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Fri 17th Sep 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Shapland – we plan to open 50 Coffi Lab sites over the next five years: James Shapland, the co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, is planning to open 50 sites under his new Coffi Lab concept over the next five years, Propel has learned. Shapland co-founded Coffee#1 in 2000 and went on to grow it to 15 sites across Wales and the south west, with an annual turnover of £5m a year, before selling it for an undisclosed sum to Welsh brewer and retailer SA Brain in 2011. He launched Coffi Lab earlier this year in Monmouth, with a second site following in the summer in Marlborough. He told Propel in the first phase of the concept’s growth, which should see it reach 20 sites over the next two and a half years, the focus will be on sites in market towns across south Wales and the south west. In the second phase the business, which is led by Hannah Gillard, former finance director at SA Brain, will look to spread its geographical reach to places such as Henley, Marlow, Witney and Leamington Spa. A third site for Coffi Lab is expected to open in Abergavenny, with sites in Llandaff, Llanishen, Malvern and Whitchurch under offer. Shapland, who is funding the initial growth of the concept himself, said: “Monmouth is trading 50% ahead of budget, while early returns at Marlborough are higher than anticipated, which gives us confidence we have a concept that resonates with the consumer demographic we are looking to capture. We have the experience to know what works in the locations we are looking to grow into, and the crisis has and is providing a significant opportunity to secure the right sites at good rental levels. We believe there is an opportunity to be the coffee business of choice in affluent market towns and provide a space for social experiences.” Coffi Lab, which is working with property advisor EJ Hales to find suitable sites, plans to be “a heart-warming, authentic retail coffee brand in a neighbourhood setting”. Caffe Nero paid almost £30m to acquire a majority stake in Coffee#1, which now operates more than 100 sites, in February 2019.
 

Industry News: 

64 multi-site companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: At least 64 new multi-site companies, operating 352 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 1 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature a number of international growth brands making their UK debut. They include Poké House, Europe’s most popular poke bowl chain, with a fast-growing total of 55 stores, which has finally opened its first UK restaurant in London’s Notting Hill with plans to expand into city locations, shopping centres, outdoor kiosks and dark kitchens in the UK. Also being added is Pitaya, the rapidly-growing Thai fast casual brand based in France, which has more than 150 locations in Europe, and opened its first UK site in London’s Covent Garden, under franchise, and plans to open ten more in Britain. Premium subscribers will also receive a 9,000 word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the third edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 6 October, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. Premium 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 plus regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion column, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (17 September) at 5pm, Lavender Bank Partners Geof Collyer analyses what is going on at Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, whether the company will stage an initial public offering, its funding and valuation, and the make-up of its boardroom. Meanwhile, former Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s and SA Brain executive Alistair Darby explores how the pandemic has shown that employees want more from their leaders at all levels, and three fundamental and linked themes – “audiencecentricity”, inclusion and innovation – must be at the forefront of thinking. 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 subscribe.
 
Propel Friday Wrap video series continues with Will Beckett: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (17 September) 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 Will Beckett, co-founder of Hawksmoor, to discuss the company’s recent launch in New York, the trading situation in London, the staffing issue, and what role hospitality can play in the recovery.
 
Benugo launches initiative to help small F&B start-ups and pop-ups: Deli cafe operator Benugo has announced a new scheme aimed at giving new food and beverage start-ups and pop-ups a helping hand with their early steps. The company, which runs the catering at high-profile venues such as the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, is looking to support the business growth and development of smaller operators. The initiative will be led by Benugo’s BFI Stephen Street kitchen in W1, and its first collaboration will launch at the London venue from Tuesday, 21 October to Sunday, 21 November. This will see Uncle Roger, an online creation of comedian Nigel Ng with four million YouTube subscribers, and Cardiff ramen joint Matsudai Ramen link up with the BFI team to produce a ramen and a Japanese cocktail pop-up. Ng’s latest Uncle Roger video features Matsudai Ramen founder James Chant and shows them creating the kind of ramen dish that will be served at the pop-up. Shane Kavanagh, commercial director at Benugo, said: “James and the team make the most incredible ramen, and it’s great to be able to help them bring it to London. Our partnership is about more than hosting a pop-up, we are committed to helping and supporting James in every way we can to grow and develop his business, and we hope this is the first of many partnerships we’ll see at BFI Stephen Street.” Chant added: “Our last pop-up in London was short and sweet at only a couple of days long, so we’re excited to be coming back on an extended residency.” Earlier this summer, Benugo opened new cafes at The Serpentine in London, and Willen Lake in Milton Keynes.

Henry Dimbleby and Chantelle Wilson scoop honours at Footprint Sustainability Awards: Food entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of natural food brand Leon and who is the author of the National Food Strategy, was among the winners at the Footprint Sustainability Awards. Dimbleby was recognised with the Special Achievement Award for his work on the National Food Strategy, “tackling an incredibly complex piece of work offering the food and drink industry solutions to some of the most complex issues around public health and climate change”. The Waste Management and Reduction Award was picked up by chef Chantelle Nicholson for her All’s Well pop-up restaurant set up in Hackney during the pandemic using second hand, borrowed and upcycled items, thereby eliminating unnecessary waste. The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources accolade went to Owlet at Loddington Farm while The Innovations in Packaging Award was taken home by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners with Klöckner Pentaplast coming out on top in the Sustainable Supplier Award category. The Economic Sustainability Award went to Collectiv Food and the Environmentally Efficient Logistics Award was won by Foodbuy. Synergy Grill Technology scooped the Energy Efficiency Award with Hoshizaki netting the Sustainable Catering Equipment Manufacturer Award. The Social Impact and Diversity Award was won by Argyll & Bute Council and ISS Food Services UK grabbed the Sustainability in Education Award. The Footprint Drinks Sustainability Awards is the barometer for sustainability and responsible business practice for the drinks industry and represents the annual celebration of businesses and individuals making a difference to sustainability in the on-trade drinks sector and its supply chain.
 
Drinks industry to discuss sustainability and independent brands at ‘not-for-profit’ trade show: The inaugural “Cheers!” event will take place at Mercarto Metropolitano in London’s Elephant & Castle on Tuesday (21 September), where sustainability and independent brands will be the key topics. The day is aimed at raising awareness and funds for the Drinks Trust Charity, and will feature more than 20 UK independent drinks producers. The event will feature talks and seminars with industry experts including Muyu Liqueurs founders Alex Kratena and Monica Berg, 30&40 founder Vincent Béjot, Regal Rogue Vermouth founder Mark Ward and Avallen Calvados founders Stephanie Jordan and Tim Etherington-Judge. Event organiser David Wood said: “After an incredibly tough period for hospitality and the community of smaller drinks brands within the industry, I’m proud to be part of such a positive event that brings together the community of smaller drinks brands and entrepreneurs.” For more details, click here.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is on the lookout for a finance manager to work with a multi-site retail and hospitality business based in central London. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This role will be a mix of owning all aspects of commercial finance (acting as a bridge between finance and operations) and owning the management accounts to provide accurate weekly and monthly reporting. This role will provide full support to the head of finance and finance director with business partnering opportunities across other divisions such as property, operations, IT and supply chain. The finance manager will be responsible for the full end of month consolidated group management accounts, balance sheet, reconciliation and analysis of key accounts. Additionally the finance manager will prep management reports packs, support fixed assets, quarterly VAT, property cost reviews and capital expenditure appraisals. The finance manager will also support the head of finance to support franchised business and insure full set-up for new openings. The position is paying up to £65,000 and would suit an experienced finance manager with hospitality or retail experience and full qualifications (CA/CIMA/ACCA).” Anyone interested can email Oliwia@corecruitment.com
 

Company News: 

Campbell – PizzaExpress is running with prices that are at or below 2019 levels: David Campbell, group chief executive of PizzaExpress, has said the work the 357-strong business did on pricing during the lockdowns means it is running with prices that are at or below 2019 levels. Speaking at Propel’s Multi-Club Conference last week, Campbell said: “We were playing around a lot with pricing, because in a big group when you have a lot of restaurants, when you make a small change, it has a big impact. So, we did a lot of testing around that, which has allowed us to go back to the market place and get rid of discounts. And it means we are running with prices that are at or below 2019 prices. We haven’t got any short-term plans to put them back up. What had happened before was the previous owners had kept on putting price back into the business and that was killing it. And then when that started killing it, they put discounts in, which is a vicious spiral and gets really horrible. So hopefully we are in better shape, but I suppose the real test of it, like any Formula One car, is you can do whatever you want to do to it, the real test is when you go back on the race track. Since we have fully opened up we have been ahead of the CGA Peach tracker for five weeks in a row by a good distance.” When it came to weaning the business off discounting, Campbell said the company was helped by how the “pandemic froze people’s experiences”. He said: “Without that it would have been really difficult to get out of discounting. We would have figured a way eventually but it would have taken longer. What the whole series of lockdowns allowed us to do, along with the pricing changes and the holding prices down, was the ability to go cold turkey, so we more than halved the amount of discounting and the rest of it will get contained as we move forward. I hate discounting. The stuff we were doing was insanity, and it wasn’t just us, everyone was doing it. Our relationship with people going forward is all about knowing who people are one on one and having a relationship with them. A lot of the teams in the UK were frustrated about what they could and couldn’t do.”
 
Soho Coffee Co reports full-year revenue falls 63% but now seeing positive sales growth on 2019 levels, plans two further openings this year: Soho Coffee Co, the privately-owned coffee company led by Penny Manuel, has reported a 63% revenue decrease for the year ending 31 January 2021 but said it is now seeing positive sales growth on 2019 levels. The drop in turnover, to £4.2m compared with £11.5m the previous year, is blamed on the impact of covid-19 on the company’s store and franchising operations. Ebitda loss for the year stood at £2.1m compared with a £1.0m loss the prior year, while pre-tax losses increased to £5.0m from £3.6m the previous year. Of this figure, about £700,000 was down to interest accrued on shareholder loans, about £1.3m to depreciation and £900,000 to the accounting impact of reporting under IFRS16. Company directors minimised the impact on the business by making use of government initiatives, tightly controlling overheads and working closely with their landlords, which enabled it to limit the £7.3m revenue decline to a £1.1m additional Ebitda loss versus the prior year. Despite the challenging climate, Soho Coffee Co opened its first directly managed travel unit, airside at Bristol airport, to bring its number of owned trading units to 26. Total stores, including UK and international franchises, stands at 41, and another two are planned for 2021, with at least one being in its target market of travel. A spokesman said: “Although sales continued to be impacted through the first half of 2021, Soho is pleased to report positive sales growth on 2019 as the business moves into the second half the year. To support the recovery and future growth, the business is continuing to focus on strong team retention and investment in new product development and marketing.” Last month, Soho Coffee Co announced it would be expanding its digital business after developing its online coffee range.
 
28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen secures former Cote in Oxford Circus for fifth London site: 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen, the Richard Green and Emilliano Isufi-led concept, has secured its fifth London site, Propel has learned. 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen will open in the former Cote premises in Market Place, Oxford Circus. 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen already owns sites in Chelsea, Covent Garden, Marylebone and South Kensington. Restaurant Property director David Rawlinson, who acted for 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen on the deal, said: “We have enjoyed working with Richard from when he acquired the popular 28-50 brand in Marylebone, to overseeing Kings Road in Chelsea (former Byron), South Kensington and now the former Cote in Market Place. This is a great example of landlords (and customers) in central London wanting exciting independent brands over national chains.”
 
C&C Group confirms Ralph Findlay as next chairman: Magners cider-maker C&C Group has confirmed the appointment of Ralph Findlay as a director and chair designate. Findlay, who is set to leave Marston’s on Saturday, 2 October, will join the C&C Group board at the beginning of March as a non-executive director and will succeed Stewart Gilliland as chair following the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) in July. Gilliland had previously announced his intention to step down from the board at the 2021 AGM. The company said Findlay’s appointment follows a thorough evaluation and succession process led by its nomination committee, in conjunction with independent executive search firm Spencer Stuart. It said Findlay brings “significant industry and listed company experience” to the C&C board. Gilliland was appointed a non-executive director of the group in April 2012 and as chair in July 2018. Findlay will have served as chief executive of Marston’s for 20 years and led the business through the successful sale of its brewing business into a £780m joint venture with Carlsberg in May 2020. Gilliland said: “During my tenure as chair, the group has transformed into the leading final-mile supplier to the on-trade in the UK and Ireland and had to navigate through the most challenging period in our industry’s history. I am privileged to have worked with such a talented and committed team who have managed these challenges so effectively and positioned the business to perform as we emerge from the pandemic. I look forward to welcoming Ralph to the board next year and wish him every success for the future as the group’s next chair.” Findlay added: "It is an exciting time to be joining C&C and I am very much looking forward to working with the board and the wider team. C&C has iconic brands and a market leading distribution capability in the UK and Ireland. I am pleased to have the opportunity to play a role in driving the future success of the business for all our stakeholders including customers, consumers and shareholders.”
 
The Alchemist to open first Scottish site next month following £1.5m investment, plans new brand partnerships: Bar and restaurant concept The Alchemist will open its first site in Scotland next month, taking its UK portfolio to 21. The £1.5m venue will be in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, adding to the group’s other venues in cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Oxford, Nottingham and Cardiff. The Edinburgh site, which measures 6,091 square feet and will cater for 170, will also be the host venue for a series of exclusive brand partnerships, which The Alchemist will announce next month. A team of 60, who will all be trained in the company’s philosophy of “molecular mixology”, will be employed. Brand director Jenny McPhee said: “From ancient alchemists to modern mystics, Edinburgh’s association with alchemy spans thousands of years, and the city has long been described as a hotbed for spirituality – what better place to open our first Scottish site. We know we’re going to feel right at home here and look forward to welcoming Scots seeking an unconventional drinking and dining experience.” Founded in 2010, the Palatine-backed company completed a refinancing of its banking facilities and shareholder loans earlier this year to raise additional capital. Chief executive Simon Potts told Propel last month The Alchemist was effectively “starting a new business plan” following the covid-led impact of the last 18 months, and may look to invest in small businesses.
 
Idris Elba to launch new London bar next month: Actor and producer Idris Elba will open a new bar in the capital on Monday, 18 October, expanding his partnership with Connaught Wine Cellars. Elba first linked up with Connaught founder David Farber three years ago when they launched the champagne and rosé brand Porte Noire together. The brand has now given its name to the new bar, which will be located opposite the Regents Canal towpath in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. As well as an extensive selection of international wine, the venue will offer an artisanal cheese delicatessen and a brasserie-style menu for up to 70 guests. Farber said: “We’re excited to be bringing a slice of continental hospitality to London this autumn. Since launching our brand Porte Noire we have seen some incredible reviews of the product, and we’re looking forward to creating a space to match.” Elba added: “I know David is going to take the Porte Noire name and create something special.” This will not be Elba’s first foray into the London bar scene – in November 2018 he teamed up with twin brothers Lee and Nicky Caulfield to open The Parrot, a cocktail bar and live music venue within the walls of The Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych, but it has now permanently closed.
 
Red Dragon adds to Welsh portfolio with two more pubs, plans further expansion: Red Dragon Pubs has acquired two more venues in south Wales – The Pemberton in Burry Port and The Gwesty in Brynmawr. Having officially launched with its first venue, The Aubrey Arms in Ystradgynlais, last month, the company now owns ten pubs in the Swansea and Gwent Valleys, with plans to add more in the coming months. Red Dragon is the brainchild of entrepreneur James Hunt who, along with a group of investors, are targeting pubs across south Wales. Hunt said: “We are hugely ambitious and believe there is a great opportunity to create a Welsh pub company fit for the people of Wales. We want Red Dragon Pubs to be a recognisable part of every Welsh community, and we certainly believe we are on our way to achieving this. We’re very excited to welcome these pubs to the Red Dragon Pubs family and are confident many more will be added to our expanding portfolio in the next few months. The new acquisitions don’t just bring new pubs to communities, but recruitment opportunities for locals too. We want to attract people who have a keen interest in carving a career out in hospitality to join us, as we are looking to invest as much in our staff as we are in our pubs.”
 
Social Bite opens seventh Scottish café and first within commercial space: Social Bite, which campaigns against homelessness while running a string of cafes across Scotland, has opened its latest venture – a cafe in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) Edinburgh headquarters. Social Bite has made charitable work as key component of its business since employing a homeless man at their first premises, a small cafe in the Scottish capital, when it first opened nine years ago. It has since opened three further Edinburgh sites, two in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen, but the latest will be its first cafe within a commercial space. The launch follows an 18-month partnership between Social Bite, RBS and BaxterStorey, the bank’s catering provider, which saw the creation of a foodbank distributing more than 6,000 meals a day since March 2020. Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said: “Launching a new cafe is always a huge milestone for everyone at Social Bite, but to be opening one within the RBS headquarters after such a successful charity partnership between BaxterStorey and the bank feels even more significant. The cafe will provide those experiencing homelessness with access to secure employment, and we can’t wait to welcome back RBS colleagues as they slowly return to the office.” Sheena Hales, programme capability manager at RBS, added: “The initial foodbank launch came from an immediate need to support those most impacted by lockdown. The opening of the new Social Bite cafe will allow us to continue its legacy as we look to the future beyond the pandemic.”
 
Salford hotel owner calls in administrators: Artisan, the developer and operator of the Ainscow Hotel in Salford, has called in administrators as the company struggles to sell its residential flats due to unsafe cladding. Jimmy Saunders and Andrew Knowles, of Kroll Advisory, have been appointed joint administrators of Artisan H1, The Ainscow Hotel, Greyday, and Artisan Group Facilities Management. The four companies own several properties across Manchester, including a former mill that has potential for redevelopment, several apartment buildings that were developed by the companies several years ago and a trading hotel, The Ainscow, which employs 30 people. The joint administrators are currently trading the hotel as a going concern, with no disruption to trade, they said. Bookings are being honoured and bookings are “expected to improve dramatically” as the country continues to ease lockdown restrictions and the key Christmas trading period begins. Knowles said: “These appointments are subsequent to Kroll’s appointment to Artisan H (Kings Waterfront) on 10 June, which owns The Block on Liverpool waterfront. This site comprises of two apartment buildings constructed in 2011. The Block was impacted by a major fire in December 2017. The subsequent remedial works to The Block and matters relating to the insurance claim and associated works have placed substantial pressure on the group, and The Block is still not fit for occupation with significant remedial works remaining. The group has also been impacted by the industry ramifications from the Grenfell Tower disaster, with several residential buildings owned by the group incorporating cladding to the facades.” The joint administrators expect to progress with a divestment exercise by selling the respective assets in relation to the residential developments. In respect of The Block, the joint administrators are working with relevant stakeholders in the hope the remedial works can be completed.
 
Restaurant debut for Yorkshire-based food delivery platform: Jack Hanman, who created takeaway app Hull Kitchens last year, will open his first restaurant, Holy Brunch, on Friday (17 September). The venue, which will focus on serving brunches, will open at Paragon Arcade, owned by Allenby Commercial. Hanman said: “I just love brunch. I never eat breakfast. I like to eat at about midday and I like a decent brunch. Holy Brunch came about because I am quite an avid foodie and I spend a lot of time in and around the city centre, where we have our Hull Kitchens office. But I find it frustrating because I just don’t think there are enough independent restaurants doing something different and out of the ordinary.” Before launching Hull Kitchens, Hanman opened several Temptation burger restaurants in the Humber area, including two in Hull. Georgia Allenby, design and marketing manager at Allenby Commercial, added: “Jack has got good experience and a great idea that we haven’t seen anywhere else in the Hull area. He recognises the potential of the unit he’s taken on and he’s full of positivity – we’re confident he will turn it into another attraction that will lure people into Paragon Arcade and benefit everybody else in there.”
 
Doughnotts changes Beeston opening plans: East Midlands-based doughnut concept Doughnotts has changed its opening plans in Beeston. In July, the company announced it was moving into Beeston Square, which is anchored by the Arc Cinema. However, Doughnotts has now said it will move to a smaller venue in the town after a former Thorntons outlet became available. A post of Doughnotts’ Facebook page said: “Due to ongoing setbacks, rising costs of materials and availability of tradesman, we have made the hard decision to look for a smaller store in Beeston. Thankfully we’ve been pretty lucky the Thorntons in the high street became available and after negations we’re pleased to say we’ve got the keys and work has begun behind the scenes for a planned Halloween opening. This is the first exciting step of some big plans for Doughnotts in 2021-22.” Doughnotts also operates stores in Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham.
 
Salon team announces November opening for Somerset venture: The team behind Salon in London’s Brixton has earmarked Wednesday, 10 November as the opening date for its first rural restaurant, Holm, in South Petherton in Somerset. While it is a joint venture for Nicholas Balfe, Mark Gurney and Matt Bushnell – who also run Levan and Larry’s in the capital – Somerset-born Balfe will go back to his roots to oversee Holt while his partners remain in London. Holm will take over the village’s old bank, with the vault being turned into a wine cellar, while there will also be an outside space with a grill and dining terrace and kitchen garden. Balfe said: “Holm represents a new chapter not only for me personally, but our businesses. While laying new roots for my family outside of city life, I get to live every chef’s dream of working directly with farmers, growers and artisan makers, while bringing the energy and passion of our London restaurants to a new community. Having spent my early years in Somerset and Dorset, that part of the world has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve been in awe of the richness and vitality of the land there for as long as I can remember and have spent many a holiday exploring the countryside and coastline in the south west. I can’t wait to take some of the wonderful energy, passion and creativity that define Salon, Levan and Larry’s and transpose it to the countryside.” Dishes on offer will include a smoked eel toast starter, Tamworth pork chops on the main menu, and ricotta doughnuts filled with blackcurrant jam for dessert.
 
Scotland's Glenburn Hotel set to be sold at offers above £1.1m: Administrators in charge of selling a historic hotel on the Isle of Bute in Scotland have reported “strong interest” in the property, which is set to be sold at offers above £1.1m. Described as Scotland’s first hydropathic hotel, The Glenburn in Rothesay went into administration in August following a collapse in revenues from its enforced closure during lockdown. Glasgow-based CDLH have now been appointed to manage the marketing and sales process. Joint administrator Stuart Robb, of FRP Advisory, said enquiries have already been received from across the UK and internationally. With 121 guest rooms, a ballroom, restaurants, bars, terrace, conference facilities and large terraced gardens, the property was extensively refurbished in 2016 when it was acquired by Malaysian investors. It only traded briefly following the first covid lockdown early last year before closing in November. The owners of the property were said to be unable to survive the fall in revenue while also continuing to meet “significant” maintenance and running costs. Staff were initially placed on furlough in November, but it is thought that about 30 remaining jobs were lost in August.
 
New £3.5m Gloucestershire hub to house up to 15 F&B businesses: Work on a £3.5m waterfront dining destination at Gloucester Docks has begun and is expected to be completed in time for an opening next summer. Gloucester Food Dock should create up to 120 jobs and will be home for up to 15 independent food and beverage businesses drawn from Gloucester and surrounding regions. Overlooking Victoria Basin at the bottom of Southgate Street, the development will extend and refurbish two 19th century brick buildings, incorporating outside dining terraces and stand-alone units. Ken Elliott, of developer Ladybellegate Estates, and Gloucester Food Dock co-founder, said: “We wanted to breathe life back into these wonderful old buildings while reinvigorating the area. It's very important to us these businesses are regionally based, supporting our vision for something at the heart of one of the best food producing regions in the country. Gloucester Food Dock will be a stepping-stone for some businesses and a more permanent home for others, but we very much see it as a dynamic and long-term neighbourhood foodie destination for residents and tourists alike.” Plans for Gloucester Food Dock were first unveiled by Elliott in November 2018, two years after Ladybellegate Estates were granted permission to build four restaurants in Gloucester Docks in a development known as Ladybellegate Quay.
 
Mowgli confirms plans for Brighton site: Indian street food concept Mowgli has confirmed it will open a site in Brighton. As revealed by Propel in July, the Nisha Katona-led company will open in the Oasis unit in the city’s Dukes Lane. In an Instagram post, Katona said: “So exciting to announce my Brighton Mowgli opens next spring in this utterly charming, rounded building in Dukes Lane. I have already designed her up – I want swings in the windows and my heart is rather set on our sherbet pink like our Nottingham Mowgli – what do you think? I have mocked a few other colours up for you but as we approach our most southerly site I think this lightness of touch and sweetness of hope is prettiest in pink.” Mowgli will make its debut in London next month with a site in Fitzrovia. The company is set to open on the former Cote site at 5 Charlotte Street, this October. The 13-strong group recently opened in Cheshire Oaks and Cheltenham, with an opening in Bristol lined up for later this year. It has also secured sites in Edinburgh and Glasgow for 2022. Katona said the business, which is backed by Foresight and chaired by Karen Jones, was looking at Newcastle and Cambridge for 2023-24 and the brand would “continue to build at the steady rate of four sites a year as long as you want us”. 
 
Plans submitted to build £125m Eden Project in Lancashire: Plans to build a version of the Eden Project in Lancashire have been submitted for approval. The application to Lancaster City Council is the latest milestone for the £125m project on Morecambe Bay's seafront after years of development. If approved, Eden Project North is predicted to attract about one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people. A decision on planning permission is due before the end of this year. Situated on the former site of the Bubbles leisure complex, the new project will be similar to the Eden Project in Cornwall, with four "shell-like" domes surrounded by outdoor gardens as it hopes to "reimagine the British seaside resort for the 21st century". The domes – called the Rhythm Machine, the Bay Glade, the Bay Hall and the Natural Observatory – will have hundreds of plants and fauna inside, as well as theatrical experiences and education programmes for kids and adults. Also housed at the new Eden Project will be two restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating, and “amazing views of Morecambe Bay”. The team behind the project is still working on securing funding and, in September, submitted a business case to the government for £70m of public investment in Eden Project North. David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “This is a huge moment for Eden Project North but we are not resting on our laurels. The hard work continues and we hope to have positive news about funding for the project before the end of this year.” The current Eden Project in Cornwall, which first opened in 2000, also runs live music concerts with Eden Sessions with performances including My Chemical Romance, Diana Ross and Ben Howard. Built in a crater the size of 30 football pitches, the attraction has the largest indoor rainforest in the world. Other projects include Eden Project Dundee, hoping to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

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