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Mon 6th Dec 2021 - Fulham Shore – we have 21 sites in legals
Fulham Shore – we have 21 sites in legals: Franco Manca operator Fulham Shore has reported strong revenue growth in the six months to 26 September and continued buoyant current trading ahead of management's expectations – it has 21 sites in legals. Revenues increased 103% to £39.5m (2020: £19.9m). Headline Ebitda was £10.6m (2020: £3.6m) and operating profit was £4.5m (2020: loss of £3.0m). Profit after tax was £2.4m (2020: loss of £3.9m). Fulham Shore operated 75 restaurants as at 26 September 2021 (2020: 72). Since the half year, Franco Manca has opened at Blackheath and Baker Street in London bringing the estate to 57 sites. One The Real Greek has opened in Bluewater, Kent, bringing the estate to 21 sites. One Franco Manca and one The Real Greek are currently being fitted out. Another 21 potential sites are in solicitors' hands for both Franco Manca and The Real Greek. The government-backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan was repaid early and in full in November 2021. David Page, chairman of Fulham Shore, said: “During the half year, revenue more than doubled against the prior year and increased by 10% when compared to the first half to September 2019. This is despite being able to trade without restrictions and serve dine in customers for only ten out of the 26 weeks of the half year. This strong performance continues to reflect the outstanding quality and value of our menus as well as the talent of the amazing teams across both of our restaurant businesses. We have seen continued trading momentum in recent weeks, with revenues in October and November ahead of 2019 comparatives. This includes our office and theatre district located restaurants, which are continuing to trade positively, over the four weeks in November 2021, achieving revenues ahead of the same weeks in 2019. With strong revenue growth in the half year and continued buoyant current trading, Fulham Shore is performing ahead of management's expectations with many restaurants throughout the UK continuing to break weekly trading records. This augurs well for the group's full-year performance, which we expect to be now ahead of market expectations, and our UK-wide expansion plans. We have 21 more potential sites in solicitors' hands across both businesses and look forward with confidence to the continued growth of both of our fantastic restaurant businesses over the coming years.”

Propel Premium Advent Video Calendar – Laura Morris, Bharti Radix and Judy Joo to feature: Propel has launched its Premium Advent Video Calendar, giving subscribers access to a great video each day in December from our autumn conference series. Each day in December in the run-up to Christmas, Premium subscribers will be sent a video featuring some of the sector’s leading operators, who will share insights, advice and expertise. The next video – which will be sent at 9am today (Monday 6 December), is a panel session – ‘How to start a business from scratch’ – with Ann Elliott talking to Laura Morris, co-founder of Yard & Coop, Bharti Radix, founder of Bloomsyard and Judy Joo, Korean-American executive chef, restaurateur, TV chef, and founder of Seoul Bird. Premium subscribers received the fifth edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday (3 December). The database showed the details of 366 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, and the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. 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 Leftovers 2,624 wordsoutstanding 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 group 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
AG Barr takes stake in MOMA Foods: Drinks producer AG Barr has announced it has taken an initial circa 60% equity stake in MOMA Foods, the independent branded porridge and plant-based milk business, with an agreed path to full ownership over the next three years. The company said: “MOMA was founded by Tom Mercer in 2006 and quickly established itself as a modern, challenger brand in the porridge market, using the finest quality, British jumbo oats. Most recently MOMA has diversified into the high growth plant-based milk sector, and is now the UK's third largest oat milk brand. MOMA also produces a range of low sugar granola and bircher muesli branded products.” Mercer said: "I'm hugely excited to embark on the next phase of MOMA's growth with AG Barr. I believe together we can harness the passion that is integral to MOMA and grow into a significantly bigger brand. We're 100% focused on crafting oats into the tastiest food and drink products we can, and I'm looking forward to the next leg of our journey.” Roger White, chief executive of AG Barr, said: “I'm delighted AG Barr is venturing into healthy oat-based products with such a great brand and an experienced team, led by Tom. Plant-based milk is a fast-growing category, in particular, and MOMA's oat milk is a premium quality product with huge potential. This exciting investment is a positive indication of AG Barr's growth ambitions.” The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the AG Barr’s profits for the current financial year ending 30 January 2022.
Crest acquires Shropshire hotel for sixth site: Privately-owned hotel group Crest Hotels has acquired its sixth site – the Park House Hotel in Shifnal, Shropshire, for an undisclosed sum. The 54-bedroom property features an award-winning restaurant and five dedicated conference and meeting rooms, the largest of which has a capacity of up to 222, as well as a leisure facility including a 15-metre indoor swimming pool. Graham + Sibbald and Simon Stevens Associates acted as joint agents on the sale. Martin Davis, of Graham + Sibbald, said: “This transaction and the strong interest generated in this business during the competitive marketing process demonstrates that, despite the covid-19 pandemic, the demand for well-located and realistically priced regional hotels remains.” Simon Stevens, of Simon Stevens Associates, added: “We are pleased to have secured another hotel to add to their expanding portfolio. In fact, the Park House Hotel closely follows the Tiverton Hotel that Crest Hotels purchased early in 2021. We look forward to our continued efforts to secure more transactions in this extraordinary period.”

Exeter Brewery acquires debut pub: Exeter Brewery has acquired its debut pub after agreeing to take over the running of The Hour Glass in the city, saving it from closure. The grade II-listed pub in Melbourne Street is based across three floors, plus a lower ground floor. The bar is set to open on Wednesday (8 December), and the restaurant the following day. Exeter Brewery owner and managing director, Allan Collyer, said: “After many months of negotiations we have managed to secure the long-term future of this much-loved historic pub. I am especially pleased to say The Hour Glass will also no longer be a tied pub, but completely free of tie, which will mean a greater chance of long-term prosperity and greater operating freedom. We certainly were not looking to take on a pub at the present time, but The Hour Glass is such an iconic and well-loved pub, I felt we had to try to save it.” Vickery Holman acted on behalf of the owners of The Hour Glass.

Derby’s Old Bell Hotel on market for £1.5m: One of Derby’s oldest buildings and last surviving coaching inns, the Old Bell Hotel, is up for sale with a guide price of £1.5m. Christie & Co has been appointed to market the property, which dates to 1650, and is set in Derby’s historic Cathedral Quarter. Owner Paul Hurst acquired the hotel in 2012 and set about a three-year restoration project worth more than £1m. The building features five bars and several function rooms, including its Grand Regency Ballroom, as well as a 60-cover restaurant. The former hotel rooms are currently used as storage and office space, and there is an opportunity to further develop the business by creating up to 12 letting bedrooms in the upper floors of the premises. Hurst said: “After a decade of hard work, it is time to hand the baton over to someone else who can take the business to the next level.”

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