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Wed 3rd Nov 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Brakspear to rename managed estate Honeycomb Houses, plans acquisitions: Henley-based pub operator Brakspear is to expand its managed estate through acquisitions after renaming the division Honeycomb Houses. The company’s managed division was founded in 2013 with the opening of The Bull on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames. The latest purchase, in March 2020, was the Egypt Mill, a pub-restaurant with rooms and a weddings business near Stroud, and the estate now numbers nine sites dotted across the Cotswolds and south east. Underpinning the Honeycomb Houses branding is a new ethos: ‘Our House, Your Home’. The Brakspear name will still appear on pub buildings, while the new Honeycomb Houses identity – a honeycomb cell with the bee symbol of the parent company – appears on other exterior and interior signage, menus and team uniforms. At the same time, Brakspear said it has refocused the criteria for its managed estate and is actively looking for new pubs that meet the brief: larger sites in rural locations and market towns in the south east and Cotswolds with a strong food trade, event space and, ideally, bedrooms. In redefining the Honeycomb Houses positioning, Brakspear has identified three pubs, described as ‘community locals’, which will transfer into its tenanted business: The Retreat in Staines, The Dog & Duck in Wokingham and the Golden Ball near Maidenhead. Tenants are being sought for all three pubs. Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive said: “Honeycomb Houses is a strong identity which brings our managed pubs together, while retaining the links to Brakspear as a family-run business, steeped in centuries of brewing and pub tradition. We’ve had nothing but positive responses from guests and from the pub teams, who will be living and breathing the ‘Our House, Your Home’ ethos and turning it into memorable guest experiences. In designing the Honeycomb Houses identity, we had to define what the brand stood for, and it became evident that three pubs weren’t a perfect fit for the new proposition. Going forward, we are completely clear about the type of pub we want in Honeycomb Houses and have ambitions to expand through acquisition – with the funds ready to buy the right sites.” Davies told Propel there was no target number for how many managed sites the business would look to expand to, but would focus on securing “quality freehold assets”. He said: “I would rather wait for the right site, like the Egypt Mill, then acquire five lesser pubs quickly. It is a very competitive market in very competitive locations, but we believe we have the right patient approach and backing to be able to take our time and look at longer-term, less obvious opportunities.” He revealed that trading since reopening had been good but not yet up to 2019 levels, with drinks-led business still finding it challenging, and added that pre-booking levels for the Christmas trading period have been “reasonable”, although he felt some people “were still being cautious and sitting on their hands”.

Industry News:

Two days to go before fourth edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details of 306 new sites, 15,000-word report included: The fourth edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, will show the details of 306 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (5 November), at midday. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site, or its plans to open one in the future, and will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There will also be a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. Published monthly, this fourth edition of the database features several international growth brands making their UK debut, new and expanding luxury leisure concepts and regional brands in growth. For the first time, Premium subscribers will this month also receive a 15,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers last Friday (29 October). The database contained 66 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,152. The 446 sites run by those 66 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 61,740 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 5,000-word report on the new businesses added. The go-to database provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Premium subscribers also receive the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews, and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. To subscribe, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Turkey availability will be ‘tight’ in the run up to Christmas: Hospitality operators have been warned that turkey will be available in the UK but “tight in terms of supply” in the run up to Christmas. The warning came in catering butcher Birtwistles’ November market report, which summarises global meat supply issues. In terms of turkey crowns and breasts, the report stated: “UK product will be available but will be tight in terms of supply, and lead times could be up to one week in advance. Pricing is still yet to be confirmed.” Acute labour shortages have been affecting the beef market and demand is outstripping supply. “Prime cattle prices have faced some pressure,” the report stated. “In general, supply remains tight with fewer animals on the ground.” In the week ending 16 October, the British all prime average cattle price stood at 407.7p per kilogramme, down 0.8p week-on-week. Despite having dropped 2.5p in the past three weeks, the measure stands 40p above year-earlier levels. As far as lamb goes, arrivals from New Zealand will not appear until January, keeping UK prices high. Prices have remained at an unusually high level, and with a smaller lamb crop in England, these are expected to continue. Imported boneless leg lambs have been quoted as upwards of £10 per kilogramme. For pork, the standard pig price for the week ending 16 October dropped back to 146.35p per kilogramme, which was 4.66p less than a week earlier and about 6p lower than the five-year average for the time of year. “Live pig supplies continue to outstrip available processing capacity,” the report stated: “As with lamb products that have been under pressure, is it time to be innovative and look at what can be done with what’s available?” Chicken thighs and wing supplies also remain challenging due to labour constraints, but UK prices are remaining firm, with further upticks expected in the coming month. 

Former Wadworth CEO Chris Welham joins S4labour: Chris Welham has joined the senior management team at S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. Welham has more than 25 years’ hospitality experience having previously been chief executive of Wadworth, divisional managing director at Spirit and operations director at Greene King. He said: “S4labour is a business with a very real people culture and a strong customer focus. I’m passionate about pubs and hospitality, and the S4labour system provides a fantastic vehicle for operators to make even better decisions about how they run their businesses. The growth ambitions of the company are clear, and it is an exciting time to come on board.” S4labour founder Alastair Scott added: “We are really pleased Chris has joined the company and we look forward to him helping us to further develop the business.”

Night-time industry calls for Home Office enquiry into drink spiking: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is calling for the Home Office to carry out a full inquiry into “drink spiking”. It hopes an inquiry will allow people to understand the breadth of the issue and consider the key characteristics of these crimes, from historical reporting and evidence. This will include who is being targeted and the settings these crimes take place within, as well as toxicology details to collectively stamp spiking out. NITA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The NTIA are concerned about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety. We have publicly called for an inquiry by the Home Office into this issue so we can gain some clarity on the scope and gravity of the situation. Operators across the country have been working with the police, local authorities and key stakeholders, focusing on safeguarding customers, particularly women, at night. There is a lot that we, as a sector, are already doing to try to tackle drink spiking, and we take our responsibility very seriously.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a national branded restaurant operator with several sites across the UK. The business is expanding and reenergising its venues and is looking to appoint an area manager, based in Kent, and looking to pay between £55,000 and £62,000 plus benefits. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This is a challenging but exciting time to join the business, which operates quality retail, restaurant and pub businesses. The area management role will oversee ten to 15 sites and will take full accountability for the group will supporting each venue’s general manager to grow and perform. The role would suit a hospitality expert who loves growing and leading a team and is committed to great service. Ideally, they will have at least three years’ experience at senior management level within a similar business.” Anyone interested can email stuart@corecruitment.com with their CV.

Company News:

Eckbert – the diversity of our consumer base provides Five Guys with further growth opportunities: John Eckbert, chief executive of Fiver Guys UK, has told Propel that the diversity of the better burger brand’s consumer base provides it with further growth opportunities, and that the 126-strong business has “a clear shot to 250-300 stores” here. Eckbert revealed the business will open 27 sites in the UK this year, with 11 of those set to open by the end of 2011. He said: “I can remember looking back five years ago, when we had half as many sites that we have now, and looking at where we were going next, and we had a list of about 75 locations we could go to, which would take us to 150 sites. I just sat down with my property team, and we have 85 targets now. What’s the optimum build out for the UK? We have a clear shot to 250-300 stores. But by the time we get to 250, maybe I will still have my 85-strong target list. You can only see ahead so far. Up to this point we have opened 16 stores this year. On average, we always work to a three-and-a-half-year payback to make sure we feel that the store is going to earn back its money. We put an average weekly sales figure in. For those openings this year, the variance has been more than the average weekly sales. So, we have more than doubled the average weekly sales of those 16 new store openings this year. Part of that might be pandemic driven, so you have to leave some leeway to say there is some settling down to come here, but it is encouraging.” Eckbert insists the Sir Charles Dunstone-backed business had gone back to look at its consumer demographics and found that “they are a lot more diverse than we thought”. He added: “Because it is a more expensive product, we always feared that we had a more affluent-driven consumer base, but that didn’t intuitively match because you go into a Five Guys and see one of the greatest melting pots you can get in Great Britain. You’ll see people in suits, you’ll see mums out with their kids, you’ll see families, tourists, construction workers – any kind of walk of life comes into a Five Guys, and the demographic research backs that up. I love that that is true. It also continues to open up more opportunities, and therefore allows us to grow further.” The brand recently opened in London’s Brixton and Liverpool Street and a second site in Bristol. It has further openings lined up in St Albans, Castleford, Walton-on-Thames, Bournemouth, Northampton and Trafford Retail Park. 

Thai Leisure Group curtails expansion ambitions, in discussions with banking partner: Thai Leisure Group, operator of Thaikhun and Chaophraya, is curtailing its expansion ambitions and will instead focus, in the medium term, on refreshing its existing estate. In the group’s latest company accounts, the business, which underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last summer, said: “Initial trading results from mid-April 2021 are promising, with revenue and profitability significantly above 2019 levels. As a result, the company is heading into winter 2021 with a strong cash position and high expectations for trading in the final quarter of the year. Following this strong trading performance, the company is in discussions with the bank to renegotiate the banking covenants to allow for investment to be made into the core estate to further enhance the revenues and profitability of some of its key sites.” The company said negotiations with its banking partner, together with maintained cost-saving initiatives and its CVA-negotiated reduced fixed cost base, should allow it to return to some level of normality into 2021/22. It added: “The directors remain confident that, provided there are no further restrictions, the company is well placed to consolidate in the short term. The company has curtailed its expansion ambitions and will instead focus, in the medium term, on refreshing the existing estate and refocus the business behind its two market-leading brands, Chaophraya and Thaikhun.” In September, the 19-strong company opened a next generation format for Thaikhun in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

Burger King to launch interactive children’s meal trays using saved plastic: Burger King UK, the Bridgepoint-backed chain, is to launch interactive children’s meal trays using the plastic saved from the toys removed from its King Junior Meals, Propel has learned. The new trays will be initially trialled in the brand’s site in Glasgow’s Springfield Quay this week to mark the UN climate change conference, COP26. The trays will then be rolled out nationwide in the coming months. Nicola Pierce, director of commercial planning and environmental, social and corporate governance at Burger King UK, told Propel: “Burger King for Good is a core pillar of our business strategy, and even as the business has navigated the wider challenges facing the sector over the last two years, this has remained the case. We recognise sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have. We measured our carbon emissions baseline and set reduction targets across all three scopes, which have been approved by the science-based targets initiative. As part of our commitment to reducing our emissions, we have been working hard to develop our plant-based menu offer, ensuring these menu items offer our customers a great taste experience. We launched the Plant-based Whopper and Vegan Royale in April 2021. We have also been continuing to work on our packaging and plastics commitments.” On whether the business can measure its actions around sustainability on the bottom line, Pierce added: “There are a number of initiatives where we can easily see the benefits in terms of both sustainability and cost savings, such as the installation of LED light bulbs. This has made a saving of 1.2 m kilowatt hours of electricity, equating to more than 300 tonnes of carbon emissions across our estate.”

Hawthorn CFO to step down: Matt Ward is to step down as chief financial officer of community pub company Hawthorn, Propel has learned. Ward, who joined Hawthorn in April 2016, will leave the business on 31 January. Ward played a key role in the sale of Hawthorn to NewRiver in May 2018 and, subsequently, the decision to explore an initial public offering, which culminated in Hawthorn being sold to Admiral Taverns in August for £222.3m. His role will now be absorbed into Admiral’s existing operations. Ward said: “My time with Hawthorn has been one of the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling periods of my career, and we have built a highly successful and reputable pub business. The amount of progress made in such a short period of time has been immense, and this has been down to the talent and dedication of our team. I will look back at my time with Hawthorn with pride and wish Chris [Jowsey] and the team at Admiral all the very best as they lead the business into its next chapter.” Mark Davies, former chief executive of Hawthorn, added: “During our time working together, Matt has achieved so much. Alongside helping create the seventh-largest leased and tenanted pub company, Matt has played a key role in helping grow the business, build a brilliant team, in several corporate transactions and integrations, in preparing Hawthorn for initial public offering and helping deliver a very successful outcome on the sale to Admiral.”

King – Manzi’s should finally open next year, other projects to resume, Wolesley rent dispute resolved: Corbin & King co-founder Jeremy King hopes to finally open his long-awaited Soho seafood restaurant Manzi’s next year. The venue was due to open late last year but had to be mothballed as the group focused on “the need to be prudent and ensure trading is secure for the foreseeable future”. The project is three-quarters finished but still requires significant investment to bring it to completion. King said: “Many of you are asking what is happening about Manzi’s, and in truth, it is a question that we have also been asking of our investors for some time. The situation is that while we retain full control over all policy and operational decisions regarding Corbin & King, the one area where I need to defer is capital investment – it is only proper that backers have the say. The problem there was a differing view between us during the pandemic of the best way forward and what the outlook for London would be – and that held us back because there remains a substantial cash outlay needed, and we had to be prudent with our available cash. We therefore agreed to stall the development until greater certainty achieved. That seems to be swiftly coming over the horizon, so we should be back on site in the new year, and then it won’t take long to finish.” King also expects to see progress in the new year on two other stalled projects – a large brasserie in the City of London’s King William Street and a community restaurant in Notting Hill. He said: “As you can imagine, the development of our Notting Hill and City sites had to also be put on hold for the same prudential reasons, but the new year will be a hive of activity as all these projects crank up. They are designed and ready for tender.” King also insists that the company will not be evicted over a rent dispute from The Wolseley, its iconic Mayfair restaurant which it has aspirations to roll-out into every major capital city in the world. “There has been a great deal of comment and many a question about the threatened eviction of The Wolseley,” King added. “I just want to reassure you that this is not a reality. I am happy to report that we are now in more productive and cordial discussions with the landlord and hope to resolve soon.”

Jamie Barber and Myleene Klass launch new at-home meal kit project: Jamie Barber, founder and chief executive of Hache and Cabana, has teamed up with TV presenter Myleene Klass to launch My Supper Hero, a new finish-at-home meal kit venture. A pilot of the new scheme, which Barber and Klass have invested in, has been launched across 200 homes in London but is set to spread across the capital, with the business also planning to go national. Barber said: “We started talking about My Supper Hero in November 2020, nine months of lockdown had given us both extreme kitchen fatigue. It wasn’t just the cooking that was wearing us down, it was the prospect of having to plan what to cook day upon day and then having to shop for the ingredients. Even then, all the peeling, chopping, cooking and washing up was dominating our evenings, when we’d have much preferred to be chilling out watching Netflix with our families. The prospect of ordering uninspiring takeaways just did not appeal, which got us thinking, ‘there has to be a better way’. We had both tried various recipe boxes but the recipes were all quite basic and the preparation was messy, boring and time consuming. We felt uncomfortable not knowing where the ingredients came from, and don’t get us started on the packaging—one box came with 20 items of plastic! The more Myleene and I talked about it, the more we knew we wanted to not only give people amazing food, but also the time to enjoy it. We wanted to do it in a way that positively impacts both our communities and the planet, and so My Supper Hero was born.”

Gaucho to open Scotland’s first carbon-free steak restaurant next year, launches Sustainable Steak Movement: Rare Restaurants-owned Gaucho will open Scotland’s first carbon-free steak restaurant in Glasgow, which is currently hosting COP26, in February next year. The Argentinian steak brand, which opened its first restaurant in London in 1994, is also launching the Sustainable Steak Movement, encouraging other steak restaurants to sign up to a manifesto aligned with the “Net Zero Now” initiative. The Glasgow restaurant, which will be in the former Benihana site in West Nile Street, will be the brand’s 17th, having also expanded to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. The 120-cover venue will serve Gaucho’s Argentine beef, which comes from cattle that has roamed in vast pastures at specially selected farms, which focus on techniques to reduce methane and greenhouse gasses at source. Gaucho also further offsets carbon emissions through a reforestation programme in the Amazon with charity partner Not For Sale, which rescues victims from the threat of modern-day slavery. Rare Restaurants and Gaucho founder Martin Williams said: “Glasgow is the perfect location for our first new Gaucho restaurant since 2016 for many reasons, none less than it being the home city of COP26. I am delighted to announce our second carbon free beef restaurant, and all our future openings will serve only carbon neutral beef. As of January 2022, all our restaurants will boast a carbon neutral steak and wine offering too, which sits alongside our zero-food waste and green energy policies. We created the Sustainable Steak Movement to highlight steak restaurants whose beef offering comes from sustainable farms, who have reduced methane and greenhouse gasses at source and committed to calculate and offset any carbon emission. I hope many restaurant groups join us in this undertaking.” Rare Restaurants also operates two M Restaurants sites in London, with a third to follow next spring, in Canary Wharf.

Popeyes to use UK market to launch first vegan product: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service restaurant brand, is to use the UK market to launch its first vegan product. The Creole Red Bean Sandwich will feature a 100% plant-based red bean patty with lettuce, tomato and Creole sauce in a soft brioche bun. It comes as Popeyes unveils its UK menu after confirming its debut site in Britain, at Westfield Stratford, will open on 20 November. The menu also includes its famous Chicken Sandwich, southern biscuits and gravy and hand-battered chicken, marinated for 12 hours in a blend of Louisianan herbs and spices inspired by its heritage. As Popeyes gears up for its UK launch, it has also signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, which holds its signatories accountable to stringent welfare, food quality and sustainability standards. The UK represents the brand’s 11th country in the EMEA region, which already has more than 350 Popeyes restaurants. Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes has 3,400 restaurants across 25 countries. The brand announced plans in April to enter the UK this year, with the goal of opening 350 new restaurants in Britain over the next ten years. It is believed to be eyeing an opening in Croydon, opposite fellow US brand Wendy’s, in the town’s George Street.

Hawksmoor to become carbon neutral in 2022: Graphite Capital-backed steakhouse concept Hawksmoor has announced it is minimising and offsetting its carbon footprint to become carbon neutral in 2022. The company also said it has signed up to the UN’s “Race to Zero” initiative, with a goal to become a “net zero company” by 2030. Co-founder Will Becket said: “Since we first started Hawksmoor, we wanted to do things the right way. As our ambitions have grown, we’ve focused on building a restaurant company with real integrity, to show you can be successful while prioritising the things you care about most. For us, that has always included championing regenerative agriculture and proper management of pastureland that offsets and removes carbon from the atmosphere, sustainable fishing practices and local, seasonal sourcing. Hawksmoor has just been awarded a maximum three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association for the 12th consecutive year. This year we switched the entire company over to green energy, reducing our footprint by the equivalent of taking 103 cars off the road, planting 8,000 trees or switching 18,000 light bulbs to LED. This year we’ve put 100 of our managers through carbon literacy training and we’re setting up green teams in the restaurants so all staff can get even more involved in cutting emissions, waste and food waste and constantly making improvements – big and small – across the company and the supply chain. We want a business we can be proud of – whether that’s making sure the food we serve is as good as possible, that the animals lived a decent life, or that everyone who works with us enjoys what they do.”

Redhouse Pubs strengthens portfolio with Enfield site: London-based Redhouse Pubs Group has secured the lease on The Rose & Crown in Enfield, owned by Star Pubs & Bars. The two companies will now invest £350,000 into refurbishing the grade II-listed pub, which dates to 1716 and is believed to have once been run by Dick Turpin’s grandparents. This will include adding an 80-seater alfresco terrace overlooking adjoining woodland, with covered and heated space for 24 people. Head chef Allan Herrick, who has previously worked at Michelin-starred establishments including Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, will develop the menu to focus on pub classics as well as rotating à la carte specials. This is Redhouse’s first substantive lease with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, bringing its portfolio to 19 pubs – ten free trade and nine tied – with more ventures possible. Redhouse’s head of operations, Brian Coughlan, said: “We have a great free trade relationship with Heineken stretching back many years, and it’s good to be building on that by working with Star. They’ve got the same family ethos and look after their licensees well. I can tell instantly whether a pub will work for us, and I got that feeling when I walked into The Rose & Crown. Our expansion will be driven by the availability of the right pubs in the right locations – we’re in no rush to grow or to hit a certain target.” Star Pubs & Bars’ operations director, Tim Galligan, added: “We’re delighted to be investing with Redhouse Pubs Group, they’ve got an excellent reputation and a proven track record of developing great pub businesses.”

Hero Brands appoints new recruitment head to lead growth: Hero Brands, which operates German Doner Kebab, Island Poké and healthy eating restaurant Choppaluna, has appointed Jon Cullen as chief development and recruitment officer to spearhead the growth of its portfolio. Cullen is promoted to the role from his current position at German Doner Kebab, where he is group franchise recruitment and development director. His promotion follows the appointment of both Christian Bradford and Steve Turner as international development directors for Hero Brands’ food and beverage division. German Doner Kebab is forging ahead with expansion plans in the UK and throughout the globe, with 700 franchises already signed up to its global growth strategy, while Choppaluna has opened locations in London and Berlin in the past 12 months. Hero Brands also recently brought Island Poké into its fast-casual portfolio. Cullen has spent much of the past 15 years working with international brands coming into the UK market to find master and area development franchisees and distribution partners for Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and the USA. Hero Brands group chief executive Imran Sayeed said: “Jon has been a key figure in establishing German Doner Kebab as the fast-casual brand of the future. His experience has been invaluable in developing our partnership strategy, and we are excited for him to move into this new role that will lead the growth of our game-changing brand portfolio.”

Puttshack signs on St Louis site: Indoor mini golf experience Puttshack, which earlier this spring completed a growth capital round of $60m (£43.2m) led by Promethean Investments, has further added to its US openings pipeline after securing a site in Missouri. The company has signed a new lease in St Louis’ City Foundry, a 15-acre complex previously home to Century Electric, the city’s long-standing manufacturing plant. The site is expected to open in Q3 2022. Puttshack opened its first US site at Atlanta’s The Interlock in April, which the company said continues to “outperform all success metrics”. The brand will open its second US site this week in Oak Brook, Illinois, followed by openings in Miami, Boston, Houston and Scottsdale in 2022, as well as sites in Nashville and Atlanta in 2023. The company said it expects to announce more US locations soon that plan to “open in 2022 and beyond”. The brand is to open its newest UK site, in Watford, in time for Christmas – part of its resumed UK expansion plans following the successful reopenings of its Bank, White City, and Lakeside venues earlier this year. 

Gaming bar concept Pixel to double up with Manchester opening: Pixel Bar, the Leeds-based esports and video game bar concept, is to open its second site, in Manchester, later this month. The concept, which was founded by Craig Ryan, Lee Davies and Ed Ta in 2019, will open in Thomas Street, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, on Saturday, 20 November. The company’s original site in Great George Street, Leeds, offers gaming booths with a selection of Xbox and PlayStation games, including Fifa 2021, and high spec PCs which can be rented out from £5 per hour. The concept also offers gaming-inspired cocktails, burgers and wings.

Q International Group to double UK serviced apartment portfolio and launch new aparthotel brand following significant investment: Q International Group has completed a significant equity investment by Glade Capital to facilitate its future expansion, including in the UK. Glade Capital is part of a multi-strategy investment group, which has made more than 300 investments worth more than $3.5bn in recent years. Two new directors from Glade Capital, Lior Eisenberg and Idan Moskovich, have been appointed to the Q International Group board and will work closely with the existing executive team. Q International Group plans to double its existing UK portfolio of serviced apartments by 2023. Furthermore, the company plans to launch an aparthotel brand across the UK and Europe as owner operator, commencing in 2023, complementing its traditional corporate serviced apartment portfolio, which has an established, decade-long tenure. As part of its global network expansion plan, Q International Group will be acquiring a new office in the APAC region to expand market share, as well as continuing its strong growth in Latin America. The company will also be completing its booking technology platform, which will be launched in 2022. Q International Group chief executive Colum Campion said: “Our partnership with Glade Capital lays a significant foundation for us to utilise its funding, network and expertise to ensure we expand upon our already strong position as a leading, tech-enabled serviced apartment provider both domestically and internationally. Our strategy is to double our real estate footprint and enhance our revenues, both organically and through acquisition opportunities, following our recent successful restructure.”

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