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Mon 27th Sep 2021 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

German fast-food to go brand Extrawurst to launch in UK, appoints Sam Shutt as UK CEO: Extrawurst, one of the leading German bratwurst fast-food to go brands, is to launch in the UK, Propel has learned. The brand, which has more than 30 sites in Germany, has appointed Sam Shutt, former Debenhams head of retail hospitality operations, partnerships and business development and Philpotts managing director, to lead its plans to open “hundreds of sites” across the UK in the next three years with a master franchise model. The company said it will enter the UK with three Extrawurst formats. The “Macro” format will be a counter service shop format with a small seating/standing area for high street and shopping centre locations. “Midi” is a relocatable container that can be positioned in retail and industrial parks, food markets and events, while “Micro” is a standardised bicycle, e-bike or tuk-tuk for seasonal events and pop-up venues. The brand will launch in the UK with three shop format units in Birmingham, Nottingham and a West Midlands regional shopping centre in the fourth quarter of this year, which will be operated by the Extrawurst team with a view to roll the model out to franchisees in 2022. Shutt said: “The UK food-to-go market is expected to recover from the pandemic at a faster rate than the total eating-out market so there’s an opportunity for an innovative new offer on the high street, which delivers an exciting range of good value quality food. As a nation we love sausages, they are the perfect food to eat on the go all through the day. We are confident our menu will appeal to consumers and entice them to become Bratwurst enthusiasts.” Christian Leding, managing partner at Extrawurst, added: “We are excited to launch our Bratwurst food-to-go offer to the UK and as we are lucky to have a highly experienced UK partner we are confident it will be a success. We have more than 40-years’ experience building Extrawurst into one of the top five Bratwurst street food concepts in Germany with a proven track record of creating successful franchise partnerships to deliver long-term success for our affiliate teams.” Extrawurst was founded in 1981 by Lothar Hagebaum and now run by his son Kim. The business sells more than 2.5 million sausages a year and has expanded its food-to-go concept to a global audience with sites in Asia, South America and Europe.

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – Cansecco rebrands its award-winning sparkling wine to Canvino as part of relaunch by team at The House of Canvino: After a successful first investment raise this summer, Canvino has now been fully rebranded and a range of new products are in the pipeline for launch early next year. Expansion within the marketing team is also planned with the appointment of a new senior marketing manager to develop and execute “a full 360” trade and consumer campaign for 2022. Launched three years ago by Marc Laventure, Justin James and Miles Nation, Canvino is now widely available through the on-trade wholesale network and distributed by Proof Drinks. Laventure has worked in sales for more than 15 years for both start-up and more established brands including Kopparberg Cider where he started his career in drinks, while James’ and Nation’s backgrounds include running experiential and design/branding agencies Bigger and Nation & James respectively, with clients ranging from Carlsberg, McGuigan Wines and Kopparberg Cider to lifestyle and fashion brands Lacoste and The North Face. A Canvino spokesman said: “The team is focused on gaining distribution points for the whole range including its new products, which should be available to trial pre-Christmas, with full launches planned for spring 2022. If you wish to get in contact to enquire about a listing or samples please do so here or by emailing hello@houseofcanvino.com.” If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Four days to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 74 companies being added: A total of 74 new multi-site companies, operating 418 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, includes international growth concepts making their UK debut, expanding vegan brands, regional coffee operators and a number of brands growing through franchise. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,200-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. 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. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Pitcher – everyone who has survived has upped their game: Revolution Bars Group chief executive Rob Pitcher has said every operator that has survived the pandemic has upped their game, which makes for a “dynamic next four to five years”. The Revolution and Revolución de Cuba operator exited ten sites during the pandemic having gone into covid with 78, and is currently looking at opening a string of new concept venues (see Company News). Speaking on the Raising the Bar panel at Casual Dining 2021, Pitcher said he is seeing a trend for people wanting to come out and enjoy a proper cocktail bar experience. He added: “It's really exciting for us as an industry as everyone who has survived has upped their game, and that makes for a really dynamic next four to five years full of good operators, and we're going to have to fight hard. The way the general public has come back to hospitality has proved our worth, so it's a very exciting time. Trading is fantastic. As soon as restrictions came off, under-25s were making up for lost time, and we've never sold so much of our own flavours. The desire for people who have been making cocktails at home to come out and have a proper cocktail made by a bartender has never been greater. We played around with delivery and that kind of thing, but we're all about creating great experiences in bars.” Pitcher said lenders and shareholders had been supportive through the crisis and “came to the party”. He said: “The only people who didn't were the landlords, who refused to do any kind of a deal, so we exited some sites on the back of that. We went into it with 3,000 employees and exited it with 2,000, and I'm delighted to say we're back up to 3,000. We rode that roller-coaster pretty hard, but through the good grace of our shareholders, we got through it.” The next challenges for Pitcher are two-pronged – getting door staff back to pre-pandemic levels and convincing youngsters that hospitality is a valid career choice. Pitcher's next project is new socialising concept, Playhouse, which is launching in Northampton later this year, with a seaside fairground theme featuring retro games like 2p slots. He added. “The youth of today need entertaining. They can't just go to a bar and have a chat, they need something to do too.”

Locke – end of rent moratorium will change everything: The end of the eviction protection for tenants next year will change the face of hospitality, according to Be At One co-founder and The Breakfast Club interim managing director Steve Locke. The moratorium on landlords evicting commercial tenants, originally extended from June this year, will finish at the end of March. Locke, who also owns the Covent Garden-based bar venture Lockes, said this will be a game-changer in the industry. Locke told the Raise the Bar panel at Casual Dining 2021: “So much property is going to go back to landlords, it's going to change everything. The market will change so much and there will be so much opportunity.” Locke said what he went through in the last year with Lockes, which opened in September 2019, took him back to the “brass tacks”. He said: “We've cut away a lot of fat and got a lot more resilient – we're a lot harder and lot more bullet-proof. It's been a battle, but we're a lot tougher a business than we were a year ago, so I'm actually thankful for it. A lot of people probably packed it in during the pandemic, but we got back to the stage where we're trying to build a business again. Don't get me wrong, opening a bar in the centre of theatreland made for a pretty brutal lockdown – I had a team of 12 and we went down to a team of three. But for me, after selling a business of 33 units to go back to one unit, what's been really telling is how many other people have gone back into their businesses and re-evaluated everything too.” Locke is now looking forward to more building from the bottom – tackling the labour shortage by training up a whole new generation of potential talent, which he feels starts by being honest with recruits about what lies ahead for them in hospitality. He added: “We now live in an age of constant gratification – I want it today and I want it tomorrow – and people we're bringing into the business have that expectation too. You need to be clear with these guys about what it's going to be like from the start. If it's going to be tough, tell them it's not flowery, because if you don't stay good to your word, they will go just like that.”

Potts – we need to listen to our team members and tap into their expertise: The Alchemist chief executive Simon Potts believes the future for hospitality operators lies in listening to their grassroots staff. Potts, who will oversee the opening of the company’s first site in Scotland, in Edinburgh's St James Quarter, next month, said future growth will count for nothing if those working on the ground are ignored. He told the Raise the Bar panel at Casual Dining 2021: “We've started to think about the culture of the business a lot more. We're trying to invoke people who make the business work across the country and give them a voice around important issues like sustainability and diversity. We're trying to tap into some of that knowledge and energy from a group who didn't have a voice prior to the pandemic – we need to take the opportunity we've been given. The turnover rate even with good operators, due to the nature of people we employ, is massive compared with other sectors, so we want to make sure there are pathways for the ones who want to develop. We're getting a lot more interesting ideas by listening to these people – we've got 25-year-old general managers in the business, who know more about the current marketplace than we do. It's having the confidence to listen to these guys and let them take a lead on things, so that ideas are coming from the floor rather than being handed down.” Next month's Edinburgh opening will be The Alchemist's first in a year and a half, but Potts feels the death knell sounded for city centres through lockdowns and work-from-home trends have been somewhat premature. He said. “It's actually a really good time to be operating in city centres, and we've benefited from being a recently-growing business. Lots of relationships we had with key suppliers, contractors and landlords put us on good terms and they were ready to give support and come to some sensible arrangements. I wouldn't want to go through it again, but the lockdowns forced us to deal with situations you wouldn't have to deal with otherwise. It created a resilience in the company, and all the hard work we had done over the previous ten years came home to roost. In the long term, it's created a happier environment for us to trade in. Lots of people have fallen by the wayside but we have endured and become leaner and fitter.”

Findlay – we have learned more about what is and isn’t in our control: Ralph Findlay, the outgoing chief executive of Marston’s, has said one of the learnings from the pandemic is the sector has learned more about “what is and isn’t in our control” and that will govern how operators look to finance their businesses in future. Speaking on Propel’s Friday Wrap series, Findlay said: “One of the key things to come out of the pandemic is learning. One of the positives is to understand what can happen and what is out of your control. The incredible learning for me from the last 18 months is the understanding about what governments can do. I don’t think many of us two years ago would have thought the government could or would shut us down. Most of us have grown up in an era where our freedoms and liberty have been taken for granted and then this happened and bang it was gone like that. We have learned more about what is and isn’t in our control. I think that learning will govern how you look to finance your business in future. Will you be looking at a business and say ‘yes we can tolerate these high levels of leverage and so on because it’s a stable business etc, etc?’. Well, you don’t take that same view when you think the government can do things like it has just done. You are a much more careful person in that regard. It also showed how important pubs are for many different people, yes community pubs, but pubs and bars in city centres as well. Community pubs particularly because I think people missed them enormously and also those pubs contributed to helping out communities when they were closed, such as distributing food. The solidity of pubs and the continuity that they offer has been incredibly valuable.” Findlay said the sector would have not survived without government intervention, but questioned whether it fundamentally understands “the role the industry plays in employment and generating taxes”. Last week, Magners cider-maker C&C Group confirmed the appointment of 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 in July.

William Reed reports conference and exhibitions income down 91%, digital revenue up 42%: The covid pandemic saw turnover at Big Hospitality and MCA publisher William Reed slump by £15m (32%) to £33m in the year to 31 March 2021. Face-to-face revenue generated by conferences and events was down by 91% from £19.5m to £1.7m. Magazine income fell from £9.6m to £6.1m. However, high margin digital income rose by 42% from £15.06m in 2020 to £21.3m. The company stated: “The decline in magazine revenues (37%) reflected significant structural change as several magazines were either closed or moved to a reduced frequency. In the context of this drop in revenue, operating profit of £3.3m (2020: £4.1m) and Ebitda of £4.5m (2020: £5.7m) performed strongly as they only declined by 18% and 21% respectively – due to significant cost savings in direct costs, employment costs (including £700,000 of furlough income) and other discretionary costs and the benefit of moving to higher margin digital revenues. As a result operating profit margin grew by two percentage points to 10% and Ebitda margin grew by two percentage points to 14%.” Profit before tax was £3,341,000 compared with £4,065,000 the year before. The number of staff employed by the company went down by 51 to 345 in 2021. A dividend of £358,000 was paid, the same figure as the year before. The Morning Advertiser saw turnover reduce to £1,289,000 compared with £3,309,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit for the year was £48,000 compared with £602,000 the year before. William Reed International, which runs international conferences in Asia, Latin America and Europe, saw turnover of £2,560,000, down from £3,881,000 the year before. It made a loss of £213,000 compared with a profit before tax of £994,000 the year before. 

BBPA – cask beer sales down by 76 million pints since reopening costing pubs and brewers £243m: Sales of cask beer in pubs are down 40% since pubs reopened in April – a total of 76 million pints, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). From April to July, the latest sales data the BBPA has, 113 million pints of cask beer were sold in pubs. During the same period in 2019 and before the pandemic, 189 million pints were sold. It means a loss in revenue to pubs and brewers from cask beer of £243m in the last four months alone due to the plight of cask, accelerated by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, sales of cask ale had already been declining. From 2014 to 2019, sales fell by 17%. From 2009 to 2014, sales of cask decreased by just 0.8%. However, the decrease in sales of cask beer by 40% since April 2021 is by far the biggest decline for the category on record and indicates an accelerated decline in its plight through covid and beyond. The BBPA said given the inextricable link between cask ale and pubs, the plight of cask ale is a real concern and is urging people to support it by getting behind Cask Ale Week, which runs until Sunday, 3 October. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Pubs are the home of cask beer so if sales of it are declining then it means the viability of our pubs are reducing too.” St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel added: “The uncertainty of covid, lockdowns and restrictions has meant less pubs serving cask because it is a live product and has shorter shelf life. Likewise, it has meant the spontaneity of going to the pub for a pint – the core cask ale drinker occasion – has diminished.”

British Takeaway Campaign sets out five-point plan for sector’s recovery as it warns people could end up forking out extra £2bn for food: The British Takeaway Campaign has set out its five-point plan for the sector’s recovery as it warned Brits could end up forking out an extra £2bn for their takeaways unless VAT is frozen and vital support is given to the industry. VAT on hospitality is set to increase to 12.5% in October, and then raise again to 20% in March next year. But as chronic labour shortages and post-Brexit challenges on imports continue, the trade body said restaurants will have to pass on those costs to the consumer, or risk closing and axing jobs. Total spending on takeaways in 2020 was £15.1bn, but if VAT increases and nothing is done to help the sector deal with its ongoing challenges, this could rise by more than £2bn, the trade body said. In a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, the group has urged the government to scrap the VAT increase in March 2022 and freeze VAT at 12.5% permanently; extend business rates relief until the end of 2022; introduce a “Commonwealth Common Good” visa to plug the gap in the labour market; extend grants into 2022 and extend the Kickstart scheme. British Takeaway Campaign chairman Ibrahim Dogus said: “Takeaway restaurants added £7.2bn in value to the UK economy in 2020. Raising VAT while thousands of them struggle to get the ingredients they need and can barely find the staff to work in their kitchen is a real kick in the teeth. The government must use the upcoming Budget to protect our restaurants, not slap them down with costs they can’t afford. Without support, restaurants will be forced to pass the costs on to the consumer if they want to survive.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is supporting a growing leisure business as it looks to appoint a finance director. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This business is currently focusing on the London region so the ideal finance director will be based in or near the capital. They will need to ensure the business is supported on all financial matters and all financial and tax obligations are met. They will take the lead on driving the annual budgeting process, including profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow and ensuring accurate management information is delivered on a timely basis. They will have the opportunity to work closely with the managing director to support the overall business planning and the development of future growth. The incoming finance director will need to be fully qualified (ACA, ACCA, CIMA) and will be offered between £90,000 and £100,000 base salary.” Anyone interested can email Oliwia@corecruitment.com 

Company News: 

Jayawickrema – we have been able to adapt to socio-economic changes, still keen on international expansion: Ajith Jayawickrema, founder of Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay, has said the business has been able to adapt to socio-economic changes, moving away from a reliance on trade and embracing social media. He told the Raise the Bar panel at Casual Dining 2021: “The fundamentals haven't changed, but what we have learned quickly is we have to replace night-time spots with daytime spots as a lot of modern people have decided to go out during the day and drink a lot. If you go back to 2015, 40% of our customers were over 45, but the over-45s have declined and been replaced by a generation of under-25s. This has been done by introducing offers and assessing our marketing, and so instead of talking to our audience on Facebook we started talking to them on TikTok, and last time I looked we had four million followers.” Jayawickrema, who laid off only 12 people during the pandemic and has since employed 400 more, admitted delivery “wasn't a huge success” – saying a huge part of their food culture is the socialising aspect – and takeaway remains only as a small part of his business. The Sri Lankan-born boss also called for more diversity in the boardrooms of the industry, saying it's something a new generation of consumers are much more wary of. He said: “If you look at the senior managers in the industry, younger millennials are far more conscious about the people they want to work with and work for. We're more behind in this than other industries.” He also insisted he hasn't abandoned plans to take the brand overseas, but they will remain on hold for now. He said he has shelved plans for expansion into the US and closed two sites in Germany. He said: “We looked at the US and other territories before this happened, which is very much something we want to get back into in the coming years, but for now we're concentrating on getting back up to speed and focusing on the UK, which still has great growth potential. We're experimenting with having two sites in some towns like Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool – maybe even three or four without cannibalising. During the pandemic we saw a localisation where people were working from home, not going into the cities and socialising locally, so there is a lot more potential in the UK.”

Revolution Bars Group launches ‘community market’ concept Founders & Co: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of 65 premium bars, has launched its new “community market” concept, Founders & Co, in Swansea. Launched on the former Revolution site in the city’s Wind Street, the concept features a “mix of independent food vendors, makers, sellers, and creators”. The line-up so far includes a mix of local food vendors made up of Bangin’ Burger, Tokyo Nights, Tukka Tuk, Dusty’s Pizza, The Little Man Coffee Company and Chilled & Tannin. Talking about the concept, Adam Cousins, operations and creative lead at Revolution Bars Group, told Wales Online: “Founders & Co will bring a unique concept to the city of Swansea. In line with the vision for the local area, we’re collating a diverse mix of creative talent from across South Wales. We’re creating a social hub where there’s always something going on. Importantly too, a big part of Founders & Co is also about supporting local entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses.” Earlier this month, Propel revealed the Rob Pitcher-led company would launch its new competitive socialising concept Playhouse this autumn, in Northampton. In April, the business said it planned to launch an experiential seaside fairground-inspired bar with pizza offer and a “community hub for entrepreneurs” with plans to grow the concepts alongside its two core brands – Revolution and Revolución de Cuba. 

The Real Greek to replace Wahaca in Manchester: Fulham Shore-owned The Real Greek is set to make its debut in the north west, in Manchester’s Corn Exchange. The company is understood to have applied to open in the former Wahaca site in the scheme, which closed last year. Earlier this summer, The Real Greek opened its 20th site, in Norwich’s in Chantry Place, on a former Giraffe site. Last month, Fulham Shore said from its current base it had identified 30 more sites for The Real Greek and more than 125 additional locations for sister brand Franco Manca. This will bring its total estate to more than 230 restaurants. Propel understands Fulham Shore is also in talks on a site for The Real Greek in Bluewater. 

200 Degrees opens at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in York for 15th coffee shop: Nottingham-based coffee roaster 200 Degrees has opened its 15th site, at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in York. It marks the second coffee shop in the city following a launch in Low Petergate last month and the third venue with McArthurGlen. The new shop, located next to the southern entrance to the outlet, features a purpose-built space to showcase 200 Degrees’ selection of home brew equipment and range of espresso machines. Managing director Tom Vincent said: “We’re looking forward to continuing our strong partnership with McArthurGlen and expanding our presence in the York area.” 200 Degrees was set up by Vincent and his business partner Rob Darby in 2012 and as well as its coffee shops, the business operates its roast house near Trent Bridge in Nottingham. The company has opened four new shops in 2021 and plans further expansion in 2022.

Jollibee secures Edinburgh site: Jollibee, the Philippines fast food group, has continued to build its UK openings pipeline, after securing a site in Edinburgh. The company will open at 136 Princes Street, located between McDonald's and Pret A Manger and formerly occupied by Santander UK, in the Scottish capital. Jollibee agreed a new 20-year lease subject to five-yearly, upward-only, rent reviews on the site. Earlier this month, Propel revealed Jollibee had lined up the former Burger King site in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, for a further opening in Scotland. Jollibee, which operates about 1,200 sites worldwide, plans to be in “every major city in the UK”, and is planning a further 15 to 20 openings here next year. The brand, which plans to open ten new sites in 2021 and recently opened its seventh UK site, in Reading, has openings lined up in Newcastle and Nottingham. Earlier this year, the company said it would invest £30m to open 50 sites in the UK by 2025. The business expects to invest almost £1m per site. GCW Property Consultants acted for the landlord on the Edinburgh deal, while William Nelson act for Jollibee.

Wolfox to make London debut: Brighton-based coffee shop and bakery concept Wolfox is to make its London debut, Propel has learned. Wolfox, which operates five sites, has secured the former Little Kolkata premises in Shelton Street, Covent Garden. The 2,000 square foot space will offer an all-day brunch menu with coffee, supplemented by its own organic roasted coffee beans and coffee tasting experiences. In the evenings the cafe will transform into a wine bar, serving small sharing plates alongside a broad selection of natural wine and craft beer. Owner Fabio Lauro said: “We are really looking forward to being in London, especially in Covent Garden. We plan to bring our own south coast roasted coffee to the local area, along with some seasonal plates and cocktails for the late-night crowd. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring our vision to life in this vibrant spot.” Wolfox operates three sites in Brighton as well an outlet in each of Haywards Heath and Leeds. Cafe Ventures acted for Fabio Lauro and the Wolfox team, with Shelley Sandzer acting for the previous tenant. 

Lytham Brewery founders launch restaurant in Kirkham: Lytham Brewery founders Andrew and James Booker have opened a new restaurant in Kirkham, Lancashire. The 44-cover The Old Bank in Poulton Street has launched following the conversion of the former Midland/HSBC bank premises. The restaurant features two kitchens, one housed inside the former bank’s safe. The father-and-son team also operate the Tap and Vent brewhouse in Poulton Street, which opened three years ago. Andrew, who previously ran Hastings restaurant in Lytham, said: “Our plans for the restaurant were in place before the pandemic. We identified Kirkham was crying out for dining out establishments. I think it’s very exciting times for Kirkham – there is a real sense that the town is on the up.”

Kerb becomes The National Theatre’s official catering and hospitality partner: Street food collective Kerb has been selected by The National Theatre as its official catering and hospitality partner. Kerb will work with The National Theatre to deliver catering and hospitality throughout its spaces and restaurants. Kerb said the “long-term” partnership will see a range of foodservice outlets – from early-stage food businesses to more established London restaurateurs – providing a variety of options for visitors to the theatre on London’s South Bank. The transformation of the National Theatre’s food and drink spaces will take place over the next two years, beginning with the riverside cafes and The Understudy bar. Operational expertise comes from Levy, the sports and hospitality sector of Compass Group UK and Ireland, which Kerb joined forces with on the events arm of its business, Kerb Events, earlier this year as part of the company’s wider goals to bring independent food into larger and more varied spaces around the UK. Kerb founder Petra Barran said: “Since day one, Kerb has served to liven up the spaces between the buildings with brilliant food served by talented entrepreneurs to curious Londoners. Now, as the National Theatre looks to open up more of itself to a wider audience, for us to be invited inside to do what we do is a major step forward for independent food in the capital. This would never have been conceivable a few years ago.”

Transition appoints Paul Pavli as non-executive chairman: Transition, the leadership and behavioural development company, has appointed Paul Pavli as non-executive chairman. Pavli, who is former managing director of Punch, said: “I have been intrigued and impressed to see Transition’s focus on the importance of behavioural skills as a crucial element of commercial success and the way that is making a performance step-change for individuals.” Transition co-founder Nick Bish added: “We have grown exponentially in the past 18 months with bespoke programmes for an impressive list of companies. Paul brings his extensive experience of successfully growing and leading one of the UK’s largest pub companies. He not only understands our values but is brilliantly equipped to help guide the business as it grows.” Transition currently runs the multi-site leaders programme and a host of bespoke programmes for its broad range of hospitality and leisure customers. 

York-based burger restaurant The Confessional and Cakeaway open sites at Bolton retail park: York-based burger restaurant The Confessional and dessert takeaway brand Cakeaway have opened sites at the Middlebrook Retail & Leisure Park in Bolton. Described as a “burger joint with a church-inspired twist”, The Confessional has taken 3,000 square foot at the scheme, creating 20 jobs. It brings its fast food offer, including the Apocalypse and Damnation burgers, to a new Bolton “congregation” and marks the concept’s second site. Cakeaway – which offers celebration cakes, gift cakes, platters and seasonal sweet treats, all to take away – has taken 1,000 square foot. Meanwhile, The Restaurant Group-owned Chiquito and Bella Italia, The Big Table Group-owned brand, have taken new leases at their 4,000 and 3,819 square foot sites respectively. Mark Hanna, senior retail leasing surveyor at Orbit Developments, which owns the retail park, said: “There has been significant interest in restaurant unit lettings again as we have started to emerge from the pandemic. It’s been a turbulent time for the sector and the wider retail market as a whole and we have worked hard to assist and accommodate businesses wherever we can.”
 
McMullen opens Tower Hill pub: Hertfordshire brewer and retailer McMullen has opened a new pub near the Tower of London. As previously revealed by Propel, McMullen, which reopened the Kings Arms in Fitzrovia this summer, has launched the Traitors Gate on the former Brasserie Blanc site in Trinity Square, Tower Hill. The site is behind the Liberty Bounds, which the company also owns, but there is a lease in place on the site to JD Wetherspoon. The Traitors Gate is a “traditional London pub with a McMullen’s twist”, trading across two floors. In June, McMullen said it was set to open six more sites over the next year, including an ex-JD Wetherspoon in Whitehall. The Horse & Guardsman, which will open in November, will be a “premium bar serving traditional British classic food”. McMullen is also set to open pubs in St Andrews Street in Cambridge, and in St Albans. It is also planning new-build sites at Campbell Wharf marina in Milton Keynes and in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. The company said it continues to seek “good-quality” freehold and long leasehold property in London and the south east.

Chaiiwala opens in Bristol: An Indian street food brand that has more than 40 branches across the UK, the vast majority franchised, has opened a restaurant in Bristol. Chaiiwala started in Delhi in 1927 before branching out into the UK with an opening in Leicester four years ago. Chaiiwala means someone who prepares, sells and serves chai tea at small roadside stalls in the Indian subcontinent. The new Bristol branch is located in Stapleton Road at the site of the former job centre. Awais Tahir, Chaiiwala franchise owner for the south west and South Wales region, told Bristol Live he has plans to open more branches across the region. In addition to his Cardiff branch and new Bristol outlet, he is looking into the possibility of opening another cafe in Clifton. Tahir describes Chaiiwala as an “Indian version of Starbucks, if not better”. Chaiiwala’s menu includes an all-day desi breakfast with an omelette, spicy beans or dal, roti and chai, alongside dishes such as chilli paneer, butter chicken roti, pav bhaji and mogo chips. The company forecasts 188 locations before the end of 2023, creating an average of 1,200 jobs per year. 

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