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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 24th Feb 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Brighton Pier Group looks for more golf sites, bars performing ‘significantly better’ than expected: Anne Ackord, chief executive of Brighton Pier Group, has said the company is looking to add to its indoor mini-golf business but insisted “it’s not true that there are lots of cheap sites that landlords are keen to fill all over the country”. The company currently operates eight indoor mini-golf sites in retail shopping malls. In an investor update, Ackord said that the group’s golf estate was a “well-invested business, delivering attractive returns”, with new sites “trading above expectations”. When asked why if its golf sites have such a high return on investment, the company aren’t opening more, Ackord replied: “We are looking for more golf sites. It is not true that there are lots and lots of cheap sites that landlords are very keen to fill all over the country, but we are looking at golf sites at the moment. The cost of a new build is around £800,000 up towards £1m. We are looking for them, and we will find them.” When it comes to acquisitions in general, Ackord said the business focuses on “something where we can use our skills, where we have the experience”. She said: “We have wide experience in the management team – we can manage retail, arcades, we can develop fun fairs, so we look where we can use our skills and we can absorb some of the central functions, if not all, of the business we are targeting. We look for what matches our skills.” When asked about the possibility of disposing of its eight-strong bars business – which includes the Le Fez and Lola Lo brands – chief financial officer, John Smith, added: “Our bars have performed significantly better than we ever expected. There are a lot less competitors in the marketplace, and it is a business we want to continue with. You can never say never on anything being for sale, because if the price is right, everything is for sale.”

Industry News:

One day to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, 49 business being added: A total of 49 new multi-site companies, operating 227 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released tomorrow, Friday, 25 February, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of expanding hotel companies, regional pub and restaurant operators and several brands set for UK expansion. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,750-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. Premium subscribers will also receive the seventh edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 4 March, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The seventh edition also includes a 15,000-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. 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 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.

More than 300 booked for Propel Multi Club conference, free operator places: More than 300 have booked in for the Propel Multi Club conference, which takes place on Friday, 25 March, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London. Speakers are: Graeme Smith, managing director at AlixPartners; Seton Leung, head of UK foodservice at NPD Group; Paul Campbell, sector investor and non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Blacklock, 200 Degrees and The Alchemist; Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK; Brandon Stephens, founder of Tortilla; James Shapland, co-founder of Coffee#1; Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants; Alexandra Miller, founder of high-class cafe brand EL&N; Jonny Boud, founder of Kitchen Ventures; Tom Snellock, founder of Clays and Mario Aleppo, founder of the fast-growing pizza brand Fireaway. A panel session discussing the recruitment and retention crisis will also be hosted by Mark Stretton, with James Hacon, global chief marketing officer at Mapal Group; Sol Schlagman, co-founder of Stint; Roland Horne, founder of WatchHouse Coffee; Kate Daines, chief people officer at PizzaExpress and Brian Trollop, managing director at Dishoom. Operators of multi-site hospitality companies can book two free places each. Email to book.

BBPA calls for exemptions for pubs in proposed new business rates cycle: The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called for exemptions for pubs in the government’s proposed three-yearly business rates cycle. The industry body was responding to Downing Street’s joint technical consultation on the matter, demanding exemptions to proposed duty to notify requirements for pubs. It pointed out that the sector has long suffered from over-taxation on business rates, with pubs paying more in business per pound of turnover than any other business sector. The business rates bill for the sector accounts for 2.5% of total business rates paid, despite only representing 0.5% of total rateable turnover, which makes for an overpayment of £570m, says the BPPA. Its submission states that, as one of the highest taxed sectors per pound of turnover, the potential benefits of more frequent revaluations will be more than offset by the increase the administrative burden and cost to publicans. Its proposals to improve the proposed system include exempting properties not currently paying business rates under SBRR exemptions and residential elements, and extending timelines for filing from 30 days to three months (plus three months to six months for appeals). It also wants to dramatically reduce the trigger for filing requirements to reflect only the most essential changes that would impact on a pub’s fair maintainable trade and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens. BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin, said: “It is clear the proposed changes to the business rates system to improve fairness will be totally undermined by the increase in administrative burden and cost to publicans up and down the UK. With the required support, our sector can deliver jobs and additional economic value in every part of the UK.”

Plea to join virtual Pedalling for Pubs effort: Chef Tom Aikens has invited the hospitality sector to join him and industry colleagues in a virtual ‘Pedalling for Pubs UK Bike Ride’ to Jordan between 7-15 March. At the same time that 27 hospitality professionals do the real ride over 335km of desert and mountain terrain, Aikens is asking colleagues working in pubs, bars, restaurants and breweries to form teams and cycle 4,891km, the distance from London to Jordan, either on a static bike in the workplace or outdoors. “We wanted to mirror the efforts of the cyclists in Jordan – and it’s a great initiative to strengthen teamwork and do good at the same time,” said Aikens. The event will raise funds for Only A Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity, both of which help people facing homelessness, joblessness, health issues and financial hardship. Contact to take part, or visit to donate.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is working with an entrepreneurial hospitality brand looking to hire a head of recruitment based in London. The role will lead its talent attraction strategy, influencing senior stakeholders and ensuring purpose, vision, values and goals are at the forefront when attracting and appointing new staff in UK and Europe. The head of recruitment will also be accountable for reporting on key recruitment metrics and analytics, and driving and championing the diversity and inclusivity agenda. The salary for this position is circa £75,000. For more information and to apply or discuss, contact

Company News:

Itsu continues to build regional openings pipeline: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain founded by Julian Metcalfe, is continuing to build its regional openings pipeline, including sites planned in Aberdeen and Chelmsford. Propel understands that the company is planning to open in Union Square, Aberdeen, and in Chelmer Village Retail Park, Chelmsford. It is thought that both sites will open under the group’s franchise agreement with the Heart with Smart Group, which is operated by the team behind Pizza Hut Restaurants. Heart with Smart is set to open its second Itsu franchise site next month, in Edinburgh. The business will launch what will be the healthy Asian food brand’s first site in Scotland, at the St James Quarter development, at the end of March. Itsu opened its first franchise restaurants in the UK last year. The first opened in Reading in partnership with Heart with Smarts, while a second opening, in Leicester, opened with Savvi Dining Group. Propel understands that Hearts with Smarts is also looking at a possible Itsu site in Manchester. Last month, Itsu secured a site in Woking, Surrey, and is also thought to be planning an opening in Gordon Street, Glasgow. The company plans to open 100 new outlets, creating 2,000 jobs in the UK alone, within the next five years. 

Gareth Bale and The Depot plan roll out of new Par 59 concept: Football star Gareth Bale and Welsh independent entertainment brand The Depot plan to roll out their new mini-golf bar and restaurant concept, Par 59, Propel has learned. Earlier this month, Bale’s company, Elevens Group, and The Depot announced they would open the first Par 59 at the 23,000 square-foot site of the former Liquid/Life nightclub in St Mary Street, Cardiff. Propel understands that a second site for the concept is being planned for an opening in Bristol later this year. It is understood the concept is working with Cardiff-based property advisors Fletcher Morgan to build a pipeline of new openings, with sites in Exeter, Bath, Newcastle, Southampton, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh under consideration. It is also thought that the business will look overseas, with an opening in Dubai on its target list. The Cardiff Oar 59 venue, which will create 45 jobs, will eventually have three nine-hole courses and a billiards room. Phase one – which will open on Friday, 18 March – will include 4,000 square feet of bar space and two nine-hole courses. Street food trader Dirty Bird is creating a new dine-in menu especially for the venue. Called Dirtie Birdie, it will serve up a custom-designed menu of buttermilk fried chicken dishes, along with vegan options, for up to 164 covers at a time. Par 59 marks a second step into the hospitality sector for Welsh international Bale following the opening of Elevens Bar & Grill in Cardiff in 2017.

Interactive football bar concept Toca Social eyes Edinburgh opening: Toca Social, the interactive football bar concept, is lining up a third opening in the UK, in Edinburgh. Propel understands that the business, which is led by Alex Harman, is in advanced talks to take a site at the St James Quarter scheme in the Scottish capital. Late last year, Hammerson announced it had re-let part of the former Debenhams department store in the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham to Toca Social. Set to open later this year, it will be Toca’s second UK venue, after opening at the O2 in London last summer. Toca describes itself as the world’s first interactive football and dining experience, where visitors can eat and drink as well as kicking a ball against a digital wall in various games. It is taking the top floor (some 40,000 square feet) of the old Debenhams store in the Bullring, which closed in May. 

Team behind Officina 00 plan second London site: The team behind pasta workshop and restaurant concept Officina 00, which launched in London in 2019, is planning to open a second site in the capital. Propel understands that the business – which was founded by Elia Sebregondi, former Bone Daddies head chef and sous chef at Kiln, and Enzo Mirto, ex-general manager of Mexican restaurant Ella Canta – has applied to open at 67 Whitfield Street, in Fitzrovia. The duo, who are both from Naples, launched Officina 00, offering regional Italian pasta dishes created in a “theatre kitchen” in front of diners. The restaurant also offers freshly baked sourdough and Italian pastries, while the bar offers snacks such as fried ravioli and a drinks list featuring Italian red and white wine on tap and by the bottle alongside a range of Italian cocktails. Officina 00 opened at the same new development that houses all-day cafe Tayer and Elementary.

Early BrewDog backer Greggor steps down from the company’s board: Keith Greggor, one of the earliest backers of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has stepped down from the company’s board to “focus on his other business interests”. British-born Greggor, who remains a shareholder in BrewDog, built America’s Skyy Spirits brand into a billion-dollar business before it was taken over by Campari. He backed BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2009, alongside five colleagues via the Griffin Group, the Californian brand consultancy he founded in 2007. Their combined stake, which they bought for £600,000, had a paper value of about £85m in 2017, when BrewDog struck a £213m deal with the US private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. A BrewDog spokesperson told Propel: “Keith has been a director since 2009 and has decided to step down to focus on his other business interests. Keith, who remains a shareholder, has made a huge contribution to the business in that time, during which we’ve grown to be the global leader in craft beer, with over 100 bars and four hotels worldwide. As we continue to evolve the board under the leadership of our chairman Allan Leighton in line with the UK corporate Governance Code, we expect to make other appointments to the board in due course.”

Kitchen Ventures partners with rapper Tinie Tempah for new fried chicken brand, plans to expand across UK and abroad: Kitchen Ventures, the cloud kitchen and virtual dining start-up, has partnered with rapper and TV presenter Tinie Tempah to launch a new fried chicken brand, Raps. An “inclusive community of healthy soul food fans with hip hop ideologies at its core”, Raps is inspired by Tinie’s childhood spent frequenting the chicken shops of south east London. Raps will officially launch on Friday, 11 March, both online and via a four-month residency at Willows on The Roof, the Oxford Street rooftop bar, in partnership with Night Tales. Tinie has spent the last year developing his menu, consisting mainly of chicken wraps, with chef Big Has. It will include deep fried jerk chicken with jerk BBQ sauce, buttermilk fried chicken with jollof salsa and buttermilk fried chicken buffalo sauce options, as well as “peng wings”. Tinie, who dreamt up the concept during lockdown, made his first foray into hospitality a reality through his friendship with Kitchen Ventures chief executive, Jonny Boud. He said: “I’ve been talking with Jonny about working on something for ages, and Raps just felt right. Food is an exploration of culture through its ingredients and flavours, and it was really exciting to be able to combine the food I grew up on with the music that inspired me to be who I am today.” Boud added: “I’ve long been in collaboration talks with Tinie, and I am thrilled to embark on this journey together. The disruptive nature of digital food delivery will allow us to scale the brand quickly across London, the UK and internationally. I look forward to developing RAPS further.” Kitchen Ventures operates a network of dark kitchens across the capital via its website and Deliveroo and has plans to expand delivery both nationally and internationally too. These ambitions will be assisted by a £5m round of funding it’s planning this year.

Venue group tuned up for US expansion: The Venue Group (TVG) Hospitality has raised $50m with the backing of tech billionaires, financial professionals and musicians, as it goes ahead with its plans to expand in the US. The Times reports that the music venue company was set up by a founding member of the folk- rock band Mumford & Sons, Ben Lovett, and his brother Greg Lovett, the former finance director of Soho House North America, who closed the new funding for its initial financing round yesterday. TVG was founded in 2015 and operates three venues in London — Omeara and Flat Iron Square in London Bridge and Lafayette in King’s Cross — with several under development in America. The first venue, due to open in May, is the Orion Amphitheatre in Huntsville, Alabama, which has an 8,000-person capacity. The company has said it is developing other new projects in Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles. The $50m funding round was led by the guitar company Gibson Brands and Nat Zilkha, Gibson’s chairman, who is on TVG’s board. Others were Goldman Sachs, LionTree and various partners at KKR. Ben Lovett said: “I am incredibly grateful for the investments from so many of our industry leaders. It further cements our belief that our new thinking is going to be game changing for artists, fans and communities alike.”

Azzurri Group lines up double Zizzi opening: Azzurri Group, the TowerBrook Capital-backed business, is to add two further Zizzi sites to its estate over the coming months. The Steve Holmes-led group is on site for openings in Leicester’s Fosse Park and on an ex-BHS unit in Lancaster. Azzurri currently operates 129 sites under its Zizzi brand in the UK, plus three in Ireland. Last month, the company launched a delivery kitchen site featuring all its brands – ASK Italian, Coco Di Mama, Pod and Zizzi. As revealed by Propel in December, the business has teamed up with delivery kitchen operator Foodstars at its site in Bethnal Green.

Lane 7 to debut its new golfing concept next month, in Edinburgh: Boutique bowling company Lane7 will launch its first mini-golf course concept next month, at its site in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, which opened last year. Lane 7 has invested £700,000 in a state-of-the-art, 14-hole futuristic course called I Like Big Putts, with some of the holes featuring computer-generated imagery. The course will sit alongside Lane 7s current roster of interactive sports, including shuffleboard, darts pods, shooting alleys and arcades. Graeme Smith, chief operating officer for Lane 7, said: “After such a warm welcome by locals, it was a no-brainer to invest a further £700,000 to add our new mini-golf concept, adding to our unique blend of premium activities under one roof.” Jennifer Laseen, F&B director at St James Quarter, added: “At St James Quarter, we pride ourselves on providing world-class facilities that will entertain people of all ages, and Lane7 does just that.” Lane 7 currently operates 11 sites nationwide and is set to open several more this year. Earlier this month, the company secured the former Fat Buddha site in Durham’s Walkergate Leisure Park. Founder Tim Wilks also this month sold his pub, Pickled Parson of Sedgefield in Stockton-on-Tees, to focus on Lane 7’s growth.

Papa John’s multi-unit franchisees launch sixth store within first year, eye more openings: New Papa John’s multi-unit franchisees Richard McElroy and Chris Makin have smashed their target to open six stores in their first year with the opening of store number six, in Leigh. The pair’s sites include the one in Ormskirk which became Papa John’s 500th UK restaurant when it opened in September. McElrory said: “For us, our people are the key ingredient in our recipe for success. We now look forward to welcoming many more recruits as we develop our management structure and continue to add more stores in the region.” Amit Pancholi UK director of business development for Papa John’s UK, added: “As an organisation, we opened double digit stores across the UK in 2021, growing our brand presence both on the high street and in non-traditional locations such as holiday resorts, leisure venues and more. Richard and Chris have fully bought into our ethos and values, and we are proud to support them as they also continue to grow their portfolio of stores.”

Atlas Hotels acquires six-strong Scottish portfolio from Chardon Group: Atlas Hotels, which owns and operates hotels across the UK, has acquired six properties across Scotland from the Chardon Group. The portfolio comprises hotels across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Perth, totalling 569 bedrooms. The purchase, supported by its affiliate L+R Hotels, means Atlas now owns 60 UK sites with more than 7,400 bedrooms. Chief executive, Sean Lowe, said: “Our decision to acquire the Chardon hotels reflects our ambitious growth strategy to become the leading multi-brand platform for select service hotels in the UK, and we are excited to welcome the teams into the wider Atlas family. Despite the tough challenges of trading through the pandemic, our portfolio has remained cash positive, demonstrating the resilience of this sector. Our operating model has allowed us to quickly integrate new assets and provide a stable platform for recovery and growth.” Last summer, Atlas acquired the 109-bedroom Hampton by Hilton Birmingham Jewellery Quarter from Birmingham Regeneration LP.

Technology-inspired competitive football experience concept Metrix seeks flagship site: Metrix, the fledgling concept which provides “technology-inspired competitive football experiences” has begun the search for a new flagship location. After a pop-up in Westfield White City, the venture, which is the brainchild of Tim Worboys, is working with property advisory firm P-Three to find a new flagship location for their UEFA Champions League competitive socialising concept. The company said the venue will leverage UEFA’s key partners including EA Sports, Adidas, PlayStation, and Heineken to create an interactive mixed use venue combining football skills, gaming, F&B and retail. The flagship will be between 20,000-30,000 square feet in prime locations. Backed by football stars including Glenn Hoddle, Serge Gnabry and Gary Cahill, the game – Football Re-Coded – measures the power, accuracy and speed with which players can hit targets on a wall.

London-based indoor go-karting track to open second site next month with new concept: Indoor go-karting track Capital Karts, which has operated in Barking since 2013, will next month open its second site, in Canary Wharf. The company, founded by Matthew Holyfield and Alastair Flynn, will set up in a 79,281 square-foot site in Cabot Place. The new track will also feature a new concept, which has not yet been revealed. This follows the opening earlier this week of Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, in a 2,077 square-foot unit at 12 George Street, overlooking Harbour Quay Gardens and the south dock. Earlier this month, all-day restaurant group Caravan opened its sixth restaurant in a 3,719 square-foot unit in Reuters Plaza. This was followed last week by the latest site for the plant-based restaurant brand backed by Lewis Hamilton, Neat Burger. The 1,842 square-foot unit is located in the newly launched food hub, Atrium Kitchen, in Cabot Place. Stuart Fyfe, managing director of Retail Leasing Canary Wharf Group, said: “We continue to introduce a diverse mix of retail, hospitality and entertainment brands to the estate. We’re excited to welcome our new tenants and look forward to sampling their offer this spring.”

Gordon Ramsay opens third restaurant at The Savoy: Chef Gordon Ramsay has opened a third restaurant at The Savoy hotel in London. Restaurant 1890 by Gordon Ramsay seats 26 guests and offers views over the entrance to the hotel. A tasting menu, served for dinner only, will focus on seasonal modern French and European influences, prepared by executive head chef James Sharp and his team. Ramsay says the menu will pay homage to legendary French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, who joined The Savoy in 1890, saying: “Nearly every top chef around the world today has been influenced at some time in their career by Escoffier’s legacy.” The tasting menu is priced at £110 per person, with two levels of wine pairings available at £90 or £210. Restaurant 1890 is open Wednesday to Saturday with two dinner sittings, at 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm. Ramsey also operates the Savoy Grill and the recently opened River Restaurant at The Savoy.

Burmese restaurant concept Lahpet opens second site, includes new dishes: Burmese restaurant concept Lahpet has opened its second site, in Covent Garden’s The Yards, following in the footsteps of its 2018 debut site in Shoreditch. The 2,500 square-foot unit is set over two floors, seating 100 covers indoors in booths and long sharing tables, and 70 covers outdoors across a heated terrace and courtyard. The restaurant is also home to two bars, serving cocktails, craft beers and a wine list from Liberty Wines. The menu combines Lahpet classics with new regional specialities, using seasonal British produce and ingredients imported from Myanmar. New to the Covent Garden site is a large robata grill, serving meat and vegetable skewers plus a new selection of Burmese regional and street food options, including roasted pork belly with bamboo shoots and Rakhine fish noodle soup. Lahpet co-founder, Dan Anton, said: “As one of London’s best dining hubs, this site has huge potential for the Lahpet brand. We’re extremely excited to have the opportunity to introduce more of the varied and vibrant food of Myanmar to London.” Turkish restaurant Haz has also signed for its debut west end restaurant in The Yards, due to open next month. CBRE acted for Longmartin Properties and Colliers and DCL acted for The Yards, while Lahpet represented themselves.

Former Gordon Ramsay Holdings chief executive Gillies opens second site: Stuart Gillies, former chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings, will open his second site under his Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen concept today (24 February), in Sevenoaks. As revealed by Propel last October, the new Number Eight restaurant will launch on the former Prezzo site in the Kent town’s London Road. Gillies, who spent more than 15 years working with Ramsay, launched the original Bank House site in Chislehurst in September 2019. Co-owned by Gillies and his wife Cecilia, Number Eight will feature a menu heralding the “best in season, using local artisan suppliers”. The Gallery, a private space with up to 16 covers, will provide dual purpose for those looking for a more intimate dining affair, as well as a bespoke artwork space in collaboration with Charlie Smedley (A Space for Art) to showcase up and coming artists. Gillies said: “Cecilia and I are so excited to bring Number Eight to Sevenoaks. The opening of Bank House in Chislehurst has given us the perfect launch pad from which to integrate ourselves further into the local community. Sevenoaks is such a vibrant town, full of incredible independent operators, and we can’t wait to be part of it all, sharing our passion for good honest food and great wine with locals and visitors alike.”

The O2 to reopen tomorrow following storm damage repairs: The O2 will reopen its doors tomorrow (Friday, 25 February) after repairs to its roof caused by Storm Eunice. This follows rigorous expert safety checks that have deemed the venue safe, secure and structurally sound, plus the construction of a new entrance tunnel. As well as reopening for live events, The O2’s Entertainment District, which is home to more than 30 bars and restaurants, will also welcome guests back. The space also features interactive experiences at Toca Social, immersive dining with Mamma Mia! The Party and a Cineworld. Works on the damaged part of the roof fabric will continue but are limited to an isolated area within the Icon Outlet shopping centre. Janine Constantin-Russell, managing director of the Entertainment District and Icon Outlet, said: “We are delighted to be reopening the doors at The O2 and can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best, providing a world class experience for our visitors. While Icon Outlet will sadly remain closed for the time being, we’re incredibly proud to be opening the rest of the venue after such a short closure.” 

Former Yorke Arms Michelin-starred team set to open Harrogate cafe: Former Michelin-starred team Frances Atkins, John Tullett and Roger Olive will open a new cafe in Harrogate on Saturday (26 February). Atkins was, for two decades, the driving force behind the historic Yorke Arms pub-with-rooms in Ramsgill, Yorkshire, which lost its long-standing Michelin star in 2020 but gained three AA rosettes. The pub was purchased by Jonathan Turner in 2018, with Atkins still running the kitchen, but the effects of the pandemic forced the owner to close the venue and rebrand it as a country house-style wedding venue. Atkins, along with her front-of-house manager Tullett and chef Olive, who have worked together for 20 years, instead launched Paradise Foods out of a wagon at Daleside Nurseries, in the Killinghall area of Harrogate, last summer. The wagon has now been upgraded to a cafe, Paradise at Daleside, which will seat up to 60, including a terrace space, and will also cater for private dinners and parties. Atkins said: “We are thrilled to be finally opening and very excited about our location. It was always the plan to open a cafe at Daleside, but owing to the difficulties ensued over the pandemic, we are over a year late in producing our forward plans.” Stuart Townsend, managing director of Daleside Nurseries, added: “We were really excited when Frances, Roger and John decided that they wanted to join us on our cafe venture. Working with them over the last 18 months, we’ve developed a great partnership.”

Australian-America coffee house chain Gloria Jean’s set to open third UK site next month, more in the pipeline: Retail Food Group-owned Australian-American coffee house chain Gloria Jean’s is set to open its third UK site next month, with more openings in the pipeline. Company director Amer Rashid confirmed to The Banbury Guardian that the franchise chain was aiming to open in the town’s Castle Quay Shopping Centre by the end of March. It will open in a unit which formerly housed Druckers Vienna Patisserie, which closed in January 2019. The first UK Gloria Jean’s site opened in Sutton in 2019, followed by a second in Newcastle, with plans to open 13 more in England – including the Banbury site – plus seven in Scotland and one in Wales, according to its website. Founded in Chicago in 1979, Gloria Jean’s now has more than 1,400 coffee houses in circa 40 countries. It was bought by Retail Food Group in 2013, and in 2018 it announced plans for 190 new UK sites within the next ten years, having signed a 20-year franchise agreement with Naweed Nasir.

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