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Tue 16th Nov 2021 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hickory’s Smokehouse appoints advisors as it explores funding options for next stage of growth: American-style smokehouse and barbecue brand Hickory’s Smokehouse, which has been backed by Piper since 2014, has appointed advisors to help review its funding options for its next stage of growth, Propel has learned. Propel understands Hickory’s is working with BDO to find the next strategic partner to help drive its growth ambitions. Hickory’s was founded in Chester by Neil McDonnell in 2010 following extensive research into the American barbecue and smokehouse sector. It currently operates 15 restaurants across the Midlands and north west. The company recently announced plans to open its first site in Yorkshire, after securing the former Marston’s pub, The Malt House, in Horbury, near Wakefield. Hickory’s recently opened two new restaurants, in Wilmslow and Nuthall, and is understood to have further sites in Greater Manchester and the north west in the pipeline to follow in the coming months. The company’s two-year like-for-like sales are believed to be up 49% compared with 2019, aided by the expansions of all outdoor spaces and the introduction of its Hickory’s at home offering. It is thought to have enjoyed an “exceptionally strong” trading period since restaurants were allowed to reopen indoors in May. Hickory’s managing director John Welsh said: “After a year in which we’ve all faced unprecedented challenges, we’re so grateful to our amazing teams and guests for keeping our spirits high and ensuring our restaurants and local communities have continued to thrive. We’re entering a very exciting period where we’ll find the next strategic partner to help us drive our growth ambitions. We look forward to this stage of our development and bringing the unique Hickory’s experience to many more guests nationwide.” In October 2014, Piper invested £6m to support the roll out of the then three-strong brand. As part of the deal, Paul Campbell, the former chief executive of Clapham House Group and current non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Tortilla and Yard Sale Pizza, became chairman of Hickory’s. At the start of 2020, Hickory’s received a £13m funding package from alternative lender ThinCats to help accelerate its expansion plans.
Hickory’s features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Hickory’s turned over £27.7m in its most recent financial year with Ebitda of £1.3m. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit and ranks 456 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.
 

Industry News:

For one day only – a taste of our Premium subscription: For one day only, Propel readers are being offered a taste of our Premium subscription. Readers can receive the most recent New Openings Database, which contains a 15,000-word report on 306 new openings, sponsored by Starstock, by emailing paul.charity@propelinfo.com. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “This is one of three exhaustive databases we produce and update every month, the most comprehensive and we think useful information available on the sector. Since the start of this year, 346 new companies have signed up to receive our Premium subscription service. Here’s a little chance for readers who aren’t subscribed to Premium to see why – email me and I will send you this database.”     

Host of hotel companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of hotel companies are among the 46 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, 26 November, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Hotel du Vin, which is a luxury boutique hotel chain that has 19 sites throughout the UK, and the Pan-European operator Cycas Hospitality, which has opened or taken over 17 hotels in the past 12 months. Also added this month is Crieff Hydro, whose eight-strong portfolio is set around the Scottish Borders, the Highlands, Perthshire and Dundee. In addition, Dakota Hotels has been added, which was founded by Ken McCulloch and currently has five sites in its collection. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,000-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. It features more than 2,000 companies in total. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fifth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 3 December, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fifth edition also includes a 14,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, 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, 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

Covid passport extension ‘would sound death knell’ for Scottish hospitality sector: Scotland’s hospitality trade bodies have warned that an extension of vaccine certification – introduced last month and set to be reviewed this week – would put the sector in an impossible financial situation. UKHospitality, the Night Time Industry Association, the Scottish Hospitality Group, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and the Scottish Beer & Pub Association have jointly surveyed more than 150 business owners and operators and found that, if the scheme was introduced to wider hospitality venues, 76% of businesses would not survive with the winter without further government support – and that 95% would have to cut staff hours. In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “It is clear to see that Scotland’s hospitality sector is in a precarious situation. Covid certification has had a hugely negative impact on businesses already caught by the policy, and any extension will have a devastating impact on the wider hospitality sector. The Scottish government must take this into consideration when making the decision on any extension of the covid certification and provide the economic support to keep thousands of businesses afloat.” This comes as Welsh brewers and pub owners fear they could be next for covid passports following their extension to cinemas, theatres and concert halls this week. The Welsh government said no decision has yet been on further extending them to hospitality venues, making it a “concerning” time for these businesses, according to the Welsh Beer and Pub Association. “It must be avoided,” said chief executive Emma McClarkin. “Case numbers are falling in Wales, so bringing in this measure would be counter-productive and put brewers and pubs in jeopardy, even though data shows hospitality not to be a significant source of transmission.” Meanwhile, Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has called for a phased introduction of covid passports in the country, and the Northern Ireland executive will discuss the proposal on Wednesday (17 November).

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a coffee brand that is keen to bring on board an operations director, based in Portsmouth, Hampshire. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The ideal operations director will have knowledge and extensive growth experience, ideally someone who has experience of cafe/grab and go/ healthy quick-service food or coffee brands and is keen to join an up-and-coming business. The incoming director will need to be rational, organised and an analytical thinker and possess a good balance of the strategic and the practical. The business is about to undergo huge growth and is looking for an individual who can help deliver this. This is an opportunity to lead in an autonomous style while working with a reputable brand. A salary between £70,000 and £90,000 plus bonus will be considered.” Anyone interested can email Sonny@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Nightcap to take The Cocktail Club to Birmingham: Bar operator Nightcap is set to take its The Cocktail Club brand to Birmingham, and is close to securing sites in Cardiff, Bristol and Liverpool for its Adventure Bar concepts, Propel has learned. The company, which on Monday (15 November) reported it has 23 sites in legals or under offer, is understood to have secured a unit in Birmingham’s Temple Street for its recently rebranded The Cocktail Club concept. The Cocktail Club will be opening three new venues this month in London, Reading, and Bristol. Meanwhile, Propel understands the group has lined up sites in Liverpool’s Hanover Street, Cardiff’s Caroline Street, and Bristol’s Small Street for openings under either its Tonight Josephine or Blame Gloria concepts. A spokeswoman told Propel that Tonight Josephine and Blame Gloria are hoping to complete on a number of sites currently in legals across the country, including Liverpool and Bristol. Chief executive Sarah Willingham said: “The performance of the Tonight Josephine and Blame Gloria brands has led to us narrowing our focus on finding sites for these two brands. We think both brands have a large untapped demand for female-led socialising in welcoming, safe environments around the country. These large indoor venues are complemented by Bar Elba and Luna Springs, which fit our strategy to add additional large outdoor bars and event spaces to the group. The business has a number of sites in legal negotiations or under offer across the country and I am excited to see the roll out of these iconic brands into more and more cities across the UK.” The business launched its second Blame Gloria site in London, replacing the group's original Adventure Bar site in Clapham Junction. It is also currently rebranding the other Adventure Bar in Clapham to a Tonight Josephine.

Yori secures Cambridge site for regional debut: London-based Korean barbecue brand Yori is to make its regional debut with an opening in Cambridge, Propel has learned. Yori has secured the Varsity site in St Andrew’s Street. Varsity, which is operated by Matthew Marshall, has been closed since the start of the pandemic. Yori, which means “cooked food” in Korean, was founded in 2016 by Jong Soon Kim, who is also behind Japanese restaurant Nori and Korean dessert cafe Cake & Bingsoo, both in New Malden, Surrey, and Japanese dessert parlour Cafe Mori in Wimbledon. Yori operates sites in Clapham Junction, Covent Garden, Ealing, Fulham Broadway, King's Cross, Piccadilly, Richmond and Wimbledon. Dan Rogers, of Restaurant Property, acted for Yori on the Cambridge deal while Everard Cole represented Varsity.

Farr Brew secures third pub lease with Star Pubs & Bars, eyes further expansion: Hertfordshire-based brewer and six-strong pub operator Farr Brew has taken on a lease for The Eight Bells in Old Hatfield from Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The two companies will now undertake a joint £230,000 refurbishment, which will see the pub close for four weeks and reopen on Friday, 10 December. Farr has operated The Eight Bells under a temporary management agreement (TMA) for two years, which has now been made a permanent lease. The Eight Bells is the company’s third Star Pubs & Bars lease, the others being The Rising Sun in Slip End and The Bull in Whitwell – which is also under a TMA, but negotiations are under way to make it a permanent lease. Farr also operates The Red Cow in Harpenden and The Reading Rooms in Wheathampstead as freehouses, as well as a taproom at its Wheathampstead brewery, and leases The Elephant & Castle in Amwell from Greene King. The refurbishment of the 13th century grade-II listed Eight Bells will give a nod to the pub’s rich past, with historic customers including Dick Turpin and Charles Dickens. Investments will also be made in a new kitchen, an upgraded beer garden and a new layout inside, increasing the covers from 27 to 45. The food offering will include locally sourced products as well as barista style coffees, teas, cakes and snacks. Farr Brew co-founder Nick Farr said: “My partner, Matt Elvidge, and I could immediately see the potential of The Eight Bells. We’ve expanding rapidly since opening our first pub, opening five pubs in two years. We are looking now to consolidate our estate and grow it steadily and prudently, and our long-term plan is to take on one pub a year. We’re already in preliminary talks with Star Pubs & Bars about another pub.”

Urban axe throwing concept Hatchet Harry’s secures Nottingham site for fifth venue: Urban axe throwing concept Hatchet Harry’s has secured its fifth site, in Nottingham. The company is set to open in the former Shoe Zone premises in Lister Gate. The site is one of several buildings in Lister Gate that have been acquired by Nottingham-based ALB Group, which is also behind the regeneration of nearby Bridlesmith Gate. Hatchet Harry’s, which started in Newcastle in May 2019 and has other venues in Glasgow, Liverpool and Aberdeen, has been looking for a venue in Nottingham for the past two years. Jack Beadle, who founded the business with Richard Bridge, said: “We decided that the footfall here is going to be a big plus, and when we heard about what ALB was doing to regenerate this area of Nottingham, it really piqued our interest. That, combined with the regeneration of the Broadmarsh area, makes it the perfect location for our latest Hatchet Harry’s venue.” The Nottingham venue will have four cages where people can compete to throw wooden-handled axes into a target. Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB, added: “We have big plans to breathe new life into the area, and we’re convinced that exciting new concepts like Hatchet Harry’s will add some real sparkle and interest to this part of Nottingham.” FHP acted on behalf of ALB.

Flesh & Buns set to open ‘biggest restaurant yet’ in January: Flesh & Buns, the Japanese izakaya-inspired restaurants in Covent Garden and Fitzrovia owned by Bone Daddies Group, will open its third site – and biggest yet – in the new year. The brand has taken over a large corner site in Phillimore Gardens, just off High Street Kensington, and will launch in January. Offering Japanese izakaya and Nikkei-inspired dishes, its menu will feature small plates, sashimi, ceviche, maki, poké don and the restaurant’s signature steamed bao buns. Among the drinks on offer is a long list of sake, including one custom-made for Flesh & Buns’ sister restaurant, Bone Daddies. The new launch will coincide with a redesign for the existing Flesh & Buns venues. The original site, which opened in Covent Garden in 2013, has 140 covers, and was followed by the 170-cover Fitzrovia site in 2018.

Dardis – we are seeing smaller groups visiting more: Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s, has said the company has seen a reduction in group sizes visiting its sites, but those smaller groups are visiting more often and spending more. He said: “Our average group bookings pre-covid was about six and a half in a group, which is now down to about four. I think, again, this might be a temporary thing as people are still nervous about getting together in groups, but they are spending more. We are not seeing a reduction in visits, just smaller groups visiting more often.” He also said people “are definitely switching to more premium products”. He said: “Our cocktail sales in the six months to 27 September were up 104%, champagne is up 60%. There has also been a big shift to plant-based food, 50% of the menu in our Burger Shacks is now plant based. Certainly, there has been more of a shift toward food, but that is not a long-term thing, that is more to do with the restrictions, and already we are seeing people moving back toward more normalised trading. We will probably hold on to a couple of points of that food growth, but I do think we will see a big recovery in liquor sales, particularly with the rugby internationals starting. Also, 50% of our gin sales are now from flavoured gins, which is quite a shift.”

Blacklock to open fourth and biggest site yet in February, new menu items planned: Skinny chops concept Blacklock will open its fourth restaurant, in Covent Garden, in February next year. Based beneath Bedford Street in a building that used to house the King’s Coachmakers, the 110-cover restaurant will be the biggest Blacklock yet. Founded by former Hawksmoor executive Gordon Ker in 2015, the Blacklock site opened in Soho’s Great Windmill Street, followed by its City and Shoreditch restaurants in 2017 and 2018. Ker said: “It’s been a rough two years for everybody. And so, more than three years since we last opened a Blacklock, we are excited to be growing again and opening our fourth restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden, and introducing never-before-seen dishes to the menu. We cannot wait to open and become part of the local area, home to so many other fantastic restaurants, theatres and history.” Blacklock’s sustainable “whole animal” approach means new and lesser-known cuts of meat will hit the menu for the first time at Covent Garden, including Denver and Tri-tip steaks and plenty, which in turn comes from sustainably reared meat from farmer and butcher Philip Warren, who manages the Blacklock herd in Cornwall. Sustainability extends into the drink menu too, with wine on tap served by the litre and a pip-to-peel ethos behind the bars. Furthering the brand’s sustainability focus, Blacklock’s “Planet Promise” sees a tree planted for every customer that dines with them – an initiative that has so far seen more than 125,000 trees planted. Earlier this year, Blacklock made it dark kitchens debut by launching a hot food delivery service from its Shoreditch site, which it is believed to be keen to extend across the capital.

The Ivy Asia to open in Guildford next spring: The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed business, will open another restaurant under its growing Ivy Asia concept in Guildford, next spring. The business has confirmed it will open an Ivy Asia as part of the town’s Tunsgate Quarter scheme, which already houses the Ivy Castle View restaurant. Earlier this year, the company said it planned to open two new Ivy sites in 2021, having opened in Exeter earlier this summer, and recently applied to open a site in Chichester. It also plans expansions at three existing locations whereby an Ivy Asia will be added – with one has so far opened in Chelsea. The business said further openings are in the pipeline for 2022, and it was optimistic that once national restrictions were removed, trading would be strong and consumer demand high. In September, the company submitted a licensing application for an Ivy Asia site in Cardiff, close to its existing The Ivy site in the city. It has also submitted plans to open an Ivy Asia in Leeds, on the former French Connection store in the city. The Ivy Collection has also been linked with opening Ivy Asia sites in Brighton, and Glasgow too, and is set to open a site under the format in Mayfair’s North Audley Street. Propel understands The Ivy Collection is eyeing the former Bank of England site in Liverpool’s Castle Street for a future opening as well. 

Edinburgh-based Pinnacle Hospitality to double up with experiential cocktail bar concept: Edinburgh-based Pinnacle Hospitality is to double up with a second site in the Scottish capital. The company, which is behind The Raging Bull in Lothian Road, is launching The Cocktail Mafia next month, creating 20 jobs. Based in Charlotte Lane, the 160-cover venue will feature an experiential cocktail menu that will include the “Citizen Cane” made with Glenfiddich that will be served in a port sipper glass with a smoked bubble on top and the Roku Gin infused with basil, “Millieu Vert” that will be presented in a vintage 1924 coupe, with a sugared basil rim. Pinnacle Hospitality managing director, Nick Madigan, said: “The Cocktail Mafia is a concept we have been working on since pre-pandemic times and we are excited to be finally bringing it to life. We have taken inspiration from some of the world’s best bars. It will be a deluxe experience, a playground for the senses with a focus on original cocktails for those who dare to be different.” The expansion of Pinnacle Hospitality has led to Mark Lambert, previously general manager of The Raging Bull, being promoted to operations manager, and will oversee both sites. 

Big Easy’s first site outside London opens: Big Easy, the London-based barbecue concept, has opened its first site outside the capital, with a launch at Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre. As revealed by Propel in September, Big Easy agreed a deal with Landsec for a 6,100 square-foot site situated on the upper level of Bluewater’s Plaza, which is focused on entertainment dining and anchored by Showcase Cinema De Lux. The restaurant includes 236 covers over two levels, a live music stage on the mezzanine, a bar serving more than 500 different bourbons, tequillas and whiskeys, a separate rum bar and a theatre kitchen. Big Easy opened its fourth site, at Westfield Stratford, in September and it is thought to be exploring a possible opening in Cambridge Circus in the capital too.

San Carlo’s delayed Italian brasserie concept in London’s Mayfair finally opens: San Carlo Restaurant Group, the north west-based operator, has finally opened the doors to its Mayfair-based Italian brasserie concept Isola. The venue – a 24th site for the brand owned by the Distefano family – was originally due to open in August but put back due to the same difficulties in hiring staff that saw the group pull out of taking a site in Edinburgh. However, plans for a new opening under San Carlo’s Cicchetti brand in Knightsbridge, plus further openings in Manchester Airport’s new super terminal and Saudi Arabia, remain on course for this year. The 220-cover Isola is based in the former Carluccio’s site in St Christopher’s Place and offers relaxed all-day dining, with a 50-cover alfresco terrace and a downstairs space for private dining which can seat 60. Inspired by the islands of Italy, the menu includes Sardinian lamb and porchetta, Sicilian red prawns, swordfish and tuna, as well as tagliolini lobster. San Carlo has restaurants across the UK and in Qatar, Riyadh, Bahrain and Bangkok, while flagship sites include Alto by San Carlo at Selfridges, Signor Sassi Knightsbridge and Cicchetti Piccadilly.

Plymouth-based microbrewery Steel Brew Co eyes five-strong bar estate after moving operations to larger premises: Plymouth-based microbrewery Steel Brew Co is looking to create a five-strong bar estate across the south west after moving operations to larger premises. The brewer, which only began production during the 2020 lockdown, has shifted from Royal William Yard’s Melville building to a property just a stone’s throw away in Mills Bakery, taking a large space formerly used by the University of Plymouth’s fine art department. The move has enabled Steel Brew Co to expand its taproom, with capacity for 100 customers as opposed to fewer than 70 at the old location. Steel Brew Co-founder Nick Palfrey told Business Live: “Our business plan focuses on opening five venues across the south west. We would be looking for a second venue in Plymouth.” The company is also planning on installing a canning machine that will enable it to move into the wholesale market supplying its brews to pubs, bottle shops and other craft beer venues. Currently the brewery’s four tanks produce 700 litres each, every three weeks, but in early 2022 another four tanks will be added, each twice the size of the existing ones, to ramp up production.

Burger King parent company to acquire Firehouse Subs chain for $1bn: Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons, has entered into agreement to acquire US brand Firehouse Subs for $1bn (£740m). Florida-based Firehouse Subs has circa 1,200 sites and is expected to grow its systemwide sales to about $1.1bn this year. October year-to-date comparable sales were up 20% compared with year-to-date sales in 2019. Most of its sites are operated by franchisees. RBI said it will fund the transaction, which is expected to close in the coming months, with debt and cash on hand. This acquisition, which is the biggest restaurant transaction of the year, marks RBI's first since it bought Popeyes in 2017 for $1.8bn. RBI chief executive Jose Cil said: “Firehouse Subs is a special brand with a talented team, impressive culture and community focus that resonates with guests and closely aligns with our core values at RBI. We see tremendous potential to accelerate US and international growth at Firehouse Subs with RBI’s development expertise, global franchisee network and digital capabilities.”

Dip Anand to double up with Somerset House restaurant opening: Restaurateur and author Dipna Anand will double her bricks-and-mortar portfolio by opening a restaurant at Somerset House next week. Anand, who runs the family legacy Brilliant Restaurant in Southall as well as her own cookery school, will take over the space held by Bryan Williams at the central London venue. Called Dipna Anand at Somerset House and opening next Thursday (24 November), it will offer some of the chef’s signature dishes but focus on Punjabi and South Indian cuisine. Anand, author of cook books Dip in Brilliant and Beyond Brilliant, is the third generation of a family of chefs who came to the UK in 1973 and launched the Brilliant Restaurant two years later. In 2018, she also launched the “laid-back Punjabi cafe” Dip In Brilliant in Chelsea’s Fulham Road, at a site formerly occupied by Persian restaurant Kishmish, but it has now permanently closed.

Debut pub for London ‘sandwich restaurant’ concept owner: Max Halley, owner of London-based Max’s Sandwich Shop, which “elevates a sandwich into a full-blown meal”, has branched out into the pub business. Halley has partnered with West Country publican Ethan Davids, who already operates four pubs in the area, to open the pub, in Salisbury’s Salt Lane. A limited food offering will include pie and mash and sausages from Monty’s Deli co-founder Owen Barrett and scotch eggs from Naked Bagel in Salisbury. “I grew up in Somerset and have a long love affair with the west country generally,” Halley told Hot Dinners. “After spending a year at my parents' house in deepest darkest Somerset during the lockdowns, I realised how strong my love of the countryside was, so I live in rural Wiltshire half the time now and near the sarnie shop the rest of the time. I wanted a boozer that wasn’t completely a city-centre pub but wasn’t a country pub either. Salisbury’s near where I live and the perfect size.”

Massarella Catering Group opens new cafe in County Durham: Massarella Catering Group, a family-run company that traces its origins to an ice cream business founded in 1864 by Italian émigrés to Sheffield, has opened a new cafe at the north east’s largest outlet centre. Etto Caffé, based at Dalton Park in County Durham, offers a range of hot and cold drinks, a brunch menu, artisan cakes and Italian gelato. Hilary Massarella, project co-ordinator at Massarella Catering Group, said: “This is a great centre with a regular, loyal customer base and we’ve built our menu and offering around the customer. We are really excited to be welcoming guests to our caffé and serving up a real treat!” The Massarella Catering Group’s other brands include Caffe Massarella, Angelica’s Tea & Cake, Cafe Botanico, Wild Mint Kitchen Cafe and Cafe Zest. Last April, the group placed one of its subsidiary companies, Massarealla Gelaterie, into administration and closed all 32 of its cafes, which were housed in House of Fraser stores. Its other subsidiary companies, which includes Massarella Restaurants, later bought 15 of the sites out of administration.

Tavern Propco puts Surrey pub on the market for offers of more than £2m: Investment fund Tavern Propco has put the freehold of the HG Wells, a pub based in Worcester Park, Surrey, up for sale for offers in excess of £2m. The leasehold is also available, and rental offers can be submitted for a new free-of-tie lease, with Savills handing the sale. The two-storey property measures 5,879 square feet, with space for 82 customers across two bar areas inside, while the beer garden has around 100 covers and a further 24 in a patio to the side. There are also six bedrooms on the first floor and a basement cellar.

JD Wetherspoon makes board update: JD Wetherspoon has announced updates to its board. The company stated: “Debra van Gene, non-executive director, has indicated her willingness to remain a director beyond the company’s November board meeting, previously announced as the date she intended to stand down. Ben Thorne, non-executive director, has been appointed senior independent director with immediate effect.”

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