follow in autumn: Independent south London pub group Livelyhood will open a new pub this August, in Bromley, with another launch planned for the autumn. Operating in the High Street space that was once a famous wine merchant owned by George Pamphilon in the mid-18th century, The Artful Duke would be a “classic neighbourhood pub” in the heart of the south east Greater London town. The 3,000 square foot venue, which will create about 30 jobs, will have 150 covers inside and a 60-cover heated outdoor terrace. As well an all-day menu, the pub will have a range of cocktails, beer, wine and spirits. The new opening will bring Livelyhood’s portfolio to seven, which currently includes The Clapham North, The Regent in Balham, The Perky Nel in Clapham, The Faber Fox in Crystal Palace, The Mere Scribbler in Streatham and The Old Frizzle in Wimbledon. An eighth opening is planned for the autumn. Livelyhood owner Sarah Wall said: “As we take the next, hugely positive steps in our growth plan, we are delighted to not only be creating opportunities to grow our team, but also working in partnership with our outstanding suppliers and local businesses to create a warm and inviting pub in the heart of this perfect Livelyhood location.”
 
Mindful Chef reports first profit as year-on-year sales triple to £53m: Healthy recipe box service Mindful Chef has reported it is profit-making for the first time. Year-on-year sales tripled to £53m in 2020, with results in the first quarter of 2021 up 200% compared with the year before. Chief executive Tim Lee said: “Following a 205% increase in customers in 2020, we are pleased to report continued growth, with a 50% increase year-on-year in new customers joining the Mindful Chef throughout the first quarter of 2021. Despite the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions, health and convenience remains a high priority for many people. As a business with health and well-being at its heart, we’ve seen order frequency rates in the first quarter increase by 35% year-on-year, a historically challenging figure to shift, demonstrating that food shopping online is increasingly becoming the norm for many households.” Mindful Chef said it has seen an uplift across all of the brand’s ranges, with its one person, two-person, family boxes and pre-prepared frozen range all experiencing a spike in sales. Lee added: “As a business, we strive to maintain excitement and variety for our customers, which is why in 2020 we launched our first restaurant collaboration with Nando’s, and most recently a partnership with steakhouse Hawksmoor. We are continuously looking for innovative ways to make healthy eating easier, more accessible, tasty and convenient.”
 
Oxfordshire-based Brewmish Pub Company takes on first two sites, looks to add another three: Oxfordshire-based Brewmish Pub Company has taken on its first two sites – and is looking to add up to three more to its portfolio. Launched by Chris Brewster, former licensee of the Unicorn in Dedington, the company has taken on The Duke of Marlborough just outside Woodstock and The King’s Head in the town. Both sites belong to Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The King’s Head, which has been closed for two years is about to undergo a £350,000 joint refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars transforming the site into a “locals’ pub with wine bar and international small plates restaurant”. It will reopen as The Back Lane Tavern, its historic name, which many locals already call it, in mid-August. The Duke of Marlborough, which has 13 bedrooms, reopened on 17 May following a lockdown refurbishment. Prior to launching this new pub business, Brewster spent 15 years in the licensed trade, managing hospitality establishments and working within the drinks industry. This included a spell as an account manager with Majestic, supplying the hospitality industry where he developed his wine knowledge. Brewster said: “Taking on two pubs during lockdown was frustrating because it meant the business hasn’t been able to grow as quickly as planned. However, it opened up new opportunities. We were able to trial a taco takeaway truck business from the Duke of Marlborough – a mini Duke on wheels. It’s a model we will look to expand because this style of operation can thrive during a pandemic and also be used for events and to serve outlying villages. Once The Duke of Marlborough and The Back Lane Tavern are firmly established, we plan to take on a further two or three pubs in the Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire or Berkshire area.”
 
The Gentlemen Baristas to open flagship site in Piccadilly: Coffee shop company The Gentlemen Baristas is to open a flagship site in London’s Piccadilly. The eight-strong, London-based business will open an 1,800 square foot unit as part of the Crown Estate’s St James’s portfolio. Founded by Henry Ayers and Ed Parkes, The Gentlemen Baristas opened its debut site in Southwark in 2014. A spokesman said: “We are committed to recapturing the spirit of the traditional London coffee house – places that brought people and ideas together to connect over a cup of coffee. Choosing the right location was key; what better way to pay homage to London and the London coffee shop scene than such a prominent space in the heart of the West End.” Meanwhile, the Crown Estate said it has also signed African-fusion restaurant Papa L’s Kitchen for a pop-up, which will be taking 2,500 square foot of space in Jermyn Street, running from July to October. It follows on from the success of chef Lawrence Gomez’s first pop-up restaurant in West Brompton last summer.
 
Live events firm TEG MJR acquires two sites from The Columbo Group: TEG MJR, the UK subsidiary of Australian live events firm TEG, has acquired London music venues, the XOYO in Shoreditch and the Camden Assembly from The Columbo Group. The company said it will “enhance the production infrastructure” of the 800-capacity XOYO and relaunch the venue with a “three-date residency with Skream and further weekly residency parties to be announced”. Meanwhile, Camden Assembly – which was The Barfly – will continue to trade daily with a mix of “live shows, club nights and electronic music events upstairs” when ongoing covid restrictions come to an end. TEG chief executive Geoff Jones said: “These are two of London’s most loved venues. We will honour their legacies while bringing new and unbeatable live music and event experiences to patrons. This move gives us a presence in the vibrant London music scene.” Dan Ickowitz-Seidler, chief operating officer at TEG MJR, said: “We are excited to be a part of London’s diverse night-time culture and to soon be delivering great events and hospitality at two of London’s leading venues. The location of both venues is incredible and we are committed to respecting their past and investing in their future, with plans to offer fantastic, contemporary experiences.” The Columbo Group, led by Steve Ball and Riz Shaik, launched its first regional site of its The Blues Kitchen concept last month, in Manchester. The Columbo Group, which is also behind London venue, Jazz Cafe, already operates three The Blues Kitchen sites in the capital. 
 
Gino D’Acampo to open second Liverpool restaurant as he expands Innside by Meliá partnership: Chef Gino D’Acampo is to open his second Liverpool restaurant as he expands his partnership with Innside by Meliá, part of Spain’s largest hotel group Meliá Hotels International. Gino D’Acampo Old Hall Street Restaurant and its panoramic Sky Bar will launch in Innside Liverpool, creating 100 jobs. It will be D’Acampo’s third collaboration with Innside by Meliá after the pair partnered last month to create “a new hospitality empire”. Gino D’Acampo Quayside opened at Innside Newcastle last month, with his team having also taken over the food and beverage operations at Innside Manchester. It comes almost four years after the arrival of D’Acampo’s first restaurant in Liverpool, with Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant opening in Castle Street in July 2017. Gino D’Acampo Old Hall Street is set to open on Monday, 16 August, at the 207-bedroom hotel, which is within the former offices of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo and Merseyside County Council. The restaurant will serve Mediterranean cuisine and “premium” drinks. The open-plan 200-cover restaurant will have a theatre-style kitchen, two private dining rooms and a 60-cover long bar. D’Acampo will also open a new 360-degree Sky Bar on the 17th floor of the hotel, comprising seating for 100 guests. Garry Fortune, cluster general manager at UK North at Innside by Meliá, said: “This is just the beginning of the story for these two lifestyle hospitality brands coming together to create a brand new modern, dining experience for guests at Innside by Meliá destinations across the UK – and what a story it has been so far.”
 
Pop music-themed mini golf concept seeks further sites after making debut at Boxpark Wembley: Music video-themed mini golf concept Pop Golf is seeking more sites after opening its debut venue last month, at Boxpark Wembley. Owner Allan Saud told Propel the original idea was to have three venues by the end of 2021, and while covid-19 has “forced a rethink”, expansion was still very much the plan. The nine-hole course has been designed to offer the experience of “stepping straight into a music video”. The concept is supported by an “expertly curated” 21st century pop playlist, a mezzanine level bar and an experimental touch-controlled mixing system that allows guests to adjust their own music experience. Originally due to open in June 2020, the team has had an opportunity to spend an extra 11 months developing the concept and the build, which Saud said “really shows in the final product”. He said: “Pop Golf isn’t just music video themed mini-golf, it’s a new way to completely immerse yourself in pop. We put pop first. Our play experience lets visitors immerse themselves in beautifully designed music video sets that have been purpose built for the perfect Instagram shot or TikTok backdrop. We actively seek out and hero breakthrough artists and indie labels we believe in, supporting the industry and making Pop Golf a place of real discovery. Our playlists are constantly updated with the best new music and are available for everyone to access and enjoy at home. Even our menu embodies the spirit of pop with independent, ethical, genre-busting suppliers.” Saud, who is also founder of Mighty Adventures, a chain of family adventure golf parks, added: “The reaction to Pop Golf has been fantastic so far. We are also having exciting conversations with brands about using the space for sponsorship collaborations, photo shoots and videos, which is exactly what we want.”
 
Store Retail Group to expand food hall concept with two new sites: Independent food hall operator and food and drink retailer Store Retail Group has revealed plans for further expansion. The company is set to roll out the food hall part of the concept to its outlet in Sale while it is opening a site in Northwich as the group ventures outside of Manchester for the first time. The Sale food hall will open this summer, with a 150-cover dining and drinking space, plus an outdoor terrace. It will replace the “Groceries and Beer” unit already operated by Store Retail Group, and will be relocated around the corner at Stanley Square shopping centre to create a bigger 5,500 square foot food, drink and retail destination. The Northwich food hall will follow in the autumn, launching in a two-storey unit in the town centre that was formerly Baron’s Quay Social. The 9,000 square foot unit will also features a rooftop terrace, with space for additional traders. Both sites will have rotating street food vendors, bars serving craft beer, wine and spirits, a coffee shop with bakery unit, plus its General Store brand’s trademark “corner shop” retail space. The grocery store within each venue will offer the same neighbourhood retail concept the brand is known for. Store Retail Group founder Mital Morar said: “We’ve made Sale our home over the past 18 months as we expand and put down even stronger roots in the town. Northwich is also a really exciting location for us, taking the step out of Manchester for the first time is a big deal for our brand and we are looking forward to the challenge.” The group has just launched its newest site in MediaCityUK, and has since announced new locations at Deansgate Square and Kampus in Manchester city centre.
  
Zia Lucia and Berto founders to bring two concepts together under one roof: The founders of London-based pizzeria Zia Lucia and pasta restaurant Berto are bringing the two concepts together under one roof. Zia Lucia first opened in Holloway Road, Islington, in 2016 with four types of pizza dough and has since grown to five sites across the capital. Berto joined the family in 2019, opening up next door to its sister venue in Holloway Road and specialising in four different kinds of pasta dough. Since then, founders Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D’Angelo have dreamed about combining the two venues – and are now doing so. The walls between the two restaurants have been opened and a handcrafted pizza oven has been added. The new restaurant, which opens next month, will have 75 covers inside and 25 outside. Vescovo said: “We are delighted to welcome our guests back into the new joint venue, where they will be able to order from a larger menu and will be able to pick both homemade pasta and pizza from our four signature doughs.”
  
Matcha-inspired coffee shop and dessert bar to open in Marylebone: A new coffee shop and dessert bar focused on matcha is opening in London’s Marylebone. How Matcha will launch on Monday, 28 June, in Blandford Street. It aims to introduce matcha as an “accessible and unique alternative to the average London high-street coffee shop”. How Matcha will offer a range of drinks including the Matcha tropical on ice, which is made with matcha lemonade, pineapple and white peach; and matcha bubble tea. There will also be a selection of matcha-infused cakes and pastries alongside breakfast dishes such as Honey Trap – organic matcha honey on sourdough toast. How Matcha will also be available for delivery on Deliveroo and UberEats. 

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