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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 28th Jul 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

State of Play Hospitality secures $10m investment from Flight Club-owner Red Engine: State of Play Hospitality, the Toby Harris-led group, is to accelerate the expansion of the Flight Club brand in North America after securing $10m (£8.3m) of new investment from the dart concept’s owner, Red Engine. The new funding builds upon State of Play’s initial raise of more than $35m from existing investors and Bregal Partners in March 2022 and will be used to fund growth, including an acceleration of the roll-out of Flight Club in North America. State of Play currently operates Flight Club venues under licence in Chicago, Boston and Houston and is set to open new venues in Atlanta and Las Vegas by the end of 2022. An opening in Denver has also been lined up for early 2023. Red Engine’s investment gives it a minority stake in State of Play and Steve Moore, co-founder and chief executive of Red Engine, will join the State of Play board as a non-executive director. The group’s growth strategy will include a “significant acceleration” in the pace of the Flight Club roll-out in the US and Canada, as well as growing its wider portfolio of experiential concepts including ping pong sister brands Bounce and AceBounce, and its new bingo concept, Hijingo. Harris said the company has identified a large number of potential Flight Club locations across North America and told Propel the company expects to open at least another two sites in North America in 2023. “I would like to open up to four next year,” he said. “And then when we look into 2024 and onwards, the hope and expectation is to get into the five or six openings a year pattern. That’s the sweet spot we see on an owned and operated basis as regards to expanding Flight Club in North America, and that includes Canada. We expect to be operating in Canada within the next couple of years.” Harris said the company was in legals on a couple of sites for its concepts in the UK, with one it hopes to announce in the next six to eight weeks, and that there are “several other opportunities that we’re actively engaged in”. He also said that discussions were at an early stage with local partners in regards to taking Hijingo and Bounce into other international territories. He said: “I’m delighted to welcome Red Engine as an investor, and Steve, who joins our board. Their investment marks the beginning of a new and exciting phase in our Flight Club partnership in North America. Raising over $45m of growth capital speaks volumes about the quality of the State of Play team, and it gives the business a very strong platform to accelerate the roll-out of our concepts internationally.” Moore added: “It’s been a pleasure to have been on the Flight Club journey in North America with Toby, Alan Cichon and their team since 2018 and we’re excited to continue to support them as a partner and investor.” Red Engine launched the first Flight Club in London’s Shoreditch in 2015, with sister concept Electric Shuffle following in 2019. Red Engine currently has 12 owner operated venues and another four operating under licence in North America and Australia.

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – Old Mout Cider launches new Strawberry and Apple flavour: Old Mout Cider is responding to increasing consumer demand for exciting fruit cider flavours with its newly launched Old Mout Strawberry and Apple. The launch comes as the brand continues to bolster its commitment to creating new and interesting flavoured ciders for pub and bar customers. Old Mout Strawberry and Apple arrives at a crucial time for pubs as cider sales over index during the summer. The latest flavour launch hits the market for consumers looking for berry flavours, which currently make up 78% of premium flavoured cider sales. Operators stocking drinks that appeal to this demand set themselves up to win additional sales. A third of all cider serves are ordered by Generation Y drinkers, aged 25-40 years old, who are looking for exciting new flavours. Old Mout’s newest launch presents a clear opportunity for operators to tap into this highly engaged customer base, who seek exciting new flavours from trusted brands when drinking in pubs and bars. Operators can stock up on brand new Old Mout Strawberry and Apple flavour here. The launch will be supported by a multi-million-pound spend across TV and socials to ensure it is front of mind for consumers when in-outlet. Stock up now! If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

One day to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, 43 businesses being added: A total of 43 new multi-site companies, operating 217 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released tomorrow (Friday, 29 July), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes growing hotel and restaurant brands, regional pub operators and expanding experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,200-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 a 3,200-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 next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 5 August, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 18,000-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. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to a new database. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. The third edition features 140 companies and almost 60,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. 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 Mark Wingett.

Heatwave brings mixed results for drinks sales: The recent hot weather delivered both boosts and challenges for the on premise, the CGA by NielsenIQ Drinks Recovery Tracker shows. Average drinks sales by value in managed venues were 1% either side of the pre-covid levels of 2019 on both Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 July as temperatures steadily rose across Britain. The next day (Monday, 18 July) they jumped 9% ahead of the same day in 2019, as consumers made the most of the weather by heading to beer gardens and terraces. While outdoor trading can make a big difference to drinks sales, they were impacted by capacity levels of outdoor spaces. CGA’s RISE platform revealed more than 26,000 sites have beer gardens, patios, terraces or other external areas, and more than two thirds (72%) of pubs have outside space. Sales fell back 12% on Tuesday, 19 July, as temperatures hit record levels and some people opted to stay at home. They were further hit by the decision of some operators to close venues because of the extreme heat. As is usually the case in hot weather, cider sales rocketed, reaching a high of 55% up on 2019 on Monday, 18 July. Beer and spirit sales were both in double-digit growth on the same day, although soft drinks were down throughout the four-day heatwave. Wine sales were down by between 22% and 35% on each of the four days, continuing a very difficult year for trading in the category. “Drinks sales typically get a lift when the sun shines, but at times, the temperatures have been just too high to lure people out to pubs, bars and restaurants,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “With mounting pressure on consumer spending, the weather may also have tempted some to save money by drinking at home in the garden instead. Even when the sun shines, it is clear that while some venues flourish, others will continue to find it difficult to generate meaningful sales growth in real terms.”

Andrea – pint prices in London are hitting £8, people have stopped going to carveries: Andrew Andrea, chief executive of Marston’s, has said that pint prices in London are hitting £8. The group saw revenues fall 2% in the 42 weeks to 23 July compared to pre-pandemic levels, with pub goers ditching roast dinners in favour of cool drinks as the sweltering summer heat reached record temperatures. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Andrea said: “Premium pints are sitting at £7-8 in London, but in Wales we’ve still got beers at £3 a pint. We’ve moved drinks prices up by 7-8% – we want to keep that under review, but we’re conscious people only have so much money in their pocket. Drink sales have held up but food sales have slumped, people have stopped going to carveries.” Despite pint price rises, Andrea said the spectre of a £10 pint in London was not on the horizon. He added: “Personally, I can’t foresee that in our business any time soon. There’s a point at which someone will say, ‘is that value for money?’”

Gordon Ramsay voted most successful chef in the world: Gordon Ramsay has been voted the most successful chef in the world. He now has 63 restaurants across the world and seven Michelin stars to his name. Ramsay has 13.8million followers on Instagram and 32.8million followers on Tik Tok. Betting site Slingo worked out a point-scoring system out of ten to work out the top spots – with points for things such as Michelin star to restaurant ratios and social media following. Ramsay scored 9.37 on their rankings. French chef Alain Ducasse came in a close second with 8.63 points. While Ducasse has broken countless Michelin star records and currently holds the highest number of them in the world, his social media standing was far below Ramsay’s. Meanwhile, third place went to Anne-Sophie Pic with a score of 7.37. She took over her family hotel and restaurant, Maison Pic, after it had lost its Michelin stars and went on to regain all three back.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is representing a growing international group looking for a hotel manager/director of rooms for one of its five-star properties. They will be responsible for managing the team and overall hotel targets to deliver an excellent guest experience. They will be responsible for managing the profitability of the hotel, ensuring revenue and guest satisfaction targets are met and exceeded. They will provide effective leadership to hotel team members, comply with and exceed all brand service standards, ensure costs are controlled and revenue opportunities are effectively sourced and delivered. They will deliver achievable hotel budgets and set other short- and long- term strategic goals for the property. Previous experience must be as a deputy general manager/ hotel manager/director of rooms within a luxury five-star hotel. The salary is up to £1100,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, please contact

Company News: 

Niccol – results from last tranche of Chipotle UK openings have been strong: Brian Niccol, chief executive of US brand Chipotle, has said results from the company’s latest five openings in the UK have been “strong”, and it is “gaining confidence that Europe could be another layer to our growth story in the future”. The company recently opened its first regional site in the UK, in Watford, taking its estate to 12 sites here. The Watford opening followed new sites in Clapham, Canary Wharf and Chiswick last year for the brand, which opened its 3,000th site in total in February in Phoenix, Arizona. Speaking after the business gave its Q2 update, which saw it report a 10.1% increase in same-store sales during the period, Niccol said: “In Europe, we continue to move through the stage-gate process. We have made significant progress in improving the economics in Europe, driven by operational efficiencies, adding our digital systems and opening smaller formats that resemble the US restaurants. We have opened five new restaurants in the UK over the last 18 months, and results have been strong. We are gaining confidence that Europe could be another layer to our growth story in the future. Our digital ecosystem is also rolling out in the UK, and France will follow shortly thereafter.” Propel understands Chipotle’s immediate expansion plans continue to be focused on opportunities within the M25. The company has applied to open a site in West Hampstead and is hoping to open in the former Barclay’s site at the corner of West End Lane and Fawley Road, which would include a new takeaway hatch. During the group’s Q2, revenue stood at $2.21bn, up 16.9% year-on-year, and in-restaurant sales increased 35.9%, while digital sales represented 39% of food and beverage revenue. Restaurant level operating margin was 25.2%, an increase of 70 basis points.

Kempczinski – automation not a silver bullet for labour issues: Chris Kempczinski, chief executive of McDonald’s, has said automation will not be the “silver bullet” that cures the sector’s labour issues. Speaking after the brand’s latest trading update, which showed the company was experiencing roughly 10% labour inflation, Kempczinski said robotic solutions don’t always outweigh the cost of infrastructure investments around utilities and store footprint that are necessary to make that technology successful. He said: “There’s a lot of interest around what you can do from an automation standpoint. We’ve spent a lot of money and effort looking at this. There is not going to be a silver bullet that goes and addresses this for the industry. You’re not going to see robots in the restaurant. We’ve got to get after this the old-fashioned way, which is just making sure we’re a great employer and offering our crew a great experience when they come into the restaurant.” Kempczinski said operators can take advantage of customer data to inform staff scheduling decisions to reduce labour demand in restaurants. McDonald’s company-owned restaurants employ a target staffing roster required to drive speed of service improvements and customer satisfaction. Kempczinski added: “We know from our McOpCo business that it is possible to do it. It’s not easy, it takes a lot of work, but it is possible for us to get after that.”

Mexican concept 1910 Cantina to double up in London: Mexican bar and restaurant concept 1910 Cantina is to double up in London with an opening in Fulham, Propel has learned. The business, which launched in Balham’s Ramsden Road in 2020, is understood to have secured the site at 277 New Kings Road for a new opening later this year. The business, which is led by chef Mauricio Rico and had to initially open for delivery and takeaway in 2020, is named after the year that saw the start of the Mexican revolution. It said: “Through 1910, we want to honour our ancestors and our families with authentic recipes, delicious drinks, and friendly service.” Ben Martin at Etch acted on the Fulham deal.

Daisy Green set to open new Bishopsgate site: Australian restaurant group Daisy Green Collection is set to further add to its estate in London with a new opening in the City. Propel understands the company, which launched its latest site and 12th in total in Richmond this week, is to open a new site at 100 Bishopsgate, alongside Fazenda and WatchHouse. It is understood that the new site will open under the name Paradise Green. The company recently launched floating barge restaurant Peggy Jean, which is moored on the Thames at Richmond Bridge. Founded in 2012 by Freeman and Tom Onions, Daisy Green Collection started life as two vintage ice cream vans serving coffee across London, and at festivals throughout the country through street food collective Kerb. Over the last decade, the independent business has expanded to include a mix of restaurants and cafes across London, including two other floating barge restaurants on the Grand Union Canal. Last November, the company closed its latest crowdfunding campaign after raising almost £2.7m and said it was hoping to open a further four sites in the capital this year.

Pret opens debut site in Canada: Pret A Manger has opened its first site in Canada under its agreement with A&W Food Services, in Vancouver. The expansion deal to bring Pret to the country over an initial two-year trial phase has begun with the JAB Holdings-backed brand opening a store-within-a-store model in the A&W site at Marine Gateway. Specific items available from Pret in-store include baguette sandwiches in full and mini sizes, salads, falafel wraps and cookies and croissants. Hot selections include oatmeal, a chicken parm wrap and soups. A&W is one of Canada’s fastest growing food businesses, with more than 1,000 restaurants across the country. Further A&W restaurants that participate in the trial phase will launch a Pret menu and coffee range over the coming months, and if the trial is successful, it will have the exclusive right to expand the brand across Canada based on an agreed development schedule.

Leon to roll out express hot drink kiosks to 68 further locations: Natural fast food brand Leon, owned by EG Group, is to roll out its new hot drink express kiosk format to 68 further locations after a successful trial. Propel revealed in February that the company had begun a trial of the format in a handful of sites, including the Asda superstore in Milton Keynes and the Asda on the Move site in Holtspur, Buckinghamshire. They will now be launched into 68 EG-owned petrol forecourts across the UK. Leon said the move will also enhance its longstanding partnership with the World Land Trust, through which for every seven cups consumed, one metre squared of rainforest is saved. The company said: “Using their own Leon branded, triple-certified coffee, customers can now receive the same barista-quality coffee at the touch of a button with the knowledge that they are saving the rainforest with every cup bought. Leon’s new Vanilla Caramel Latte, which will be launching on kiosks this summer, will also be available to purchase. Glenn Edwards, managing director of Leon Restaurants, said: “Ever since we started selling coffee in our restaurants, we’ve made sure to use the best beans we possibly can. The best for flavour, farmers, and the environment. We are thrilled to be able to share our coffee with more people across the country with the unveiling of these innovative kiosks, and look forward to seeing this expansion in action.”

Former Prezzo to be converted into JD Wetherspoon: A former Buckinghamshire Prezzo, that was housed inside a former cinema, is set to get a new lease of life as a JD Wetherspoon pub. JD Wetherspoon confirmed it had purchased the building, on Station Road in Beaconsfield, earlier this year. Planning permission to change its use has now been granted by Buckinghamshire Council. A decision report said: “The building has a neo-classical design and appearance and comprises a large open internal space, with some smaller rooms and a residential flat at the front of the building at first floor level.” Meanwhile, JD Wetherspoon staff and customers have now raised £20m for the company’s chosen charity Young Lives vs Cancer, since the partnership began in 2022. JD Wetherspoon’s people director, Tom Ball, said: “We are extremely proud to have raised so much money for such a wonderful charity, and we look forward to raising even more in the years to come.”
Brunning & Price acquires Shrewsbury pub: Brunning & Price, the pub operator owned by The Restaurant Group (TRG), has acquired the Mytton and Mermaid in Atcham, near Shrewsbury. Built in 1735 as the Talbot Arms, it has also spent time as a private dwelling called Atcham House and a hotel under its current name. Brunning & Price is currently working on designs for the grade II-listed building, with a view to opening by February next year. The company already owns own the Armoury in Shrewsbury town centre and the Woodbridge Inn and the Fox in nearby Coalport and Newport respectively. Mary Willcock, manager director for Brunning and Price, said: “The Mytton and Mermaid has character in abundance and holds a very special place in many people’s hearts as it was their wedding venue. When we reopen, first and foremost, we will be a pub that serves delicious food rather than a wedding venue. However, we will have a separate space that will seat up to 40 guests that can be booked for smaller gatherings.” It will also have ten bedrooms.

Plonk opens Borough site: Crazy golf brand Plonk has launched a new flagship site in Borough Market. The nine-hole site is tucked in a courtyard, next to the steps down from London Bridge Station, and features street art murals from renowned graffiti collective ‘Ghost Writers’. Elliot Scott, founder of Plonk, said: “Our brand-new Borough market venue is our biggest to date, and my personal love letter to the city I am from. Being positioned so close to so many of London’s great landmarks, we had to theme around our great city, and that included working with one of London's most prolific paint teams to come and mural the walls and floors with a London vibe.” Plonk Crazy Golf was founded by a group of set designers from the film industry and has other sites Shoreditch, Camden Market and Hackney. 
US Italian restaurant concept set for UK debut, in London’s Mayfair: US Italian restaurant concept Sparrow Italia is set to make its UK debut this autumn with an opening in London’s Mayfair. The concept, which also has a branch in Los Angeles, will open a site across three floors at 1-3 Avery Street, offering 189 covers overall. It will include a ground floor lounge and bar, a terrace dining room on the indoor and outdoor first floor, a parlour dining room on the second floor and a cigar lounge on the third floor. Behind the concept is hospitality company Noble 33, from Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha, which also operates the Toca Madera and Casa Madera brands in the US and Canada. They will be partnering with Khaled Dandachi for the London Sparrow Italia. A menu offering “a modern twist on traditional Italian and Mediterranean dishes” will feature fresh seafood, house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas, complimented by cocktails “rooted in the flavours of Italy”. Tanha said: “We are excited to bring the Sparrow Italia concept to London. Following the successful launch in Los Angeles, we are confident that it will add something different to London’s vibrant dining scene.” Dandachi added: “Combining my expertise on London’s entertainment scene with Noble 33’s successful restaurant experience, we hope to offer guests a new and exciting high-energy dining experience that is different to anything they have experienced before.” Noble 33 is targeting further future locations in London alongside US expansion.
Popeyes set to open in Derby: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service brand, is set to open in Derby in September. The company, which launched in the UK last year, has taken a unit at the town’s retail and leisure destination, Derbion, for its Derbyshire debut. Propel revealed earlier this month that the business, which recently opened its second permanent UK site, in Chelmsford, was eyeing the former Dorothy Perkins site in Leicester’s Gallowtree Gate. It has also secured sites in Gateshead, Reading Nottingham, Brighton, Ealing and Oxford for openings this year, and is understood to be in talks on sites in Glasgow and Cambridge. The brand has also secured a site in Romford and hopes to have its first drive-thru open by the end of the year or the start of 2023. It has also been linked with drive-thru sites in Dorset and Northampton.

The Gym Group launches second Northampton site, fourth opening this month: The Gym Group, the operator of 216 gyms across the UK, has launched its second site in Northampton, its fourth opening this month. It has opened in a 12,500 square-foot former Jaguar dealership in Abington Square, Kettering Road, a few miles from its other site in the town, at Sixfields Retail Park. Oliver Tester, property acquisition director, said: “We are happy to announce that we have opened four new sites across the country in this month alone. Adding a second Northampton site will enhance our premium membership offering, LIVE IT, giving members in the area the choice of two gyms.”

Former Wynard House head chef set to make restaurant debut, in Jesmond: Kleo Tabuku, former head chef at Teesside destination Wynard Hall, is set to make his restaurant debut after his licence application was approved by Newcastle City Council. Tabuku, who will be the chef and part-owner, now plans to open 50-cover Mediterranean-style bistro Lovage in the former Sale Pepe unit in St George's Terrace by September. Albanian-born Tabuku has worked in the industry for more than two decades, including spells as head chef at converted chapel The Old Palace in Lincoln and senior sous chef at independent luxury hotel Jesmond Dene House. His partners in the venture are the group behind Italian restaurant Novellos, which opened at the former Casa Sam Lorenzo site in Washington in May. “It’s exciting and means I can cook the kind of food I love best, the kind of food we would eat at home but obviously elevated to a very high level,” Tabuku said. “It will be about seasonal food, we are totally committed to providing good quality, fresh food. Flavours from all over the Mediterranean will be combined with seasonal produce and fresh fish and meat.”

Mexican-born chef Adriana Cavita opens new Marylebone cocktail bar: Mexican-born chef Adriana Cavita, who launched debut solo venture Cavita’s in Marylebone in May, has launched a cocktail bar in the restaurant’s basement. The chef, who trained at some of the world’s top restaurants including El Bulli and Pujol, has opened Mayahuel, which will serve a range of mezcals, tequilas and other agave-based spirits, as well as cocktails and bar snacks. The bar is accessible both via a separate entrance on Wigmore Street, as well as through Cavita itself, and is headed up by Manuel Lema, who was most recently bar manager at La Bodega Negra.

JKS Restaurants partners with chef Luke Farrell for return of Vietnamese pop-up Viet Populaire: JKS Restaurants, led by Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi, has again partnered with chef Luke Farrell for the return of his Vietnamese pop-up, Viet Populaire. The concept, which made its debut in London’s Chinatown last year, will return at London’s Arcade Food Hall on Thursday, August 2, offering bánh mì to eat in or take away. Earlier this month, Farrell and JSK announced they would be launching a permanent site together, the Speedboat Bar on Soho’s Rupert Street, in September. They launched two other brands within the Arcade Food Hall earlier this year – Thai restaurant Plaza Khao Gaeng and Indonesian street food stall Bebek! Bebek!

Rich Woods confirms opening date and name for new ‘immersive cocktail hideaway’: Rich Woods, also known as ‘The Cocktail Guy’, has confirmed his new ‘immersive cocktail hideaway’ will open on Thursday, 18 August, and be called Lost Property Office. Propel reported earlier this month that Woods, who was behind the cocktail offering at Gold Notting Hill, Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle as well as co-owning Scout, had taken a space in BrewDog’s new 27,500 square feet bar in London’s Waterloo for his project. Adopting a speakeasy theme, Lost Property Office will “showcase classic cocktails, reimagined using modern culinary techniques”. Woods said: “I’m thrilled to partner with BrewDog for my new bar. We share the same ethos on sustainability, and as partners, we were keen to incorporate various sustainable initiatives within Lost Property Office. I’ve always had a fascination with drinks derived from the speakeasy era and wanted to put my own modern spin on them.” The rest of the BrewDog venue, which will feature dedicated co-working spaces, a micro-brewery, a cafe, duckpin bowling alleys, podcast studio, meeting rooms, a floristry and a retro ice-cream van, will open on the same day.

Boparan opens latest Slim Chickens for Liverpool debut: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has made the latest opening under its Slim Chickens brand, in the Liverpool ONE scheme. Propel revealed in April that BRG was set to replace the ex-Chaophraya site in the leisure and retail development. It has now opened the doors to its 5,000 square-foot flagship restaurant on The Terrace district. The 175 cover-restaurant, a city debut for the brand, also features an al-fresco dining area. Earlier this month, BRG said it plans to be operating 350 restaurants in Britain under the US brand, which now has circa 26 UK outlets, in the next few years. The group recently teamed up with Bourne Leisure to roll out the brand in its Haven holiday parks, while a partnership with Sainsbury's will see BRG brands including Slim Chickens rolled out at 150 of its in-store food markets. Liverpool ONE also recently signed up Black Sheep Coffee and pan-Asian restaurant Cosmo for openings this summer. Metis, Stärka and CBRE acted for Liverpool ONE.

Oowee Vegan confirms opening date for flagship Brighton restaurant, plans UK-wide expansion: Bristol’s Oowee Vegan has confirmed an opening date of 27 August for its flagship restaurant in Brighton, and is planning a UK-wide expansion. The plant-based concept, founded in 2016 by Verity Foss and Charlie Watson, is opening a 40-seater restaurant in The Lanes for its seventh site overall. Watson said: “With a huge uptake in veganism and flexitarianism, now is the perfect time to be making meat-free food something that is accessible, interesting and, most importantly, delicious. We’ve had amazing success in our hometown of Bristol, which has allowed us to expand to London and now Brighton, as well as more to come across the UK in the near future. The quality of vegan food being developed now is mind blowingly good, and we aim to be at the forefront of that, being enjoyed by meat eaters just as much as vegans. After a successful pop up in Brighton last year, we’re super excited to be back with our new design flagship store this summer.”

Starbucks to open drive-thru in Uttoxeter alongside town’s first EV charging points: Starbucks is set to open a drive-thru in Uttoexeter, alongside the town’s first EV charging points. The site, in Brookside Road, will be a second Starbucks in the Staffordshire town. Starbucks’ drive-thru franchise partner, The Magic Bean Co, recently signed a long-term lease for the site, which will also feature six ultra-rapid EV charging points operated by The EV Network, an independent EV charging infrastructure company. Claudine Tracey, associate director for commercial development at landlords Godwin Developments said: “This will not only provide additional choice and amenity to local residents and visitors to Uttoxeter, but would also deliver the first ultra-rapid EV charging points in the area, supporting its transition to more sustainable forms of travel.” The Magic Bean Co last month revealed plans for a 200-strong estate in the next five years following a £10m funding package from HSBC.

Cotswolds hotel bought out of administration: A Cotswolds hotel has been bought out of administration in a deal that will save all 56 staff jobs. Three Ways Hotel in Chipping Campden, a 48-bedroom venue with a bar and restaurant, will continue to operate under the same name. Steven Ross and Allan Kelly of FRP were appointed as joint administrators to Classic Country Hotels Limited, which owned and operated the Three Ways Hotel, earlier this month. They have now agreed a pre-pack sale of the business to a new owner, the name of which has not been disclosed, and all employees have been transferred over. Ross said: “This deal represents a fresh start for what is a popular hotel with a strong client base. We wish the team at Three Ways Hotel every success as they take the business forward.”

Barletta team set to open new wine bar and restaurant in Margate: Former Kettner’s Townhouse chef Jackson Berg and Natalia Ribbe, the team behind Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Barletta in Margate, are set to open a new wine bar and restaurant in the Kent town. The duo will this summer open Sète at 238 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, launching first with a wine bar section also offering small plates. This will be followed in the autumn by a restaurant to the rear of the venue, featuring an open kitchen. “The focus will be on creating a fun and intimate place for locals and visitors to enjoy in Cliftonville inspired by our visits to our favourite wine bars in Paris,” Ribbe told Hot Dinners. “We want to make wine accessible to everyone, getting people talking about what they enjoy and helping them try something new. Wine can be so intimidating and overwhelming, and we want to strip all of that away and have fun.” Barletta, which started life as a pop-up restaurant at Dreamland in Margate, found a permanent home within Turner Contemporary in the town last year.

Staycation boom puts Paulton Park in ‘strong financial position’, new £1.5m roller-coaster takes attractions count ‘well past 70’: Hampshire theme park Paulton Park enjoyed a “sound commercial performance” in the year ending 30 November 2021 due to the UK staycation boom and ended the year in a “strong financial position”. It reported pre-tax profits of £15,994,312 (2020: £1,124,493) on turnover of £40,363476 (2020: £19,507,304), despite losing 46 days of trading in 2021 on top of a period of lockdown the previous November. When allowed to open once more, in April 2021, the park’s offering was enhanced by the addition of the £12m Tornado Springs, a four-acre site which consisted of eight new rides, plus the opening of Route 83 Diner, a new 250-cover restaurant. The company said: “It was unprecedented for the Park to open for the first time in a season midway through the main holiday period, combined with the launch of a major new attraction with new team members, and a large number of new systems and processes in operation. However, with the preparation during the closed season, the teams managed the situation extremely well, and the Park, along with Tornado Springs, opened efficiently with some first-class feedback and reviews.” Since the year-end, the company opened a new £1.5m Farmyard Flyer junior roller-coaster, taking its roller-coaster count to seven and overall attraction count to “well beyond 70”. It also received £679,400 in government grants (2020: £1,350,515).

Barworks opens David Bowie-inspired pub in London’s West End: London bar group Barworks has added to its portfolio in the capital by opening a David Bowie-inspired pub at 15 Heddon Street, Mayfair. The company, which last year sold 13 of its 19 sites to Urban Pubs & Bars, has opened The Starman close to where Bowie was photographed for the front cover of his 1972 Ziggy Stardust album. The site was formerly operated as the Tank & Paddle by Novus, before which it was the Strawberry Moon nightclub. Barworks owner Marc Francis-Baum had originally said he would reopen the pub as The KonnWest, in tribute to the company under whose sign Bowie stood for the album cover photo. In March, set designer Sasha Almonte and musician Giovanni Almonte opened Bowie-themed cocktail bar The Thin White Duke in Great Windmill Street, Soho.

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