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Mon 11th Jul 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

The Alchemist to make international debut next year after lining up Berlin site: Bar and restaurant group The Alchemist is to make its international debut next year, after agreeing on a site in Berlin, Germany, Propel has learned. The Simon Potts-led company is set to open in the redeveloped Potsdamer Platz scheme in partnership with Brookfield Properties, with an opening earmarked for next spring. It will be joined at the scheme by The Big Easy, the London barbecue concept, which will also be making its international debut. It is thought if the Berlin launch is successful, The Alchemist will quickly look at further site opportunities in Germany. Potts told Propel: “This is a very exciting next step for the business and something we’ve been working away on since the summer of 2019. We’ve done extensive work on the German market and believe it shares many of the same hallmarks and key competencies with the UK. We think the location is exceptional, it blends everything we look for in a high-quality acquisition; with 30,000 office works, significant residential and hotel occupiers in the locale as well as a complete reimagining of the retail space. There are two theatres, a cinema complex and plenty of interesting neighbours, including The Big Easy. It’s at the geographical centre and the culturally significant heart of the city; we feel we’ve found the perfect place to launch our much-loved brand into its next phase of growth.” Propel revealed last month that the company is to double its presence in Edinburgh. The Palatine Private Equity-backed business, which made its debut in Scotland last autumn with an opening in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, is to open a further site in the Scottish capital, at 51 George Street. Propel understands the 20-strong group’s first site in Scotland continues to trade well ahead of the company’s initial expectations. The new site is expected to open early next year and will follow the company’s second opening in Scotland, in Glasgow. The business will open a site in Glasgow’s George Square in October. The company is investing £1.6m in the new venue, which will feature 220 covers internally, a further 40 external covers and the company’s new four-pronged experiential concept. The new approach will see the site in George Square split into four separate areas, each with different concepts. At the end of March, the business reopened its original site, in Manchester’s Spinningfields, following a £600,000 refurbishment – complete with new astrology-based branding.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Hospitality Rising hits almost 200 investors: The team behind Hospitality Rising would like to thank the scores of sector companies that are already backing the campaign. The initiative aims to unite the industry and create the biggest sector recruitment advertising ever seen. Not listed below? What’s stopping you? Supporters include Cigalon, Cin Cin, Claridges, Clevedon Hall, Club Gascon, Como Star, Comptoir Group, Cubitt House, Darwin & Wallace, DC Bars, Dimaggios Group, Doubletree by Hilton London Greenwich, East London Pub Co, EDSY trading as The Odd Wheel, Electric Star Pubs, Ellis Mack Recruitment, Engage Interactive, English’s of Brighton, EnsCat, ETM Group, Eyes of the Guest (Hotel Alexandra), Feed It Back, Fervere, Fourth & Church, Fortnum & Mason, Fourth, Freestar, Galvin Restaurants, GigRealm, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Grantley Hall, Grouse & Ale Lease, Harbour Hotels, H G Stephenson, Hickory’s, Hilton, Hippodrome Casino, HIT Training, Hofmeister Enterprises, Holden Media (Personal) and Home Grown Hotels. The campaign has raised £700,000-plus and is now in the creative planning phase and aims to launch nationally in September, with a flood of support still coming in. Back Hospitality Rising today from just £10 per employee here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com.

Next edition of Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature almost 600 companies: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers, will feature 590 companies. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (15 July), at midday. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.9bn being reported by 344 companies. However, a further 246 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1.2bn. Total turnover of the 590 companies is £28.6bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive 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. Premium subscribers also now have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. 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 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.

Mackenzie – with a footprint in every community, the hospitality sector has a unique opportunity to help drive the creation of local jobs: Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, has said that with a footprint in every community, pubs and the wider hospitality sector have a unique opportunity to help drive the creation of local jobs and allow people to build fulfilling careers in their hometowns. Writing exclusively for Propel Premium, Mackenzie said: “The damage wrought by the pandemic upon pubs and the hospitality sector has been well-documented. But we must also recognise the lasting impact it has had on younger people, many of whom were denied the opportunity to begin and develop careers during this time. Across many industries and particularly within hospitality, businesses were forced to put much of their hiring, training and development on hold until they had confidence that they could remain open. Now, our industry is facing further supply chain, cost of living and recruitment challenges. But we have emerged from the pandemic in a strong position, and we are confident that we can succeed in the years ahead. To achieve this, it will be vital that we as an industry are providing skills, training and job opportunities to people from all sections of society. This will have the twin effects of helping young people find careers in the sector, whilst also helping address staff shortages that are holding back the whole hospitality industry. In June there were 174,000 vacancies across the sector and 3,000 in our company alone. Many young people are under the impression that they have to move to big cities to progress in their careers, with 60% thinking there are few good jobs in their local area. Yet, almost 90% of young people would be interested in a career or training opportunities that would allow them to stay living locally. It shouldn’t be the case that young people, in order to build a successful life, feel the need to move to cities. With a footprint in every community, pubs and the wider hospitality sector have a unique opportunity to help drive the creation of these local jobs and allow people to build fulfilling careers in their hometowns. At the same time pubs also play a unique role in high streets, town centres and villages up and down the country, helping to increase life satisfaction, happiness and pride in local areas. By creating valuable careers at the heart of local communities its truly – we are driving levelling up in action.”

Flaws in licensing system ’remain unresolved’, says new Lords report: Significant issues remain between the licensing and planning systems and little progress has been made in addressing the lack of co-ordination between the two systems, according to a new report. The government must work with all interested parties to establish clear mechanisms for the licensing and planning systems to work together and communicate effectively, the report from the House of Lords liaison committee said. It added a mandatory minimum standard of councillor training needs to be established for councillors who participate in licensing committee or sub-committee proceedings to ensure consistent decisions are made. The lack of progress in improving access to licensed premises for disabled people is “unacceptable”, the report said. It added the law must be amended to require an application for a premises licence should be accompanied by a disabled access and facilities statement. The committee's other findings and recommendations include the “Agent of Change” principle being incorporating into current planning reforms to prevent further uncertainty. It said the government should undertake a formal review of the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) across Scotland and Wales to assess the benefit of implementing MUP in England. The government should also review the effect of the proposed alcohol duty reforms on excessive alcohol consumption within three years of its implementation. The decision not to extend the Licensing Act airside should be reviewed within three years “to ensure disruptive incidents caused by alcohol consumption are being effectively managed by existing industry initiatives and regulation”. The committee also said the government should proceed with its proposed review of adding records of refused, suspended and revoked personal licences to a national register. The report is a follow up to the 2017 report by the select committee on the Licensing Act 2003. Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, former chair of the select committee on the Licensing Act 2003, said: “Our original inquiry concluded the Licensing Act 2003 was fundamentally flawed and needed a radical overhaul. It is now five years since we published our findings and we have not seen the progress we had hoped.”

Half of Britons buying less food as prices soar in cost-of-living crisis: Nearly half of Britons have cut back on food spending as prices soar, official statistics show. Some 49% of people surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said they had purchased less food than normal between 22 June and 3 July. This was up from 8% of those polled last September. Another 48% said they had been forced to spend more than usual on their food shopping. Overall, 91% of 2,300 participants said their cost of living had gone up over the past month. Nearly all said this was due to surging food costs (95%). Other reasons given were skyrocketing energy bills (83%) and fuel prices (79%). The most common step taken to deal with this was spending less on non-essentials (reported by 62% of people), using less energy at home (53%), cutting back on non-essential car journeys (46%) and shopping around more (38%).

Company News:

Turtle Bay reports ‘highest ever sales’, aims to open 40 new sites over next five years: Turtle Bay, the Caribbean restaurant brand backed by Piper, has reported its highest ever sales – £85.4m in the year ended 27 March 2022, and said it aims to open 40 new sites over the next five years. The 44-strong company said that adjusted Ebitda was a record £17.8m in the year (2021: £1.7m). The Nick Crossley-led business said it had seen like-for-like growth of 48.6% since it first reopened indoors in the period from 17 May 2021 to 27 March 2022. It said recent trading during the first 13 weeks of the new financial year continues to be very strong with three year like-for-like sales at 43.1% despite the withdrawal of the government’s VAT support. The company said it latest annual accounts show a return to a strong balance sheet position (with net cash of £8.6m) following the heavily covid-19 impacted previous year. The company, which has introduced a staff share scheme, opened new sites in Coventry and Durham, reopened Blackburn and Croydon during the year in question. Crossley said: “Our trading results since reopening in spring 2021 have been amazing. We were well prepared for opening post-pandemic as we recognised the appeal of our Caribbean inspired offer, providing guests with great value in a relaxed environment where they can enjoy rum cocktails, reggae tunes and jerk. We are extremely grateful to our super talented teams who have worked tirelessly to deliver exceptional hospitality to our guests. This year we threw our largest ever staff party and are proud to have created more than 60 new owners of the business through the introduction of our share scheme. We have intensified our focus on internal development and have recently launched three new apprenticeship schemes, which (alongside our established Pathway programme) will support our teams’ personal and career development. We recognise our success is created by our team members, particularly those in the restaurants giving every guest an enjoyable immersive experience. We continue with our growth plans and aim to open 40 new sites over the next five years. Salford Quays will be first to open this August, followed by Brindleyplace (Birmingham) in September and Romford shortly after. We are proactively exploring further opportunities and our research has identified great potential for Turtle Bay to expand at pace across the UK. The hospitality sector continues to face pressures with inflation and supply chain and, of course, the cost-of-living crisis, but we remain cautiously optimistic in the months ahead. Turtle Bay remains well funded and, combined with our strong shareholder backing and our great value offering, we have a solid foundation to continue with our strong trading performance and deliver our expansion plans.” Earlier this year, Propel revealed Turtle Bay had appointed advisors as it seeks a new investment partner to help drive its further growth ambitions, with Rothschild & Co overseeing the process.

Lees-Jones – we can see a few people tentative to come out to pubs at all but our lfl sales are very positive: JW Lees managing director William Lees-Jones has told Propel the Manchester brewer and retailer can “see a few people tentative to come out to pubs at all” but its like-for-like sales are “very positive”. In the groups accounts for the year to 31 March 2022, Lees-Jones said the business has seen “older customers somewhat reluctant to return to pubs that has negatively impacted the sale of traditional cask beer, and we have a greater challenge in the wet-led traditional pubs that did not benefit from the government’s support for the sector with reduced VAT”. He told Propel: “We can see a few people tentative to come out to pubs at all but our like-for-like sales are very positive – we're concerned that when the music stops it won't all be about premiumisation but consumer confidence and footfall so our focus is all about always being the best pub.” The company report a profit before tax for the year ended 31 March 2022 of £8.1m (2021: £6.3m loss), with turnover for the period of £75.4m (2021: £21.3m) while the group’s net assets increased to £88.6m (2021: £81.5m). It completed four, large-scale investment projects at The Aviator in Woodford, The Red Lion in Withington, The Stanneylands Hotel in Wilmslow and The Boat & Horses in Chadderton. The group also sold five pubs in the year – the Bowling Green in Chadderton, Burnage Cricket Club, the Minders Arms in Oldham, the Crown Inn in Heywood and the Red Lion in Blackburn. The company said: “These sites were no longer considered to be capable of being developed in the future. The sale of these properties generated a loss of £204,000 (2021: £540,000 loss); offset against this loss is an impairment release of £390,000, resulting in a net gain on property disposals of £186,000. Our focus has now moved from survival, preserving valuable cash resources, to cautiously growing our business again and this year we have plans in place to invest in 24 of our pubs with a total investment of £6m into the existing estate. We will also grow our estate by the acquisition of new freehold pubs, inns and hotels in north west England and North Wales. However, we will not over-pay and will be patient since we feel the economic challenges we now face will be challenging for many in the sector. We will not un-learn the valuable lessons of preserving cash and running the business with tight controls and discipline.” To aid its growth plans, the business has hired David Espley as its new head if property. Espley, who is the current head of property at Trust Inns, will succeed David Young who has decided to take early retirement.

Katona – Mowgli is surpassing its pre-pandemic financial results, identifies a second London site: Nisha Katona, founder and chief executive of Mowgli, the Indian street food concept, has said the 12-strong business is surpassing its pre-pandemic financial results and has identified a second London site. Speaking to Business Live, Katona said: “We've exceeded our targets and it's because of the beauty of building a brand in the north. Two of the main afflictions for the hospitality industry are the cost-of-living crisis and the issue of Brexit. Brexit means that you can't recruit and if you can't do that, you can't do a full service and that means you make less money. The beauty of Mowgli is that we're only about 15% European across the board, which is generally the pattern outside of London. On the cost of living squeeze – when your rent is ‘northern’ and your outgoings are ‘northern’ you've got more disposable spend. What we have found is that people have really honoured the high street and people have gone out there and spent the money. The third thing that really matters is that we are a relatively cheap restaurant. We also don't pass the cost of the increase in costs to our guests.” Katona said the company has identified a second site London, in Richmond, as well as in Bath, Knutsford and Beverley. On whether she would consider taking her brand abroad, she said: “I would go overseas but I do think that we have a lot of runway in this country and I'm just starting to gently think about going to other countries. Maybe The Netherlands, Germany and the USA could be places that we could go. But right now I have to find somewhere in Cambridge and Newcastle and I've got my plate full here, really.” Propel revealed last December that Mowgli had appointed advisors at PwC to help review its funding options for its next stage of growth. Katona said: “We've started to have some interesting conversations but the truth is people have never stopped coming to our door, which is really amazing. I'm in absolutely no hurry as the most important thing is to find the right person. What will happen is that when we get around the table with whoever it is and you instantly click or you don't. You have the same vision, or you don't.”

Gusto Italian secures Oxford site, plans London launch next year: Premium casual dining restaurant group Gusto Italian has secured a site in Oxford for an opening by the end of this year, Propel has learned. Meanwhile, the business said it has ambitions to open its first London location in 2023. The Matt Snell-led business will open in the historic Mitre Hotel building in Oxford’s High Street, for what will be its 14th site overall. Vacant since 2018, when Whitbread brand Beefeater ceased trading at the site, the old Mitre Hotel is considered one of the most historic hostelries in the city, with the grade II-listed building dating to 1630. Snell said: “We have wanted to secure a site in Oxford for some time and the Mitre Hotel topped our list of potential locations so we are thrilled to be announcing this opening. The Mitre Hotel has long been an Oxford landmark and it is an honour to become custodians of this site and restore this historic building to its former glory. By preserving the listed features, while introducing design elements that have made Gusto Italian so popular, we’re confident we will deliver a stunning building that combines tradition and modernity that the people of Oxford will be proud to call their own.” The 10,000 square-foot restaurant and bar is set to have 150 covers on the ground floor, plus a 100-cover function room on the first floor. The site in Oxford follows the launch of Gusto Italian’s flagship Nottingham restaurant last December. Snell said: “Each new opening represents the culmination of months of market mapping research and consumer insight data analysis. We’re confident the new Oxford site will be a high-performing addition to our growing estate and help us to build on our already strong financial footing.”

Greggs’ £150m business interruption trial delayed by covid: The £150m High Court dispute between food-to-go retailer Greggs and insurer Zurich over pandemic-related business interruption claims has been postponed after members of legal counsel contracted covid. A preliminary issues trial had been listed for the first week in July, with the main issue around aggregation and whether the losses claimed constituted a single business loss or more. Greggs issued a claim in October 2021 initially seeking damages of £100m and a declaration as to cover and the applicable policy limits. According to the court documents, Zurich accepted that cover is engaged but said liability is limited to £2.5m. A re-amended legal filing to the High Court on 13 June detailed 104 instances of what had been governmental advice being given statutory force. The revised figure was up from 63 across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Greggs has argued in its particulars of claim that with multiple triggers, there should be payouts for multiple insured events.

Shake Shack plans return to Soho: Shake Shack, the US better burger brand, closed one of its flagship UK sites, is planning a new opening in London’s Soho, Propel understands. Last summer, the company closed one of its flagship UK sites, in Cambridge Circus. However, Propel understands the business has lined up an opening on the former French Connection site in Argyll Street. The Cambridge Circus site, which was formerly home to Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo’s Vico restaurant and before that a Pizza Hut, became the US brand’s eight site in the UK, when it launched in October 2017. It has since been reopened by Boparan Restaurant Group under its Slim Chickens brand. The closure of the Cambridge Circus site left Shake Shack with 11 restaurants in the UK, including eight in London, one in Cardiff, one in Gatwick airport’s North Terminal and one in Lakeside, Essex. It also operates ten delivery kitchen sites. 

Ramsay eyes regional launch for Street Pizza concept: High-profile chef Gordon Ramsay is planning a regional launch for his Street Pizza concept in Edinburgh, Propel has learned. The chef, who is expected to open a Street Burger site in the Edinburgh St James scheme, is understood to have lined up an open near Henderson Row in the Scottish capital for the pizza concept, which currently operates sites in St Paul’s, Battersea, Camden and Southwark. Last month, it was reported Ramsay was set to start expansion of his Lucky Cat concept with an opening in Shoreditch. Lucky Cat, which was billed as an “authentic Asian eating house”, originally opened in Mayfair in 2019 in the former Maze premises. Now the concept is set to open in Kingsland High Road in Shoreditch, in the site where chicken and waffles concept Bird used to operate. Ramsay has been expanding a number of his restaurant concepts over the past two years, including Street Burger, Street Pizza and Bread Street Kitchen. He is bringing his Bread Street Kitchen concept to the Battersea Power Station development later this summer, and recently opened another site under his Street Burger format in the ex-Byron site in Cowcross Street, Farringdon. 

Bone Daddies plans Waterloo opening for eponymous concept: Bone Daddies Group, which comprises the eponymous ramen restaurants, Shack-Fuyu and Flesh & Buns, is planning to open a site in Waterloo, Propel has learned. The business is understood to be lining up an opening under its eponymous brand within The Sidings scheme within the old Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station. The group currently operates seven Bone Daddies sites – the latest having opened in Putney in February 2021 – plus a delivery kitchen in Canary Wharf, as well as three Flesh & Buns restaurants and a Shack-Fuyu. Next month, BrewDog will open one of its largest sites to date at the new development. The new 26,000 square-foot flagship site will include a brewery, bowling, cocktail bar, coffee shop, food truck, workspace, slide and outside terrace, and anchor The Sidings – the new shopping, dining and entertainment destination in the heart of London’s South Bank.

Trof Group founders secure licence for beer hall, brewery and food hall concept in Manchester: Joel Wilkinson, Adelaide Winter and Dan Mullen, founders of the Trof Group, have secured a premises licence for their proposed beer hall, brewery, night market and food hall in Manchester. The trio are aiming to breathe life into historic, derelict buildings in the Piccadilly East neighbourhood with the launch of The Foundry. The project will also feature a bakery, offices and expansive gardens. The area they are developing is a 200,000 square-foot space between Store Street and Ducie Street. It includes a die-cast foundry that dates to 1870, and a larger modern warehouse from 1983. The proposal includes a beer hall and brewery, complete with visible brewing vessels, long communal tables and a large selection of beer taps. There’s also set to be a night market, featuring small traders, stalls, and even circus and theatre performers. During the daytime, the Store Street corner of the building will be transformed into an artisan bakery, deli, coffee shop and taproom, while a Barbecue Open Kitchen will serve “simple, rustic street food cooked on the wood grill”. Outside, the garden will feature long tables with a herb garden and bee hives; “a city centre place to sit in nature”. The site will also feature a range of independent shops, plus offices, workshops and studios, and a neighbourhood “old school” gym. It will also provide 1,000 jobs as well as a venue for independent operators, makers and creatives to sell their products. The trio are behind wood-fired restaurant concept, Firehouse, and neighbouring Detroit-style pizzeria, Ramona, which both launched last year. They joined forces with Revolution founders Neil McLeod and Roy Ellis to form hospitality group Mission Mars and launch the Albert’s Schloss concept but have since left the business. Kuits obtained the licence for The Foundry.

Soho Coffee opens new brand concept at Birmingham airport: Soho Coffee Co, the privately-owned coffee company led by Penny Manuel, has opened in the Birmingham airport departure lounge as part of its growth strategy within the travel sector. Propel reported in May the site would showcase Soho Coffee’s new brand concept, with a fresh look and design plus developments in the hot grab-and-go category. Manuel said: “Birmingham airport has been number one on our target list to open a Soho for some time. I am delighted the airport shares our view that Soho is just right for travellers looking for great food with quick service. We are a local brand well established in the West Midlands – the airport is the perfect addition to our portfolio.” Among the hot offering is “proper breakfast butties, generously topped giant spuds, sourdough toasties with secret Soho sauce and a great range of vegan food and drinks”. Soho’s full range of baguettes, sandwiches and wraps, fruit and birchers will also be available to eat in-store or take on-board. Having created 40 jobs, a second Soho site is due to open at the airport in 2023. Richard Gill, commercial director at Birmingham airport, added: “With its central location within the departure lounge, and its extensive choice of eat in and take away items, our customers will be able to treat themselves before they jet off on their trips. We are currently working on our next exciting opening with Soho Coffee Co, which we expect to open in 2023.” The new opening expands Soho’s worldwide portfolio to 43 sites.

Former Prezzo operations director joins Crieff Hydro as F&B director: Crieff Hydro, the eight-strong Scottish hotel operator led by Stephen Leckie, has brought in former Prezzo operations director Barry Davin as food and beverage director at the Crieff Hydro Hotel. Davin spent four years at Prezzo, where he led a region of more than 60 restaurants through operational changes and continual improvements. He also spent five years as operations manager at PizzaExpress and seven years as area manager for The Restaurant Group. Davin said: “After leaving the hospitality industry for a brief period to work as regional manager for the Scottish Census, I am so happy to be back in the profession I am passionate about, and to join one of Scotland’s iconic hotels. There is stimulating diversity and potential in the food and beverage offering at Crieff Hydro Hotel, and this, coupled with the dedicated and focused team it has makes, this one of the most exciting roles I have embarked upon.” Kristian Campbell, general manager at Crieff Hydro Hotel, added: “Having previously held the role myself, I know just how important it is to have an experienced and passionate leader to guide our food and beverage team. Barry has held some really prestigious roles, and we’re delighted our team will have the opportunity to learn from him. It is a real honour to welcome him to our team, he is a real asset to the industry.” Crieff Hydro is a family of eight hotels all set within Perthshire, the Scottish Borders, the Highlands and Dundee.

Gym Group continues UK expansion with opening of fourth Nottingham site: The Gym Group, the operator of 210 gyms, has opened a new site in Chilwell, Nottingham. It is The Gym Group’s fourth venue in Nottingham, with existing gyms in the city centre, Radford and Sherwood. The new site spans 13,000 square feet and is fitted with a wide range of exercise equipment. Oliver Tester, head of property acquisition, said: “We are delighted to have opened our fourth gym in Nottingham, bringing us one step closer to reaching our 300-plus site target by 2025. The pandemic has shown just how important physical and mental health is and we are proud to play a key role in promoting this across the country. We are focused on making everyone feel at home in our gyms.”

Yorkshire brewery set to open fourth site: Yorkshire brewery Brew York is set to open the fourth venue in its expanding portfolio. It plans on Friday (15 July) to open a weekend taproom at the company’s newest site in Osbaldwick – a £2m state-of-the-art production facility. Brewing began at the 65,000 square-foot site just over a year ago as part of a significant growth strategy to increase production capacity to five million pints a year. The taproom – named the Handley Tap – will feature tastings and brewery tours, as well as a programme of live music and events. Co-founder and managing director Wayne Smith said: “With venues already in York city centre, Leeds, and Pocklington, we’re excited to add this new taproom to the list. There’s a sizable community around us out at Handley Park, and the hope is many will become regulars as we settle in and evolve based upon what they tell us they want. We’re really looking forward to becoming a more active part of our local area and further enhancing York as a popular craft beer destination.”

Former world pastry champion to open Harrods outpost this week: Parisian pastry chef Angelo Musa, who won the World Pastry Cup in 2003, will bring his award-winning creations to London this week. Musa has signed a partnership with Harrods and will open the site at the department store on Friday (15 July). Ashley Saxton, Harrods’ director of restaurants and kitchens, said: “Welcoming Angelo Musa to our repertoire is an honour. He is a true visionary in the culinary world, who showcases the utmost craftmanship in pastry.” Musa has worked for Pâtisserie Bourguignon in Metz, the Relais Desserts Oberweis in Luxembourg and the Palais du Chocolat in Troyes. Since 2007, he has held the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, and since 2016, he has been executive pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée Hotel in Paris. Meanwhile, Harrods has also opened a Jimmy Choo cafe at the store. Based on the fifth floor in the shoe section, the store’s chefs are offering mini sandwiches and a selection of patisserie, such as strawberry eclairs and chocolate-raspberry mousse cubes, on specially designed crockery. 

Esquires opens in Luton: Global Foods-owned Esquires Coffee has opened a new coffee shop in The Mall, Luton. Aiden Keegan, chief executive of Esquires said: “We can’t wait to deliver delicious coffee and food to such a bright and lively community like Luton. Esquires has a long history of providing excellent service; you are guaranteed to find friendly and well-trained staff who are eager to answer any burning questions coffee aficionados may have. We think everyone will love the cosy atmosphere at this new shop.”

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