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Thu 26th Aug 2021 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greggs faces chicken shortages as more F&B operators report supply issues: Food-to-go operator Greggs is facing chicken shortages as more foodservice companies reported supply issues due to the supply chain crisis sparked by the shortage of lorry drivers due to the perfect storm of covid and Brexit. Greggs is thought to be facing problems getting hold of chicken, although denied it was running out of chicken bakes – while one manager of a west London branch said there were also issues with steak bakes and vegan sausage rolls. Other chicken products include the chargrill chicken oval bite and chicken-filled baguettes. A Greggs spokesman told the Daily Mail: “There are no current supply issues with our chicken bakes and our customers can continue to enjoy these as they usually would. Unfortunately, like others, we're seeing temporary interruptions in supply for some ingredients that occasionally results in shops not being able to maintain full availability on all lines. However, we have a wide range of choices in our menu for customers happy to buy an alternative.” Fresh food and drink supplies to Whitbread-owned Beefeater pubs and Subway outlets have also been affected. A spokesman for Beefeater said supply chain issues had led to shortages of bottled beer and chicken. Subway outlets in London and Norfolk have reportedly put up posters about a lack of ingredients – but this was not confirmed by the company. A shortage of lorry drivers, put at more than 90,000, has disrupted deliveries across the economy, including manufacturing and construction. Experts say it is due to a combination of factors including poor wages, the closure of a tax loophole for some drivers, and EU employees returning home after Brexit. British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It is consumers who will ultimately suffer for this. We are calling on the government to rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, provide temporary visas for EU drivers, and to make changes on how HGV driver training can be funded.” The tourism sector has also been hit by the supply chain crisis, with hoteliers and bar owners saying staff were ill with coronavirus, others isolating after being “pinged” and there was a recruitment crisis due to Brexit and too little housing. It meant some hotels were being forced to close rooms – while restaurants, cafes and bars were operating reduced opening hours and limiting menus.
 

Industry News:

Focus on post-pandemic health as gyms increase their presence on updated Premium database of multi-site companies: There has been a focus on post-pandemic health resulting in gyms beings added to the updated Propel Premium database of multi-site companies, which will be released tomorrow (Friday, 27 August) at midday. The Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes 64 new additions, operating 417 sites between them. The new companies will include fitness brand Barrecore, which teaches customers elements of ballet, yoga and pilates, and will open a new studio, in Leeds next month; and Feel Electric is set to open its second gym, in Roundhay, Leeds, at the end of this month. The go-to database, which is updated monthly, 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 will also receive the second edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Tuesday (31 August), at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and will be updated every month. There are 258 new openings listed in the latest database. Meanwhile, subscribers also have access to another database called Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, with the latest version having just been sent out, 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Access Group acquires Omnifi: Access Group has acquired Omnifi and its Orderbee mobile order and pay technology. This will be incorporated into Access Group’s hospitality division. Access Group said adding Orderbee to its hospitality software suite would enable customers “to order in seconds after they arrive, maximising operators’ profits, helping to drive efficiencies and reduce administration time as they re-establish their business at this critical time of trading”. Omnifi managing director Simon Liss and managing partner Nick Holroyd-Doveton will join Access Hospitality to ensure the successful transition of the business and continue to manage the next phase of Omnifi’s growth, with Holroyd-Doveton continuing to manage and lead the development of the Orderbee product. Access Hospitality managing director Henry Seddon said: “Over the past year, we have seen the full impact digital technology can have on hospitality businesses as they needed to react quickly to change and run as effectively and efficiently as possible. Integration of Orderbee mobile order and pay technology into the existing range of Access Hospitality software as a service (SaaS) solutions strengthens the end-to-end technology that we offer the hospitality sector.” Holroyd-Doveton added: “Combining with Access will allow us to significantly invest in our people, processes and products. We have agreed ambitious plans for Orderbee with Access and, together, we will continue to develop the product and drive the feature roadmap forward in collaboration with our customers and all our integration partners.” This is Access Hospitality’s fourth major deal in the past four months, having previously completed the acquisitions of Acteol CRM, CPL Learning and Trail. 
 
Michelin Guide to be updated every month, seven restaurants added: The Michelin Guide will now be updated every month. The company, which has produced the fine-dining guide since 1904, has traditionally held yearly ceremonies to announce which establishments it regards as serving “high-quality cooking, worth a stop”. But in an historic move, the company, which released its first digital-only guide this year, will be revealing its latest restaurant recommendations on the last Wednesday of every month. Seven restaurants have been added to the guide in the first update. Featured eateries will not be given stars immediately but those added to the guide will be the likely contenders to be listed in the yearly ceremony that takes place in October. The first restaurants to be added as part of the monthly updates are Sumi in Notting Hill by Endo Kazutoshi; Eleven in Ponteland, Northumberland; The Loch & The Tyne in Old Windsor, Berkshire, by Adam Handling; Big Jo in London by Jeremie Cometto and David Gingell; Native at Browns, Mayfair, London, by Ivan Tisdall-Downes; Los Moros in York; and The Shed by James Sommerin in Barry, Wales. The restaurant entries will be highlighted by a “new” symbol, for easy identification, and the restaurants will also be presented in more depth through monthly articles. Michelin Guides international director Gwendal Poullennec said: “In a period that is still very complicated and in which the restaurant industry continues to face unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, we hope these regular revelations and updates will provide opportunities to highlight the profession, and we invite everyone to discover and support the restaurants around them.” In 2021, the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland was published in digital format only for the first time, in order to be more agile in reflecting the ever-evolving restaurant scene. It’s the latest step in the traditional institution has taken in modernising the book. In January, it also released “green stars” for restaurants showing outstanding commitment to sustainability. 
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a technology food business that is growing in the UK and Europe. As the business develops, it is looking for a head of marketing, based in London, and paying between £100,000 and £110,000. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This role will develop and implement the overall marketing and communications strategy, with assistance from the wider department and agencies. The role will be focused on strategic input on the wider company strategy, with an opportunity to implement some exciting changes. The ideal candidate will be creative, innovative and agile in their approach and will be pivotal in ensuring the proposition is always seen as exciting and relevant to customers.” Anyone interested can email Gemma@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

Lussmanns sees like-for-like sales growth of 20% on 2019 levels as it prepares for measured expansion but good sites ‘still hard to find’: Lussmanns Sustainable Fish & Grill, the independent brasserie group backed by investor Luke Johnson, is seeing like-for-like sales growth of 20% on 2019 levels as it gets ready “to grow again”. Last week, the business, founded by Andrei Lussmann, revealed it is set to open its fifth site, in Berkhamsted, after securing the former Bill’s premises in the Hertfordshire town. Lussmann told Propel the group, which restructured in October last year and operates sites in Harpenden, Hertford, Hitchin and St Albans, was set to grow in a measured way but said there was still fierce competition for prime sites. “Good sites in good locations are still hard to find and continue to attract the big boys in the industry,” he said. “For example, we tried for the site in Marlow that went to Megan’s. The moratorium extension means there hasn’t been loads of sites coming up but when that comes to an end next year, we think there will be more opportunities. We’ve traded very well since reopening – on a like-for-like basis we are up 20% on 2019 levels and that’s without the benefit of the VAT reduction. We’re benefiting from the fact people are staying local and many of our customers are established long-term regulars, so, like after the recession, they have come back to us because they trust us and know what to expect. I think it will be a different story next summer when things return to ‘normal’ and people can go abroad again. So we need to make the most of the trading opportunity we have now.” Lussmann said Johnson, who invested in the business in 2016, “was the best thing to happen to the company” and said he had been great support over the past 18 months. He added: “Running a restaurant business during a pandemic can be a very lonely place at times and having Luke at the end of a phone has really helped. Restructuring the business meant we lost sites in Oxford, which was only open for a few weeks, and Tring, but meant we remained debt-free. We just need to carry on with what we are doing and that’s taking on unloved restaurants from chain companies and giving them a new lease of life. When you enter a new town, you do worry whether you’ve got enough firepower to cope with the big boys but we’ve managed to so far. We’ll look at opportunities a bit further afield – we want to grow outside Hertfordshire and take Lussmanns to a wider audience.”

Prezzo appoints Matt Prior as CFO: Prezzo, the Cain International-backed, Karen Jones-led restaurant chain, has appointed Matt Prior as chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Prior joins from Pret A Manger where he was most recently finance director for the UK business, comprising more than 400 sites. Prior trained as a chartered accountant with KPMG and held several roles in Pret before his promotion to finance director. As revealed by Propel last month, Prezzo has also confirmed the appointment of Debbie Moore as people director. Moore was most recently group HR director for GLH Hotels. She has also held HR director roles at both The Restaurant Group and Spirit Pub Company prior to its acquisition by Greene King. Dean Challenger, who joined Prezzo in 2019 and was previously finance director, was made chief operating officer earlier in the summer. Prezzo stated: “The appointment of people as strong and experienced as Matt and Debbie reflects our general strengthening of capability, the energy generated by plans for the future, our current trading and the support of Cain International, our new investment partner, all of which provide strong foundations for our future flourishing.” Jones said: “I am delighted Matt and Debbie have joined our Prezzo team. They share a clarity of thought and strategic ability that will accelerate our plans and augment both our ability to deliver at pace and the general happiness of our wonderful Prezzo people.” Prior said: “Prezzo is at an energising stage of its development and it’s a brilliant time to join the business. There is vast potential in the estate, the brand and the plans put together by the team, which I am very much looking forward to bringing to fruition. Prezzo has an exceptional opportunity to drive growth as the hospitality industry rebounds from the pandemic.” Moore added: “Hospitality is dependent on brilliant people and Prezzo has such a strong and diverse team who are committed to each other and our customers. I look forward to working with Karen and her team to help all of our people be the best they can be.”

Tonkotsu to make north London debut with Kentish Town opening: Ramen restaurant group Tonkotsu will open its latest site, and first in north London next month, in Kentish Town, Propel has learned. The company will open its 15th site in total on 18 September at 323 Kentish Town Road, opposite the station. As well as plenty of space to dine-in, Tonkotsu will also be available on Deliveroo, and also for takeaway via its own click and collect service. Earlier this year, the company opened its first “proper” restaurant outside London, in Brighton. The business, which operates a concession within Selfridges in Birmingham, replaced Polpo in the Sussex city’s New Road. Tonkotsu, which is backed by YFM Equity Partners and chaired by Sarah Willingham, currently operates 12 sites across the capital, including a site in Walthamstow, which it launched in November last year. The business was launched in Soho in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds.
Tonkotsu is a new entrant in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which has just been updated for Premium subscribers. Tonkotsu turned over £5.5m in its latest financial year. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, and ranks the 351 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Linda Lee expands portfolio into south London and Seoul, repositioning On The Bab to focus more on residential areas: Restaurateur Linda Lee is expanding her portfolio into south London and Seoul. Lee is opening a delivery kitchen for her Korean street food brand On The Bab in Nine Elms in October. The delivery area will also take in Vauxhall, Stockwell, Brixton, Kennington, Clapham and Battersea. Meanwhile, Lee has introduced London-style all-day breakfast culture to her native South Korea, with the opening of Approach Coffee in Seoul. Approach Coffee is housed in a three-storey modern villa with landscaped garden in Seoul’s up-and-coming Yongsan district, which is also home to the headquarters of global beauty brand Amorepacific. Dishes from head chef Suhyung Lee include full English breakfasts, avocado toast and shakshuka. Coffee is supplied by Brixton-based roastery Assembly Coffee. Lee is also carrying out a repositioning of On The Bab, which launched in Shoreditch in 2013, to focus more on residential areas than central London. She has closed On The Bab’s Covent Garden branch, in Wellington Street, after six years, coinciding with the end of the lease on the premises. Lee is in the advanced stages of securing a new physical site for On The Bab in north London to join the existing restaurants in Shoreditch and St Paul’s, as well as On The Bab Paris, which opened on Rue Thérèse in the Opéra district in May 2019. Meanwhile, Lee said Koba, her fine-dining Korean table barbecue restaurant in Fitzrovia, continues to trade successfully in its 17th year. Lee said: “While the pandemic and lockdowns have created many challenges for my business and the wider hospitality industry worldwide, I am excited and optimistic about the future, and remain as committed as ever to London, the city I love and call home.”
 
Papa John’s franchisee adds three new stores: Papa John’s multi-unit franchisee Abid Hussain has added three new stores to his portfolio. The openings are in Totton and Southampton, both in Hampshire, and Southsea in Essex. Before joining Papa John’s in 2016, Hussain worked in advertising and marketing in London and was a consultant at a website firm. He now runs almost 20 Papa John’s stores in towns and cities across the country. Hussain said: “It was a friend who first introduced me to Papa John’s. I did my research and became a partner in my cousin’s Taunton store before purchasing that and becoming a franchisee. Since then, I haven’t looked back. My goal is to continue to expand as soon as suitable sites become available.” Amit Pancholi, UK director of business development, Papa John’s, added: “As a franchiser, we congratulate Abid on opening these new stores and will continue to work with him to support his future growth plans. We are always looking to welcome new franchisees who are keen to develop the asset of a multi-unit portfolio of franchised Papa John’s to run as clusters of stores, and we can help develop a long-term strategic vision for developing a successful partnership with us. We also work with committed venues looking to add a new a revenue stream by offering a top-quality, branded hot food offering to their existing customers. We have flexible format options to suit different business models from holiday parks to pubs to sports stadiums and beyond.”
 
Yumpingo brings sector veterans to its team: Yumpingo, the complete guest experience management platform, has made key hires with hospitality backgrounds. Richard Downs, Yumpingo’s new enterprise sales director, most recently served as international concessions director at The Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for expanding the UK airport concessions business into international markets. He has supported brands like Las Iguanas, Belgo, Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia into the franchise space, and grown sales and driven operational consistency across each estate. After managing revenue growth for three years at Zonal and ten years at Guestline, Darren Jackson has also joined as enterprise sales director with a focus on enterprise pub groups and hotel chains. To complement the new sales appointments, Jo Lynch is the new director of projects and services, joining from The Big Table. Meanwhile, Jessica Orton has joined as senior customer success manager. Yumpingo managing director UK David Charlton said: “These critical roles will help propel the business into a new era of growth and innovation as Yumpingo continues to expand across the UK market. I look forward to working with these industry experts as we continue to develop solutions that improve the experience of restaurant teams and customers alike, as well as deepen Yumpingo’s impact throughout hospitality.”
Yumpingo is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Otherworld opens in Victoria for second site: Otherworld, the Imbiba-backed immersive entertainment business, has opened its second site, in London’s Victoria. The company has launched the venue in the former Sourced Market premises in the Nova scheme. The new venue features upgraded immersion pods and a self-serve bar with ten taps of beer and cocktails on offer. Guests are also able to earn discounts at the self-serve bar as they play. Chief creative officer Ed Wardle said: “Our second location is a first-class departure lounge to a parallel universe. We’re excited to welcome our guests to an awe-inspiring space where they can prepare for their journey into virtual reality.” Chief executive Chris Adams added: “The new location is part of a wider expansion. We’ve been spurred on by fantastic guest feedback and strong trading results and are working to take Otherworld to new cities across the UK.” In June, the company, formerly known as the Dream Corporation, raised £2.9m from leading venture capital funds to support its expansion plans. Edge Investments led the Series A round, with follow-on investment from Imbiba and participation from games industry veterans Chris Lee and Rupert Loman. Otherworld has signed deals to open sites in London Victoria and Birmingham this summer, with plans to expand to a further three locations in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, over the next 12 months. Internationally, Otherworld is recruiting franchise partners in Germany and the US. Otherworld opened its first site, in Haggerston, east London, in mid-2019. Will Biggart, of Torridon, is advising Otherworld on its expansion plans.
 
Fire leads to sale of Aaron Brewery properties in Scottish Highlands: A fire at Loch Earn Brewery and Hotel has led to the sale of the properties by Arran Brewery. Loch Earn Brewery and Hotel, which sits on the banks of Loch Earn in Perthshire, Scotland, was sold within four months of being placed on the market by Christie & Co for an undisclosed price. The hotel in the Highland village of St Fillians, Crief, boasts views over the water and surrounding highlands and has ten moorings, three piers and a private slipway. The main building, a detached C-listed Victorian-style property comprises 38 guest rooms, plus three bar and restaurant areas, and a loch-side beer garden. The grounds also feature two breweries run by previous owner, Arran Brewery, which purchased the hotel in 2013. Following a small fire within the property, the company made the decision to sell the hotel. Tony Spence, business agent in Christie & Co’s hospitality team, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to acquire a large hotel that sits on the banks of Loch Earn, and with extensive refurbishments going to be undertaken.”
Christie & Co is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
BrewDog lines up new site for Cheltenham: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has secured a site in Cheltenham as it aims to establish itself in Gloucestershire. The company said it has already taken on a lease on a unit in The Brewery Quarter in the town centre that was formerly a Frankie & Benny’s site. A planning application, submitted to Cheltenham Borough Council, showed the bar would have “practically the same” internal layout as the Frankie & Benny’s restaurant, with back-of-house areas such as toilets and bar kitchen located to the rear of the unit, and a vast open plan commercial area to the front. Earlier this month, BrewDog opened a bar in Bath after taking over the former Absurd Bird restaurant premises in St Lawrence Street. It also opened DogHouse Manchester – a craft beer hotel – just off Market Street.
 
Black Sheep Coffee to open in Windsor: London-based speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee is to boost its regional presence with an opening in Windsor. The company is opening the outlet in the former EAT premises in Windsor Royal Station Parade. Earlier this month, Propel revealed the circa 35-strong business has applied to open two sites in Glasgow, in the former Body Shop unit in Sauchiehall Street, and the Cath Kidston store in Gordon Street. The business has also lined up a fifth opening in Manchester, in the corner unit of 2 St Peter’s Square in the city. Last month, the company signed up to take a space British Land’s 155 Bishopsgate development in the City of London. It will also run the reception cafe within the development. Black Sheep Coffee is also opening a second site in Wembley, at White Horse Square, and further strengthening its presence in the capital, with openings lined up near Baker Street station and King’s Cross/St Pancras stations.
 
Mooring licence for Thames site previously home to HMS President up for sale in excess of £1.5m: A mooring licence on a site in the Thames in London that was the former home of HMS President is available for offers in excess of £1.5m. Christie & Co is marketing the opportunity on the Embankment to the west of Blackfriars Bridge. It offers the chance to develop a new waterfront venue between Tower Bridge and Westminster. The location is set to be further enhanced through the development of a new foreshore area that will introduce a terrace and alfresco seating. Up until 2016, the site remained home to HMS President, the former Royal Naval base ship that was converted into a well-known floating events venue, with capacity for 350 people throughout its licensed restaurant, bar and function areas. In 2016, the ship was moved from her berth to make way for works on the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The mooring is held by way of an annual River Works Licence agreement from the Port of London Authority, which provides permission for the permanent mooring of a vessel and the construction of a floating pontoon of up to 262 feet in length. Simon Chaplin, senior director of corporate pubs and restaurants in Christie & Co’s hospitality team, who is handling the opportunity, said: “We have dealt with a number of venues along the Thames in the past and know how popular they can be. It is often the mooring that holds the key and this opportunity gives new owners the prospect of either basing a new river service from here or bringing in a vessel to provide a hospitality venue such as a floating hotel, fine dining restaurant or busy bar.”
 
Civerinos site sells out bookings for two months after reopening this week: Bookings at Edinburgh pizza brand Civerinos’ Hunter Square site have sold out for the next two months after reopening following a ten-month closure. The five-strong brand thanked its “phenomenally loyal fan base”, which numbers more than 50,000 followers across its social media platforms after the site reopened this week. Scottish-Italian owner Michele Civiera has stated there will be tables available if customers call on the day at 9am to book. Civerinos opened its fifth site, called Prom Slice, on the promenade at Portobello beach, Edinburgh, in April this year. It followed an opening in Corstorphine, Edinburgh, called West Slice. Civerinos also operates an outlet in Forrest Road, as well as the High Dive pizza pub and restaurant in St Leonard’s Place.
 
Flame-grilled chicken concept Franzos opens in Telford for ninth site: Flame-grilled chicken concept Franzos has opened its ninth site, in Telford. The company has launched the outlet at the Southwater Square leisure development at the Telford Centre. Franzos serves a range of burgers, piri piri chicken, pittas, salads and sharing platters. Telford Centre manager Glynn Morrow told the Shropshire Star: “After what has been a very challenging time, especially for the hospitality industry, it’s wonderful to be able to offer something new to our visitors to come and enjoy.” Franzos was founded in 2012 but begun branching out in 2019 as a franchise model. The website stated: “We’ve grown across London and more franchises are opening all the time – run by people who are as passionate about food as we are.”
 
London-based fishmonger and supplier Fin and Flounder to launch ‘seafood shack’: London-based fishmonger and supplier Fin and Flounder is to launch its own “seafood shack”. Bar Flounder will launch at Netil Market in Westgate Street on Friday, 3 September, just around the corner from its Broadway Market shop, Bar Flounder will be housed in a custom-built modern shack offering a menu of sustainable British seafood dishes. Bar Flounder’s menu has been partly inspired by chef John Javier’s summer pop-up at Fin and Flounder. Dishes will include prawn burger with chipotle mayo, turbot tenders with buffalo hot sauce and Bar Flounder lobster roll. Sides of chips and deep-fried pickles will complete the menu, along with beer, wine and the “Vermouth Slushie”, a combination of vermouth, agave, Cointreau and soda. The shack will be led by Ruby O’Sullivan, daughter of Fin and Flounder founder Brendan, who began selling fresh seafood bought directly from Cornish day boats in 2014. Over the years, it’s also become a wholesale supplier to London restaurants including Brat, Lyle’s and Smoking Goat.
 
Michelin-starred Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt reveals date for debut UK site: Michelin-starred Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt will open his debut UK restaurant next month. Ekstedt will launch Ekstedt at The Yard, part of the Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London’s Westminster on Friday, 17 September. Set within the historic five-star hotel that was once the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the hotel’s new flagship restaurant will focus on Scandinavian cooking techniques using seasonal British ingredients, alongside a cocktail menu and natural wine list. The menu will include Ekstedt’s signature oyster flambadou with smoked apple and beurre blanc nasturtium, alongside other dishes such as reindeer, smoked celeriac, black pudding and salt baked roots to share. The restaurant will mark Ekstedt’s first venture outside of Stockholm. He said: “I’m delighted to be working with Great Scotland Yard Hotel to realise my dream of opening a restaurant in London. It’s a huge moment for me, I have been in love with the UK for years, my family moved here when we were younger and London has always felt like a second home for me.” Great Scotland Yard Hotel general manager Sholto Smith added: “The restaurant will be an integral part of the hotel and we are confident Niklas will be warmly welcomed both by our regular guests and the London food scene.”
 
Compass Group collaborates with Marcus Wareing for new culinary apprenticeship programme: Catering company Compass Group UK & Ireland has launched a culinary apprenticeship programme in collaboration with chef Marcus Wareing. “Forward with Marcus Wareing” is an enhanced programme that runs alongside a level 4 senior culinary chef or level 5 operations departmental manager apprenticeship standard, delivered in partnership with HIT Training. Wareing has been instrumental in putting the programme together with focus areas include sustainability, creating a more diverse kitchen brigade in terms of ethnicity and gender, developing mental first aider skills, and mentoring and analysis of different leadership styles and outcomes. Wareing said: “This is a new, cutting-edge, culinary training programme designed to build skills, grow knowledge and expand imagination so candidates can take their career to truly exceptional places.” Jonathan Foot, head of apprenticeships and early careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland, added: “This is part of Compass’ commitment to support development at every stage of our people’s careers. ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ looks beyond cooking techniques to the social and commercial workings of the kitchen, and the realities of the climate crisis and food system. It is all about future-proofing our chefs and forging a new generation of industry leaders.” The first cohort, who start their journey at the end of August, consists of 15 chefs from across Compass. 
 
Wagamama to open site in Swansea for fifth Welsh restaurant: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned brand, is opening a site in Swansea. The restaurant is opening at City Gates on the corner of Wind Street and Victoria Road. The venue will be in the premises previously occupied by TRG brand Frankie and Benny’s, reports Wales Online. It is the fifth restaurant Wagamama will have in Wales. The others are located in MacArthur Glen Designer Outlet in Bridgend, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Library and Friars Walk in Newport.
 
Independent cinema offers free tickets as covid vaccination incentive: Independent cinema Peckhamplex is offering free tickets to watch a film to people who get vaccinated at its pop-up clinic. The iconic venue in south London will give the first 30 people to attend the clinic on Thursday (26 August) a free pass for any film of their choosing. Although open to all over-18s, it is keen see under-30s, in particular, receive their covid-19 vaccinations. Peckhamplex chairman John Reiss told Metro: “We are delighted to be able to encourage further take-up of the vaccine to protect everyone including our customers and employees.” The clinic will run from 2pm until 5pm on Thursday with free tickets being eligible for any film on Monday to Friday from two weeks after the jab and they remain valid for three months. The drive is a bid to boost vaccination rates in Peckham Rye as it lags behind the national average. 
  
Jose Cuervo to launch tequila taprooms in Bristol and London: Tequila brand Jose Cuervo is to launch a tequila taproom in Bristol, claimed to be a “world’s first”. The bar, which will also have table games and DJ sets, will pop up on Stokes Croft for just one weekend next month. Jose Cuervo Tequila Taproom will run as a pop-up from 17-19 September, along with a sister site in London. A statement from Jose Cuervo stated: “We are launching the world’s first tequila taproom in London and Bristol. Served from kegs and delivered through an authentic tap system, the pop-up will see some of the nation’s favourite tequila cocktails given the full taproom treatment adopting quirky off-the-wall monikers.” The Bristol bar will be based inside the Liberty House events space at 11-13 Stokes Croft, offering tequila cocktails, table games and DJ sets. 

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