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Tue 22nd Jun 2021 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pied à Terre becomes latest restaurant to restrict hours due to staffing crisis as owner calls for new visa arrangements to be introduced urgently: Michelin-starred London restaurant Pied à Terre has become the latest restaurant to restrict its hours due to the staffing crisis engulfing the sector – and owner David Moore told Propel new visa arrangements need to be introduced as a matter of urgency. From Saturday (26 June), the Fitzrovia restaurant, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will no longer open for lunch “in order to protect the welfare of the team and maintain the high standards of food and service the restaurant is renowned for”. The restaurant will remain open for dinner service from Tuesday through to Saturday. Moore said he currently has just 14 staff across the eight shifts the restaurant has been running, and is down to just two chefs. He said while covid and furlough “had played a part”, the staff shortage was “firmly down to Brexit”. He added: “Everyone here on the last day before Brexit should have been allowed to stay. That would have brought us a tsunami of young talent. I don’t know anyone who isn’t looking for a kitchen porter right now. We need an easy access young person’s visa for people to come to this country for two to five years – skilled or unskilled. We’ve had to furlough staff and now we’re having to furlough restaurants. We’ve got some people lined up and I’m hopeful we can be fully staffed and looking to resume lunch service in three to five weeks. But I’m not happy to put dates in the diary until I have boots on the ground.” Earlier this month, Michel Roux Jr said he was being forced to cancel lunch service at the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant in London's Mayfair and go dinner service-only due to staffing levels. Des Gunewardena, chief executive of restaurant operator D&D London, is launching a two-week summer camp at his 100 Wardour Street restaurant to train a new generation of chefs and waiting staff. Nick Jones, chief executive and founder of Soho House, is setting out on a recruitment tour of regional UK cities to “inspire people about roles in hospitality”.

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – Introducing L’MON from the makers of Volvic: L’MON comes in three flavours – lemon and lime, lemon and orange, and lemon and grapefruit – all with less than 19kcal per 100ml and without any artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. A spokesman said: “Here at L’MON we are all about the ‘can do’ spirit. We believe you can have it all, which is why we have created fizzy drinks with no compromise on taste and quality – sumptuous citrus combinations with at least 22% real fruit juice, giving all the taste and refreshment in just a sip. This summer L’MON will be consumers’ ‘go to’ soft drink for refreshment and great taste. It is great on its own or as a mixer.” Discover the L’MON range, which is available in 12x330ml packs, at www.sparklinglmon.co.uk. For more information, contact the customers services team on 01423 730000 or email enquiries@harrogatespring.com. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Updated Propel Premium database of multi-site companies to feature 63 new additions and 10,389-word report, exclusively for subscribers: The latest monthly update to the database of multi-site companies, which is available exclusively to Propel Premium subscribers, will feature an additional 63 companies when it is released on Wednesday, 30 June, at midday. The database will be accompanied by a 10,389-word report on the new additions. The exhaustive database of businesses comprised 1,819 companies when it was issued to subscribers at the end of May. The report details the new additions to the database while information on all companies has been updated during the past month. 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 already 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. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Wagamama launches Paddington site specially designed with ample space for click and collect and delivery: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, has launched a new restaurant in London’s Paddington, which has been specially designed with ample space for click and collect and delivery. Located at Paddington Central, the restaurant includes heated outdoor seating at the front overlooking the amphitheatre in Sheldon Square and a terrace at the back where guests can enjoy a view of the canal. The new restaurant features 162 internal seats and an outside dining area with 36 seats. The company said click and collect and delivery had risen “from strength to strength”. Wagamama senior regional marketing manager Sita Dobbs said: “We are delighted to be opening in Paddington. Keeping true to our ethos, there is no booking required to dine at Wagamama Paddington. As always, our team is keeping the safety of our guests as the utmost importance. With our innovative sliding shoji screens, continued social distancing and the wearing of masks plus thorough health and safety measures and checks in place for each shift, the team is ready to welcome our guests safely. We are opening with our new summer menu.” Earlier this month, Wagamama launched a cook at home grocery range and pledged all the profits it makes will be donated to charity partner YoungMinds.

Analysis shows hourly pay for a weekend shift is up 9%: Hiring bottlenecks in the UK’s hospitality sector are increasingly prompting pubs and restaurants to turn to temporary staff to keep up with demand, and have forced them to increase wages by as much as 14%, according to online employment forum Indeed Flex. Hospitality has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, but it is now bouncing back strongly as customers rush to enjoy two pleasures that were denied during lockdown – a meal out or a drink with friends in the pub. However, the decision to postpone “Freedom Day” in England to 19 July is hitting the industry hard. Venues are caught in a bind as social distancing rules still oblige them to provide table service only – requiring extra staff – and limit the number of customers they can serve. The hospitality industry is likely to come under further pressure when the business rates holiday ends at the end of this month. Analysis of pub, bar and restaurant shifts posted on the Indeed Flex platform revealed temps willing to work at the weekend could benefit most from the rapidly rising wages. Average hourly pay for a weekend shift is now up 9% compared with this time in 2019. Meanwhile, weekday pay rates have risen by an average of 5% across the UK, far exceeding the 1.8% rise in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2021. According to Office for National Statistics employment data, the foodservice and accommodation sector recorded the biggest spike in vacancies – up 265.5% – of any industry in March as lockdown restrictions first began to ease.
 
Peter Backman – automation and training might be the key to low-pay conundrum: Sector analyst Peter Backman has argued automation and training might be two of the keys that will allow hospitality to move away from its low-pay structure. In a weekly note, he stated: “A headline in the Financial Times (FT) last week immediately got my hackles up – ‘Hospitality pays for low-value view of labour’. Where, in this headline, is the recognition that hospitality merely sits on the border of unprofitability? There is a lot of hospitality about (because, for example costs of entry are low, and lots of people want to do it) and it’s inefficient (delivering hospitality relies on people, who want to do things their way, and it requires lots of customers who have many different needs and many expectations). That means in order to ‘deliver hospitality’ much money is spent on managing people, dealing with special situations, putting things right that have gone wrong and so on. But limited profits sorely constrain the opportunities to develop something better. There is a limited amount of money in the hospitality ‘system’, but lots of people spending what there is. That means people in hospitality are not paid much. Is this really a sign of low value being placed on their efforts? It is more likely a sign there is no money available to reward them more ¬– despite the high value placed on their efforts. Hence my hackles on reading the FT headline. But there are ways to lessen the costs of inefficiency and thus provide the flexibility to raise the price put on the value of the labour employed. Some examples: train, educate, think about making life easier (close the business on Monday when nobody comes in anyway, and give the workers the day off), invest in automation (to reduce inefficiencies – and to employ fewer people, leaving more money to reward those who are employed – it is not the job of hospitality to solve the unemployment situation so there is no need to be squeamish about reducing the numbers of employees), reduce churn (through using all of the above). And of these, the most significant are train and educate.”
 
Brinker starts to develop relationship with UK operators: Brinker International, which runs 1,600 restaurants in 29 countries, is inviting British operators to hear about its thoughts on the UK market. In an email, the company stated: “Brinker International is one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies employing more than 100,000 team members and serving one million customers daily.

 You may be familiar with one of its well-established international subsidiaries, Chili’s, which has achieved spectacular results, despite covid challenges, following innovative changes to the way it works in light of the pandemic.

Trading figures for Chili’s (for the fourth quarter of 2020 showed 85% of its dining rooms were reopened, and outperformed the competition, with sales being down just 3.8% versus the previous year; 36% of its restaurants had positive sales year-on-year. Chili’s will be sharing its success story of post-pandemic expansion and will give you insights into its thoughts on the development of the UK market.”

UKHospitality urges government to delay plans for mandatory calorie labelling: UKHospitality has urged the government to delay its plans for mandatory calorie labelling on menus in the out-of-home sector for at least six months, stating the additional cost threatens to derail the industry’s recovery from the pandemic. New calorie labelling rules are due to come into force in April 2022 and will apply to business with 250-plus employees. However, UKHospitality argued the current timeframe will badly damage the sector at a time when the focus must be squarely on recovery. The trade body has written to public health minister Jo Churchill, calling for the delay, giving sector firms “valuable breathing space and the best possible chance to get back on their feet” following 16 months of closure and severely disrupted trading. A delay would also allow businesses the time to fully engage on the detail and have systems ready in place. UKHospitality said the new requirements, along with necessary additional staff training, will cost some affected businesses millions of pounds. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The vast majority of operators are in survival mode and will be for the foreseeable future. We therefore urge the government to consider delaying the implementation of this legislation rather than layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic and risks damaging business’ ability to invest and create jobs. The out-of-home sector supports government efforts to increase healthier eating habits, as demonstrated by the proactive actions already in reformulating menus to reduce calories and increase transparency and choice for customers. But with the burdensome requirements of allergen labelling for pre-packed food also coming into effect in October this year, this new legislation adds further costs at the worst possible time. A delay would help ease the pressure and allow the sector to play its full role in the UK’s economic recovery.”

Operator asks why commercial borrowers have no protection: An operator, who has asked for anonymity, has appealed for protection to be extended to commercial borrows. In a note to Propel, he stated: “Last week our senior lender appointed a Law of Property Act receiver over the most valuable asset in our portfolio and effectively sold it to itself at a price we consider to be at least £2m undervalue. While we will pursue the legal recourse for transactions under value, I am struck by the realisation the UK government has failed to provide the same level of protection for commercial borrowers as it has for commercial tenants. If instead of owning our property we had leased it, we would still own it today. Has the government decided against providing the same level of protection from those who cannot repay their loans due to covid closures or is it something it has yet to consider? If it is the latter then it would be great to bring this omission into the public domain and force it to act.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking to appoint a finance accountant with a property and hospitality business. The position is based in Romford and offers a flexible salary. The financial accountant will be responsible for assisting the group financial accountant in preparing group financial reporting and ensuring statutory financial and regulatory compliance. The financial accountant will also be responsible for ensuring all accounting records are kept accurately and in accordance with company’s policies. Responsibilities include monthly reporting, balance sheet and consolidation, loan compliance, cash flow and banking, fixed assets, acquisitions and disposals, audit and statutory accounts and taxation. The incoming candidate will ideally be newly qualified at CA or ACCA level, ideally from a practice background with group statutory reporting, audit and taxation experience. Additional experience in the hotel or leisure sector as well as experience using Sun accounting software would be preferred. Anyone interested can email Oliwia@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

Simmons Bars secures five new sites as it targets 30-strong estate within two years: Simmons Bars, the London-based, Lonsdale Capital Partners-backed group, has secured five new sites, Propel has learned. The company is also nearing completion on neighbouring properties at two of its existing venues, with an eye to expanding the current trading spaces. The new acquisitions will take the bar group to 20 sites with an intention to have a 30-strong estate in the next 12 to 24 months. The openings will take place over the next four months with openings in Bank, Brick Lane, Putney, Tottenham Court Road and Old Street. Chief executive Nick Campbell, who founded the group in 2013, told Propel: “The industry has just been through its toughest period in history. We were stopped in our tracks with little support from the government and no real idea where we were headed next. We had successfully opened three sites in 2019 so we wanted to continue the positive momentum coming out the other side of lockdown. I really want Simmons to be an integral part of getting London’s nightlife scene back to a state of normality so hopefully by providing new venues, new employment and new opportunities for everyone we currently work with we can give back to an industry that has given us so much. We’ve got a strong, resilient business and a great team of people so I feel confident that 2021 will end on a positive note.” The first new site to open was Simmons Old Street, in the former Craft Beer Company premises, which will be closely followed by Brick Lane in late July. Campbell said the group is actively looking for further opportunities and acquisitions.
Simmons Bars features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is now available to Premium subscribers. Simmons Bars had a pre-tax profit of £1,702,000 in its most recent year, making it the 53rd most profitable company of the 215 companies featured, converting 16.6% of turnover to pre-tax profit. 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. 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. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Caring plans Ivy Asia opening in Brighton: Serial sector investor Richard Caring has applied to open a site under his fledgling Ivy Asia concept in Brighton, Propel has learned. Caring is understood to have applied to open on the same site currently housing his The Ivy in The Lanes restaurant in the city’s Ship Street. The serial sector investor currently operates two Ivy Asia sites – in London’s St Paul’s and Manchester – and is thought to be looking at further opportunities to expand the concept, either as stand-alone sites or adjacent to existing Ivy Collection restaurants. Propel understands locations in Guildford and Richmond are also being considered for Ivy Asia sites. He will open a third site in London under his Ivy Asia concept, in Mayfair, in August. Caring, who earlier this month confirmed he was opening an Ivy Asia in Chelsea after taking over the former Le Pain Quotidien premises in King’s Road, which is next door to the Ivy Chelsea Garden, will open a 9,418 square foot Ivy Asia in North Audley Street. It will open in the former Princess Garden of Mayfair site, which he acquired in 2016 and had previously been earmarked for a Caprice Cafe concept.

Subsidiary companies of Massarella Gelaterie acquire part of business out of administration: Subsidiary companies of Massarella Gelaterie, which operated 32 cafes housed in House of Fraser department stores, have acquired 15 sites out of administration. Propel understands the subsidiary companies, including Massarella Catering Group and Massarella Restaurants, acquired the 15 sites for £94,000 plus VAT. The cafes rescued in the deal included Wild Mint in Manchester, Café Zest in Nottingham, Dingles in Plymouth, and Caffé Botanic in Sutton Coldfield. Massarella Gelaterie was placed into administration last year with all 32 of its cafes closed. Director Daniella Massarella said at the time the administration came after the cafes, which employed circa 340 staff, closed on 20 March under government guidelines. She said staff wages, holiday pay and redundancy payments would be covered by the government. A spokesman for administrators Redman Nichols Butler said: “Regrettably due to the current health and economic crisis, Massarella Catering Group was left with no other option other than to appoint administrators over Massarella Gelaterie. Massarella Catering Group can confirm it and its remaining subsidiary companies are unaffected by this administration.” Massarella Catering Group is a family-run company that traces its origins to an ice cream business founded in 1864 by Italian émigrés to Sheffield. Prior to the coronavirus epidemic, the group operated more than 120 cafes and restaurants throughout the UK. 

Soho House owner files for New York flotation: The owner of Soho House, the private members’ club, has filed for an initial public offering, as the company seeks to tap into investors’ growing interest in leisure stocks. Membership Collective Group, which owns 28 Soho Houses worldwide among other properties and a retail brand, said on Monday (21 June) it plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MCG”. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it intends to raise $100m, a figure that is often used as a place holder for calculating registration fees. It has yet to determine the number of shares it will offer or a price range for those shares. A rebound in travel and dining demand heading into summer, bolstered by vaccinations against covid-19, has stoked speculation MCG will target a valuation greater than the $2bn marker set in a $100m funding round last year. The hospitality group, backed by US billionaire Ron Burkle, said its membership numbers held steady through the pandemic. It retained 92% of Soho House members in the 2020 financial year and received more than 30,000 applications for its membership brands, according to the filing. Revenues in the first quarter of this year totalled $72m, down from $142m in the same period a year earlier. It also reported a net loss of $93m, compared with a $45m loss in 2020. Soho House, founded by Nick Jones, opened its first site in Greek Street in central London in 1995.

Adventure park Ninja Warrior UK opens £1.2m Leicester venue for 11th site: Adventure park Ninja Warrior UK, which is inspired by the ITV show, has opened a site in Leicester. The £1.2m, 34,104 square foot, venue at St George’s Retail Park is the company’s 11th in Britain. The site features an assault course with obstacles such as ring sliders, carriage wheels, quad steps, spider walls, cliff hanger and ending with the “beat the wall” challenge. The venue also includes the brand’s “Ninja Warrior Air Park” inflatable obstacle course, as well as a merchandise store, party rooms and a food and drink area. Managing director Dean Sayer said: “There are several different sections with varying levels of difficulty depending on age and ability, but the majority of the venue is suitable for everyone. Ninja Warrior courses are as much about technique as anything, not just strength.” Ninja Warrior UK is set for further growth with sites set to open in Bradford, Harlow and Leeds. Last month, Burhill Group, owner and operator of 22 golf courses across ten UK golf clubs, as well as ten Adventure Leisure facilities, became an officially licensed operator of Ninja Warrior UK’s adventure parks in Sheffield and Southampton. The agreement will see Burhill Group develop three new sites per year over the initial five-year partnership period.

Midlands-based concept Phat Buns to open fifth site: Midlands-based burger concept Phat Buns has lined up a fifth opening in the region, in Coventry. Founded in 2019 by brothers Oubed and Ahtesham Moosa, Phat Buns is set to replace betting shop JenningsBet at 27 Cross Cheaping in the city. The company currently has two sites in Leicester – in Western Boulevard and Evington – one in Loughborough, and another in Sparkbrook in Birmingham. Propel understands Phat Buns is also working on an opening in Nottingham, and its first in the north west, in Manchester.

Neapolitan pizza concept Santa Maria to open in Islington: Neapolitan pizza concept Santa Maria is to open in Islington, north London. The business, which was founded by Pasquale Chionchio and Angelo Ambrosio in Ealing in 2010, has secured the former BabaBoom site at 189 Upper Street. Santa Maria also operates sites in Chelsea, Fitzrovia and at the Duke of London pub in Brentford. It is to launch a new vegan spin-off called Vergine Maria at its original site in Ealing’s St Mary’s Street. The disposal of the Islington site leaves kebab restaurant concept BabaBoom, which has been backed by several leading entrepreneurs including Gumtree founder Mike Pennington and Entrepreneur First founder Matt Clifford, alongside industry veterans such as ex-Nando’s chief executive David Niven and the founders of Las Iguanas, Wahaca, Be At One and Flat Iron, with a remaining site in Battersea. Marc Rogers, of MKR Property, acted on the Islington deal.

Everyman appoints Andrew Raynor as new commercial director: Cinema operator Everyman has appointed Andrew Raynor, formerly marketing director at Nando’s, as its new commercial director, Propel understands. Raynor left Nando’s in October last year after 12 years as its marketing director. Previous to that he was head of marketing at Thomson Holidays. In March, the 35-strong Everyman agreed an increase in its debt facilities from £30m to £40m, “to improve the group’s liquidity position for growth going forward”. The facilities continue to be provided by Barclays and Santander. At the end of last year, the business appointed Alex Scrimgeour, formerly chief executive of Cote, as its new chief executive.

Ramsay to open Street Burger concept in Islington, lays groundwork for Asia expansion: Chef Gordon Ramsay will open the seventh site under his fast-growing Street Burger concept in London’s Islington at the end of the week. As previously flagged up by Propel, Ramsay has secured the former Byron site at 341 Upper Street for an opening this Friday (25 June). Propel reported last week the chef had applied to take on the former Giraffe site in Reading’s The Oracle scheme for his new burger concept. Earlier this month, Ramsay announced he was to open the biggest site to date under his fledgling Street Burger brand at The O2. The new site will open on the former Byron site in The O2’s main Entertainment District. Ramsay is looking to open ten sites in the UK by this summer, with “dozens” of locations under review. Last month, he opened Street Burger branches at the former Byron site in Kensington High Street, west London; on the ex-Gourmet Burger Kitchen venue in Covent Garden; and in Woking. The chef and restaurateur has also applied to open a site under the name Bread Street Cafe on the former Limeyard unit in Ealing High Street. Last year, it was mooted Ramsay also had plans to open up to 200 new restaurants across Asia. Propel understands the chef has started laying the groundwork for this ambitious project. Last month, along with Gordon Ramsay Restaurant chief executive Andy Wenlock, Ramsay incorporated three new companies – GR India, GR South Korea and GR China.

Mobile ordering app Fetch raises £1m within hours of launching crowdfunding campaign: Mobile ordering app Fetch has launched a second round of funding, raising more than £1m on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company will use the investment to help towards its product development, operations, and sales and marketing. Having aimed to raise £1m, the company was offering 4.10% equity, giving a pre-money valuation of £24m. It hit its target within hours of the campaign going live on Monday (21 June) and more than 80 investors have pledged in excess of £1m with 40 days of the campaign remaining. In March and April this year, Fetch recorded more than 80,000 registered users, and in excess of 100 live venues – with those numbers continuing to increase month by month, the company said. Chief executive Jason Jefferys said: “This is a huge step in Fetch’s journey but even bigger for the food and beverage industry. There is so much we want and can do to make everyone’s lives easier, more efficient, profitable and this funding will enable us to make Fetch even better.” In November last year, Fetch raised more than £1m in its first round of funding enabling it to fast-track its growth and further develop features.

London-based pizza restaurant Crust Bros to open second site: London-based pizza restaurant Crust Bros is to open its second site. Founder Joe Moore will launch the venue at Sambrook's brewery tap, part of the Ram Quarter development in Wandsworth, next month. It follows Crust Bros’ debut bricks-and-mortar site, in Waterloo in 2017. Opening on Saturday, 17 July, Crust Bros will be the sole food supplier at Sambrook’s brewery tap, serving the 160-cover taproom with a concise menu of its signature pizzas to be paired alongside beer from Sambrook's. There is also an outdoor area with 50 covers, and a private events space that seats 40. Crust Bros’ pizza bases are made entirely from scratch before being baked in a Neapolitan oven at 500 degrees Celsius. Moore said: “Sambrook’s approached us in 2020 and within five minutes of seeing its new Ram Quarter site I knew this was a match made in heaven.” Sambrook’s chief marketing officer Kieran Monteiro added: “When we were planning the Sambrook’s brewery tap, we quickly decided there was no greater combination than beer and pizza so we had to find a partner who cares about pizza as much as we care about beer. As soon as we tried Crust Bros we knew we had found exactly what we were looking for.”

Nottingham-based operators to open rooftop bar in Sheffield for second site: Nottingham-based operators Marc and Rebecca Brough are to open a rooftop bar in Sheffield this week for their second site. Alto is located on the top floor of Cubo – a new co-working and office destination in the refurbished four-story building at 38 Carver Street as part of the Heart of the City development. Alto, which opens on Thursday (24 June), will feature an outdoor rooftop terrace, affording views across the city centre, as well as a VIP area, DJ booth, built-in seating areas and a range of drinks and food. Both Cubo and Alto are the creation of the Broughs – under their parent company Staton Young. They have previously opened both brands in Nottingham, and since lockdown measures were eased, Alto Nottingham has been virtually fully booked. As well as tenants and members of the Cubo workspace in Sheffield being able to enjoy the bar, Alto will also have a separate public entrance point and lift access to the fourth floor. Rebecca Brough said: “We want to provide a fantastic space with a great atmosphere and bring a new social hub to the city centre.” 

Bao to open noodle shop next month for sixth site: London-based operator Bao, which was founded by Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, is to launch its first noodle shop next month for its sixth site. Bao Noodle Shop will launch in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, on Tuesday, 6 July. The concept will take its cues from the beef noodle shops of Taiwan. Fresh noodles will be prepared daily, with specialty flour imported from Taiwan. Cocktails will be influenced by the ice drinks of Taipei alongside the Asian yoghurt soda, as well as Bao classic cocktails and soft drinks. Diners will be able to perch at the open kitchen to watch the chefs at work, while the entertainment rooms downstairs will feature KTV – karaoke TV – and can be booked for groups from mid-July. Chang said: “Beef noodle is a national obsession in Taiwan with annual competitions taken very seriously over there, so we wanted to bring these comforting bowls to London and make them with the very best ingredients.” Bao, which is backed by JKS Restaurants, opened its first restaurant in Soho in April 2015, following a successful period trading at Netil Market in Hackney. Its second restaurant opened in Fitzrovia in July 2016. A third restaurant, Bao Borough, opened in May 2019, while the company opened its latest site, Cafe Bao, in King’s Cross at the start of December last year. It also operates a delivery service – Rice Error by Bao – in various locations across the capital.

Stem & Glory’s new Cambridge restaurant opens: Vegan restaurant brand Stem & Glory has opened a new larger site at the CB1 site in central Cambridge. The plant-based restaurant has taken over the ground floor in one of Cambridge’s largest office buildings at 50-60 Station Road. The restaurant fronts Station Road, just metres from Cambridge railway station, and has a large outdoor terrace. The site is built to service both dining and off-site sales, which is a rapidly growing part of the business, and alongside the à la carte plant-based menu is a new vegan pizza concept, with a Stem & Glory healthy twist. The site was supported by a “generous” landlord package, a capital grant from Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority and recent crowdfunding success. Stem & Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton said: “We’ve been bowled over by the amazing support and the volume of diners booking with us in the past few days. Cambridge is our home town and where Stem & Glory started life and it’s been great to see all our old customers again alongside a new generation of plant-based diners. We’ve upped our game at the new site with a more ambitious menu alongside a well-stocked vegan bar, including draft craft beer. At the new site we are working with the best of the best in the sustainable plant-based space and have an ambitious carbon negative target.” Stem & Glory, which also operates a site in London, has also partnered with The Akshaya Patra Foundation via a “meal for a meal” programme – for every meal sold at Stem & Glory, a meal will be donated to someone in need in India or the UK.

Newcastle-based mobile coffee business opens debut permanent site: Newcastle-based mobile coffee business Northshore Coffee Co, which operates at events across the UK, has launched its first permanent base. The company has opened an outlet in Newcastle’s Grainger Market as part of its expansion. Founded by Toby Davison, Northshore Coffee Co originally operated a mobile business, travelling to events around the country, providing coffee and food. But the pandemic forced the business to review its strategy and has now set up a permanent site in its native north east. Davison said: “This is the next step for us in our growth and it is great to have something in the city centre.” Northshore Coffee Co was supported by law firm Sintons on the deal.

Remarkable Pubs to reopen East Ham site this week following £1.5m refurbishment: London-focused pub collection Remarkable Pubs will reopen The Boleyn Tavern in East Ham this week following a £1.5m refurbishment. The pub, which will welcome customers back on Thursday (24 June), has been shut for 18 months. The original seven bars are back, replacing the “aircraft hangar environment” created during previous ownerships. One of the features that has been restored is a coloured glass skylight that spans what once would have been a billiards room, but is now an open kitchen, servery and dining area. The food menu will be made up of British pub classics while drinks will feature beer, wine and spirits. Remarkable Pubs chairman and founder Robert Thomas said: “The overriding drive present in all our restoration projects is to reverse the philistinism displayed in so many areas of contemporary English pub design and replace it with something better. We do the utmost.” Remarkable Pubs operates 16 sites across the capital.

North east-based vegan pie concept opens debut retail site: North east-based vegan pie concept Magpye has opened its first shop. Chris and Sarah Fryer first started Magpye two years ago, serving vegan pie, mash and mushy peas on the banks of the Tyne from a converted horsebox trailer and subsequently at pop-up events and stalls at food markets. When the pandemic struck, the pair pivoted to online sales only, leading to them setting up a national pie delivery service during lockdown. Now the pair have opened a shop within Grainger Market in Newcastle. Magpye has adapted favourite pie fillings to plant-based and palm oil-free versions, with flavours including chick’n chorizno, vegan steak and ale, and smoked tofu and corn chowder. Sarah Fryer told Business Live: “The support we have received from our local customers during the past year has been unbelievable and really given us the belief we needed to open a physical premises to complement our online pie shop.”

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