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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 17th Feb 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Mayor proposes £10m investment to attract more tourists back to London: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced proposals to invest an additional £10m to attract more tourists back to the capital – including launching a new international tourism campaign. It comes following Khan’s £6m domestic tourism campaign – Lets Do London – that has brought in an additional £70m in spending and 280,000 visitors to the capital. Khan now plans to invest a further £3m to attract more domestic tourists back to the capital, with a campaign to drive confidence in London as a destination and promoting cultural and sporting activities happening in London this year. He will also invest £7m in a dedicated international marketing campaign to drive international tourists to London from this spring. Before the pandemic, London was the third most visited city in the world. However, due to the pandemic, in 2021, the number of overnight stays made by tourists to the capital more than halved to 60.8 million with a spend of £3.8bn, compared with 147.4 million overnight visits and spending of £18.8bn in 2019. Last month, Khan revealed it could take until at least 2025 for domestic and international visitor overnight numbers to return to the levels seen in 2019, with spend predicted to take until 2026 to surpass pre-pandemic levels. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is exactly the sort of support the hospitality and tourism sector needs in order to recover from the pandemic and attract people back into the capital. Businesses in our sector remain in a fragile state, carrying crippling debt and facing a barrage of rising costs across the board. Initiatives that help drive footfall such as this will be vital to our recovery. However, remaining an attractive destination for both international and domestic visitors will become more difficult if the planned VAT rise in April goes ahead and so we are urging the government to commit to keeping it at its current 12.5% level permanently.”
 

Industry News:

Next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector losses now outstripping profits almost ten times over: The full damage done to the industry by the pandemic is highlighted in the latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book with losses now outstripping profits in the sector almost ten times over. The Blue Book, which is updated monthly, shows 340 companies making a combined loss of £7.4bn compared with 196 companies in profit – making a combined £788.4m. Just 24 of the 536 companies are making pre-tax profit of more than £5m. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (18 February). The 536 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a total turnover of £26.7bn. The Blue Book provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive two other databases – the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. Propel Premium subscribers will also be given access to the entire recording of The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit Conference today (Thursday, 17 February). Subscribers will be sent 31 separate video presentations, featuring 67 speakers, at 9am. 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 single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. 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 group editor Mark Wingett.
 
Nutritics to host free webinar on new calorie labelling legislation: Food and health software solution company Nutritics are to host a free webinar to help operators prepare for the new calorie labelling legislation. The webinar will take a practical look at the legal requirements and how to implement them before the deadline of Wednesday, 6 April. Calorie labelling expert and head of regulatory and legal affairs at Nutritics, Frankie Douglas, will answer questions about the legal requirements for calorie labelling, who the new legislation applies to, how to know if your current menu management system is compliant, how to choose the most cost effective solution for your business size and the consequences of not being fully compliant. The webinar will be sent out at 3pm today (Thursday, 17 February).
 
Heineken boss warns cost inflation is ‘off the charts’ as prices increase: Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink has warned “off the charts” cost inflation will further push up the price of a pint and said the risk of outright shortages was growing as brewers face persistent challenges delivering beer to pubs, restaurants and supermarkets. He told the Financial Times it was impossible to gauge how much consumers would reduce consumption in response to additional price rises, adding the usual models the sector used to try to predict behaviour were breaking down. “In my 24 years in the business I’ve never seen anything like it, not even close,” van den Brink said of the cost inflation. “Across the board we are faced with crazy increases. There’s no model that can handle this kind of inflation. It’s kind of off the charts. So it’s anybody’s guess . . . what the impact is going to be on volumes due to all these price increases.” Heineken did not disclose how much it had increased prices per unit, although its so-called “price mix” – a metric that includes the effect of consumers choosing more expensive products – rose 8.8% year-on-year in the six months to 31 December. Revenue for the full year increased from €23.8bn to €26.6bn as van den Brink said the company had enjoyed “a big bounce back” from the depths of the coronavirus crisis. Gross annual expense savings of almost €1.3bn also supported the Amsterdam-based company’s net profit in 2021, which jumped from €1.15bn to €2.04bn. However, Heineken said it expected input costs to rise by a “mid teen” percentage this year and also said there was “increased uncertainty” about a midterm forecast for profitability. The company said it would update guidance for 2023 later this year. Van den Brink said there was rising concern in the industry about availability as the global supply chain crunch drags on. So far, he said, there had only been “pockets” of shortages, although the risks were “going up daily because of the global supply chain disruption”.
 
Nine restaurants recognised for sustainability credentials with Michelin green stars: Nine restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland have had their sustainability credentials recognised by being awarded green stars by the Michelin Guide. All but one of the restaurants are from England with Welsh venue Chapters in Powys also receiving the accolade. The other restaurants are Marle in Hampshire, Moor Hall in Aughton, Oak in Bath, Pensons in Tenbury Wells, Pine in Northumberland, Terroir Tapas in Bournemouth, Tillingham in East Sussex and Wilsons in Bristol. First revealed in 2020, Great Britain and Ireland saw the award celebrated for the first time at its Michelin star revelation event in January 2021, when 23 restaurants were recognised. The green star is given to restaurants that combine “culinary excellence with outstanding eco-friendly commitments”. Any restaurant in the Michelin Guide is eligible for the award.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an expanding investment group whose interests span from retail to hospitality and technology to consumer products that is looking for a non-executive director/advisor to strengthen the board. As part of its 2022-23 plans, it is looking to make multiple investments into more sectors and business streams. The group is looking for a proven, established and credible industry figurehead who can join them in an advisory capacity to advise on growth, investments and strategy. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “We are looking for a ‘name’ within the leisure, hospitality, technology or retail sector who has created, grown and exited businesses through their career – or is currently in the process of doing so. UK experience is great but if there is anyone who has expanded an international business then it would be very beneficial too.” Anyone interested can email Krishnan@corecruitment.com
 

Company News: 

Pret secures new group FD, appoints Guy Meakin as interim UK MD: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holding-backed chain, has appointed An Zhang, formerly of Starbucks, as its new group finance director, Propel has learned. Zhang joins the Pano Christou-led business after just over a year as head of finance, EMEA at Starbucks. Previous to that he spent 15 months as global finance director at marketing and advertising firm WPP. His appointment comes as the business has promoted Guy Meakin from trade director to interim managing director UK & Ireland. Meakin, who has been at Pret since 2017, takes over from Claire Clough while she is on maternity leave. Earlier this week, the company said that sales are “almost back to normal” at its sites in London’s financial districts. “With restrictions loosening across England, we’re seeing significantly more traffic around the country and in some places getting back to the level we saw before Omicron,” Pret chief executive Christou said. 
 
Chik’n set for Camden High Street: Chik’n, the fried chicken concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, has secured a site in London’s Camden. Propel understands the John Nelson-led business is taking on an empty unit next to the Tesco Express in Camden High Street. Last month, Propel revealed Chik’n was to return to the expansion trail, with four new sites in London lined up for this year. It is also understood to have lined up openings in Notting Hill Gate, Putney and Wimbledon. Propel understands the brand, which currently operates sites in Angel, Soho and Marylebone, is set to open at 88 Notting Hill Gate. It is also believed to have secured the former O’Neills site in The Broadway, Wimbledon. 
 
Neat Burger appoints Tom Ormond as chief financial officer: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger has appointed Tom Ormond as its new chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Ormond previously spent two years as finance director at the Victoria Beckham fashion brand. Previous to that he was finance director at Chilango for just over a year. He has also had stints at the Powerleague, River Island and Adidas. Neat Burger will open its latest site in London, this week, in Canary Wharf. Based in Cabot Place and spread over 1,800 square feet, the 68-cover venue follows hot on the heels of the opening of Neat Burger’s flagship Bishopsgate site, in the City of London, last month. The new openings form part of Neat Burger’s ambitious expansion plans – announced in October following a $7m round of funding led by SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra – that will see it open 30 new sites across London as well as expand into the US, UAE and Italy. Further openings in Ealing, Queensway, The O2 and Chelsea’s Kings Road are planned to add to the two new sites and existing Neat Burgers at Camden, Soho, Mayfair, Finsbury Park, Victoria and Westfield Stratford. Marc Rogers, of MKR Property, acts for Neat Burger.
 
BabaBoom and Sixes among new openings at Westfield’s London sites: Fledgling kebab restaurant concept BabaBoom and cricket-based competitive socialising concept Sixes are due to open in Westfield’s London sites this spring after signing five-year leases. BabaBoom, which currently has a single site in Battersea Rise, will open an 819 square-foot unit at Westfield Stratford, while Sixes, which currently operates four venues, including last month’s opening in Birmingham, will open a 9,338 square-foot unit in Westfield White City. They will join Salt Yard charcuterie and tapas and Indian street food outlet Ghara (Stratford) and free climbing/escape room concept City Bouldering (White City) in opening in the second quarter of this year, as previously reported by Propel. In addition, The Bat & Ball ping pong and drinks and dining concept from Urban Pubs & Bars has signed a permanent lease for its unit at Stratford. Kate Orwin, leasing director for Westfield UK & Italy, said: “One of the key trends we saw during 2021 was the growth of the innovative fast-food category, and this trend is showing no signs of abating during 2022, with Ghara and BabaBoom set to open in the coming months.” Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, added: “It’s incredibly positive to see such exciting and innovative brands investing in new physical spaces in London. It has been an unprecedentedly challenging time for the entire hospitality sector.” Other major hospitality brands to have invested in Westfield’s London sites during the last 12 months include steak and seafood restaurant Big Easy, Turkish restaurant and shisha bar Lokma, the UK’s first Popeyes Louisiana Fried Chicken and Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based brand Neat Burger. 
 
Urban Baristas line up April opening for eighth site, in South Kensington: Aussie-inspired coffee concept Urban Baristas is looking to open its eighth site, in South Kensington, in April. The company, which takes it influence from the laid back vibes of Bondi Beach culture, has taken on a 1,400 square-foot site at 44 Harrington Road. Founded in 2016 by Huw Wardrope and Jono Bowman, Urban Baristas started out in a small kiosk in Bounds Green, north London, and currently has a further six sites across the capital. As well as its South Kensington opening, the company also has a roastery and cafe in London Dock in the pipeline. It also runs an online coffee subscription and delivery service. Wardrope said: “Our Aussie spirit extends to giving our guests those healthy Aussie choices. Although, while we’ll always favour our smashed avo on toast and healthy brekkie pots, we offer a mean ham and cheese toastie as well. Sometimes you just need that bit of comfort food. We hope people online might notice that we’ve named our coffees after our favourite Aussie beaches and take them back to that year backpacking, or dream about that long-awaited adventure away.” Cafe Ventures’ Edward Pearse Wheatley acted on the deal. 
 
NZR’s second UK Chotto Matte restaurant set to open in April: NZR Group, the Kurt Zdesar-led business, is set to open the second UK restaurant for its Chotto Matte brand, in London’s Marylebone, on Thursday, 28 April. The Marylebone Village restaurant will be a sister site to the brand’s flagship site, in Soho, and will sit alongside venues in Miami and Toronto in the Chotto Matte portfolio. Founded in 2013 by former Nobu European director and Hakassan founder Zdesar, the brand also has further US openings, in San Francisco, Nashville and Los Angeles, in the pipeline. Zdesar said: “We are delighted to continue our expansion plans. We cannot wait for the new phase of growth to allow more people to experience the very best of authentic innovative Nikkei cuisine, and we are proud to bring the spirit of Chotto Matte to the Marylebone locals.” A menu curated by group executive chef Jordan Sclare and led by head chef Begonya Sanchez will include new dishes drawing on traditional Japanese themes, such as fatty tuna and robatayaki salmon with smoked jalapeño chilli, persimmon and truffle. Sanchez said: “We are introducing a collection of new premium dishes for the launch, combining the essence of Chotto Matte with an elevated dining experience.” Alongside this, a new “Tokyo to Lima” cocktail menu will feature ten drinks, inspired by Nikkei cuisine and designed by global bar manager Gabor Fodor to complement the dishes. 
 
Experiential grocery store lines up third pop-up, seeks central London hosting unit: Raye, the UK’s first travelling concept grocery shop, is gearing up for a third pop-up and seeking a central London retail unit to house 80 or more emerging brands throughout March. Founded last year by Nicole Compen, former head of marketing at Edition Capital-backed coffee concept WatchHouse, Raye showcases emerging food, drink and wellness brands. It launched in June 2021 with a ten-day pop-up in Commercial Street, Spitalfields, showcasing more than 200 products from more than 50 innovative brands, and a second pop-up followed in Chelsea’s Kings Road through September and October 2021. Further pop-ups are planned throughout 2022 in different London neighbourhoods, with an eventual goal of opening a permanent flagship location, followed by UK and European expansion. Compton said: “Every store we open is unique, from fit-out design to the brands on our shelves. We appreciate the craft of package design and brand aesthetics. It is important we review every label and look out for sustainable business practices to ensure who and what we support is of high quality. We prioritise products with conscious ingredient lists, transparent sourcing, sustainable initiatives, and purpose-driven founders.”
 
Russian restauranteurs set to make UK debut this spring: Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina, who operate the Asian restaurant Wong Kar Wine in St Petersburg Russia, will make their UK restaurant debut this spring. The duo are set to open Firebird at 29 Poland Street in Soho, which used to house Mexican restaurant Corazon before it closed last year. Firebird will feature dishes cooked over a fire such as roasted duck breast with plum chutney and burnt plums, and rump steak with burnt onions, smoked bone marrow and sorrel herb salad. Dolgushina will also be putting together a cocktail list with flamed garnishes, including a toasted white sesame sour.
 
West Yorkshire-based Kashmiri restaurant Lala’s set to open in Bradford for fourth site: West Yorkshire-based Kashmiri restaurant Lala's is set to open its fourth site, in Bradford. Owner Junior Rashid plans to convert the former Bradford College building in Great Horton Road. Planning permission is sought from the city council for the change of use of part of the ground floor and mezzanine floor levels to create a new restaurant. The venue would operate between 5pm and 11pm Monday to Friday and 1pm and 11pm on weekends and bank or public holidays. The building, which was constructed in 1877 as the Mannville New Connection chapel and is grade II-listed, was most recently used by Bradford College, which relocated to new facilities in 2015. Lala's currently has branches in Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield.
 
Fuller’s to relaunch City-based pub as The Saint: London-based pub operator Fuller’s is to relaunch its former Fine Line site in the City, under the new name The Saint. Scheduled to reopen in April, the company said the site at Bow Churchyard will have a “very relaxed vibe, with lots of comfy seating, and cater for City workers across a broad age range”. It said: “On offer will be a great range of cocktails and wine by the glass, as well as a substantial beer offer too, including some craft beer lines. Food will include a wide range of small plates and sharing dishes.” Last month, the company reported it had seen an improving trading position since the turn of the year. It said that following the government’s announcement to remove the working from home guidance and the lifting of other restrictions in England, it had gained “further momentum as consumer confidence returns”. 
 
OneGym adds sixth site to portfolio with Spennymoor opening, plans two more this year: County Durham-based gym business, OneGym, has added a sixth site to its portfolio after opening its latest venue, in Spennymoor, following a six-figure investment. OneGym has used a £300,000 investment it received from the North East Growth Capital Fund supported by The European Regional Development Fund via the Recovery Loan Scheme to open a new base at Thinford Park, close to the Durhamgate roundabout. The 24/7 gym joins branches in Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, Redcar, Thornaby and Stockton. Each of the company's previous gym openings have been backed by North East Growth Capital Fund investments, and the company now has plans to open a further two gyms in the region before the end of the year. The Thinford Park venue includes studio space, saunas, sunbeds, changing rooms and fitness equipment. Paul Pearson, who founded the business with his brother David ten years ago, said: “Thinford Park represents an ideal location for the next stage of our development. All our facilities are trading really well and we are already working on plans for where in the north east we're going to go next.”
 
The Alchemist to launch design evolution at original site in Manchester: Bar and restaurant concept The Alchemist is to invest £550,000 in transforming and relaunching its original site in Manchester’s Spinningfields. The company said the transformation of the site, which will reopen next month, will unveil the “next phase and a new era for the brand concept story, which will be told through the new-look interiors and menus”. The company said: “The refined refurbishment will be a significant evolution in design for The Alchemist, having journeyed through creative alchemy, and potions with its molecular mixology style. The Alchemist Spinningfields will be the first destination to reveal the original alchemists’ new style, featuring futuristic, divine influences from astrology and the cosmos. The cosmic inspired renovation of the all-day dining and cocktail space will include the addition of two new private areas. Theatre is served with a new food menu revealed, as well as a new cocktail and drinks offering landing in May.” Simon Potts, chief executive, said: “The Alchemist footprint has spread across the UK over the last few years, as we’ve taken our hospitality brand down to London and up to Scotland, but we’ve always remained a Manchester company, at heart. The Spinningfields venue is an institution and much loved by our teams and guests alike; we look forward to bringing our new design direction to the city in March. The refurbishment also marks a new phase of growth for the business as we put the recent challenges behind us and look forward to the renewed evolution and expansion of the brand.”
 
Debut restaurant for Kenyan-Indian street food market brand: The Indians Next Door, which has been selling Kenyan-Indian street food at markets across London for a decade, has opened its first bricks-and-mortar site. Its Spitalfields “somasa and bhaji house” is based at 7a Lamb Street, offering recipes dating to those served up by its ancestors in 1920s Gujarat. Its food is also available through the markets at Southbank Centre, Kings Cross Square, West Handyside Canopy and Euston Square. 
 
Brother Marcus set to open new London Bridge site in March: Brunch brand Brother Marcus will open its latest site, at the newly developed Borough Yards by London Bridge, on Monday, 7 March. The opening will take the eastern Mediterranean all-day restaurant concept back up to three sites, having last year closed its original Balham location. It will have covers for 90 indoors and 16 outside, and will feature an open kitchen with a robata grill. Founded in 2016 by Alex Large, Arthur Campbell and Tasos Gaitanos, Brother Marcus also has sites in Spitalfields Market and the Islington’s Camden Passage. With produce for the new site coming direct from the nearby Borough Market, the Borough Yards site will offer brunch, coffee and homemade baked goods by day before moving into small plates, cocktails and wine at night. New dishes on the menu will include scallops with anchovy butter, coriander cream and crispy capers, and kataifi lamb croquettes with garlic yoghurt and burnt harissa butter. The wine list will focus on Greek wine, while the cocktails will combine seasonal flavours with Mediterranean ingredients. Brother Marcus will join fellow food and beverage outlets Barrafina, Butchies and Vinoteca at the new development, with self-grilling concept Parrillan and Spanish wine bar Daskal also in the pipeline.
 
New cocktail bar concept to launch at London’s The Standard hotel: A new cocktail bar concept is opening on the tenth floor of The Standard, London, hotel in King’s Cross. Sweeties – which will launch on Thursday, 24 February – will offer a menu of naturally mood-boosting cocktails created in collaboration with award-winning mixologists Jack Sotti and Todd Austin. Creations will include the pink Frothy Boi with lacto-rhubarb, gin, raspberry, pink pepper and fermented amazake oats, and the Crystal Healing with spirulina, pepper dulse seaweed distillate, bergamot and electrolyte-rich coconut ice. The bar, which will be open from 5pm on Wednesday to Saturday each week, will also play host to an evolving line-up of international DJs. The venue will have room for 80 (seated) to 150 (standing).
 
Bristol-based east African-inspired restaurant concept goes from pop-up to permanent: Bristol-based east African-inspired restaurant concept, Jikoni, is going from pop-up to permanent. Iman Salat and James Hillier have been offering their combination of Somalian, Ethiopian and Kenyan dishes during two years of pop-ups and mobile catering at sites in and around Bristol and Bath. Now the couple have secured bricks and mortar premises in Bristol. Nestled in the courtyard of the Coach House in Upper York Street in St Paul’s, Jikoni will seat around 20 people and serve an all-day menu, drawing inspiration from the countries Salat grew up in. The new restaurant sits in what was for many years Pear Café and will offer dishes such as Somalian-spiced curries and east African-inspired salads and small plates, including traditional Somalian fishcakes. Drinks will include coffee and fruit smoothies. “I’ve always been obsessed with food as long as I could remember,” Salat told Bristol 24/7. “I was born in Somalia and grew up in Kenya and I was lucky enough to be around east African food.”
 
Leeds-based craft beer brewery Amity Brew Co launches crowdfunding campaign to support growth: Leeds-based craft beer brewery Amity Brew Co has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support expansion. Launched during the pandemic, Amity Brew Co is a 2,500 square foot brewery and bar with outdoor paved beer garden situated at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley. The company is aiming to raise funds to support the future growth of the brewery with an expansion of its home. The £15,000 Crowdfunder target has been set to fund Amity Brew Co’s Spinning Mill Barrel Project, which involves taking over future mill space for oak barrel storage enabling the brewers to age their beer in rum or whisky barrels to produce new and bold flavours. The funds will also go towards brewery equipment including a ten hectolitre tank to enable further storage. The crowdfunding campaign also has a stretch goal of £30,000 to support the purchase of another ten hectolitre tank for future beer production and storage, plus weatherproofing improvements to the outdoor area overlooking the Weavers Yard in Sunny Bank Mills. Russ Clarke, co-founder of Amity Brew Co, said: “We are extremely proud we made 2021 a success and our exciting plans for growth will create further jobs. Our community, or Famity, is so important to us and we wanted our future to be something that fits with our values of community and good beer so a crowdfund felt the right way to raise funds to help us amply the Amity experience and give something back to our community with some very fun rewards.”
 
Plans for Preston hotel with rooftop bar and restaurant withdrawn: Plans to build a hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant in Preston have been withdrawn after planners recommended rejecting the application. Developers Providence Gate wanted to demolish the three-storey Foresters Hall in Great Shaw Street and replace it with a 30-storey building, with 166 hotel rooms and 174 apartments, plus a bar and restaurant. A planning officer’s report said: “While the principle of the proposal is acceptable and the proposed development would bring many benefits, the application fails to demonstrate the adverse impacts of the proposed development could be satisfactorily mitigated.” These include loss of sunlight for neighbouring residents and noise and disturbance fears. Providence Gate is behind The Abersoch hotel and apartment development in North Wales, with on-site gym, spa and restaurant.
 
North Yorkshire Water Park to boost offer with twin zipline attraction: A twin zipline attraction will open this week at North Yorkshire Water Park on the Dawnay Estates at Wykeham near Scarborough. The attraction, which launches on Friday (19 February), comprises a 13-metre-high tower with two climbing walls, and two 250m long ziplines, providing views of North Yorkshire Water Park. In addition, visitors can enjoy refreshments at the Café @ North Yorkshire Water, with views over the adjoining water sports lake. In the warmer months, North Yorkshire Water Park offers activities including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, open water swimming, pedalos and the new wakeboard cable system introduced in 2021. David Steel, chief executive of the Dawnay Estates, said: “We have invested well over £1m into the business over the past 12 months, and the zipline and climbing tower is a key part of our vision for the park, which has enjoyed huge popularity particularly last summer since the major expansion of facilities. As well as the zipline and our new climbing walls, we have also recently announced the opening of our new '251 Events Room', adding to our private functions and corporate offering.”

Bedford-based family-run hotel goes on the market for just under £4m: The Sharnbrook Hotel in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, has gone up for sale, with a £3.95m plus VAT asking price for the freehold. The hotel was built in 2006 and operated by the Ciampi family, which had run the nearby Italian restaurant Vesuvio, which was then incorporated into the hotel. Set within 1.72 hectares, the two-storey property has 42 en-suite bedrooms, a lounge bar, five function and conference rooms and a restaurant offering a high-quality menu of locally grown and sourced produce. Hotel chief executive Ciro Ciampi said: “We have enjoyed running the hotel since 2006, but we feel the time is right for a new operator to take the helm. With scope to develop the function business to fully utilise the 300-capacity banqueting suite, we feel there is an exciting opportunity for a new owner to grow the hotel and take it to the next level.” Christie & Co is acting on the sale.

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