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Thu 23rd Sep 2021 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

More than three quarters of hospitality businesses to put up prices in face of rising costs: More than three quarters (76%) of hospitality business leaders have said they will have no choice but to pass rising costs on to consumers by increasing their prices. So says the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth, which forecasts more rising costs and supply chain problems for businesses. The poll found 99% of businesses are currently experiencing supply chain issues, with 88% facing reduced product lines, 82% seeing deliveries delayed and 84% seeing products fail to turn up at all. This has, in turn, driven inflation in many key cost areas, with 82% reporting higher costs in their supply chain and 73% saying their food costs have risen. Access to products from Europe has been a particular issue, with 68% of those polled identifying it as a major area of concern. CGA director Karl Chessell said: “Brexit and covid-19 have dealt two painful blows to the food and drink supply chain, and few hospitality businesses have escaped the impacts. Delivery problems and cost pressures have come at the worst possible time, with thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants only just finding their feet after months of lockdown. This two-pronged crisis highlights the need for targeted government intervention and sustained support to protect thousands of businesses and jobs in the months ahead.” Fourth managing director Sebastien Sepierre added: “The survey paints a very stark picture of the supply chain crisis that is severely impacting hospitality businesses right now. Many in the sector are concerned about how it will impact this year’s festive season, particularly in light of the fact last year’s Christmas trading was severely curtailed by covid restrictions.” 

Industry News: 

Broad variety of multi-site concepts set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A broad variety of multi-site concepts are among the 74 new multi-site companies being 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, features Honey + Harvey, a speciality coffee and brunch spot, which is planning to open its third site in Ipswich and two other sites later this year. Also being added is London-based vegan deli, cafe and Scandinavian inspired concept White Pine, which is opening its second site in London. In addition, Suburban Inns, the pub and hotel group, has secured its next venue in Sutton Coldfield, which will be its fifth site in total. In Manchester, opening its fourth site – and its second site at MediaCityUK – is Grindsmiths, an artisan coffee business that has taken over the catering at Host Social. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,800-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. 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. To subscribe, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Bar and nightclub bosses launch legal action against Scottish government over vaccine passport plans: Nightspot owners in Scotland have started legal action against the Scottish government over covid passport measures set to come into force on Friday, 1 October. Earlier this week Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed venues open between midnight and 5am, serving alcohol after midnight, playing live or recorded music for dancing and having a designated space for dancing in use would be defined as nightclubs – and therefore require covid passports. This was blasted by UKHospitality Scotland, which warned late-night pubs and bars would be caught up in the broad definition and suffer the restrictions. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland has now instructed its legal team to “commence proceedings” against a scheme it says is “likely to be unlawful”. A NITA spokesman said: “This vaccine passport scheme as currently proposed raises serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact among others, and had the Scottish government been prepared to work with sectoral experts in the earliest stages of policy formulation, some of these deep-rooted problems may have been avoidable. It is also clear to us the policy as currently proposed is neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful. Regrettably then, and given the serious flaws in the policy as proposed, we have now instructed our legal team to commence proceedings against the Scottish government with a legal challenge to vaccination passports. However, we remain willing to work with the Scottish government on any policy that both achieves our shared goals and also allows businesses to remain economically viable.”

More than half of UK pub and restaurant-goers ‘happy to pay a booking fee’: A study from CGA and Zonal has revealed 51% of UK consumers are in favour of paying a deposit to book a table in a pub or restaurant. This number rises to 65% for special events like Valentine’s Day or bank holidays but drops to 41% for casual occasions such as after-work drinks, the research showed. There are stronger levels of support for larger bookings of six people of more (59%), while 55% believe it is reasonable to pay no-show fees if they don’t turn up for a booking. However, younger consumers are more reluctant to pay to secure a booking, with only 28% of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they would put down a deposit and just 24% saying they would happily pay a no-show fee. The findings form part of hospitality tech firm Zonal’s #ShowUpForHospitality campaign, aiming to highlight the damaging impact of customer no-shows, which collectively cost the sector £17.6bn a year. Zonal chief sales and marketing officer Olivia Fitzgerald said: “There’s traditionally been a scepticism and nervousness around the use of deposits and no-show fees in hospitality, with many believing that it would prove to be a big turn off for their customers and hit trade. These latest insights show, while a blanket approach may not be the optimum way forward for operators, consumers are far more inclined to accept them than we previously thought – and for a wider range of occasions. Deposits and no-show fees shouldn’t just be reserved for high-end restaurants or Valentine’s Day and Christmas either and are a legitimate tool for reducing no-shows during busy trading periods. As part of our campaign, we want to spotlight this issue, change consumer behaviours and start an industry discussion as to how best to combat this long-standing problem.”

Company News: 

Shuttleworth – the pandemic has been a catalyst for growth, we have 23 more sites lined up: Elliott Shuttleworth, co-founder and chief executive of Boom: Battle Bar, the adventure bar concept from the team behind adventure park franchise Flip Out, has said the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for growth for the business, which has 23 sites in its pipeline for the next 12 months. Speaking at Propel’s Multi-Club Conference this month, Shuttleworth said: “The pandemic has afforded us the opportunities to grow quickly. It has been a catalyst for us, the challenge has been finding franchisees in the current climate. Most of our sites are franchise sites so pairing the right franchisee to the right site has been a challenge because people are nervous about the industry. But the pandemic has probably sped up our plans tenfold. We were getting calls from landlords who had 10,000 square foot spaces but we didn’t have the right offer to take up that opportunity, so it was kind of by accident and design we came up with Boom: Battle Bar. With the concept we were looking for something that was a sustainable model, flexible, experience-led and in a growing industry. Flip Out was sold to us as a modular concept, but it isn’t, so when we created Boom we made sure it was. Games and activities can be interchangeable. Post reopening, we have opened in Cardiff, Eastbourne, Lakeside, Liverpool and Norwich. In the next 12 months, we have 23 sites coming on board. Cardiff is one of our top performing sites. Just as the restrictions were lifted in Wales, when it was raining every day, people there would still go and sit in our beer garden. That site was averaging £120,000 a week in sales in the first eight weeks post-pandemic. Eastbourne is a lot smaller, but the sales dynamics are still good and it has started really strongly out of the blocks and is doing about £45,000 a week.” The group’s openings will include a £2m flagship site in London’s Oxford Street, and sites in the O2, Newcastle, Manchester, Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Chelmsford, Reading and Oxford. Shuttleworth said the business was experiencing a “very different model of return custom” versus Flip Out. He said: “In Flip Out people are visiting on average 1.2 times a year, whereas in Boom we are seeing 40% of our customers return within three months helped by the range of games we put on.” He also said that “fundamental culture shifts” had led to roughly 50% of the company’s drinks sales being non-alcoholic. 

Vagabond to make transport hub debut with Heathrow opening: Imbiba-backed wine bar business Vagabond is to make its transport hub debut, with an opening at Heathrow airport, Propel has learned. The Stephen Finch-founded business has signed an agreement to take the former Huxley’s site in Terminal 5 for an opening scheduled for next February. Vagabond will make its regional debut with an opening in Birmingham at the end of next month. The nine-strong group will open in the former Chilango site in the city’s Colmore Row. The company, which opened in Principal Place, Shoreditch earlier this summer, also has a further site in the pipeline in the capital. Meanwhile, Propel understands Vagabond has appointed Paul Hunter, formerly of Prezzo, Puttshack and Tortilla, as its new operations director. Finch told Propel the trade across the group’s sites in London over the past four weeks had been “very good” and momentum was definitely returning to the capital. 

Ten Entertainment Group exploring opportunities to roll out escape rooms JV into pubs and hotels, receiving ’20 offers daily’ for new sites: Ten Entertainment Group is exploring opportunities to roll out its Houdini’s escape rooms joint venture into pubs and hotels as it looks at opportunities for growth alongside its core bowling business. Escape rooms have opened in partnership with Stonegate Group at The Hope Inn in Farringdon, central London, this month along with two more at Best Western hotels in the UK. Speaking following ten Entertainment Group’s half-year results, where the business reported record trading since reopening, chief executive Graham Blackwell told Propel while it was “early days”, the opportunity was “promising”. He said: “We see this as a great opportunity for growth alongside the core business. It’s low capital investment for us these developments are very promising in providing access to many more expansion locations, and we will continue to work closely with Houdini’s to drive further growth. We develop the games and we build the rooms ourselves, so each escape room is different and therefore hard for others to replicate – and we think that’s one of the key things in making us stand out from our competitors and provides pubs and hotels with an excellent revenue opportunity where they have unused space. We also have five escape rooms within Ten Entertainment centres and they have been very successful, and we will be adding more before the end of the financial year.” Blackwell said the company was receiving “20 offers on the table daily” for potential sites as it looks to add to its 46-strong estate. The company is set to accelerate its expansion in 2022 by increasing the number of openings from two to four. With a strong pipeline in place, Blackwell said there was scope to accelerate this further but said the business would stick to its strict criteria of site selection. He added the opening of its first new-build site, at the Printworks in Manchester, had been a success with the company now tapping into more of the evening market. The change in consumer behaviour meant the business was also looking at towns it may not have considered previously. Blackwell said: “We’re looking at everything – high streets, city centres. We’re in a strong position.” He added while the rise in staycations had played a part in the record performance since reopening, he believes the company had also benefitted from the hard work done behind the scenes during lockdown, including new CRM systems, deciding to introduce door ambassadors to help guide guests around its venues and looking after its team. The company has set aside £1m of cash rewards for staff, which will be paid out before the end of the financial year. Blackwell said: “We believe happy staff leads to happy customers. With international travel opening up again, there will be a drop-off in the staycation market and we think towards the back end of the year we’ll see single digit growth on 2019 levels. We don’t anticipate putting prices up and the key thing is getting those customers who have now found us to come back for a second and then a third time. There is everything to play for, but we are very much in the game.”

New World Trading Company eyes Edinburgh opening: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company (NWTC) is looking to make its debut in Scotland, in Edinburgh, Propel has learned. The company hopes to open a site under its The Botanist brand in the proposed St Andrew’s Hall conversion, next to the Edinburgh St James scheme. Developers intend to create a new pub and restaurant at St Andrew’s Hall. The City of Edinburgh Council validated the proposal from developers Nuveen Real Estate earlier this month and a final decision is expected in the coming weeks. It is understood NWTC has been lined up as the operator for the property if the conversion is approved. Last week, Propel revealed the Jesper Friis-led business was to open its second site in Cardiff. NWTC, which already operates a site under its The Botanist brand in the Welsh capital’s Church Street, is to open a site under its the Club House concept in the city’s Mermaid Quay scheme. The business opened its second The Club House site earlier this summer, in Plymouth. The business also operates a site under the concept in Liverpool. In July, Propel revealed NWTC had secured a site in Exeter for its The Botanist brand. It secured the former The Stable site in Queen Street Dining, which is part of the Guildhall Shopping Centre in the Devon city. The company plans to open in Exeter before the end of autumn. Once open, The Botanist Exeter will be the brand’s 23rd location. The company is also set to bring its The Botanist brand to Ipswich.
NWTC features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which has just been updated for Premium subscribers. NWTC has turned over an average of £44.5m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 410 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up. 

Anjan Chatterjee’s 130-strong Speciality Restaurants group set for UK debut: Chourangi, the UK debut from chef-turned Indian restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee and his Speciality Restaurants group, will open in London’s Marylebone on Thursday, 7 October. Chatterjee is the founder and managing director of the India-based Speciality group, which operates 130 restaurants across five countries but none in Britain until now. For its first UK venture, Chatterjee has teamed up close friend and airline and tech entrepreneur Aditya Ghosh to come up with a Calcutta cuisine concept. “We came up with the concept over a meal in one of my restaurants a couple of years ago and decided to bring the unexplored flavours of Calcutta to London – the food capital of the world,” said Chatterjee, who will personally source every ingredient used at the restaurant. Taking its name from Chowringhee, the oldest and most vibrant quarter of Calcutta, Chourangi will be spread across 2,900 square feet at 3 Old Quebec Street. It will specialise in Calcuttan cuisine, which is a unique blend of British, Dutch, Armenian, French, Portuguese and Chinese flavours forged over a 300-year history. Dishes will feature Chatterjee’s own five-spice rub and Aam Kasundi mustard, while Surjan Singh, otherwise known as “Chef Jolly”, has come on board as culinary director following a stint with the Marriott hotel group. The Chourangi site is part of Marylebone’s Portman Estate, which in April also added Japanese restaurant Roketsu, Mexican restaurant KOL, Pizza Pilgrims, So French Deli and Nobu Hotel London Portman Square to its line-up.

Neat Burger secures Chelsea site: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger has secured a site in Chelsea. Propel understands Neat Burger, which recently opened in Finsbury Park, has secured the ex-Kurobuta at 312-314 Kings Road. Neat Burger opened its fourth site last month at the City North development next to Finsbury Park station. The company has further openings lined up in Victoria (Buckingham Place), Canary Wharf (ex-PizzaExpress in Cabot Square), Westfield Stratford and British Land’s 155 Bishopsgate development in the City. It is also set to open in the Filmworks development in Ealing. Earlier this year, neat Burger made its regional debut with an opening in Reading, after launching a dark kitchen unit at the Deliveroo Editions site in the Berkshire town. Marc Rogers, of MKR Property, acts for Neat Burgers, while Louie Gazdar, at Davis Coffer Lyons, acted for the landlord on the Chelsea deal.

Big Mamma Group founders raise $100m to support expansion of payment app: Sunday, the payment app from the founders of the Big Mamma Group, has raised a further $100m (£73m) of funding to aid its expansion plans. Earlier this year Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, the founders of the Big Mamma Group, which operates 20 Italian restaurants across major European cities including London, joined forces with entrepreneur Christine de Wendel to announce a €20m (£17.3m) seed round to support the launch of the new sector-focused, payment technology. They have now secured a further $100m in a Series A equity financing round to aid the company expand its geographic presence and recruitment in Europe and North America. The business also aims to sign up 15,000 restaurants by the end of 2022 and is looking to explore acquisitions. It also plans to double the number of team members over the next 12 months with a focus on rapidly expanding the sales and operations teams in the UK. Sunday, which says it lets users pay at a restaurant in less than ten seconds while the process traditionally takes 15 minutes, has netted more than a million unique users and signed up in excess of 1,500 venues since its launch in April. The latest investment round in Sunday, which counts Jeremy King, co-founder of Corbin & King, as an investor, was led by Coatue, partners of DST Global and several other high-profile investors from the hotel, restaurant, hospitality and technology industries. De Wendel said: “This new investment round is a remarkable opportunity for Sunday to build a powerful tech stack and develop new product features such as ordering and loyalty programmes. It also allows us to accelerate in the US market by growing our sales, operations and partnerships teams. We are now in a very good position to hire top talent to drive the speed and stellar execution needed to succeed.”

Dot Bagels secures fifth site in year since launch: Dot Bagels, the Newcastle-based bagel shop concept, has secured its fifth site since launching a year ago. The Craig Robinson-founded business, which specialises in made-to-order bagels, has secured a new site in the Haymarket area of Newcastle. Dot Bagels said the site will be the first to include a brunch offer, cocktails and “late nights too”. Robinson’s original Dot Bagel site launched in Chillingham Road, Heaton, in September last year. Since then, the concept has opened in Acorn Road in Jesmond; in Fenwicks, Northumberland Street, Newcastle; and at The River Hillgate Quay, Gateshead. Earlier this year Robinson, who also owns Brew & Bite coffee shop in Chillingham Road, claimed his businesses are eyeing a £1m turnover in the next 12 months. He said: “After working in America for two years as district manager for Pret A Manger, I was inspired by house special bagels we used to enjoy in the city and my vision was to bring bagels to the Newcastle food scene. During lockdown, I experimented with a range of bagel flavours and promoted them on Instagram. They were popular and a few months later we had our own shop selling our handmade bagels.”

Shoreditch Bar Group to launch Cargo brand regionally: Shoreditch Bar Group (SBG), the Mark McEvoy-led business, is to open the first regional site under its Cargo nightclub concept, in Leeds. The business, which operates 23 sites in London, will open the new Cargo on the former Tiger Tiger site in Albion Street, Leeds. The new venue will comprise four rooms, including a dedicated house and techno room underground. It will have capacity for 2,500 people. SBG currently operates a Cargo club in Shoreditch’s Rivington Street. Last year, the business acquired The Hoxton Pony in Hackney, east London. In June 2019, the company bought the remainder of Novus’ late-night business, which incorporated five sites – Tiger Tiger London, Tiger Tiger Cardiff, Piccadilly Institute, Ruby Blue and Zoo Bar – as well as the company’s head office.

Ellen Chew opens second Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen site, first in London: Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew has launched the second site under her fledgling Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen concept, in London. Chew, founder of the Chew On This group, has built on the success of her debut in Birmingham Grand Central last year by expanding to Westfield Shepherds Bush. It replaces Sabroso, the concept from Lima London founders Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez, on Westfield’s balcony food court. Chew, who founded Chinatown's Malaysian and Singaporean Rasa Sayang, also operates Lotus Leaf in Westfield Stratford; Arôme Bakery in Covent Garden; Lobos Tapas in London Bridge and Soho; and Shan Shui and Simply Noodles in Bicester Village, under the Chew On This umbrella. Mrs Chew's Chinese Kitchen offers “unpretentious and authentic” Chinese food prepared from scratch every day, with a focus on fresh ingredients. “There is such variety and depth to Chinese food, so with Mrs Chew’s we are giving people the ‘highlights’ and building on my 15 years running restaurants in London, to deliver good quality halal food in a fast and efficient environment,” said Chew. The Mrs Chew’s Birmingham site was formerly a Herman ze German outlet but the sausage specialist, which launched in 2008, sold up after announcing last year that due to covid-19 and Brexit, it would also be permanently closing its four London sites.

Second restaurant for duo behind Highland Liquor Company: Robert Hicks and Helen Chalmers, who founded the Highland Liquor Company and run The Arch Inn in Ullapool, have opened a second restaurant on Scotland’s West Highlands coast. The Dipping Lugger, named after a type of working vessel that used to be seen off the UK coastlines, will, like The Arch Inn, overlook Loch Broom. The 18th century building has been restored as a luxury retreat by Hicks and Chalmers, with the help of a grant from the Highlands & Islands Enterprise. Hicks’ background is in hospitality, having worked at the two Michelin-starred Altnaharrie Inn in Gleneagles and London’s Four Seasons. The kitchen is overseen by head chef David Smith, formerly of Nairn’s Boath House and the Ullnish Country Lodge Hotel, whose menus are set to showcase the best Highlands produce, including Ullapool’s famed seafood. The 18-cover restaurant also features an intimate gin sampling room, where guests can enjoy a dram from Highland Liquor, and a “sweet shop” offering both sweet and liquid treats. In January, the Highland Liquor Company reported a sevenfold increase in turnover over the previous 12 months, hailing strong consumer sales, new product launches and the opening of a new shop.

Brothers behind La Brasseria Milanese open second London site: Andrea and Alberto Fraquelli, who opened La Brasseria Milanese in Marylebone in 2018, have doubled their portfolio by launching a second London location, in Notting Hill. Opening on the former site of the All Saints fashion store in Westbourne Grove, La Brasseria specialises in homemade pasta dishes “in a proper Italian trattoria style”. Highlights include a chicken Milanese topped with aubergine, mozzarella, tomato sauce and Parmesan, and a spicy pizza with mozzarella, calabrese nduja and chilli. The Fraquelli brothers are third-generation restaurant owners, with their grandad, Lorenzo Fraquelli, founding London’s first Italian restaurant chain, Spaghetti House, in the 1950s. Their father, Stefano Fraquelli, went on to found the Metropolitan restaurant group, and one of the four restaurants he owned, Getti, went on to become the original La Brasseria. Although the Notting Hill site is only the brothers’ second, upon opening their first site three years ago they announced ambitions for further openings both in London and abroad.

Market Asset Management launch new street food venue in Sheffield’s Orchard Square: Food hall operator Market Asset Management (MAM) has teamed up with London & Associated Properties (LAP), owners of Orchard Square, to launch a new street food venue at the Sheffield hub. Sheffield Plate, spanning two floors in Orchard Square, offers food from around the world including Sri Lanka, Romania, Peru, Thailand and Portugal – as well as from across the UK. Situated in a former Evans ladies-wear store, the venue is the brainchild of MAM and LAP following a long partnership. Hayden Ferriby, commercial director at MAM, said: “After months of hard work it's fantastic to now open Sheffield Plate as the vibrancy of the city centre returns following the pandemic. The food hall is perfectly situated to not only serve existing shoppers, but also increase footfall by attracting new visitors who will come for the food, bars and mix of live entertainment each week.” LAP chief executive John Heller added: “Presenting a diverse range of independent food and entertainment to suit all tastes, Sheffield Plate will both complement and build on our current offer for customers, creating valuable, inclusive and safe places that bring communities together. As a destination venue it will further work to drive footfall, thus supporting the local and regional economy as shoppers return to the city.”

Innis & Gunn remains profitable but sees 12% reduction in turnover: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has delivered “robust” results during a very challenging year, according to its recently filed financial results for the year ending December 2020. The brewing side of the business accounted for 97% of the group’s £21.3m turnover, maintaining a pre-tax profit for the year, despite the forced closure of the on-trade sector for much of 2020. But this sector shutdown had a significant impact on Innis & Gunn’s retail business, which accounted for a drop in revenue. Despite the reduction in group turnover by 12%, its strategy to focus on growing core products delivered like-for-like growth of 21%, excluding the on-trade, which would have seen Innis & Gunn’s 17th year of consecutive growth. Dougal Gunn Sharp, the group’s founder and master brewer, said: “It is fair to say Innis & Gunn has had a strong 2020, despite it being the most challenging year in this businesses’ history, and we have weathered the covid-19 storm. We used time in 2020 to focus on the future of Innis & Gunn, with the growth plans implemented already seeing significant success across the business. The closure of the on-trade impacted what would have been our 17th year of consecutive growth, but that aside, we have seen huge success in the off-trade and through our own e-commerce channel, and we are in a strong position.”

UberEats launches emoji-based pick-up maps for customers: UberEats has added searchable pick-up maps to its app, allowing customers to use more than 30 different emojis to find the food they want. The new feature is being introduced to save customers' time by picking up their food from a nearby restaurant rather than having it delivered. UberEats said many of its users have switched to other apps to find nearer restaurants after finding their chosen one is based miles away. The new pick-up maps are designed to resolve this issue, as well as make it easier for customers to find their cuisine through the new search function. As well as assisting with local searches, the maps can also help plan the restaurants people want to visit on holiday. To access the new feature, users simply open the in-app map, type what they’re looking for using words or emoji and see what’s available for pick-up. UberEats currently partners with more than 700,000 restaurants and merchants in more than 6,000 cities across six continents.

Fulham Shore secures 56th Franco Manca pizza restaurant site, plans October opening: Franco Manca, the fresh sourdough Neapolitan pizza brand, will open its latest restaurant in London’s Blackheath Village late next month. The 2,500 square feet site – seating 70 inside and 30 on an outdoor terrace – will be based in Tranquil Vale. Launched in Brixton Market in 2008, Franco Manca currently has 55 restaurants across the UK as well as a small summer pizzeria on the island of Salina in Italy. Franco Manca is owned by Fulham Shore, which together with its Real Greek portfolio runs about 75 restaurants and plans to open as many as 150 more over the next few years. Set up in 2011, Fulham Shore acquired Franco Manca four years later for £27.5m when the chain had only ten outlets. The Blackheath site was secured by Shelley Sandzer. Sharon Cawthorn, property director of Franco Manca, said: “With its a scenic hub of restaurants and cafe culture, Blackheath is the perfect location for Franco Manca.” Nick Weir, joint managing partner of Shelley Sandzer, said: “Franco Manca is a great brand and one that will sit very comfortably in Blackheath Village.”

Arc Inspirations confirms October opening for first Birmingham bar: Leeds-based operator Arc Inspirations, which also operates Banyan and sports bar Box, will open its debut Birmingham bar on Monday, 18 October. Its bar chain brand Manahatta will serve New York-style cocktails from its Temple Street venue, which was formerly a Maplins store and a gym. Measuring 6,700 square feet and operating over two floors, the site will be the seventh Manahatta and its first outside the north of England. Other Manahatta venues include ones in Leeds, Manchester, York and Harrogate. Plans to convert the Birmingham site were first submitted the week before the UK entered its first lockdown in March 2020, and approved two months later, before a further application to extend opening hours to 1am was approved in November. General manager Matt Sharp said: “If you fancy a bite of the Big Apple in Birmingham, with food, drink and design inspired by downtown New York and its after-hours party scene, then get yourself down to Manahatta Temple Street.” Arc, which also plans to open a new Box site in Manchester’s Deansgate next month, recently appointed Nazareen Johnson, formerly of Next, Morrisons and Asda, as its new people and culture director.

Siblings open their second Yorkshire restaurant: Sisters Alex and Cassie Rogerson, who already run Grumpy’s pizzeria at Sunny Bank Mills, have opened a second restaurant at the Farsley venue. Saint Jude is an all-day bar and restaurant offering brunch from 10am, all the way through to evening food and late-night cocktails. Alex said: “We wanted to create a venue that complimented Grumpy’s and the other surrounding eateries, including our neighbours Mill Kitchen. Our menu utilises the skills our chefs have developed at Grumpy’s over the last four years, and we’re really proud of our freshly made bagels. We also make our own burger patties, condiments and jam. We couldn’t imagine opening our second place anywhere other than Farsley. It is a really wonderful community that encourages us to do our best.” John Gaunt, joint managing director of Sunny Bank Mills owner Edwin Woodhouse, added: “We are delighted Alex and Cassie have decided to open a new restaurant at Sunny Bank in the wake of the success of Grumpy’s. Saint Jude is a fantastic addition to our ever-growing community and will be a real asset for everyone who works and visits here. We are proud to be a part of Alex and Cassie’s exciting journey, and Saint Jude is the final part of the jigsaw for this part of the mill.” Yorkshire-based craft brewer Amity Brew Co opened its first brewpub at Sunny Bank Mills in December, signing a ten-year lease following an injection of £50,000 from the Business Enterprise Fund.

Levy UK extends Chelsea FC contract: Levy UK, the sports and hospitality division of Compass Group UK and Ireland, has extended its contract with Chelsea FC as the club’s official catering partner. The deal will see Levy working with the Premier League side until the end of the 2024-25 season. As part of the renewed partnership, Levy UK and Chelsea FC have launched Westview, which follows the refurbishment of the West Stand Upper Concourse and Upper Tier seating and delivers a new matchday experience. The Westview sees the introduction of two new 360-degree bars as well as a new food hall serving an expanded range of food. In addition to providing services at Stamford Bridge, fans watching Chelsea FC Women will also now be able to enjoy Levy’s catering and hospitality at Kingsmeadow. Levy will also continue to offer foodservice to Chelsea FC’s training facility in Surrey, The Chelsea Health Club & Spa, the Under the Bridge music venue, and Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill. Levy and Chelsea FC will build on their food and drink experiences, which just before the pandemic included the launch of the first fully vegan kiosk in the Premier League. 

Bannatyne Group opens third health club in West Yorkshire with Leeds launch: The Bannatyne Group has opened a new gym at Leeds’ Cardigan Fields, replacing a former Virgin Active site. The group, led by former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne, has given the club a complete makeover and plans further investment in the future. The new gear includes state-of-the-art Technogym Skill Line equipment, while a pool, spa bath, sauna, and steam room also feature. This is the company’s second Leeds site following the group’s 2019 purchase of the nearby 18th century Cookridge Hall, also previously owned by Virgin Active among others, in an off-market deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. With a site in Wakefield also in operation, the group now boasts three sites in West Yorkshire. Bannatyne said: “Our new lease on the former Virgin Active club at Cardigan Fields represents a significant investment by the Bannatyne Group and demonstrates our confidence in the vibrant West Yorkshire economy. A combination of attention to detail, regular engagement with members and prudent financial management has ensured we are in a position to resume our ambitious expansion plans.” Earlier this month, Bannatyne promoted Karen Wilkinson, who has been with the business for almost 15 years, to operations director. Wilkinson, who was previously customer experience and spa director, has now taken on responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the group – including hotels, health clubs and spas as well as head office.

Plans submitted to expand Bristol’s Cargo scheme: Plans have been submitted to bring four new restaurants or retail units and a gym to Bristol’s harbourside. Umberslade, the developer behind the mixed-use Wapping Wharf neighbourhood in the city centre, has applied to Bristol City Council for the proposed expansion of Cargo, a network of converted shipping containers housing independent shops and eateries. If approved, the proposal would see the creation of four new units, named “Cargo 3”, between the office of estate agency NEXA and Jubilee House along Museum Street. Wapping Wharf is currently home to more than 40 businesses, with Cargo, supporting about 250 to 300 full and part-time jobs in Bristol’s retail and hospitality sectors. Stuart Hatton, managing director at Umberslade, said: “We have seen huge demand from other independent businesses keen to join the development despite the challenges faced by the hospitality and retail sectors during the pandemic, which is testament to the success of Cargo and its community. Our plans will also help pave the way for the next phase of Wapping Wharf, which, subject to planning consent, will bring much-needed new homes, offices and an exciting new permanent home for Cargo, the next chapter in its story.”

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