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Mon 21st Jun 2021 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Some 25,000 licensed premises still shut with thousands more at risk after ‘Freedom Day’ delay: About 25,000 licensed premises were still shut at the end of May, the latest edition of the Market Recovery Monitor research from CGA and AlixPartners has revealed. The research showed 76.2% of Britain’s licensed sites were trading by the end of last month, with the number more than doubling from April’s total of 32.9% thanks to the return of inside service. However, while more than nine in ten venues in segments including food pubs (91.9%), high street pubs (92.9%) and casual dining restaurants (93.9%) are now open, figures are much lower in sectors that rely on late-night trading, such as nightclubs (49.9%) and bars (72.9%). With strict restrictions including distancing and table service in place, CGA’s trading data showed sales have been well below pre-covid-19 levels in these segments in particular. CGA and AlixPartners said the delay to a complete reopening of hospitality puts a significant number of those sites still shut at risk of permanent closure. The independent licensed sector has only 66.9% of its venues open by the end of May, compared with 93.1% of managed sites. There has been a fuller reopening of city centres, where 81.3% of sites have opened, than in suburban (75.4%) and rural (72.8%) areas. There was a significantly lower level of reopening by the end of May in Wales (69.8%) than in England (76.5%) and Scotland (77.6%). Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Britain already has almost 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic, and that number will sadly rise as a result of the government’s delay. The hospitality sector’s recovery is central to the UK’s economic revival, and more support like this is vital if we are to prevent further casualties.” AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “Many operators will have reopened in anticipation of restrictions falling away on 21 June, and likely forecast and accepted suppressed trade for the period up to that point. A further delay of four weeks is a devastating blow, creating significant uncertainty and further financial strain. At a time when Euro 2020 is in full swing and there is a feel-good factor across the country, this extension to restrictions could not have come at a worse time for pubs and other drink-led venues.”
AlixPartners is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – let Restaurant Brands Collective deliver more for your business: Restaurant Brands Collective is “driving real change across the industry with its impactful food brands and operational expertise” offering opportunities “for businesses to maximise profitability” using existing kitchen space, equipment and teams. Its ever-evolving range of food brands, which offer “on-trend” dishes for dine-in and delivery menus, are driving “excellent” results for its hospitality partners across the UK. Restaurant Brands Collective said its brands are also proving invaluable in supporting businesses struggling to recruit chefs in these challenging times, with the operationally simple menus, training and ongoing support delivered by Restaurant Brands Collective, enabling dishes to be created by any of your kitchen team. Restaurant Brands Collective founders are food, brand and operations experts. Toph Ford is former head of food and marketing at natural fast food brand Leon, Stefan Cosser’s CV includes five years leading Heston Blumenthal’s creative team, and Brett Boyers has more than 20 years’ operational experience including with The Restaurant Group and Boparan Restaurant Group. Its growing range of food brands, which can be activated as branded or white label menu solutions, focus on easy to execute dishes that currently include gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese, katsu curry, pizza, bao buns and bowls, smashed burgers and all-day breakfast options. For more information click here. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Premium database of multi-site companies sees wet-led operators spotting opportunity in post-pandemic market: As the UK moves towards a new era, more wet-led operators are appearing on Propel Premium’s database of multi-site companies in June. The updated database, which has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector, will include a minimum of 63 new companies when it is released on Wednesday, 30 June, at midday. Wet-led ventures include north west-based Hightown Pub Company, which is owned by brothers Chris and Jon Nevin. They opened The Golden Lion in Rainford in 2020 in partnership with Star Pubs & Bars and are opening The Bay Horse in Worsthorne in July 2021 – also with Star Pubs & Bars – after a £500,000 revamp. Croeso Pubs is a Cardiff-based pub company. It operates The Philharmonic, Brewhouse and Retro pubs. In June 2021, it took over the lease of the Goat Major from Welsh brewer and retailer Brains and restored it to its former name, Blue Bell. Jukeboxers is a duelling piano bar concept. It runs sites in Oxford and London. It announced it would open a third site at Utilita Arena Birmingham in summer 2021. Available only to subscribers, the exhaustive database was most recently sent at the end of May and included the details of 1,819 companies. The go-to database 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. 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.

New strategy needed to bolster ‘ailing’ hospitality sector, says Federation of Small Businesses: A new strategy is needed to help bolster the “ailing” hospitality and tourism sector that is now being forced to wait four more weeks to fully reopen, according to a new report. Research by the Federation of Small Businesses has highlighted the “devastating” impact of the pandemic on the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector and its supply chain. The report, A Menu for Recovery, called on the government to develop a new hospitality and tourism strategy, overseen by a minister, “to focus on the underrepresented small businesses in the sector and help lay out future support plans”. The business group has also called for urgent action to extend the hospitality VAT rate reduction to 5% until March 2022, and 100% business rates relief throughout the full financial year for businesses in England. It also wants to make the process easier for businesses that sell food and drink to apply to their local authority for a pavement licence, and maintain the right for pubs, cafes and restaurants to operate as a takeaway. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Smaller and independent hospitality operators have suffered greatly during the pandemic and the four-week extension of restrictions creates greater uncertainty about their future. These businesses provide valuable jobs across all regions of the UK and really are the lifeblood of the sector. This important report echoes many of our asks as to how the government can best support small businesses to recover from the devastating effects of the crisis. Critically, we must see a publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place giving businesses much-needed reassurance after what will be 16 months of closure and significantly constrained trading. Otherwise the government risks jeopardises the return on investment that hospitality will offer if given permission to trade freely.”

Tourism and recreation sector leads way as UK recovery accelerates: The tourism and recreation sector, which includes pubs and restaurants, led the way as the UK recovery accelerated in May. A total of 11 of 14 UK sectors reported faster output growth month-on-month in May, up from nine in April, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker. The tourism and recreation sector recorded the sharpest rise in output growth – 62.4 in May versus 51.9 in April – as hotels, pubs and restaurants experienced a release of pent-up consumer demand. A reading above 50 signals output is rising, while a reading below 50 indicates output is contracting. Job creation hit pre-pandemic levels, with all 14 sectors reporting jobs growth in May and the tourism and recreation sector adding jobs for the first time since January 2020. While output and job creation continued to improve in May, rising inflation indicated business conditions may be less benign in the coming months. Every sector monitored by the Tracker experienced a sharp rise in input costs during May. However, the Tracker also found early signs in May of an easing of supply chain disruption – a key driver of input cost inflation. The proportion of UK manufacturers citing shipping delays significantly fell month-on-month, from 23% in April to 16%, and reports of congestion at ports dropped from 37% to 24% in May.

Welsh government lifts wedding number restrictions: The number of people that can attend a wedding, civil partnership reception or wake in Wales has been increased. From Monday (21 June), numbers organised by a business in an indoors regulated wedding venue will be determined by the size of the site and a risk assessment. David Chapman, UKHospitality’s executive director for Wales, said “This is a great example of Welsh government listening to the case made by UKHospitality Cymru and its members, and responding with a solution that will greatly help the local industry in the weeks ahead. Obviously we would like to see these important social events completely free of restrictions, but this is a positive move forward and we will continue to work with Welsh government to look at ways to further widen opening in advance of the next review on 12 July.”

Non-regular pub-goers 'might never return' after lockdown easing: Occasional pub-goers may never return after lockdown restrictions are eased, posing a risk to the survival of the country's pub culture, according to research. Dr Sianne Gordon-Wilson, at the University of Portsmouth, found the majority of people who visited pubs less frequently prior to the pandemic have since found alternative ways of socialising. However, the study, published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, did find that regulars were likely to return as there was no substitute for the “home from home” atmosphere of their local pub. She said: “Pubs are a central and important part of UK culture with a long history. They are also an integral part of some people's social and work life, and that's difficult to replicate at home. Nine in ten British adults visit pubs, with many seeing pubs as an extension of their home. They want to enjoy the pub environment with company. But despite the strength of loyalty to them deep in the British cultural psyche, pubs are in a constant state of flux. They’ve lost substantial income, are still paying rent, and the longer they stay closed, the higher the chance of less regular customers finding alternatives.” According to the i newspaper, the research found some people who had previously visited the pub two or three nights a week now drink every night at home due to the boredom and stress of lockdowns. Other study subjects told Dr Gordon-Wilson that being able to drink in the pub with work colleagues was “critical” to their career and useful for “schmoozing” customers. 

Deliveroo to support NHS Test and Trace to raise awareness of testing response for variants of concern: Deliveroo will notify customers through its app and website to let them know if surge testing is happening in their area, as part of efforts to strengthen action already taken by the government to tackle rising cases of variants of concern across the country. The new tool means when customers are using the Deliveroo app, notifications will be visible and targeted in areas where the new covid-19 variant is known to be spreading fastest. These are areas where surge testing is being offered by the local authority, including areas of where additional support packages are in place, including for testing, tracing and self-isolation. Messages will be displayed to customers after the checkout stage of placing their order on the app, and they will be advised to visit their local authority’s website to find out more information on where surge testing is being offered in the area. The Deliveroo app banner will also link to the government’s website with more information on how people can get tested. Will Shu, chief executive and founder of Deliveroo, said: “We wanted to do our bit to help NHS Test and Trace when it asked. It’s vital people have the information they need to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. We’ve used our network to support the NHS throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so however we can. We hope this and other measures the government is taking will accelerate the return to normality we all want to see.”

Covent Garden to host summer festival featuring rotating line-up of street food traders: Capital & Counties Property has partnered with Fever-Tree and Stella Artois to transform the East Piazza in Covent Garden for a summer festival featuring a rotating line-up of street food traders. In the “Fever-Tree spritz bar” there will be Wimbledon screenings and daily live music while at the “Stella Artois bar” visitors can expect a Parisian themed terrace serving premium beer and aperitivo nibbles. Both summer festival terrace pop-ups will be hosting live masterclasses and have appearances from London's top mixologists throughout the summer. The street food traders kicking off the festival are Stakehaus, offering Mediterranean meat, tiger prawn surf 'n turf and vegan “lobster” roll; and The Churros Shop with its churros ice cream sandwiches. Seating more than 200 people and running until the end of September, the festival terrace is part of Covent Garden's al-fresco summer programming. Covent Garden’s ongoing cultural programme includes public art installations from London artist Lakwena, live open-air performances from the Royal Opera House and summer Piazza pop-ups. This summer the estate will also welcome Mrs Riot, a new all-day cocktail bar, bistro and live music venue in Henrietta Street, as well as Ave Mario, the latest Italian restaurant from Big Mamma Group. It also continues to play host to more than 800 outdoor dining seats across 35 restaurants including Sushisamba and Flat Iron, the eight-strong steak concept.

Job of the day: Gaucho & M Restaurants is looking for an impact manager to help the business with its journey to have a positive impact on society and the planet. A roadmap of initiatives and objectives will be developed and managed by the impact manager in collaboration with the leadership team. The impact manager will work with both the marketing and people teams to ensure plans and achievements are communicated effectively internally and externally, in a way that engages and galvanises the business behind its impact goals. It will be the impact manager’s responsibility to design and create effective internal measures against which the company can monitor and evaluate its strategic impact goals. A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of our footprint on the earth, the health of ourselves and our guests, we take a ‘holistic CSR’ approach to encompass our charitable partnerships, reinforce our values and our commitment to deliver a rare contribution to our people, the planet and our community.” The position is based in London and paying between £40,000 and £45,000 depending on experience. For more information click here.

Company News:

Gusto to return to expansion trail with ‘new look’ site in Nottingham: Premium casual dining group Gusto Italian is to return to the expansion trail with the opening of a “new look” restaurant and bar in Nottingham later this year, Propel has learned. The Matt Snell-led brand, which currently has 12 sites across the UK, said the site in the city’s King Street will be an evolution of the Gusto brand with “immersive pizza experience, truly open kitchen and coffee and cannoli bar”. Following this site, Gusto said it was looking to build a pipeline of openings to drive future growth. Snell said: “This will be our first site for four years and marks a new chapter for us as we come out of a very tough 18 months. Nottingham will be home to our first new look Gusto and will create an immersive guest experience that helps us redefine the landscape of Italian casual dining. We’ll be serving brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, the Gusto way.” The Palatine Private Equity-backed group currently operates in locations such as Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Last week It announced the appointment of Ann Elliott to its board as a non-executive director.

McDonald’s to hire 20,000 workers in big UK expansion: McDonald’s has unveiled plans to hire 20,000 more workers and open up to 150 high street restaurants in the UK and Ireland. The company is set to open 50 new outlets in 2021 and another 100 over the following two years according to UK chief executive Paul Pomroy. McDonald’s race to expand comes amid widespread doubt over the future of urban areas, with many workers saying they are not keen to return to offices full time and high streets already struggling due to the rise of the internet. McDonald’s has a big footprint in traditionally high traffic areas such as train stations and shopping hubs, but there are questions over how busy these will be when covid restrictions are lifted. Pomroy said the company was now looking at more regional locations. He said: “People are using their local high streets in a different way, because they’re working from home at the moment, and I think local high streets will continue to be part of the fabric of the UK. It’s up to us to make sure there are reasons for people to visit.” Pomroy admitted it was “getting harder and harder to recruit”. McDonald’s has also sought to move past criticism over the culture within its restaurants, in particular allegations of harassment and bullying. McDonald’s in April said all its two million staff would have to take anti-harassment training. Pomroy said: “We’ve got an amazing track record of doing the right thing. But there are moments in anyone’s life where something happens that lets an individual down and that’s not right.” A significant proportion of McDonald’s products are sourced in Ireland and the company buys about 40,000 tonnes of Irish beef every year. Its cheese is also Irish. Pomroy said there had been no impact from ongoing customs issues between the UK and Brussels over the Irish Sea. He said he was hopeful a deal to allow for frictionless trade would be struck, adding: “I still believe that eventually common sense will prevail.”
McDonald’s features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is now available to Premium subscribers. McDonald’s is the most profitable company in the database with a pre-tax profit of £405,000,000 in its most recent year, converting 28.9% of turnover to pre-tax profit. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up. The Blue Book provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors earnings and highest paid directors

Starbucks received UK tax credit in 2020 after £41m of losses despite US parent making profit: Starbucks received a tax credit worth £4.4m in the UK because of losses in 2020, despite the coffee chain’s US parent company making a profit during the same period of $1.2bn (£870m). The loss comes after a year in which Starbucks was forced by the pandemic to temporarily close all of its 935 UK shops, leading to a steep fall in revenues. Starbucks uses a complex corporate structure in Europe, and it has faced heavy criticism for its lack of transparency from tax campaigners. Its UK arm made cumulative losses after tax of in excess of £100m between 2010 and 2020. In only four out of 11 years did it report a profit. The UK arm of Starbucks reported it lost £41m during the year to the end of September 2020, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The UK accounts show a “gross profit” of £32m for the year, but then count unspecified “administrative expenses” of £70m. The loss translated into a “negative tax charge” of £4.4m, Starbucks said, meaning it can claim back taxes previously paid on profits. Starbucks’s UK arm paid £1.9m in UK corporation tax in the 2019 tax year, and £4m in 2018. The company said the losses were down to lockdown restrictions. Starbucks was forced to suspend trading, although it did not furlough any of its 4,300 workers or opt to use any government support. The business made no redundancies throughout the period and has subsequently hired 400 new staff. UK revenues for the year dropped to £243m, down almost a third on the year before. Starbucks Corporation, the US parent company, made profits before tax of $1.16bn (£830m) in the year to 27 September 2020, on sales of $23.5bn. Starbucks’s European business paid a dividend worth $183m to the US parent company. Dividends between companies in the same group are not subject to tax. UK coffee shops are run by Starbucks Coffee Company (UK), but it pays royalties to Starbucks EMEA, another UK registered company, which collects earnings from subsidiaries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

McMullen set to open six more sites this year following launch of Fitzrovia venue: Hertfordshire brewer and retailer McMullen is set to open six more sites this year following the launch of its latest venue, in London’s Fitzrovia. The company has reopened the historic Kings Arms after a two-year development. The revamped pub now features five boutique bedrooms along with an Undercroft bar in the basement. The site is the latest development for McMullen following the £2.1m investment to the Old Bank of England in Fleet Street where a classic Routemaster double decker was craned into the courtyard behind the pub. The new but historic cellar bar at the Kings Arms came to existence by misadventure. While exploring the recent purchase, a small exploration hole revealed a hidden vaulted space that extended under the street. Unfortunately, further investigation also revealed significant bomb damage sustained during the blitz. With “a little labour and a lot of love”, it has introduced for the first time The Undercroft. McMullen joint managing director Heydon Mizon said: “Hospitality and the team within it are awesome, every problem was embraced with a smile.” McMullen is working on six other developments including an ex-JD Wetherspoon in Whitehall and sites in Trinity Square in London, St Andrews Street in Cambridge, and in St Albans. It is also planning newbuild sites at Campbell Wharf marina in Milton Keynes and in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. The company said it continues to seek “good quality” freehold and long leasehold property in London and the south east. 

The Coconut Tree to open Reading restaurant for eighth site: Sri Lankan bar and restaurant group The Coconut Tree is to open its eighth site, in Reading, later this summer, Propel has learned. The new restaurant is on track to open in the former Zizzi site in the town’s Kings Road. It follows hot on the heels of the group’s most recent opening in Bath, last month and joins its other sites in Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford, Cheltenham and Bournemouth. Brand director Anna Garrod said: “Though trading conditions have been incredibly tough over the past 12 months or so, demand for what we do is still strong. After the wonderful reception to our new Bath opening earlier in the spring, we feel now is the right time for us to keep pushing The Coconut Tree forwards. We are delighted our eighth restaurant will be located in Reading, which has a thriving student population and vibrant community feel. In the UK, Sri Lankan food is not as widely available or understood as say, Indian or Chinese cuisine, and we want to help change that; we want to be the ones to make it mainstream.” The Coconut Tree was originally founded by five Sri Lankan friends living in Cheltenham. Praveen Thanginah, Dan Fernando and Shamil Fernando are the head chefs and oversee the food side of things; while the board of directors is made up of financial director Mithra Fernando, operations director Rodrigo Rashinthe and Garrod.

Inn Collection Group acquires Ripon hotel for 24th site: The Inn Collection Group has acquired the historic Ripon Spa Hotel in North Yorkshire. Located in the cathedral city of Ripon, the 40-bedroom site is set in six acres of gardens and features public rooms including a ballroom, terrace bar and self-contained Turf Tavern Bar Bistro. The deal marks the group’s fourth site in Yorkshire and takes its estate total to 24. The site will remain closed while a major refurbishment is carried out to enhance and repurpose the venue. The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “The Ripon Spa is a fantastic addition to our portfolio of properties. It has huge potential that we have an exciting vision to realise. We’re looking forward to starting that journey while expanding the group’s footprint in Yorkshire.” Julian Troup, head of UK hotels at Colliers, added: “There has been a noticeable change of mood in recent months among potential hotel purchasers. Activity has significantly increased, and The Ripon Spa Hotel attracted a good deal of interest from a diverse range of buyers before being secured by The Inn Collection Group.” The undisclosed deal comes as the Alchemy-backed group, which is supported with banking from OakNorth, enters a new phase of business expansion through acquisitions and organic growth. Due diligence on the acquisition of The Ripon Spa was carried out by Imogen Holland, corporate partner at Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway.

Creams reports record-breaking sales week: Dessert parlour operator Creams has reported a record-breaking week, with more than £1.6m of recorded sales between 31 May and 6 June. The year-on-year growth of 144% – a 573,000 increase in sales – comes following the launch of a new menu, which includes a cookie-dough stuffed waffle and Creams’ first own-brand cheesecake, Creams Cake Factory. The company said further menu innovation alongside store expansion is planned in the coming months as the business adds to its 96-strong estate. Chief executive Adam Mani said: “It’s really encouraging to see such a bumper start to the summer. Given how tough the past year has been, it’s a huge achievement to still be seeing such impressive figures, and I’m incredibly proud of the entire Creams family. With more good weather predicted, and exciting new site openings, I’m expecting big months ahead.”

Boston Tea Party to open site in Leamington Spa: All-day dining casual cafe brand Boston Tea Party is opening a site in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The company is opening the outlet in the former ASK Italian restaurant premises in Clarendon Avenue. Work will start shortly on converting the property, with the new cafe set to open in late summer, creating 30 jobs. It will seat about 140 people inside and will the company’s 24th site. Co-owner and chief executive Sam Roberts said: “We are so excited to be heading to Leamington Spa where we’re aiming to create a community hub for the area, a place to share great food and drink.” Boston Tea Party is also set to open a site in the West Sussex town of Worthing.

Bangerz ‘n’ Brewz team secures fifth site, set to open three more: The team behind Bangerz ‘n’ Brewz in Portsmouth has secured its fifth site, in nearby Havant – with three more set to follow. The company is bringing its Bangerz ‘n’ Burgerz format to West Street after agreeing a deal brokered by Flude Property Consultants. The restaurant, which will specialise in handmade burgers and craft ale, will open on Monday (21 June). The Bangerz ‘n’ Brewz team operates two sites in Portsmouth as well as one each in Brighton and Chichester. According to its website, it is also set to open sites in Fareham, Southampton and Worthing.

New Japanese Peruvian fusion restaurant Nakanojo confirms Chelsea launch for debut site: Japanese Peruvian fusion restaurant Nakanojo has confirmed it will launch its debut site in London’s Chelsea. As revealed by Propel earlier this month, the concept, which is the brainchild of entrepreneur Josh Ahmet, will open in the former Busaba Eathai site in King’s Road after agreeing a deal with landlord Sloane Stanley. Nakanojo is described as “a casual fine dining Nikkei-inspired restaurant, offering premium sushi and robata grill cuisine, with a focus on fresh and high-quality ingredients”. Nakanojo will span the basement and ground floor of the 4,512 square foot space. Meanwhile, 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen, the Richard Green and Emiliano Isufi-led concept, has opened its third site, in King’s Road, in the former Byron premises. 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen is set for further expansion in the area, with an opening in South Kensington. Sloane Stanley said all of the estate’s restaurants, bars and cafes have reopened since the easing of indoor hospitality restrictions. In the 28º–50º deal, Savills represented Sloane Stanley, while Restaurant Property acted for the operator. In the Nakanojo deal, Davis Coffer Lyons represented Sloane Stanley, while Nakanojo dealt directly.

North east-based Scream For Pizza eyes expansion after securing investment for new grab and go concept in Newcastle: North east-based pizza concept Scream For Pizza is working on expansion plans after securing a five-figure investment. Scream For Pizza, which has a site in Newcastle’s Sandyford and a mobile van, is set to open a “grab and go” pizza and ice cream shop in Newcastle’s Quayside following the £40,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund. The Quayside site is set to open in August while the company is also looking at options for opening further venues elsewhere in the region, which will offer a range of different pizza concepts. Scream For Pizza was founded by Victoria Featherby and Alexandra Walker, who left their cruise ship jobs in 2010 to move to Naples and train at the La Notizia restaurant under chef Enzo Coccias. They launched a mobile food van from a converted former French army ambulance in Newcastle in 2014 and opened their first restaurant in Sandyford five years later, with a Scream For Pizza concession also established at the Full Circle Brewery in Hoults Yard. Featherby said: “We’ve remained open and very busy right through the pandemic, and we’re ready now to get on with the next stage of our growth plans. We think there are lots of opportunities to grow the business by tweaking the Scream concept and rolling it out in different locations, and once the Quayside outlet is up and running, we’ll be looking at how we might put these ideas into practice.”

Doncaster-based restaurateur opens Brazilian-style rodizio restaurant for fourth site: Doncaster-based restaurateur Masud Rana has opened a Brazilian-style rodizio restaurant for his fourth site. Rana, who owns La Boca and La Rustica in Doncaster and the La Fiesta tapas restaurant in nearby Armthorpe, has launched Rancheros Rodizio Bar and Grill in Rotherham. The 140-seater restaurant in Wickersley Road, in The Stag area of the South Yorkshire town, offers meat on skewers cooked above hot coals and carved tableside. The menu includes hot and cold buffet items. Rana said: “The Stag area of Rotherham now has a cluster of restaurants and bars and I’m proud to be playing a part in its growth. Rancheros Bar and Grill will give visitors from the local area another choice when it comes to eating out in the borough.”

Team behind Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant Leroy launches Provençal-style restaurant: The team behind Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant Leroy has launched a Provençal-style restaurant at the East London Liquor Co. Royale, set among the canals, is inspired in part by the legendary matriarch of Domaine Tempier, Lucie “Lulu” Peyraud, and her “cuisine de bonne femme”. Lulu – who died last year at the age of 102 – was “a true force of nature, advocating for both Provençal cooking and the regions’ wines”, the restaurant said. Royale focuses on a rustic menu designed to share, and was created by owner Ed Thaw and head chef Lucy Timm, previously of Sager & Wilde and Leroy. Dishes include whipped cod’s roe with bonilla crisps, devilled white bait and aioli, and potato and courgette gratin with wild garlic pesto. The centerpiece is a half or whole rotisserie chicken served alongside jus-soaked potatoes and a mixed leaf salad with a mustard vinaigrette. There is also a selection of wine and cocktails, reports Hardens.

Ivan Simeoli shuts Raw restaurant in Brick Lane to concentrate on Fitzrovia site: Chef and restaurateur Ivan Simeoli has closed his Raw seafood restaurant in London’s Brick Lane to focus on his newly-opened site in Fitzrovia. Simeoli changed the Brick Lane site to Raw in March after launching it as Crudo in December. He also converted his Laboratorio Pizza restaurant in Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, into a Raw restaurant. Simeoli stated: “As our loyal patrons and customers will understand, restaurants and the hospitality sector are facing extreme challenges at this time. Rather than split my focus over two venues, I want to concentrate my creative talent and energy on the one venue in Great Portland Street.”

Bodega Rita’s to open site in Clerkenwell: Deli and sandwich store Bodega Rita’s, owned by Missy Flynn and Gabriel Pryce, is to open a site in London’s Clerkenwell. The duo will launch the venue in Cowcross Lane on Tuesday (22 June). Bodega Rita’s opened in King’s Cross in 2018 but closed some years later. Now it is returning with a new menu of American-style subs that includes The Tony – deli sub filled with pesto, prosciutto, spiced salami ventricina, smoked cheese, pickled salad and cheese dust; and The Second City ¬– fennel roast pork belly and crackling, seasoned greens, high five spicy mayo, crispy shallots, parmesan pork dust and lemon oil, on a house hoagie roll. There will also be tacos while the drink list includes a “Dulce de Latte” – house-made brown rice horchata and chipotle-choco mylk – as well as beer and wine. Flynn and Pryce are also launching a restaurant in Soho having operated a pop-up bottle shop in the area prior to Christmas. 

Derby-based gastropub operator plans growth for takeaway pizza concept: Derby-based gastropub operator Easton Andrea, who set up a New York-style pizza takeaway in the city during the first national lockdown, is planning to build the concept and open more outlets. Andrea is set to expand True Pizzas, formerly Honest Pizzas, with more takeouts in and around Derby. Andrea, who runs the House of Darwin, in the village of Chellaston, told The Business Desk: “The scalability of the concept is massive and the people of Derby have been thoroughly enjoying our pizzas during the past ten months. We’re the number one-rated place for takeaway pizza on TripAdvisor and we’ve worked hard to achieve that.” True Pizzas currently operates a site in Manor Road in Derby. 

New World Trading Company opens second Sheffield site with The Furnace launch: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company has opened its second site in Sheffield. The Furnace is located in Charter Square, part of the Heart of the City development. The venue includes a six-seater table set around a central fire pit on its outdoor terrace. The name was decided through consultation with the group’s fanbase and has been inspired by the city’s industrial heritage. New World Trading Company has announced several new locations in recent months, including Cardiff, Ipswich, Lincoln and Plymouth. The company operates a portfolio of restaurants under various brands, including The Botanist, The Club House, The Florist and The Oast House.

Levy UK wins Newbury Racecourse and Watford FC catering contracts: Levy UK, the hospitality arm of Compass Group, has been selected by Newbury Racecourse and Watford FC as its official catering and hospitality partner. The ten-year contract at Newbury Racecourse will build on the in-house capabilities it has used to date and enhance catering across the venue’s race-day and corporate operations. In addition, Levy will also cater for breakfast at The Lodge, Newbury Racecourse’s 36-bedroom hotel, located on the grounds of the venue. Meanwhile, Levy UK has also secured a ten-year deal with Watford FC to deliver the food and beverage offer throughout Vicarage Road, as well as managing the venue’s conference and events operations. Attendees to both Newbury Racecourse and Vicarage Road will also benefit from Levy’s partnership with street food collective Kerb and will get to choose from a variety of cuisines. Levy will deploy digital menus, cashless solutions and ordering technology to reduce queuing times at both venues. 
   
Former Ossett Brewery managing director joins door staff provider: Former managing director of West Yorkshire-based Ossett Brewery, Alex Minett, has joined door staff business Professional Security. Minett, who rejoined Red Bull after stepping down from his post at Ossett Brewery has become sales and marketing director at the Leeds-based security company. Professional Security chief executive Dave Fullerton said: “Alex’s knowledge of the hospitality sector and relationships with those who lead it, built over 20 years working for Red Bull, is second to none. Alex is the latest of our team to come from the hospitality sector following Jason Thorndycraft, Darryn Valerio, Ben Levick, Rebecca Cullum and James Costigan to name just a few. Their broad hospitality experience means that we can offer a unique offer to our clients, delivering a different level of service and experience.”
  
Caterer Fosters Events wins £5m five-year contract to operate dining services at Warwickshire art gallery and park: Bristol-based independent caterer Fosters Events has won a five-year contract to cater for Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, worth £5m. Fosters Events has designed two catering offers for Warwickshire-based Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park. The first is called Pod in the Park, which is a mobile offer in the form of a refurbished horsebox. Serving freshly ground coffee from local roaster, Monsoon Estates, and homemade bakes and sandwiches from the kitchen, its intention is to feed guests as they explore the grounds. The second is the development of “The Restaurant at Compton Verney”, which sees head chef Louise McCrimmon offering a breakfast and brunch menu, as well as a children’s menu and weekly specials. It will use locally sourced produce, with more than 70% of food being sourced within a 20-mile radius. Fosters Events chief executive Neil Lodge said: “We are delighted to bring two new and differentiated catering experiences. We are invested in championing the local community at every level of our operation here, centring in fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, and creating new experiences that serve to inspire visitors and staff alike. It’s who we are and what has helped us secure £25m of new business after what has been the most difficult year in our history.” Foster Events, which has just unveiled new branding, recently announced it won a five-year contract to operate three new dining spaces at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire.

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