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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 19th Aug 2021 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Scottish pubs ‘days from running out of alcohol’: Scottish pubs are just days away from running out of alcohol due to major issues with suppliers, industry leaders have warned. Both Greene King-owned Belhaven Brewery and Heineken have cut back or cancelled deliveries. Some publicans now fear the crisis could lead to closures as they struggle to recover from 18 months of lockdown restrictions. Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, told the Daily Record: “There definitely will be some pubs that are running out. Getting supplies has been an absolute nightmare. One pub told me that it was getting just one keg of Belhaven Best.” Some brewers and suppliers said a lack of drivers and warehouse staff have left them struggling to fulfil deliveries, while Dunbar-based Belhaven said it has had issues getting gas, which is used to make its products. Gavin Stevenson, owner of the Mor-Rioghain Group, which owns Gellions and Monty’s, in Inverness, and the Mains of Scotstown, in Aberdeen, had a major order cancelled and criticised suppliers for their lack of preparation. He said: “I’m aware of dozens of sites that are not getting their deliveries but there are hundreds more that are getting short deliveries. This problem is at an absolutely critical time for the hospitality industry as we’ve been heavily restricted operationally for 18 months.” Meanwhile, calls for HGV drivers to be added to the shortage occupation list or at the very least a temporary visa system put in place with immediate effect have been made by the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA). The trade body said the current HGV driver shortage was being felt particularly hard in Scotland, but brewers, pub operators and logistics partners are working round the clock to fulfil as many deliveries as possible. It reiterated the entire food and drink sector – as well as many other sectors – were all struggling with the same HGV driver shortage. SBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “While we are grateful for government engagement to date on the issue of the driver shortage, it is clear the immediate situation will not be rectified without its intervention. Adding HGV drivers to the shortage occupation list or temporary visas will be is essential to helping stabilise the current situation and help us at this critical time in our recovery.”

Industry News: 

Second edition of The New Openings Database to show details of 261 new sites: The second edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with Starstock, will show the details of 261 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday, 27 August, at midday. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There will also be a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, The Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will also be published at exactly the same time and date for Premium subscribers. 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. Premium subscribers also have access to another database called Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, with the latest version having been sent out on Friday (13 August), provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. 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. 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 to sign up.
Tourism and recreation sector sees growth ease as staff shortages and rising costs slow UK recovery: The tourism and recreation sector, which includes pubs and restaurants, saw its output growth ease as staff shortages and rising input costs slowed the pace of the UK economic recovery in July. A total of 12 of 14 UK sectors reported faster output growth month-on-month in July, down by two on June, and the lowest since March, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker. The tourism and recreation sector saw its growth rate ease, falling to 55.3 from 63.1 in June – a level that was the strongest output growth recorded since January 2012. Businesses pointed to a levelling-off in forward bookings for UK holidays, and cited restricted capacity caused by staff shortages – a key challenge also reported by firms in transportation (51.5 versus 51.8 in June), particularly among hauliers. A reading above 50 signals output is rising, while a reading below 50 indicates output is contracting. Higher wage costs, driven by recruitment challenges, and increases in the prices of key inputs such as electronics, metals, steel and timber, contributed to a record pace of input price inflation in July. Input costs rose for all 14 sectors monitored by the Tracker, with the composite input prices index registering 76.3 – the highest since the series began in January 1998. As a result, prices charged by businesses also increased at the fastest rate on record. All 14 sectors reported a price hike, with metals and mining, chemicals and household products posting the sharpest increase. UK sectors’ future output expectations dipped in July, to their weakest since January. Ten of the 14 sectors were less optimistic than they were in June about achieving stronger output volumes over the next 12 months.

UK hotels see cancellations top 50% as holidaymakers head abroad: Hotels around the UK are seeing cancellation rates of more than 50% as holidaymakers plan trips abroad following changes to the traffic light system. Data from hotel technology provider Avvio shows cancellation rates have increased from as low as 4% earlier this year, as people choose to cancel last minute and opt for a break overseas instead. The majority of cancellations are coming from couples, who are up to six times more likely to cancel as families – 8.6% of cancellations are by families and 57.4% by couples in city centre hotels, which are feeling the impact again after a short stint of slow recovery. In resort hotels, 32% of cancellations are by families and 44% by couples. Avvio chief commercial officer Michael De Jongh said: “Guests are cancelling their bookings at the last minute and going abroad instead. Some hotels are seeing cancellation rates of 50% or more. If these cancellations are in resort hotels, the rooms are often quickly filled again because there’s a queue of families desperate to have a resort staycation. But cancellations are hitting the city centre hotels hard. Many were at just 30% occupancy before foreign travel opened up again.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking to speak to operations directors with an opportunity arising for an experienced retailer pub operator to join an expanding group based in London, with 15 sites and four new venues due to launch this year. The role would suit someone living within the M25 and will pay between £90,000 and £100,000, plus bonus. Some of the pubs have accommodation. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This is an opportunity to put your stamp on a business and have an genuine impact on the business’ journey. The ideal candidate will treat the business as their own but report to the owners, who will support with major growth plans. Our client prides themselves on customer service and the quality product it provides on a day-to-day basis. This being said, the business is evolving all the time and a candidate who has a track record of business change to keep ahead of market trends will do well. In the long term, the candidate will be responsible for improving product quality and consistency, increasing productivity, developing customer base and maintaining and increasing profitability across all areas of the business. Experience with new openings and managing area managers is a must.” Anyone interested can send their CV to
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News: 

Nando’s aims to reopen 50 restaurants shuttered by chicken shortage from Saturday: Nando’s has said it is hoping to reopen all its restaurants from Saturday (21 August) after shutting about 50 outlets because of supply problems. The company’s restaurants were closed after it ran out of some food, including its popular peri-peri dish. Closures included sites in London, Bradford, Manchester, Leicester, Swindon, Glasgow and Cardiff. The group blamed the closures on staffing issues at its suppliers’ factories. Nando's said it seconded 70 staff to the suppliers to help “get things moving again”. A Nando’s spokesman said on Wednesday (18 August): “The UK food industry has been experiencing disruption across its supply chain in recent weeks due to staff shortages and covid isolations, and a number of our restaurants have been impacted. However, since Monday (16 August), a team of our brilliant ‘Nandocas’ have been supporting our key suppliers on-site – working in partnership to help get things moving again, and this has already had a positive impact on affected restaurants.” As a result, it said it intended all of its restaurants should be open again from Saturday. Nando’s operates more than 400 restaurants across the UK.
Nando’s features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which was updated on Friday (13 August) for Premium subscribers. Nando’s turned over £1.1bn in its most recent financial year, making it the sixth highest of the 351 companies featured. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks the companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors and now includes Propel insight editor Mark Wingett’s “Propel Pick” – his pick of the companies well placed to grow in the post-pandemic era. 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 to sign up.
Pizza Hut vows to improve online ‘deals’ system after Which? investigation: Pizza Hut has vowed to make improvements to its online “deals” system after an investigation by consumer website Which? found customers might be paying more for than their meal than they should. Which? has found when a Pizza Hut order is placed via its website a Dealbot pops up and promises to find customers the “best” discounts. However, when 70 orders were checked, it frequently failed to find the best discount available, according to an investigation by Which? In some cases, customers could be paying up to 45% more than offers than appear elsewhere on its website. In the worst case scenario, Which? found a missed saving of £11.18, making the total cost almost double the price. On an order of a medium barbecue meat feast, Italian style cheese and tomato bits, Robinsons Refresh’d Raspberry and Apple 500ml, the Dealbot suggested a price of £24.67. But when the same items were ordered via Pizza Hut’s deals page, it came to £13.49 – a 45% discount. A Pizza Hut spokesman said: “We are looking into ways of developing the technology on our website to meet the needs of our consumers to ensure they really do get the best deals, which includes improving the functionality of this particular system.” Which? journalist Adam French added: “It’s encouraging to hear Pizza Hut wants to make improvements to the system but it must take immediate action to make it clear that while Dealbot might find some discounts, there could be better offers on its ‘Deals’ page. If it doesn’t do this then Dealbot should be taken offline while it is improved.”
New lifestyle concept aiming to disrupt hotel sector to launch in South Kensington: A new lifestyle concept is aiming to disrupt the hotel sector with its “clubby feel” of accommodation. The Other House will launch in London’s South Kensington next spring. A major refurbishment of the old Harrington Hall Hotel site will see the property converted into 200 “Club Flats”, aimed at encouraging “a new generation of long and short-term guests”. The Other House said it would elevate the traditional long stay and serviced apartment models, the concept will combine apartments – complete with fully fitted kitchens, living and sleeping areas – with a private club exclusively for residents and members with two bars, all-day dining bistro, and a spa and fitness studio. With eight categories of Club Flats – Club Town, Club Garden, Club Courtyard, Club Mezz, Club Class, Club Vault, Club Turret and Club Access – the units will range from 258 square foot (to 581 square foot) as well as two, three and four-bedroom options. Following its launch in South Kensington, The Other House plans to open in other “villages” throughout central London, including Covent Garden, by 2023 before rolling out internationally. Co-owner and chief executive Naomi Heaton said. “The concept paves the way for a new era of smart travellers. We are a meeting place, chill-out space, hotel and a second home. Our guests could be here on business, for leisure, to study or just dropping by for a drink. Each are on different journeys but they all know where they want to be.” The Other House has been developed by The Portfolio Club, which is a joint venture partnership between real estate advisory business London Central Portfolio and APG – the largest pension provider in the Netherlands. 
Coffee Planet to open second UK site: Middle East-based coffee shop company Coffee Planet is to open its second UK site, in Nottinghamshire. The outlet will open at Tuxford retail park in Ashvale Road, just off the A1, on Thursday (19 August). It will serve a range of drinks to customers such as frappes, iced drinks, cold brews, lattes and flat whites. The store will open from 7.30am until 5.30pm on weekdays, 8.30am until 5.30pm on Saturdays and 10am until 4pm on Sundays. Coffee Planet made its UK debut in 2018 when it opened in Cardiff. It also operates 11 stores in the UAE and Pakistan.

Former Fat Duck Group COO to reopen Marlow pub: Nigel Sutcliffe, former chief operating officer at the Fat Duck Group, and chef James McLean are to reopen the Oarsman pub in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, next month. The duo, who are co-founders of restaurant consultancy Truffle Hunting, have worked together for more than 20 years assisting businesses such as the Fat Duck Group, where Sutcliffe was chief operating officer from 2018 to earlier this year. McClean was previously head chef of the Stonor Arms in Oxfordshire and owner-director at London's Princess Victoria and Newman Street Tavern pubs. Now the pair are relaunching the Oarsman in Spittal Street as a pub and bistro that will open daily. The pub will have some “subtle changes” before reopening, including an open kitchen. There will be space for 50 guests in the bar and a further 50 in the bistro, along with a covered outside space. The pub will have a seasonal menu and host tasting evenings to showcase produce. Sutcliffe is curating a wine list that will include a mix of favourite bottles and more unusual finds. Sutcliffe told the Maidenhead Advertiser: “James and I are delighted we will be reopening such a fantastic property in the coming months. We have some exciting plans for guests and hope we can bring something to Marlow that complements the existing offering.” The pair also work alongside the Crown at Bray pub on a consultancy basis.

Welsh operator One Hundred Knights to open restaurant in autumn: Wales-based restaurant, hotel and events operator One Hundred Knights will open a new restaurant in autumn. One Hundred Knights, which runs Llangollen venues Tyn Dwr Hall, Three Eagles Bar & Grill and is redeveloping The Royal Hotel, has revealed it will also open a restaurant in the Wrexham area with more details due to be released. One Hundred Knights managing director Matt Jones said: “There are big plans happening. The silver lining to what has been a tough year is future growth. Our new restaurant will be based around a basic philosophy of ‘the best of home-grown produce and British cooking’. We want our diners to feel a sense of nostalgia for our classic British dishes, which we’ll deliver with a contemporary edge. Our new venture looks to capitalise on a new wave of eating out in Britain, where the focus is on high-quality delicious food and drinks, while having a good time. We want to take the level of cooking from traditionally high-quality restaurants, and apply this same ethos with less of the airs and graces.” Jones added the business would actively seek further opportunities for new restaurant ventures in the coming 12 to 18 months and plans to open more hotels in the next five years. Meanwhile, Knights Construction Group has started restoration works at The Royal Hotel with plans to open as a four-star boutique venue in late 2022.
Lunar to open second site next month, in Belgravia: Pub company Lunar is to double up, with an opening in London’s Belgravia next month. Founders Hubert Beatson-Hird and Oliver Marlowe are building on their launch of The Hunter’s Moon in South Kensington with the opening of Ganymede. The 2,500 square foot, 30-cover bar and 55-cover dining room is set to launch in Ebury Street on Tuesday, 7 September. Named after the largest moon of Jupiter and the third largest celestial being in the solar system, Ganymede will offer modern-European cuisine. The menu, created by Marlowe and newly appointed head chef Daniel Mertl, will change daily with dishes such as quail and foie gras wellington, creamed potatoes and roast shallot; and Cornish hake with white bean puree, roast salsify and burnt lemon and caper dressing. Ganymede will also offer brunch on Saturdays and roasts on Sundays. The bar will have an extensive wine list and signature cocktails, alongside a range of top-shelf spirits, as well as lager and real ale. Marlowe held executive chef positions at a number of pub groups as well as Michelin-starred restaurants The Glasshouse and Chez Bruce.
Zip World plans to build ‘virtually invisible’ glamping pods: LDC-backed leisure company Zip World has announced plans to install “virtually invisible” glamping pods at its Snowdonia site. ZipWorld Fforest, in Betws y Coed, which is one of four venues run by the company across Wales offering activities for thrill seekers such as zip lines and treetop net climbs, has applied to build six of the pods to meet growing demand for accommodation in the region. The supporting documents, submitted to Snowdonia National Park Authority as part of the application, stated: “The need for accommodation for Zip World’s customers has been a long-standing matter, which Zip World has sought to meet. The need remains and while we continue to see an increase in high-quality accommodation in north Wales, there remains to be a gap in the market to provide alternative accommodation which is of high quality and is unique in terms of its offer.” The units would be built using reflective materials that would render each a “virtually invisible structure”, therefore minimising any visual impact. With no trees set to be removed, the six pods would be constructed on land to the east of the overflow car park, in an area of woodland but available only to existing visitors to ZipWorld Fforest. If approved, each pod would provide an open-plan kitchen, dining, toilet and bedroom with an external balcony.
Taco Bell lines up Basingstoke site: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is looking to open a site in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The company has lodged plans with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to convert the former Subway premises in Wote Street. Changes to the building will include the replacement of the shop front with Taco Bell designs and colour scheme and new external illuminated signs, reports the Basingstoke Gazette. Taco Bell operates 68 sites in the UK. The company has more than 7,500 restaurants across the globe with Glen Bell having opened the first in Downey, California, in 1962.
Roadchef expands F&B offer with open-air huts: Motorway services operator Roadchef has expanded its outdoor catering options with the addition of new open-air food huts at sites across its estate. Visitors to 11 of Roadchef’s service areas will be able to choose from a range of options, including Cornish pasties and savoury treats from Phat Pasty, fast fresh noodles from Chozen Noodle, New York Bakery bagels as well as Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Howard Lockwood, catering and brand development director at Roadchef, said: “We’re anticipating a busy summer ahead as travellers take to the roads and visitor numbers increase. Our new food huts provide even more options. From a business point of view, it is also interesting to see how these outlets perform and which are the most appealing to our customers. Feedback will be extremely useful to us in helping to inform potential new offerings within the main site building in the future.” With footfall over the past few months significantly up on the same period last year, visitor numbers are expected to have surged during the late July to August period as the hospitality sector gained momentum and domestic travel rose. The food huts will stay until September, catering for the core summer period. 

Tigre Tacos to open debut permanent restaurant: Tigre Tacos, the food truck pop-up at Nine Lives Alley in London Bridge, is to open its debut permanent restaurant. Chef Ramon Ramos will serve his Mexicali cuisine, inspired by street-food taquerias, trucks and flavours of 1970s’ southern California, upstairs from Doña – the bright pink mezcal bar in Stoke Newington High Street – from Wednesday, 1 September. Brightly coloured neon signage will hang over the door, while the interior – in line with Doña – will be bright and bold, inspired by the spirit of modern Mexico. Dishes will include the Camarones taco, made with grilled king prawns, habanero and roasted pineapple salsa; and Pulpo tostada – octopus ceviche on blue tostada with chilli oil. As well as in the taqueria, guests will also be able to order tacos downstairs at Doña. Tigre Tacos began life as a taco truck, which remains parked up in Nine Lives Alley. Ramos then took on a residency at The Gunmakers in Clerkenwell.
Tim Hortons targets Liverpool suburb for drive-thru: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons is set to open a site in the Liverpool suburb of Speke. SK Group, which is leading the rollout of Tim Hortons in the UK, is aiming to open a drive-thru restaurant on the site of a former tea factory on the corner of Speke Road and Speke Hall Road. Outline proposals for the drive-thru were approved by Liverpool City Council as part of a wider application for the former tea factory site. The approved plans also include a new 14,337 square foot Aldi supermarket, petrol station and employment unit. George Brown, property director for Aldi, confirmed during a presentation to the council’s planning committee that the drive-thru unit would be operated by Tim Hortons, reports YM Liverpool. Tim Hortons has 29 sites in the UK. The company has tabled plans for drive-thru sites in Aintree, Oldham and Warrington. They form part of the brand’s plan to create more than 2,000 jobs across the country, bringing Tim Hortons restaurants to every major town and city by 2022. Professional ice hockey player Tim Horton founded the brand in 1964 to create a space where “everyone feels at home”.
Cafe concept inspired by LA art scene to launch in Leeds: A cafe concept inspired by the Los Angeles art scene is to launch in Leeds. The Collective will open in 34 Boar Lane in late autumn. The 42 cover cafe-bar will enable guests to enjoy high-quality furnishings and tableware, which are all for sale, with a drink and light refreshments. Kinrise, the owners of 34 Boar Lane, has recently completed the transformation of this building, which features both office space and retail premises. The Collective is taking a 1,819 square foot unit on the ground floor, next to Indian street food concept Mowgli. A spokeswoman for The Collective said: “Inspired by the sun-soaked serenity of the LA art scene, The Collective will offer a feast of eye candy for the discerning design junkie with its dreamy interiors and laid-back ambience. It will provide our guests with an immersive experience that encourages them to quite literally buy into our brand. The food and drinks will match the curated interiors with an Instagram-worthy menu of healthy brunch and lunch options, coffee and classic cocktails.” Knight Frank acted for Kinrise on the deal while Pudney Shuttleworth advised The Collective.
Stevie Parle finds new home for pop-up restaurant Joy: Chef Stevie Parle has found a new home for his pop-up restaurant Joy. Parle closed the site at Portobello Dock at the end of June after almost a year open. But now he has taken the concept to Marylebone High Street for the coming months. Like the Portobello Dock venture, it will not be permanent – with Joy now becoming a plant shop and cafe, though it will host weekly supper clubs too. Dishes include burrata with slow-cooked peppers and tomato; and clams cooked in sherry, guanciale and chickpeas. Joy will also sell a variety of miscellaneous bits and pieces, including CBD oil and kefir water. There will also be an array of house plants for sale, which diners will sit among, and which Parle said are now integral to the concept. Parle told the Evening Standard: “It’s not the full-scale, unbridled madness of Joy at Portobello Dock but a small and perfectly formed piece. One of the most interesting things to me at the first Joy was to see people’s enthusiasm for the plants we sold in our store. It soon became a significant proportion of the sales and, in most people’s minds, Joy is about plants and flowers as well as food. So for Joy to now be a really special plant shop cafe seems right.” Parle was forced to leave Portobello Road after being unable to negotiate a permanent tenancy with the landlord.
Birmingham’s smallest independent coffee shop to start expanding with second site: Birmingham-based The Coffee Bar is to start expanding with a second site in the city. Described as the smallest independent coffee shop in Birmingham, owner Al Mehmet is opening in Nurton Development’s Temple Row scheme. Mehmet has returned to Birmingham from London to follow his passion for coffee after working for Microsoft for four years. He said: “We’ve already grown a strong following through social media, and locally, and this new coffee shop, right in the heart of the city, provides the perfect place to grow our fan base. The Coffee Bar will be as much about the experience as drinking the coffee and now we have space to create added benefits too for our customers to build their loyalty and our brand.” The Coffee Bar’s existing site is located in The Oasis Markets in Corporation Street and consists of a service bar with four stools. Nurton Developments development director Rupert Young said: “The Coffee Bar joins the list of great independents in Birmingham forging a name for themselves in the city. And, once again, the retail element of 4 Temple Row location is attracting a young entrepreneur looking to create a quality experience in Birmingham and add to the range of amenities available to office workers.” CBRE and JLL act as joint agents on the scheme.
Midlands brewery ditches plans to open tap house over residents’ complaints: Highgate Brewery has ditched plans to open a bar at a grade II-listed building in Walsall over residents’ noise pollution fears. The Birmingham brewer had applied for an alcohol and entertainment licence to create the tap house at its former brewery in Sandymount Road, which closed in 2010, but said it had “become aware of mounting objections and concerns by local residents with regards to the proposed plans”. An online petition against the plans was set up earlier this month with residents saying that increased traffic, late-night drinking and noise from the bar, dubbed the Highgate Brewery Culture and Events Centre, would disturb them. A statement from Highgate Brewery said: “It would be pointless progressing with a plan that clearly is unacceptable to the people that Highgate Brewery had hoped would embrace, and enjoy the tap house.”
New sandwich shop concept from Vagabond Wines founder to open next month: Stephen Finch, founder of Vagabond Wines; Kieran Sherlock, director of sector investor Imbiba; and chef Jay Morjaria will open their pastrami-based sandwich shop – Mamma Pastrama – on Wednesday, 29 September. The 60-cover site, as previously revealed by Propel, will open in Carnaby, London. The Ganton Street business said the secret to its take on the classic American sandwich is down to Morjaria’s process to cure meats, which involves combining a blend of spices and a “rub” technique. Customers can expect sandwiches such as: Classic Pastrami – cured, spiced, hop-smoked and steamed house pastrami, with Mamma Pastrami’s own deli mustard, sauerkraut, rye bread and pickle on the side; Big Mamma Melt – smoked chicken, bacon, house pastrami, mustard and pickled onions sandwiched between toasted sourdough; and Beet Reuben – spiced and smoked beetroot, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on Mamma Pastrami’s own marbled rye. Also available will be Pastrami Popcorn, Smoked Pastrami Sausage with curry ketchup and Mamma’s Poutine with pastrami bits and pastrami burnt ends. Drinks will come from Bethnal Green’s Boxcar brewery, soft drinks from East London’s Square Root and coffee from Origin Coffee Roasters.
Newcastle-based fried chicken concept Fed’s to double up: Newcastle-based fried chicken concept Fed’s is spreading its wings and opening a second city centre outlet. Fed’s, which is run by Allan Hyslop, Tom Westman and Charlie Mair, who are also behind US-inspired restaurant Meat:Stack, has a stall at Grainger Market. Now Fed’s is taking over the kitchen at the new home of Louie’s Liquor Store in Bigg Market. Fed’s said on its Facebook page: “Now customers are able to get our goods all day and night in the city, every day.” Louie’s Liquor Store, the live music and sports bar, announced earlier this summer it would be relocating to Bigg Market from its current premises in Nelson Street, where it launched in December 2019. Hyslop, Westman and Mair opened the Grainger Market fried chicken takeaway a year ago, on the site where Meat:Stack first blossomed. After the success of the Meat:Stack stall led to them opening a restaurant in the Bigg Market, they decided to branch out with poultry at their former stall, having spotted a gap in the fried chicken market. Fed’s, which first opened as a pop-up at the Dog & Parrot pub, offers fried chicken rolls alongside wings, boneless tenders and on-the-bone options, accompanied by various sauces and sides.
Owner of Hyatt Place London City East hotel secures £85m refinancing deal: The owner of the Hyatt Place London City East hotel has secured a £85m debt facility in a refinancing deal as its performance “stabilises”. CBRE facilitated the deal from an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners to Resolution Property, owners of the recently completed 280-bedroom hotel in Aldgate, and the first Hyatt Place in central London. The loan is structured to finance potential operating and interest shortfalls as the property’s performance stabilises. Hyatt Place London City also features a ninth-floor rooftop bar and terrace, two event spaces, an inner courtyard, a gym and a grab-and-go food market. Resolution Property chief operating officer Scott O’Donnell said: “Having opened the hotel on 1 July, refinancing the development loan was the next step in the hotel’s life cycle. CBRE and KSL have worked with us to deliver a financing package that reflects the strong fundamentals of the hotel as well as the unique challenges of opening a new hotel during the early stages of London’s hotel recovery.”
The Cider Box chooses Bristol’s Wapping Wharf for its second site: Bristol-based bar operator The Cider Box will open its second site, in a converted shipping container at Wapping Wharf. The Cider Box, which currently operates from a taproom on Silverthorne Lane in St Phillips, will serve a range of award-winning craft ciders made by local and international producers from a unit in Cargo 2, from Thursday, 26 August. The company has taken the premises that used to house Loop Massage, which has relocated to a larger unit at Wapping Wharf. The Cider Box was established in late 2012 to connect small, independent cider makers with pubs and festivals, and it has supplied events such as the Glastonbury festival, Shambala, Arcadia and Shindig. Its new bottle shop and takeaway counter was scheduled to open this week but founder Dan Heath said the business was still putting the “finishing touches” to the space, which he said the business wanted to be “perfect”. Heath said: “We’re tremendously excited to open up in Wapping Wharf; our second site in Bristol alongside our St Philip’s Tap Room. We have ciders from upstate New York, Malmo in Sweden and the finest Normandy juices alongside regional favourites from Herefordshire and Somerset.” Stuart Hatton, managing director of Umberslade, the developer behind Wapping Wharf, said: “Their modern, innovative cider sourced from local and international producers is sure to go down a treat among visitors to our growing harbourside community.”
Northern Ireland-based Loughview Leisure Group acquires Hilton hotel in Templepatrick: Northern Ireland-based Loughview Leisure Group has paid an undisclosed sum to buy the Hilton hotel in Templepatrick. The company plans to rebrand the hotel to DoubleTree by Hilton, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The acquisition of the 200-acre hotel and golf resort adds to Loughview’s existing portfolio of hotels across the north, which includes Ten Square in central Belfast, Chimney Corner in Newtownabbey, and the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus. The deal will now bring the group’s number of staff to 250 people. Loughview said the hotel and golf club would remain open without disruption throughout the duration of the rebrand. Loughview finance director Christopher Kearney said: “DoubleTree by Hilton is one of the fastest growing brands within Hilton’s portfolio and we’re very excited to be the first of this franchise in Northern Ireland.” Latest accounts show Loughview posted a bottom line loss of £462,000 last year on a reduced turnover of £8.3m.
Giggling Squid opens debut Nottinghamshire restaurant: Giggling Squid, the Thai restaurant brand backed by BGF, has opened its debut Nottinghamshire restaurant. The company, founded by Andy and Pranee Laurillard, has opened the outlet in West Bridgford in the former Gusto Italian premises in Bridgford Road. The restaurant is fully booked for its first week of operation while it also offers click and collect, takeaway and delivery. Last month, Propel revealed Giggling Squid would make its debut in the north west, with an opening in Manchester. The 38-strong company will open at the former Carluccio’s site in the city’s Spinningfields area. Propel understands Giggling Squid has another four sites in legals and is looking at locations in Liverpool and the north east, with Harrogate, York, Newcastle and Durham previously mooted as possible destinations for the brand. BGF invested in the business in 2015. Andy Laurillard told Propel, in May, he expects Giggling Squid to undergo some sort of process next year, with an initial public offering thought to be a possibility.
Stonegate agrees deal with LaLiga to show matches in 100 pubs: Stonegate Group has struck a deal with Spanish football league LaLiga to show and promote its matches. Stonegate will showcase the LaLigaTV channel, which broadcasts all live games, in almost 100 key pubs including its London-based Sports Bar and Grill chain. The move comes after LaLiga announced it had agreed to sell a stake to CVC Capital Partners in order to accelerate its international and digital expansion strategies. Stonegate will focus its LaLiga activity on pubs in the UK’s biggest cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Swansea. Stephen Cooper, sport marketing manager for Stonegate Group, said: “Our research has shown that LaLiga is one of the most popular international sports properties in the UK, and this season fans can enjoy all the action at their local Stonegate venue.” LaLigaTV is a dedicated round-the-clock subscription channel for the UK and Ireland focused on the top two divisions of Spanish football. Keegan Pierce, LaLiga global network delegate for the UK and Ireland, said: “Through Stonegate Group and our partnership with Premier Sports, we are pleased to offer increased coverage for our LaLigaTV channel, thus further strengthening LaLiga’s commitment to the UK market.”

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