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Wed 17th Nov 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Food price inflation set to increase up to 6% by new year as supply chain issues cause Christmas concerns: Food price inflation pressure eased in September, but sharp cost increases of between 3% and 6% by the new year are predicted, according to the latest edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index. Rising demand, product shortages and distribution issues are combining to put foodservice prices under severe pressure as the run-up to Christmas begins. The return of schools and increasing volumes from hospitality, business and industry drove a further surge in volumes in the supply chain in September, leading to a sharp increase in product shortages. While problems eased slightly over the month and into October, in-bound supply to wholesalers remains under deep stress. The supply chain has also faced major issues including a chronic shortage of HGV drivers, pickers and manufacturing and production staff. This has left insufficient stocks in key areas, with post-Brexit difficulties in the importation of goods adding to the shortages. While the latest edition of the Index reports prices remained flat year-on-year in September, it predicts inflation is likely to rise throughout the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. With operators and suppliers reporting significant price rises in October, the rate of climb is expected to increase sharply in the months ahead. Shaun Allen, chief executive of Prestige Purchasing, said: “From a flat September, we expect prices to be up between 3% and 6% year-on-year by the new year, with an even higher peak thereafter. Operators would be well advised to focus particularly on the weeks commencing 29 November and 6 December, as these are peak volume weeks for our suppliers.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA, added: “It is an unwelcome trend for hospitality businesses that are already facing severe operational challenges, and highlights the sector’s need for sustained government support in the months ahead.”

Industry News:

Variety of gym operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A variety of gym operators are among the 50 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 Gymfinity Kids, the UK’s leading provider of activity-based clubs and nurseries for children, which currently has six clubs and three nurseries, with more to follow soon. In addition, Bodyworx 360, the gym and fitness club concept, has recently opened its second site, in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth. Also added this month is Snap Fitness, which currently operates 77 sites throughout the UK and more than 2,000 gyms around the world. Premium subscribers will also receive a 4,000-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. The database 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 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

Scottish covid passports in hospitality ‘from December’ but final decision delayed, Welsh reject extension for now: Customers visiting licensed hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres in Scotland could be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test from early December. A final decision on a potential expansion of the scheme has been pushed back until next Tuesday (23 November), but first minister Nicola Sturgeon said it would be “deeply irresponsible not to consider it” as a way of avoiding tougher restrictions over winter. “All of our decisions are motivated by a desire to get through what will be a challenging winter without having to re-introduce any restrictions on trade,” she said. “We want, if possible, businesses to stay fully open over Christmas and through the winter, while also keeping covid under control.” New covid passport rules, if agreed upon, would take effect from Monday, 6 December, and apply to indoor cinemas, theatres, and some other licensed and hospitality venues. For the first time, the scheme could allow people to show proof of a negative lateral flow test following evidence such checks helped to prevent outbreaks at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Meanwhile, UKHospitality Cymru has welcomed an announcement from finance minster Rebecca Evans that there are “no immediate plans” to extend covid passes into more parts of hospitality in Wales. David Chapman, UKHospitality’s executive director for Wales, said: “We await the three-weekly review for full details, but the finance minister’s prompt statement allows our businesses to plan for immediate trade. Up to a third of each business’s annual trade is conducted in the weeks running up to Christmas and the new year, so to lose any of that vital revenue would impact the next 12 months, not least the subsequent three quieter months.”

Operators urged to take part in third haysmacintyre snapshot survey of sector: Hospitality specialist haysmacintyre is inviting operators to take part in a snapshot survey of the sector following the industry’s reopening. This is the third of a series of such surveys to track developments in sector sentiment during the recovery. Previous surveys have examined operators’ views on the outlook for the sector, with a key focus on the return to normal trading, new innovations, government support initiatives and fresh challenges. The latest one will deliver an update from operators on future prospects for the sector, as well as taking soundings on the issues being faced on the road to recovery. The survey consists of four key questions covering future prospects, current challenges facing operators and long-term impacts of the pandemic, and takes about 60 seconds to complete. Operators can choose whether to remain anonymous or submit their details. Results will be shared with participants alongside expert commentary from haysmacintyre’s specialist team. To complete the survey, click here.   

Gordon Ramsay tops best TV chef of all time poll: Gordon Ramsay has beaten Jamie Oliver to be crowned the best TV chef of all time, according to a new poll. Ramsay topped the vote with 41%, with Oliver second on 31%. The study, by insights agency Perspectus Global, saw Mary Berry come third, with a quarter of the vote. Also on the list were Delia Smith (24%), Nigella Lawson (23%), Rick Stein (20%) and the late Keith Floyd (19%). The study revealed the average Brit watches up to five hours of cookery programmes every week, and 71% will now search for a cookery clip online rather than reaching for a recipe book. Making up the rest of the top ten best TV chefs were James Martin (17%), Raymond Blanc (16%) and Marco Pierre White (15%).

Company News:

Pitcher – Christmas is going to look very different this year: Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group (RBG), the Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba, insists the shape of Christmas trading is going to look very different for the business this year. The group is down in general on Christmas bookings but has seen a resurgence in recent weeks. He told Propel: “We would normally do lots of large corporate functions and we are just not seeing those bookings. We were behind as far as bookings for Christmas goes, but in the last two weeks we have booked more business than in the corresponding two weeks from two years ago. Normally you wouldn’t leave it so late, but because we are seeing smaller groups, those booking levels are coming through quite strongly now. We know the shape of Christmas is going to be different, but bookings are still ramping up, where usually at this time of year, bookings would be quietening down. We are expecting to see a high volume of walk-in footfall through December.” Pitcher said the business was really pleased with how its new “community market” concept Founders & Co, launched earlier this year in Swansea, had been received, while new competitive socialising concept Playhouse will launch this Friday (19 November) in Northampton. He said: “The dry runs have gone down really well. We have the backing to do eight new sites, but that will be for the core brands. We’re doing the largest refurbishment programme the company has ever seen, we are going to invest in 60% of the estate in the next two years. Giving the two new concepts the time they need to bed in so we can understand them before roll out is, we feel, the right approach.” Pitcher also didn’t rule out the company looking at acquisition opportunities, adding: “We have aspirations to grow the group. Initially we have got the backing to do single site acquisitions, but we are a management that is very acquisitive, as in if we see the right opportunity, we are going to have those discussions. If there is the right brand mix available and it can be value enhancing for all the stakeholders, then we are definitely interested in having those discussions.”

McDonald’s tests separate entrances concept as delivery accounts for a third of business: McDonald’s is trialling having separate entrances for delivery drivers picking up orders, with delivery now accounting for a third of its business. The changes are being made to help make the delivery service easier and less disruptive for those who want to eat in, and are being tested in several UK restaurants. One of the first to adopt the new approach is the Bermuda Park branch in Nuneaton, which is currently closed to make the necessary refurbishments to parts of the building. This will include making a second entrance for delivery couriers, meaning they will wait in a separate area from customers to pick up orders, as well as IT and equipment upgrades. “This restaurant is part of a test market of the new Convenience of the Future concept,” franchisee Sarah McLean, who also runs the Queens Road and Asda-based McDonald’s eateries in the town, told the Coventry Telegraph. “Modifications are being made to make the platforms of delivery, click and serve and conventional restaurant service easier for our customers, staff and delivery couriers. The entrance to the restaurant is being changed to make a second entrance for our delivery couriers. They will then wait in a separate area dedicated to that business while their orders are assembled, and away from customers entering to use the kiosks. The changes have been driven by the way the business has evolved, in particular over the last two years. The scheme will be rolled out across the McDonald’s estate over the next two years.”

The Big Table Group to pilot new Rouge concept: The Big Table Group, operator of Las Iguanas and Bella Italia, is to launch the pilot of a new concept for its Café Rouge brand later this month – which will see Café dropped from the name – Propel has learned. Café Rouge in Haywards Heath will officially reopen under its new name, Rouge, on 22 November. Alan Morgan, chief executive of Big Table Group, said: “We conducted a lot of research into perceptions of Café Rouge, and our Haywards Heath restaurant will be the first of several sites where we will be piloting new concepts and ideas. One piece of feedback that came through strongly was that the word ‘Café’ made people think we were more of a breakfast and lunch place. We are simply exploring what happens if we remove the word ‘Café’ from the name.” The newly renovated restaurant in the West Sussex town’s The Broadway will be the first of a select few sites to trial new design concepts and menu options. The Epiris-backed company said Rouge will continue to “celebrate Parisian dining and the best of French cuisine” and will include an outdoor terrace for alfresco dining. Last month, Big Table Group, which operates more than 150 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, announced plans to open 50 new restaurants and refurbish 70 sites over the next three years, investing in excess of £50m and creating 1,250 new jobs in the process. The group’s ambition is to invest £35m in new openings, which would take the estate to 200 restaurants across the UK, while the company intends to invest a further £19m in refurbish 70 restaurants. The Big Table hopes to almost double the current number of Las Iguanas restaurants in the next three years, opening 35 locations in major towns and city centres.

Vegan concept Clean Kitchen Club raises £1.4m to expand: Vegan concept Clean Kitchen – which was founded by former YouTube celebrity Michael Pearce, with Made in Chelsea TV star Verity Bowditch joining last year – has raised £1.4m in a seed round to aid its expansion. The company said the funding, which gives the business a £7.5m valuation, will enable it to continue expanding, with the aim of opening up to 40 new UK sites in the next few years. The lead investors in the round include Clive Sharpe, ex-chairman of Quorn, and Grace Beverley, fitness influencer and chief executive of health and fitness app Shreddy and sustainable activewear brand Tala. Clean Kitchen Club operates out of five sites in London, most recently opening a two-level main outlet in Camden. The funding will also enable the business to launch a range of retail products, starting with Clean canned coffees and meat substitute products. The company said it takes more than 2,000 orders daily and is growing over 30% month-on-month. Pearce, the co-founder and chief executive, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the team for signing our first investment round and seeing the phenomenal growth Clean Kitchen Club is experiencing every day. We have big ambitions to be the biggest plant-based food brand in the UK – this is just the start.” Bowditch, co-founder and head of sustainability, added: “There’s a clear demand for delicious, sustainable protein alternatives. People are waking up to the impact that meat production is having on the environment and need a clear solution – one that also fits easily into their lifestyle. We provide exactly that.” Last week, Propel revealed that the business had appointed Nolan Spratt, formerly of Stonegate and SA Brain, as its new operations director.

YO! owner tests bidders’ appetite following takeover approaches: The owner of YO! has begun talks with prospective buyers following a string of takeover approaches. Snowfox Group and its shareholders have asked advisers to canvas interest from bidders, reports Sky News. The process comes as Mayfair Equity Partners, the company’s majority shareholder, continues to explore the possibility of an initial public offering (IPO) for Snowfox that would take place in 2022. Any deal is expected to value the company at approximately £750m. The dual-track process reflects a turnaround in the performance of YO!, which was forced to undertake a restructuring of its UK operations as a result of the pandemic. Snowfox has been able to recover relatively quickly because of the growing dominance of its American operations, which trade under the Snowfox name at hundreds of grocery store counters. A source close to the process told Sky News: “Advisers continue to work on an IPO concurrently, but inbound interest from Asian and North American strategics has instigated a dual-track process.” The names of the parties that have approached Mayfair about acquiring Snowfox was unclear. Snowfox has established itself as the leading multinational Japanese food business trading in Britain and the US, selling more than 60 million trays of sushi annually and supplying retailers such as Tesco and Asda in the UK. By contrast, Snowfox now operates only 65 YO!-branded restaurants, having cut hundreds of jobs and closed a significant number of sites last year as part of a restructuring. Since its initial investment in YO! in 2015, Mayfair has helped to secure the takeover of Canada’s Bento Sushi and a merger with Snowfox in the US last year. A Snowfox spokesman declined to comment.

Pure doubling up on its reusable cup discount, vegan food sales up 50%: Healthy food-to-go concept Pure has announced it is to double up on its reusable cup discount by offering £1 off all hot drinks served in customer’s own cups. At the same time, the business has launched a new range of “ultimate vegan” hot chocolate for the festive season. The classic hot chocolate, gingerbread and hazelnut drinks are all made with Oatly Barista vegan milk and fairtrade cacao and topped with vegan whipped cream. The move comes as Pure revealed it had seen sales of vegan food increase by more than 50% in the past year, and that more than 80% of its menu is now plant-based. Pure founder and chief executive Spencer Craig said: “Sadly, the pandemic has seen a decrease in what was a growing number of hot drinks served in reusable cups. We are determined to get back on track by aiming to serve at least 20% of our hot drinks in reusables by early 2022, and we hope that doubling the discount will help achieve that. We are continuing our commitment to becoming a more sustainable business by offering an ever more plant-focussed menu and greater incentives to reuse and recycle.” The Pure Christmas range will also feature an “indulgent” mince pie, cinnamon Pastel De Nata and a velvety parsnip soup, and will be available in Pure stores and to order via click and collect from 16 November.
Pure features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Pure has turned over an average of £16.3m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 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 to sign up.

Daisy Green crowdfunding campaign tops £2.5m: Australia-inspired restaurant, bar and coffee group Daisy Green has broken through the £2.5m mark on its latest, and final, crowdfunding campaign. The Prue Freeman-led business launched the campaign through Seedrs on 8 November to raise circa £2m to continue expansion across the capital. The 11-strong business had an initial target of £1m, which was extended after more than £1.7m was raised in pre-commitments prior to the campaign going live. The campaign has now raised £2,503,268 from 245 investors and could close at any time from here. The company said its revenues were up 67% on pre-pandemic levels, achieving run rate revenues and site Ebitda of more than £15m and £4.4m respectively. The business has a £28m pre-money valuation based on eight times run rate on group Ebitda run rate of £3.5m. It is targeting revenue of circa £36m by full year 2025 and group Ebitda of £5m. Freeman told Propel the business was hoping to open a further four sites in the capital next year – in Zones 1 and 2 – and had been buoyed by the success of its latest opening, Bondi Green at Paddington canal side.

Tiny Cloud Kitchens appoints Nathan Wall as chief operating officer: Tiny Cloud Kitchens, the operator of virtual restaurant brands, has appointed Nathan Wall as chief operating officer to further drive UK expansion. Wall was most recently operations of Ei Group Managed Investments, where he operated a dozen joint ventures in partnership with businesses such as Oakman Inns, Laine Pub Company and Urban Pubs & Bars. Previously, Wall was the managing director for UK and Ireland airports for SSP and also served as operations director of JD Wetherspoon. Wall said: “Hospitality, post-pandemic, continues to face significant challenges in recruitment, and I have been amazed by how simple it is for any member of our partner’s kitchen teams to produce a high quality product and delivery experience.” Tiny Cloud Kitchens has been operating virtual brands out of dark kitchens and existing restaurants located in London since 2017. Created by Tootoomoo founder Philip McGuinness, Tiny Cloud Kitchens comprises the following brands: Scratch Chicken (Asian chicken), Phikul (pan-Asian), Daddy’s Dim Sum, Burritochino (Asian burritos) and Sanka (south-Indian cuisine).

Simon Wood to launch cheese and wine fine dining concept: Chef Simon Wood is launching a new cheese and wine fine dining concept in Manchester this week. Homage, which opens on Thursday (18 November), will be situated on the second floor of his flagship Wood Restaurant in Jack Rosenthal Street. The restaurant will offer only seven tables each night to “maintain its personal fine dining approach”. MasterChef 2015 winner Wood is hoping to draw in diners following dinner at the main restaurant. On offer are cheese courses with expertly matched chutneys, accompaniments and paired wines and liquor. Homage is the third concept launched by Wood following Wood Manchester, where he resides as chef patron, and his second restaurant, WoodKraft Cheltenham. He said: “Wood has defied all expectations and brought unintimidating fine dining to Manchester. We are thrilled to be launching Homage as a complementary concept, and it will be a first of its kind in the UK. Homage is about connecting, sitting back and enjoying time with family, friends and colleagues.”

Six by Nico founder to launch steak restaurant Chateau-X in Glasgow: Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone, who is behind the Six by Nico brand, is to launch a new steak restaurant called Chateau-X in Glasgow next month. The new site will open at 10 Claremont Street in the city’s Finnieston area on 8 December. Simeone said: “From the time we started talking about launching the Chateau-X restaurant idea, we knew everything had to revolve around the perfectly executed Chateaubriand. We’ve taken this much-loved restaurant classic and improved it with seasonally inspired sides and attention to every detail that will set us apart from the competition.” The chef recently opened his new philanthropic restaurant in Glasgow called Beat 6. The restaurant, based in Whitehill Street in Dennistoun, will send all profits to the Beatson Cancer Charity, which supports the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Simeone’s wife, Valentina, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May 2015 at the age of 25 and was treated at the Beatson. The 34-cover restaurant offers a constantly rotating tasting menu that celebrates some of the most popular dishes created in the Six by Nico kitchens since its first restaurant opened in Glasgow in 2017. Simeone has opened eighth Six by Nico restaurants to date, with a ninth set to open in Dublin shortly. 

Douglas Jack – TRG has the scale and quality to deal with the threat of delivery from undermining the in-store experience: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has argued The Restaurant Group has the scale and quality to deal with the threat of delivery from undermining the in-store experience. Issuing an “Add” note on the shares with a target price of 110p following TRG’s trading update, Jack said: “Since 15 September, trading has been good, particularly for the Wagamama, pubs and leisure businesses. The 35% of the estate that operates next to cinemas has benefited from the success of No Time to Die. Of the 42 concessions sites, 24 have now reopened, with UK airports experiencing a minor increase in passenger volumes. Management's expectation for 2021E adjusted Ebitda (IAS 17) has increased to £73m to £79m, subject to no further covid-related disruptions being announced before the end of the financial year. Prior to this, consensus was £61.5m (although this may have reflected a mixture of IAS 17 and IFRS 16 numbers). We raise our profit forecasts for 2021E, and leave 2022E and 2023E, other than the impact of lower net debt. In our view, the shares are undervalued. Post covid, the company will have to deal with rapidly rising labour costs and act to prevent rising delivery volumes from undermining the in-store experience. However, we believe it has the scale and quality to manage this while market supply continues to fall. Our positive recommendation is based on 2023E and the associated 10.5% equity free cash flow yield.”

Riding House Cafe team confirms Bloomsbury opening: House Cafe Company, the Adam White-led, London-based business, has confirmed it will open a third site in the capital, in Bloomsbury. As revealed by Propel earlier this month, House Café Company, which currently operates Riding House Cafe in Fitzrovia and Rail House Cafe in Victoria, is to take on the former Carluccio’s in Brunswick Square. Riding House Bloomsbury, which is set to open in the spring, will have 165 covers indoors, with seating for 65 on the outside terrace. The menu will be an evolution of Riding House Cafe, with a focus on regular healthy options, bowls and skewers. White said: “We operate like a club without membership, bringing the surrounding village together with a broad, accessible, lively brasserie that works for any occasion. It needs to feel relaxed, and effortless – which takes a lot of effort!” The site has been closed since Carluccio’s went into administration last spring.

Better burger brand Fat Hippo set to make Welsh debut at site of Cardiff craft beer pub: Better burger brand Fat Hippo is set to make its debut in Wales, at the site of Bub’s Bar and Kitchen in Cardiff’s Church Street. It will be an 11th site for a company established in Newcastle in 2010 by founder and managing director Mike Phillips. It made its Scottish debut in July with a concession site in the newly launched Lane7 site in Edinburgh’s new St James Quarter. This followed hot on the heels of openings in Liverpool’s Bold Street and in Headingley’s Otley Road earlier this year. Fat Hippo also has restaurants in Newcastle, Nottingham, Durham and Jesmond, plus further Lane7 concession sites in Manchester and Sheffield and a further Sheffield concession site with Kommune. Its menu includes more than 15 different beef, buttermilk chicken and vegan burgers, including the signature Fat Hippo burger with American cheese, smoked bacon, chorizo, onion rings and Fat Hippo sauce. Bub’s, meanwhile, announced last week that it would be closing its doors for the last time in January. The craft beer bar had opened in 2018, but owner Chris Rowlands told Wales Online that its lease had been ended because the building’s owner had activated a break clause. “It’s quite frustrating for a business to have to close due to factors outside of our control,” Rowlands said. “We’re not closing because the business is failing, I think that’s why it feels more raw.” A new craft beer pub is set to open, meanwhile, in Cardiff’s Womanby Street, at the site of retail hub The Castle Emporium. Cardiff Council approved a change of use from shops to food and drink in August, and the site is in the process of being let to an independent local brewer.

Nottingham multi-site operator to open sixth venue in the city: Nottingham-based multi-site operator Alex Fuge will this month open his sixth site in the city. Fuge is set to launch Strezza, a new wood-fired pizza and tapas restaurant, in the Cotgrave hub on the outskirts of the city, on Friday (19 November). It will also serve wine, cocktails and hot drinks from 200 Degrees Coffee, the 15-strong independent coffee shop brand which started out in Nottingham. The restaurant also plans to be open for breakfast from December. Fuge also operates Cured Cafe & Bar and Hops Coffee House & Bar in the city centre; restaurant-bars Parlour Garden and The Parlour in West Bridgford, and rooftop Champagne bar Ginsecco on the top floor of The Cornerhouse. His co-owner at Strezza is Richard Miller, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a chef, including a spell as head chef at Felicini in West Bridgford. He will be buying the produce from specialist Italian food suppliers and using a bespoke wood-fired pizza oven in an open kitchen. “Between us, we bring a vast amount of experience, which we’ll be using to make Strezza a successful venue,” Fuge told West Bridgford Wire. “We’re all about championing amazing local produce, always bringing something new to our menus.”

Lexington expands to provide deliveries for London businesses: Caterer Lexington has expanded to provide deliveries to businesses across London. The new LexUnboxed service offers access to the company’s menus for business meetings and events and is available individually, or for groups of six or more. Companies located within two miles of Lexington’s city kitchen can also order on Just Eat for Business. Fabrico Aguilar, marketing manager at Lexington, said: “As London adapts to the post-pandemic landscape, we’re seeing more and more organisations scaling down premises. As a result, more meetings are being held off-site, or in less traditional locations. Added to this, businesses now tend to have a highly mobile workforce with a growing emphasis on health and well-being. So, it’s important that when staff and clients get together, catering reflects this, while at the same time catering for diverse dietary needs.”

The Inn Collection Group begins multimillion-pound revamp of debut Tyneside site: The Alchemy-backed The Inn Collection Group has begun a multimillion-pound refurbishment to transform its debut Tyneside venue, The Park. The company, which acquired the 53-bedroom venue in Grand Parade, Tynemouth, in March, has started the first phase of major redevelopment works to renovate the art deco site. Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are excited that work is now underway to refurbish this extraordinary site and restore it to its former heyday. It has been in decline for a number of years, and we are delighted to be giving it the new lease of life it deserves, and creating a leisure gem that does this exceptional part of the coast and its community proud.” The redevelopment includes an extensive remodelling of the current bar and dining areas along with the site’s existing rooms. New external seating areas and terraces will be added, maximising the venue’s sea views of Longsands beach, and the site will include a fish and chip takeaway and ice cream parlour. Refurbishment plans include the reconfiguration of a previously underused function and events area, creating an additional 20 bedrooms for guests. The site is expected to reopen in autumn 2022, creating 70 full-time equivalent jobs. The Inn Collection Group has 25 sites across Northumberland, County Durham, Teesside, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Wearside.

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