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Fri 13th Aug 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Exclusive – RedCat Pub Company buys Coaching Inn Group: RedCat Pub Company, the vehicle founded and chaired by Rooney Anand to invest in the UK pub sector, has acquired The Coaching Inn Group, which operates 18 historic coaching inns across the UK and is led by Kevin Charity. The acquired sites are located predominantly in historic market towns, in areas including the Cotswolds, Peak District, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Coaching Inn Group, founded in 1996 by Kevin Charity, has its roots in Boston, Lincolnshire, and has a track record of restoring historic coaching inns to their former glory, with a few modern-day twists. Since its launch, the group has embarked on reinvigorating many iconic buildings within some of the UK’s most famous market towns. Having secured investment from the Business Growth Fund in 2015, the group has executed a successful growth strategy, acquiring more than ten sites in the past six years. Chief executive Kevin Charity and chief finance officer Edward Walsh will continue to lead and run the business within RedCat, and to build its presence, scale and momentum. RedCat will help and support The Coaching Inn Group to continue its expansion throughout the UK, and the combination of The Coaching Inn Group, coupled with RedCat’s expertise and Oaktree’s funding, will enable RedCat to rapidly expand within the UK pub hotels sector. RedCat was launched in February 2021 and is demonstrating strong momentum, with this latest transaction building on RedCat’s acquisition of 42 pubs across England and Wales from Stonegate Pub Company, and some single-site transactions, including the recent acquisition of the New Dungeon Ghyll pub hotel in the Lake District. RedCat’s strategy is to acquire quality retail and tenanted pubs, as well as pub hotels across the UK. It aims to provide the operational expertise and capital investment pubs need to get back on their feet and accelerate their growth as the sector recovers from the covid pandemic. The company’s approach is highly flexible, allowing it to acquire single pub assets, all the way through to larger-scale businesses and pub companies. RedCat Pub Company executive chairman Rooney Anand said: “I’m delighted The Coaching Inn Group is becoming part of RedCat. It’s a business I’ve long admired and Kevin Charity is a class act. I look forward to building our pub hotels business and building our business together.” Kevin Charity, chief executive of The Coaching Inn Group, said: “I’m very excited at the prospect of our business becoming part of RedCat. It’s a great opportunity to be part of an entrepreneurial venture and to work with such talented and seasoned pub executives. I’m confident that with RedCat’s support, we can continue our momentum and grow our footprint of historic pub hotels.”
 

Industry News: 

Next edition of Propel Blue Book sent to Premium subscribers today: The latest edition of the Propel Blue Book of Turnover and Profitability for Premium subscribers, produced in association with Mapal, is to be published today (Friday, 13 August) at midday. The Blue Book features 352 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators with a total turnover of £29.6bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month – on the second Friday of the month – provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. A total of 180 of these companies are now posting total losses of £5.95bn as the effects of the pandemic take hold. Meanwhile, on Friday, 30 July, Propel Premium subscribers received the updated database of multi-site companies for July, which is produced in association with Virgate. The latest edition of The Propel Multi-Site Database included 71 new companies, operating 477 sites between them, and increases the total number of companies on the database to 1,951. Subscribers received the database as a PDF and an Excel spreadsheet, they were also sent a 12,094-word report on the businesses added during July. 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. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. It is updated at the end of every month. Subscribers also received a new database on Friday, 30 July. The New Openings Database, produced in association with Starstock, focuses on the newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and will be updated at the end of every month. 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. In today’s (Friday, 13 august) Premium Opinion column, Draft House founder and The Breakfast Club chairman Charlie McVeigh muses on the topic of culture, that indefinable attribute that can make great businesses standout from good ones. 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.
 
Propel Friday Wrap video series with Stonegate Group executive chairman Ian Payne: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series today (Friday, 13 August) at 3pm. The series, which is sponsored by innovative staffing solution provider Stint, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing this week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by industry legend Ian Payne, executive chairman of Stonegate Group, to discuss the specific challenges the business had to overcome and navigate, including integrating the Ei Group, why he remains passionate about the sector and his prospects, the work the company has carried out during the crisis, what the group’s current star performers are and what the industry needs to do as it comes out of the pandemic to secure the right talent and to position itself as a great home for people’s careers and development.
 
UKHospitality – GDP growth shows importance of sector even when severely restricted: UKHospitality has lauded the importance of the sector after the latest GDP figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed the UK economy grew by 4.8% in the second quarter of 2021 as restrictions were lifted. Further analysis, as part of the UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker, produced by CGA, showed the significant contribution made by the sector, which was responsible for 40% of the UK’s total economic growth from the first quarter to the second quarter in 2021. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These figures not only show the importance of the hospitality sector to the UK economy, even in the severely restricted and beleaguered state it was in during the second quarter of this year, but also demonstrate its real potential to power a wider economic recovery now trading restrictions have finally been eased after almost 18 months. However, this was not a period characterised by booming sales and plain sailing for the sector, but many weeks where businesses were still operating under strict restrictions and experienced a multitude of challenges brought about by the pandemic. What should be remembered is the sector collectively lost more than £100bn in sales across the course of the pandemic – a truly staggering figure. To help safeguard the future of the sector and its recovery, we urge the government to continue to work closely with businesses to help them navigate the challenges we will undoubtedly face in the months ahead and to create a business landscape that will help return businesses to profitability as quickly as possible. Measures we are calling for include the urgently needed reform of business rates and a permanently lowered rate of VAT.”

Pret A Manger responds to threat of strike action claims over pay with reintroduction of mystery shopper bonus: Pret A Manger has responded to claims that staff are considering strike action over pay cuts by reintroducing its mystery shopper bonus at the full rate. The Guardian reported on Thursday morning (12 August): “The workers, the vast majority of whom earn basic pay of the legal minimum £8.91 an hour, were told they would temporarily not be paid for breaks and a service bonus would be cut. Pret has now told workers the cut to pay for breaks is permanent.” The service bonus, linked to performance judged by a mystery shopper, was paid at a rate of £1 per hour pre-pandemic. This was scrapped and then reintroduced in April this year at the lower rate of 50p per hour but has now been put back up to £1. Pret A Manger chief executive Pano Christou said later on Thursday: “We have taken your feedback into consideration, and we’ve reviewed our decision. That’s why we will be returning the mystery shopper bonus back to the pre-pandemic level of £1, effective from the start of September. The business is still in recovery but it’s important we continue to invest in and support our teams, however we can. We got this wrong, and I’m very sorry for the upset we have caused.” One worker told The Guardian they had been moved to organise a strike next month as pay was becoming worse just as the work was becoming harder, partly as a result of a subscription service introduced a year ago that enables members to get up to five coffees a day for a monthly £20 fee.” Pret told The Guardian it was keeping down pay after the pandemic had “a big impact on our business”. The company ditched its dividend payment to shareholders and, in April, warned of “material uncertainties” over whether it could continue as a going concern because its city centre outlets suffered from the absence of commuters and tourists. The group permanently closed 74 outlets in the UK last year and 22 in the US, while shareholders pumped in £185m of additional funding into the company in February and put a further £100m on standby in March to help keep it afloat. 

Hospitality not viewed as attractive career choice: With ongoing staff shortages within the hospitality industry, new research finds that only one in five UK adults consider hospitality to be an appealing industry to work in. The new research from research consultancy KAM Media aims to measure the perception of hospitality as a potential career choice for UK adults. It found 23% still view hospitality as a “short-term stop gap” and only 10% see it as a well-respected career choice. Generation Z and younger Millennials saw a career in hospitality as more attractive than over 55-year-olds, with 28% saying it was an appealing industry compared with 11% of the older age group. KAM Media said a key issue the research identified is that younger adults, at the beginning of their career, are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members into the hospitality sector. Only 11% of UK adults said they would be “very pleased” if a younger family member chose hospitality as a career (26% would be “quite pleased”). Just 12% would actively recommend working in hospitality as a career. KAM Media managing director Katy Moses said: “With A-levels results and GCSE results just in, it’s distressing to find that these young adults are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members and friends to work in our great industry. Only 4% of those aged between 45 and 55 (the likely age range of these kids’ parents) said they would be “very pleased” if younger family members chose a career in hospitality. We are, without a doubt, fighting against a negative perception towards the industry. We know hospitality offers amazing career opportunities – it’s time we started telling the world. Loudly.”
KAM Media is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
White Stripes frontman Jack White to open live music venue in Soho: White Stripes guitarist and singer Jack White is to open the first Third Man Records store outside the US, in Soho – complete with a live music venue. The independent record label was founded by Jack White, in Detroit, Michigan, in 2001, and will open at 1 Marshall Street in the heart of London’s Carnaby. The 1,164 square foot store will open on Saturday, 25 September. The London store will be the third member of the Third Man physical retail spaces that include buildings in Nashville, Tennessee, and Detroit, Michigan. The store will be a multi-functional space, consisting of a two-level retail space, an intimate live music venue named “The Blue Basement”, and will be the European headquarters for Third Man Records. The store will also feature a Third Man Records token-operated recording booth where artists and the public can record their own material straight to vinyl. Samantha Bain-Mollison, retail director at Shaftesbury said: “We are excited to announce the arrival of independent record label Third Man Records to Marshall Street. Carnaby is world famous for its music heritage and is a great fit for their first store outside of the US, which will have an exciting mix of vinyl, retail products and experiential events.
 
Tui reports UK bookings still sluggish and trailing European neighbours: Travel giant Tui has said bookings have jumped by 1.5 million since May, primarily driven by bookings from continental Europe. It said pent-up demand from European holidaymakers was behind the rise. Despite the jump in summer interest, total Tui bookings were still down 68% compared with summer 2019. Tui said about 4.2 million customers had booked for summer 2021, with an increase of 1.5 million bookings since May. But while UK bookings are picking up, they are still lagging behind Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. UK customers are normally a major part of Tui’s business, but only about 17% of those 4.2 million summer customers were from the UK. In the third quarter, only 50,000 customers departed from Tui’s northern region, composed of the UK and Ireland, the Nordic countries, Canada and Russia. This reflected “limited green list destinations made available by the UK government” and the “stop-start nature of permitted destinations under UK travel restrictions”, Tui added. Travel expert Simon Calder said: “The simple reason bookings are so sluggish in the UK is the unpredictability of government advice.”

Company News:

Sadler steps down as MD of Revere Pub Company and Pitcher & Piano: Colin Sadler has left Marston’s after more than 12 years as managing director of its premium bars and restaurants division. Sadler completed a handover of the business into the newly formed food and wet-led divisions while also leading the integration of the SA Brain’s 156-strong pub estate into Marston’s. Sadler, who has worked for Marston’s since 1997, was a key player in the rollout of the Varsity brand, followed by a period as commercial and communications director, where he led the integration of a number of pub businesses. More recently, as managing director of premium bars and restaurants, Sadler was responsible for the creation and rollout of Lost and Found, Foundry and Revere Pub Company, while also heading up Pitcher & Piano. Propel understands Sadler is keen to stay in the sector and work on a new challenge.
 
Swingers unveils third US location: Swingers, the crazy golf brand owned London-based Institute of Competitive Socialising, will open its third US crazy golf venue (fifth in total) in Washington DC’s Navy Yard neighborhood in summer 2022. The announcement comes on the heels of Swingers’ US debut in Washington DC’s Dupont Circle this June and ahead of the highly anticipated opening of Swingers New York in early 2022. Swingers offers crazy golf, cocktails, street food and live DJs to create the ultimate social experience for guests. Located in the heart of DC’s bustling Ballpark District, Swingers Navy Yard will sit at the base of The Kelvin, an apartment building by Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners. The crazy golf venue will boast more than 24,000 square feet of space, spanning two floors and will feature two nine-hole crazy golf courses, a 750 square foot terrace, multiple cocktail bars, and street food and drinks offerings. Each golf course will offer a different test of skill, including big wheels, windmills, turbines and carousels to keep putters on their toes. “We’re excited to break ground on our third US location in DC’s Ballpark District after seeing overwhelming support from the community at our Dupont Circle venue,” said co-chief executive and co-founder Matt Grech-Smith. “Swingers Navy Yard is the perfect fit for a neighborhood known for its love of sports and entertainment and we look forward to opening our doors to the public next summer.” Earlier this year, Swingers announced it raised $20m in follow-on funding from Cain International. The financing is in direct support of a robust opening pipeline in the US, including the Navy Yard location. 
 
Two Bettys sites must shorten trading hours over staff shortages: Two of Yorkshire’s Bettys tearooms have had to reduce their opening hours due to problems with recruiting staff members. The business told the BBC it had 67 vacancies across its six branches and bakery. It said the staff shortage meant its tearooms in Harrogate and St Helen’s Square, in York, will shut four hours earlier – at 5pm instead of 9pm. Bettys branch director Nicky Sellars said: “The lockdowns have certainly impacted recruitment in the hospitality sector. The pandemic created uncertainty in the industry, with hospitality venues frequently having to close down their operations. People wanted work with more security so they have gone to jobs in other sectors.” She added the company has had to cope without a full complement of staff, even though its cafe tearooms were still not at full capacity.
 
Langan’s Brasserie to reopen in mid-October: Langan’s Brasserie, operated by Graziano Arricale and James Hitchen, will reopen in mid-October. The original Brasserie opened in 1976 as a joint venture between actor Michael Caine and the legendary restaurateur Peter Langan. Reimagined for a new generation by Peter Mikic (Vogue once called the London-based interior designer a “master of metamorphosis”) in collaboration with Fettle Design (Tavolino and The Marylebone Hotel), each of the three floors will have its own distinct visual identity. Graziano Arricale’s family has always been in the restaurant trade and his personal career path has seen him work with industry stalwarts such as Sir Richard Caring where he was operations director at Caring’s Birley Clubs, playing an integral role in the relaunch of Annabel’s. James Hitchen is the founder and former chief executive of East Coast Concepts. Graziano Arricale and James Hitchen said: “We are so proud to be bringing the new and reimagined Langan’s Brasserie to London. We look forward to creating a real hub for the locals of Mayfair along with those from the worlds of fashion, art, film and music to help us bring Langan’s back to its rightful place at the centre of Mayfair.”
 
Greggs expands Fairtrade commitment to chocolate: Greggs, is expanding its Fairtrade commitment by using 100% Fairtrade chocolate across its supply chain and in all chocolate products sold through its shops. Since 2005, Greggs has sourced all coffee beans, for its coffee products, and fruit entirely from Fairtrade-accredited suppliers and, over the years, has added a number of products to its Fairtrade commitments. Greggs commercial director Malcolm Copland said: “As a responsible business, we believe in doing the right thing and are incredibly proud to be a long- standing partner of Fairtrade. We are proud to have continued to increase our Fairtrade commitments over time, which include coffee beans, apple juice, orange juice, sugar sticks, sugar syrup, hot chocolate, black tea, mint tea, green tea, bananas and now chocolate.” 

Stack container developments owner Danieli Holdings hails performance despite pandemic: North east-based Danieli Holdings, which owns the Stack container developments in Newcastle and Seaburn, has hailed its performance despite the effects of the pandemic. But the leisure, care and security group has halted future developments until next year. The Danieli Holdings group of companies posted accounts for the year ended 30 April 2020, which saw sales of £28.2m, a minor drop on the previous year’s £29m. The firm only traded for 44 weeks within its leisure operation – which also includes The Muddler, Yolo Ponteland and Yolo Townhouse in Newcastle. Chief executive Neill Winch said the firm had produced a strong set of sales figures for the year, within reason, and was only £1.47m down on its adjusted predictions. Ebitda increased 8% to £1.594m from £1.474m in 2019, but its original forecast was £4.33m for the year. Net assets increased from £2.2m to £3.1m. Winch said Danieli Holdings would not start any projects until the start of the next financial year in April 2022, but that its leisure division had been faring well since lockdown restrictions had eased. He said: “The leisure sector traded well, however, Stack Seaburn was delayed as a result of the pandemic and didn’t trade at all within the 2020 figures. As you will probably gather, the year to April 2021 has been a disaster, in particular, in the late-night leisure and the security sector, with the care businesses also being affected to a lesser degree. Moving forward into the 2021-22 year, all businesses have bounced back with a vengeance – or at least from 19 July, that is. Fingers crossed we don’t have any further restrictions and we trade well up to our next year end. We are forecasting, for the year 2021-22, sales of £34m with Ebitda of £5.6m, which would be a great recovery from the 2020-21 trading year.”

Livelyhood to open The Rosy Hue at Elephant Park: South London pub group Livelyhood will open The Rosy Hue on the corner of the new two-acre park within the Elephant Park regeneration in February 2022. Inspired by the 19th century Penny Gaffs the area was once known for, the pub takes its name from the rosy cheeks of those who frequented there. The 3,100 square-foot pub will offer 150 covers. There’s also a heated covered terrace with space for another 54 covers. The new opening will bring the south London pub group’s portfolio to eight, with The Rosy Hue joining the Clapham North and The Perky Nel in Clapham, The Regent in Balham, The Faber Fox in Wimbledon, The Old Frizzle in Wimbledon, The Mere Scribbler in Streatham and The Artful Duke, which opens in Bromley this month. Livelyhood owner Sarah Wall said: “As the industry gets back into business after a ridiculously tough period, we’re delighted to take another positive step forward and open our next pub in such a perfect spot in Elephant and Castle. My grandparents operated in this community for nearly half a century, so this one is extra special for me, personally. I feel fortunate to be opening one of our pubs in such a colourful and vibrant area of London."
 
Igniting Hospitality to open first pub: The Victoria in Oxshott, the first pub from Igniting Hospitality, will open its doors to the public on 19 August. The neighbourhood pub will be led by chef-director Matt Larcombe, previously head chef of The Crown at Bray, and Simon King, formerly operations director for the Gordon Ramsay Group, who met during their time working for Heston Blumenthal’s senior team at The Fat Duck Group. The menu will focus on refined, ingredient-led takes on classic pub dishes and sharing dishes of meat and fish cooked on the charcoal grill, alongside an extensive wine list and cocktail menu. 
 
Kojo to open a grab and go site for second venue: Kojo, the plant-based eatery launched by Nobu London executive chef Michael Paul and nutritional therapist Alina Gromova-Jones, is launching a second site in London’s Liverpool Street on 29 August. It is the first Kojo To Go concept, focusing on grab and go-only. Kojo is 100% plant-based, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, free of all chemical additives and freshly prepared and made on-site daily. Kojo is also committed to compostable processes on top of recycling, re-using and sourcing ingredients locally. Gromova-Jones said: “Kojo is born out of a passion for nutrition. Creating a menu that can do good for ourselves as well as our planet, that places us at the centre of a growing community, which is prioritising the health of the environment in order to protect our own health and well-being. It’s a simple belief based on the premise you get out what you put in. After all, it’s no coincidence the best way to look after our own health is to look after the health of the planet. Eating a plant-based diet is one of the most powerful ways to re-connect with nature and to return to our instinctive way of caring for the planet. If we care for nature, nature will care for us. That is what we firmly believe.”
 
Gladwin brothers plan Richmond opening: The Gladwin brothers – Richard, Oliver and Gregory – are lining up a fifth opening in London, in Richmond. Propel understands the brothers, who currently operate four restaurants in the capital, are set to open a new lounge bar and dining venture just off Richmond High Street. It is thought the new opening, which is planned for this autumn, could be on Hill Rise, with the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen there currently available. The new venture will be an extension of the company’s “Local & Wild” concept with a “distinct countryside-luxe style serving modern farm-to-fork food in an atmospheric, sprawling space overlooking the Richmond riverside”. The founders’ rural life in West Sussex has so far inspired four distinct sites across London – The Shed in Notting Hill, Rabbit in Chelsea, Nutbourne in Battersea and Sussex in Soho.
 
Rosa’s Thai Cafe eyes Welsh debut site: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, which is backed by TriSpan, is looking to make its Welsh debut, with an opening in Cardiff. The 25-strong, Gavin Adair-led business is understood to have applied to take the final unit in the scheme in the city’s Church Street, which currently also houses Pho, Mowgli, The Botanist and Honest Burgers. Last month, Propel reported the company had lined up an opening in York, on the former Joe’s Kitchen unit in Coney Street. The business recently added to its London estate with an opening in Baker Street, and is set to further add to its presence in London, with openings in Bloomsbury and King’s Cross. The company has secured the former ASK Italian unit in Grafton Way for an opening later this year, and a shell unit off Caledonian Road. Rosa’s plans to open up to six new restaurants this year and continue to add to its delivery kitchen estate. Earlier this month, it expanded Rosa’s Thai Veggie – its plant-based delivery and takeaway-only sister concept to Birmingham. Thomas Rose of P-Three acts for Rosa’s.
 
Kricket to make regional debut with Bristol delivery kitchen site: Indian small plates concept Kricket is to make its regional debut in Bristol. Propel has learned the Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell-led, White Rabbit Projects-backed business is to be one of the operators to take space in a new Deliveroo Editions, which is set to open in the city’s Eastgate Road later this year. Kricket currently operates a handful of delivery kitchen sites in the capital, including sites in Tooting and London Fields. Earlier this year, Bowlby and Campbell announced they would launch a stand-alone bar called Soma in London’s Soho. The new bar, which is named after the Hindu moon god, will open in September in a site adjacent to the pair’s existing Kricket site in Denman Street. Kricket also operates restaurants in Brixton and White City.
 
The Chelsea Pig reopens next month: Chelsea pub The Chelsea Pig will reopen on 27 September with a new design by Timothy Oulton. The Chelsea Pig marks the first foray into the London hospitality scene for Oulton – he has 46 stores worldwide and has recently opened in Miami and Malibu, along with a forthcoming opening of a 7,000 square foot gallery in New York’s Flatiron District. A spokesman said: “A testament to the appetite for his subversive and innovative take on classic style and luxury, Oulton’s latest expression for The Chelsea Pig will undoubtedly prove a must-visit for design aficionados and gourmands seeking an immersive dining experience.”
 
Bean Coffee to open in Manchester’s Exchange Quay for its 17th site: North west-based independent coffee company Bean Coffee is to open a cafe at Manchester’s Exchange Quay. The office campus will be the 17th venue for Bean Coffee, which has signed a five-year contract to operate within the Ice building at Exchange Quay. The store is set to open in September. Bean Coffee will serve speciality coffee and hot and cold food throughout the week, and operate as a bar on Thursday and Friday evenings. Bean Coffee managing director Jon Whyte said: “Exchange Quay is a great business community. We’re very excited about opening and looking forward meeting our new customers.” Property firm Ekistics and investment manager Till Asset Management said the introduction of Bean as an operator of the cafe bar space continues its drive to deliver “the best occupier experience” at the 435,000 square foot, waterside Manchester site, where 4,000 people work. Till Asset Management director Les Lang said: “We are delighted to have Bean Coffee on board at Exchange Quay. Their passion, drive and enthusiasm will bring a welcome energy to the Ice building and will provide a fantastic new amenity for our dedicated occupier base to enjoy.”

New food court restaurant to regenerate Bradford mill: A new restaurant based at a Bradford mill that dates back to the 1860s is part of wider plans to help bring the listed building back to its former glory. A planning application to build a restaurant in a car park area at Whetley Mills, off Thornton Road, has been approved by Bradford Council this week. Submitted by Haroon Habib, the new restaurant would have a modern design, and be located in an area north of the mill, accessed by Hockney Road. It would have an outdoor seating area and parking space for 47 cars. The application, submitted earlier this summer, said the business would give customers “a choice of world foods under one roof” and would have six smaller food courts within the restaurant. It also went on to say the new restaurant would help with the regeneration of the huge mill site, parts of which have stood derelict for years, raising concerns over the building’s future. 
 
Emilia’s Crafted Pasta lines up third site: Emilia’s Crafted Pasta will open its third and largest site this autumn in Wood Wharf, the new neighbourhood in Canary Wharf. Situated on the ground floor of 10 George Street, overlooking the water, the flagship restaurant of the Emilia’s family will welcome up to 100 diners – 70 inside and 30 alfresco with its signature handmade fresh, crafted pasta. A spokesman said: “After 15 fraught months navigating the pandemic, Emilia’s is taking this bold step to strengthen its position as London’s leading fresh pasta brand, having remained resilient during the toughest times to hit restaurants in living memory.” Founder Andrew Macleod added: “I’m very excited that we’re continuing our mission to bring hand-crafted pasta just like Nonna would have made to more and more people, and this time in one of London’s most exciting developments in a beautiful setting surrounded by green spaces and water. Comforting fresh pasta should be affordable for everyone to enjoy on a regular basis and we look forward to being the leaders in growing this category of restaurants.”
 
Atrium Group plans second Istanbul restaurant: Atrium Group, led by Ryan Monks, is planning to open a second Turkish restaurant under the Istanbul brand. The project on Nab Lane – near Blackburn College, the town’s sports and leisure centre and the new Reel Cinema – will have 55 tables and accommodate up to 220 diners. The existing Istanbul branch is located on Bury Old Road in Cheetham Hill in Manchester. The new restaurant dovetails with plans for a new leisure quarter of bars and restaurants in the £3.8m Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project. Cllr Phil Riley said: “The application for the former Reidy’s premises is very exciting and a quality bar and restaurant fits perfectly into that area with the Reel Cinema literally across the road and as part of the wider Blakey Moor redevelopment.”

Republic of Pizza and Desserts lines up third opening: Growth brand Republic of Pizza and Desserts has lined up its debut site in the south of England. It is opening a site on Winchester High Street, a venue that was last open as Roxbury, a bar with live music, which closed during the lockdown. Republic of Pizza and Desserts has existing outlets in Sheffield and Leeds in Yorkshire. 

Sykes Holiday Cottages increases portfolio with north Wales business acquisition: Holiday property rental business Sykes Holiday Cottages has boosted its portfolio after acquiring north Wales counterpart Abersoch Quality Homes. Sykes, which operates circa 20,000 holiday cottages across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, has increased that number by 100 after taking over Gwynedd-headquartered Abersoch Quality Homes, which is a family-run business, founded by Debra and Tim Elvins in 2005. As part of the deal, the company will be looked after by Menai Holidays, Sykes’ north Wales brand. The Elvins will step down to focus on their estate agency business. Sykes Holiday Cottages chief executive Graham Donoghue said: “Like Sykes, Abersoch Quality Homes has always focused on providing exceptional accommodation and customer service. It’s an exciting time for all involved and we’re looking forward to supporting the long-term success of Abersoch Quality Homes’ 100 properties – shining a spotlight on the holidays available in this beautiful part of the country.” Sykes was advised by Springboard and Hill Dickinson LLP.

Skegness holiday park group expands offer with funding support: A Skegness holiday park group has expanded its offering with the support of a commercial mortgage loan, development funding and asset finance from HSBC UK. Home Farm Park, located on the outskirts of Skegness and operated by Sycamore Farm Park, sits in 30 acres and now has a fishing lake, landscaped grounds and a variety of self-catering properties, which include a farmhouse, barn conversion and luxury lodges. The funding from HSBC UK supported the initial purchase of the site as well as facilitating all areas of the development, including a range of bespoke lodges and the excavation of the lake. The facilities have also supported a barn conversion into luxurious holiday accommodation. The site is subject to ongoing expansion over the coming months. Sycamore Farm Park director Lloyd Silvester said: “When we initially purchased the site in 2017, it was a redundant and derelict farm but, with the support of HSBC UK over a number of years, we have been able to bring it back to life. While we managed to open for a short period of time last year when restrictions were lifted, it’s been fantastic to be able to properly welcome customers to experience the newly developed site in 2021. We’re already seeing significant interest and demand since reopening.”
 
Ex-BBC boss adds Georgian property to hotel portfolio: Vine Hotels, which is co-owned by former BBC boss Greg Dyke, has added a grade II-listed Georgian property to its portfolio. The hotel management company has acquired The Old Rectory in Handsworth, on the edge of Sheffield in South Yorkshire. The hotel closed last year after the independent charity running it was placed into voluntary liquidation, but Vine Hotels is set to reopen it in the coming weeks to accommodate events for up to 200 guests. Vine Hotels chief executive Garin Davies said: “This former rectory offers all the benefits of a quiet countryside locations, but with the convenience of close by transport links and Sheffield City Centre nearby. The Old Rectory is a delightful period property that has huge potential to grow as one of Sheffield’s premium wedding and event destinations.”
 
Country house hotel Branston Hall sold off £4m guide price: Country house hotel and wedding venue Branston Hall has been sold in multimillion-pound deal. The venue, near Lincoln, was sold off a guide price of £4m in a deal brokered by Christie & Co. Former owner, South Springs, had fallen into administration in November last year, owing creditors £1.4m, and has since been wound up. The grade II-listed property, which dates back to 1885 has served a variety of uses – most recently as a 52-bedroom hotel but it was originally built as a family home and later used as an RAF hospital during World War II. The property will now be converted to a multi-purpose educational and private events hire venue, having been acquired by Avanti Foundation – a sponsor of state-funded Hindu faith schools in the United Kingdom. The owners of Branston Hall called the decision to call in administrators last year a “devastating blow” and said they were “heartbroken”.

Douglas Jack upgrades Shepherd Neame forecasts with trading ahead of expectations: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has upgraded his forecasts on Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame with trading ahead of expectations. Issuing a “Buy” note on the shares with a target price of 1,250p following the company’s trading update, Jack said: “Shepherd Neame has traded strongly, with like-for-like sales down just 3% under restricted trading conditions, since 17 May. As a consequence, we are upgrading our profit before tax forecasts by £4m. Since full restrictions lifted on 19 July, the company has seen a modest early increase in sales. Since 19 July, almost all of the 15 central London pubs have reopened, albeit with sales below pre-covid levels, as expected. Tenanted pubs’ volumes were down 23% during the 11 weeks between 12 April and 26 June (again versus the equivalent period in 2019). For the four weeks of June, they achieved minus 9%. After being charged no rent for all the weeks of lockdown, the tenanted pubs returned to 90% of normal rent from 21 June and, from 2 August, will return to normal rent. The brewing division has been resilient throughout the pandemic, winning new on-trade customers and new listings in the off-trade and export markets. Total volume in all channels in May and June were up 8.4% (versus 2019) and total own beer volumes (excluding contract down) were down 3.6% for the same period. Net debt reduced from £94.6m at the end of June 2020 to £92.4m at the end of December 2020 to £89.8m at the end of June 2021 (versus £132.5m of facilities) despite the company not raising equity. There is £2m of deferred outflows. Shepherd Neame offers material equity upside to true net asset value in our view. At the interim results, book net asset value was £12.59 per share (circa 30% above the current share price). The company does not revalue up its estate (pre-covid, we believe true net asset value was £1.60 per share above book net asset value), and we believe minor disposal activity has not indicated any fall in value.”

West Yorkshire-based craft gin company secures funding to expand: West Yorkshire-based craft gin company Forged in Wakefield is gearing up for expansion after being given a growth grant. Founders Gary and Victoria Ford have been given £25,000 to help them move to bigger premises to meet demand. The husband and wife team have plans to relocate to Tileyard North, a new creative business centre being built at the former Rutland Mills mixed-use development. The move means they can fit in a new 300-litre still, offer distillery tours, run a gin school and a bar. The company has been given the grant by Add:Venture, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire. Gary Ford said: “Moving into the premises will mean we can employ staff and take the business to the next phase of its development.” The distillery’s small batch gin, which is produced in eight flavours, includes The Original, Yorkshire Strength, Passionfruit and Lemon Sherbet varieties and is certified organic and vegan.
 
New Jesmond cafe to specialise in local and artisanal products: A new cafe and coffee shop that specialises in both local and artisanal food and drink is set to open in Newcastle. Burds, the brainchild of former gallery curator Sarah Tod, will open in the redeveloped Gatehouse at the entrance to Adderstone Group’s Fleming building on Burdon Terrace, Jesmond. It will offer all-day brunch options and has taken the site after a refurbishment of the grade II-listed unit. Tod told BDaily: “We’ve made a point of using quality local suppliers including Pink Lane Coffee, Estate Tea Co, Charlotte’s Butchery and Block & Bottle, plus we are working with guest artisan patisseries and bakers including Pet Lamb Patisserie and Cake Stories to provide sweet treats.” Melanie Brown, commercial estates manager Adderstone Group’s, added: “Our projects team sensitively restored this grade II-listed building and added the patio terrace. We firmly believe Burds will go on to bring many new guests to this beautiful site.”

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