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Thu 11th Aug 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Clean Kitchen Club seeking to be the ‘plant-based McDonald’s’ as crowdfund tops £2m: Clean Kitchen Club, the fledgling plant-based, fast-food concept, has said it is seeking to be the “plant-based McDonald’s” as its crowdfunding raise nears its £2.1m target. The company has so far raised £2,072,375 from 103 investors, 98% of its £2,100,008 target. It is offering 14.9% of equity in the business, which has a £12m pre-money valuation. Propel revealed last month that Steve Easterbrook, the ex-chief executive of McDonald’s, PizzaExpress and Wagamama, has invested in Clean Kitchen Club. He is listed as an advisor and investor in the business, with his current ownership (pre the latest investment round) of 1.89% of the company. Co-founder Mickey Pearce owns 37%, and Verity Bowditch, the other co-founder, 10.31%. Investors in the crowdfunding round include British property entrepreneur Harry Hyman; and Spencer Matthews, founder and chief executive of CleanCo, the low and no-alcohol drinks company. It has received an anonymous investment of just under £400,000 and an investment of circa £250,000 from MSE Advisors. Clean Kitchen Club currently has six sites in London, with plans to open two more this year, including one at the Battersea Power Station development. The company, which recently opened in Soho, plans to have 40-plus sites operating by the end of 2024, and hopes to start expanding outside the capital next year, with Manchester, Brighton, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham among its target locations. The business has also secured £1m-worth of corporate contracts through Sky Studios and Goldman Sachs. It is projecting total sales of just over £13m for the year to the end of March 2023. It plans to launch a retail offering in early 2023, and aims to have Clean Kitchen products listed at major physical and online retailers.

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – entries open for Beer and Cider Marketing Awards: The Beer and Cider Marketing Awards has officially partnered with Brew LDN. A spokesman said: “As a result the awards is making new friends across the beer world and is being hosted this year by the team at Fourpure, in its Bermondsey Taproom on Thursday, 22 September. The event promises to offer a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy and celebrate the best campaigns and activations from the world of cider and beer. A panel of speakers including Christian Barden and drinks consultant Jenny Elliot will join others to talk about what they are seeing in the industry, ahead of the awards presentation. The judging panel will once again be led by Pete Brown alongside other industry experts.” Entry for the awards is open until the end of August and event tickets are on sale now. To find out more, click 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 Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector losses outstripping profits more than four times over, Premium subscribers to receive videos from Women’s Conference on Friday: The damage done to the industry by the pandemic is highlighted in the latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book with losses outstripping profits in the sector more than four times over. The Blue Book, which is updated monthly, shows 328 companies making a combined loss of £5.7bn compared with 268 companies in profit – making a combined £1.3bn. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday, 19 August. The 596 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a collective turnover of £30.1bn. The Blue Book provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers are also to receive access to all the videos from Propel’s Women’s Entrepreneur and Leaders Conference, featuring the sector’s finest female leaders and entrepreneurs. A total of nine videos will be available at 9am on Friday (12 August). 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.

NTIA demands government intervenes as operators see insurance premiums more than double: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has urged the government to intervene over the issue of escalating insurance premium costs within the leisure sector, with some operators seeing increases of more than 100%. The NTIA has partnered with NDML insurance brokers to look at immediate interventions through guidance. The partnership will also lobby for a change of narrative, looking to address the current insurance premium cost crisis through a renewed government scheme, which would aim to build confidence back with leisure insurers and reduce premiums. The NTIA argued insurance was in a “hard market”, where insurers start to reduce their capacity for cover, in turn driving up premiums. This can happen for a number of reasons but is often down to an increase in frequency or severity of losses, or regulatory intervention that could make things more difficult for insurers. Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: “Our industry has paid billions of pounds in insurance premiums to protect their businesses for many years, but during the pandemic many felt they had been let down by insurers in their moment of crisis. We are now facing a cost inflation crisis, from the effects of overseas conflict and domestic policy decisions, which have seen insurance costs in some cases double. This is not sustainable, insurance will require creative intervention from the government to grow confidence in the leisure market and reduce premium costs to an affordable level.”

Scottish trade bodies urge government not to forget pubs and bars over pavement licensing plans: Trade bodies in Scotland have called on the Scottish government not to exclude pubs from its current proposals that would see other hospitality premises, like restaurants, have greater flexibility with outdoor seating on pavements. As part of the government’s permitted development rights consultation, which closed last week, it is proposed that outdoor restaurant seating could be permitted without a planning application. Under the current proposal however, it would only apply to restaurants and other businesses currently operating as a class 3 businesses (food and drink for consumption on the premises) not pubs or bars. This is due to pubs and bars being classified differently. In their submission to the consultation, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), Scottish Licensed Trade Association and UKHospitality Scotland have told the Scottish government that pubs and bars can’t be forgotten about. A SPBA spokesperson said: “We saw a relaxation of planning for outdoor areas during the pandemic, which gave many premises the ability to trade through an exceptionally difficult period. We’re glad the government is now seeking to make some of those relaxations permanent, but it needs to be for the whole of hospitality.” UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson added: “Last month, England made pavement licences permanent, providing potentially business-saving opportunities to hundreds of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes. Scotland's hospitality businesses should have access to at least the same generous terms.”

BII – rapidly escalating energy bills are killing our nation’s pubs: The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has written to the government, highlighting the devastating impact of the energy crisis on its members running independent pub businesses and calling for urgent, essential support. It said independent pub operators will need to trade at least 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels to just stand still, but three-in-four are still trading below 2019 levels, with 86% reporting lower profits from that already reduced revenue. In addition, many are still repaying bounce back loans and other pandemic specific debts at an average of around £40,000 per pub. Then BII also highlighted that many of its members are regularly reporting increases of 300% or more on their existing payments. It said even without the crippling inflation across all other areas, the “energy crisis alone is threatening the survival of great pub businesses that have been at the heart of their community for years”. Steve Alton, chief executive of the BII said: “We have seen a sharp rise in calls to our helplines, with members uncertain of how to navigate the challenges facing them, the majority of whom are seeing unsustainable cost increases across every area of their businesses, but rising energy bills are the top concern at the moment. Even at the height of summer, the busiest time of year for pubs, licensees are now seriously considering the sustainability of their businesses, as the astronomical rising cost of business is undermining any recovery they may have already made. The crisis now facing our members is just as damaging as the impact of the pandemic. We have called on the government for urgent short-term support to allow these vital businesses to weather these exceptional costs of doing business. They now urgently need immediate support with energy bills via grants and a cap on future increases, alongside a waiver of business rates for 2023-24 as well as a more meaningful cut to the differential rate of duty on beer applied to smaller container sizes. Alongside these measures, there need to be measures in place to stimulate consumer spending, all of which will allow them time to start their recovery.”

Christie & Co – with increasing cost headwinds and shifting consumer confidence we predict further assets will come to market: Christie & Co has argued with increasing cost headwinds and shifting consumer confidence, further pub and restaurant assets will come to the market, which should provide active buyers seen in the first half of the year with increasing opportunities. Stephen Owens, managing director – pubs and restaurants, said: “During the first half of 2022 we saw the momentum that had built up throughout 2021 continue, with a number of active buyers seeking quality freehold assets from a limited pool. However, as we enter the second half of the year with increasing cost headwinds and shifting consumer confidence we predict further assets will come to the market, which should provide those active buyers with increasing opportunities.” The company, which has launched its mid-year review for pubs and restaurants, said as 2022 kicked off, the market was experiencing a shortage of supply coupled with a strong presence of buyers in the market, which resulted in relatively robust pricing. However, the review revealed the company started to see a shift in the number of opportunities coming to the market in the following months and new instructions increased by 56% during the first half of 2022 – well ahead of the last two years. It said: “Additionally, business prices continued to hold throughout the period and there was more parity between buyers and sellers pricing expectations, with average price achieved versus asking price increasing three percentage points in 2022 year to date compared with 2021 for pubs and 10.2 percentage points for restaurants.” Looking ahead to the second half of 2022, the review noted challenges lie ahead for operators, with inflation and the costs of goods and staff continuing to rise, which may bring more opportunities to the market. However, demand for quality assets remains unabated and the company said it is seeing more corporates, regionals and brewers seeking to add to their portfolios, which should help to maintain prices in the second half of 2022. It also noted the transactional market has become polarised, with demand for assets at the premium and value end of the spectrum and fewer opportunities in the mid-market.

Rishi Sunak pledges to cut business rates this autumn: Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, has pledged to cut business rates this autumn if he becomes prime minister. He said supporting high streets would be “top of my mind” when asked by a Conservative member at the latest Tory leadership hustings whether he would cut taxes on struggling shops. He committed to extending the current 50% reduction in his first Budget as prime minister, saying small retailers are the “beating hearts of all our communities”. He said: “Particularly those businesses in the hospitality and the retail sector, those on our high streets and our town centres, that is the number one tax they talked to me about when I was chancellor. That’s why in the pandemic I did an enormous amount to help support that industry, because I know how important it is to our communities, the jobs that it provides. It’s why this year I cut business rates for those businesses by 50% as chancellor, that’s the biggest tax cut on business rates outside of coronavirus that we’ve seen in this country. Because I know it’s the number one thing that makes a difference, this autumn in the Budget we’ll do the same. It’s the Conservative thing to do to make sure our communities are strong. The best way to help them is through business rates. That’s what I did as chancellor and that’s what I’ll do as prime minister.” Earlier this week, companies including Greggs and Tesco urged both leadership candidates to pledge a reduction in the tax amid warnings businesses face going to the wall without more help.

Nottingham set to scrap late night levy: Nottingham is set to scrap its late night levy following a full council meeting next month. The levy, which requires businesses that sell alcohol after midnight to make an annual payment to the local authority, was introduced in 2014 to cover the costs of policing the city centre in the early hours. The amount each business is required to pay is determined by the size of its premises, with rates ranging from £299 a year for smaller businesses to £4,440 at the top end. Nottinghamshire Police have warned against ditching the levy, arguing its removal would compromise the ability to police the night-time economy. However, following a consultation, Nottingham City Council has decided scrapping the levy would “not significantly affect” policing in the city centre. A city council spokesperson said: “The late night levy scheme has not been reviewed since it was first established in 2014 so it was considered timely to see if it was still fit for purpose. A formal consultation has been held. The licensing committee considered the report and the consultation responses and were content to move this on to full council next month for a final decision. The committee recognised it would be a loss of a relatively small amount of income to the police, which should not significantly affect their ability to police the night-time economy. The committee noted most businesses paying the levy are outside the city centre and don’t contribute to the problems in the night-time economy in that location. On balance, the committee recognised it was appropriate to review the levy and ease the burden on businesses that are still experiencing a challenging trading environment.”

Operator sought for live music venue in Sheffield: An operator is being sought for a new live entertainment venue as part of Sheffield's Heart of the City scheme. Sheffield City Council and its strategic development partner Queensberry are inviting interest from potential operators for Bethel Chapel. Located in Cambridge Street, the 15,000 square-foot building, which dates to the 1800s and was most recently the John Lewis toy shop, is currently being refurbished and is set to become the latest addition to the live music and performance spaces in Sheffield when it opens next year. The venue represents a key component in Heart of the City's “cultural and social” focal point in the area, and is set to complement the Cambridge Street Collective food hall development, and the independent retail, studio and maker spaces in Leah's Yard, which will also open in 2023. The successful operator of Bethel Chapel will be responsible for curating all events and social activities – expected to be live music, comedy and other live arts. Alongside the live entertainment space on the ground floor, there will be a bar and cafe area on the first floor and the top floor will also have an external roof terrace and balcony. A new outside space at the rear will have seating areas for Bethel Chapel and the adjoining Cambridge Street Collective. Councillor Mazher Iqbal, co-chair transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield has a longstanding music tradition and we know there is a real hunger for new live venues in the city.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a global facilities services company that is looking to appoint a head of sustainability. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Due to the continued growth of the group along with the service it offers, we are looking for an experienced and dynamic head of sustainability to join the senior team on its most exciting client contract. The head of sustainability will work on a very high-profile financial services account and be part of the delivery, which involves dedicated environmental management across the five regions: UK, EMEA, APAC, India, and the Americas.” The salary is up to £120,000 plus package and the position is based in London. For more information, email Sheila@corecruitment.com

Company News:

St Austell strengthens leadership team, acquires 175th site and first since pandemic: St Austell Brewery has made changes to its senior leadership team, to help deliver on its growth plans for the future, Propel has learned. St Austell has also completed on its first acquisition since the pandemic, the Wellington Hotel in the Cornish village of Boscastle – a step towards its ambition of expanding its estate to more than 200 pubs, inns, and hotels in the West Country. As part of the company’s new leadership team structure, Andrew Turner – who joined the company in March 2020 as managing director of beer and brands – has been promoted to the newly created role of chief operating officer. He will oversee all of St Austell Brewery’s day-to-day operations, across its beer business and pub estate. The company has also appointed Paul Harbottle as its first commercial director. His career spans more than 20 years, having held senior roles including chief operating officer and commercial director for JD Wetherspoon, and managing director of Bermondsey Pub Company and group commercial director for Ei Group. The acquisition of the Wellington Hotel takes St Austell’s estate to 175 sites. The property has 14 bedrooms, three aparthotel suites, a pub and a restaurant. Kevin Georgel, chief executive of St Austell, said: “With the significant challenges that hospitality businesses are continuing to face including high inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, fragile supply chains and labour shortages, we’ve further strengthened our leadership team to put us in the best possible position to accelerate our growth and release the full potential of our business. Since Andrew joined us in March 2020 to lead our beer and brands teams, we’ve made considerable progress in this area of the business and developed our brand portfolio to ensure it is fit for the future. With these strong foundations in place, we’re confident now is the right time to align all operations under Andrew’s leadership. We’re also thrilled to be welcoming Paul Harbottle to lead our newly formed commercial function, he will bring a wealth of knowledge and industry experience to our senior leadership team and the wider business.” Of the Wellington Hotel acquisition, Georgel added: “This is a further milestone in the strong recovery we’ve continued to make since the pandemic and supports our plans to strengthen and grow our pub estate across the south west in the months and years ahead.”

JKS confirms plans to open an Arcade Hall Food at Battersea Power Station scheme: JKS Restaurants, led by Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi, has confirmed plans to open a second Arcade Food Hall, at Battersea Power Station, which will include a site under the Bao brand. The new food hall, which will open next year, follows the opening of the first Arcade site in Tottenham Court Road’s Centrepoint. The 24,000 square-foot space in Battersea will feature three standalone restaurants, including award-winning Taiwanese restaurant Bao, as revealed by Propel earlier this summer, and a yet to be announced Thai restaurant. The original Arcade Food Hall at Centrepoint, which opened in April, features nine brands created by JKS in a 12,500 square-foot grade-II listed space. Karam Sethi said: “We’re looking forward to opening Arcade at Battersea Power Station next year. We will be creating a number of exciting new brands that showcase even more global cuisines, while also expanding and developing some of our existing Arcade brands, to create a food and drink destination south of the river worth travelling for.” Earlier this year, Jyotin Sethi told Propel the next cuisine the business would look to focus on was Thai, and JKS hoped to open a restaurant in the category by the end of 2022. Talking at the Propel Multi-Club Conference in March, Sethi said: “Thai is a category we’ve been working on since pre-covid. So, I think for us, it is the next one in terms of cuisine type that we’re looking to do more on than just the food hall, even maybe something later this year. That’s something we’re really excited about, and that will operate in the kind of Hoppers, Berenjak, Bao space – what we call the fine casual segment. There’s a huge amount for us to do in that kind of south east Asian world, where there’s much more than just Thai, but we’ll start with Thai and see where we go.”

Incipio secures former Aster site in Victoria for The Palm House concept: Incipio Group, the London operator of venues including The Prince and Lost In Brixton, will open its seventh site next month, after securing a site in Victoria, Propel has learned. The company has secured the premises previously occupied by D&D London’s Aster restaurant at the Nova development to launch The Palm House, a new wet-led concept. Opening on Thursday, 22 September, the site will house space for 400 guests across two floors, and will take inspiration from Cuba and Miami’s iconic clubhouses of the 1930s and have a regular roster of DJs and live entertainment performing throughout the week. The space will comprise several drinking and dining spaces, with a Miami Clubhouse on the ground floor and an immersive Cuban hangout residing upstairs complete with a dedicated daiquiri bar. The Palm House will also feature two private dining spaces and a food and drinks menu focusing on the “vivacious style of Miami matched with the ingredients and flavours of the Cuban classics, accompanied by an extensive drinks offering of tropical bold cocktails made with exotic fruits, with a host of wine, beer and spirits also available”. Incipio said it was proud to have sourced its full management and senior kitchen team internally for the new venue. In October, Incipio will make its debut in the City, with the launch of The Libertine at the Royal Exchange. The 7,000 square-foot venue will be based underground inside the historic vaults of The Royal Exchange, and will comprise a large destination bar, casual drinking and dining spaces, two private dining rooms and a main restaurant.

Burger & Sauce reports ‘big interest’ in franchise opportunities as it targets 300-plus UK estate: Burger franchise concept Burger & Sauce has reported “big interest” since it launched franchise opportunities at the start of July. The company, which was set up two years ago during the height of the pandemic, has also seen each of its existing franchisees sign multi-store agreements. The first Burger & Sauce restaurant in Birmingham turned over £1.5m in its first year. As soon as founder Saad Masood realised the popularity of the concept, launching as a franchise became the long-term goal. He said: “Our experienced franchise team led by Anthony Round has worked hard and taken time to put all the necessary elements in place to develop a compelling franchise opportunity.” As previously reported, Burger & Sauce aims to establish 300-plus stores across the UK. The franchise is already on target for double-digit store openings by the end of 2022. Burger & Sauce currently operates four sites, all in Birmingham, with seven more “coming soon”, according to its website, including launches in Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham. Round said: “Once the franchise concept was proven and all the operational details were in place, we began to invite applications from more potential franchisees. Within days, we had received 30 or so valid enquiries. Currently, we are looking for ambitious individuals to grow our brand around two hours’ drive from Birmingham. This will ensure our ingredient delivery processes and cost base remains competitive for franchisees. We are also considering master franchisees who are interested in larger multi-store development agreements slightly further afield too. More opportunities will become available for locations all over the UK as we grow.” Burger & Sauce features in Propel’s UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is available exclusively to Propel Premium subscribers. The database is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK. The third edition will be published this month – providing insight on the offer, locations, cost, business background, contacts and other key details. It will be updated and sent out again 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.

Leon closes three-strong Ireland business: Natural fast food brand Leon, owned by EG Group, has closed its three-strong business in Ireland to “focus on our other restaurants in Europe and the UK”. The brand opened its first Irish site in Dublin’s Temple Bar three years ago. The chain later expanded to Dundrum town centre and Liffey Valley. It initially intended to open more than 20 locations in Ireland by 2023. A statement on the Leon website said: “We have loved our time in Ireland and will be forever grateful for the welcome you gave us. The continuing challenges post-pandemic have taken their toll, as it has on everybody. We're saying goodbye, for now, to focus on our other restaurants in Europe and the UK, where our journey to create better fast food began 18 years ago. We hope to be back in the future.” 

Soho Coffee Co launches small footprint format aimed at travel market: Soho Coffee Co has launched a new format – Soho Piccolo, which is an “efficiently designed” small footprint concept targeting the travel market. The debut site has opened at Northampton train station after a deal was agreed with London Northwestern Railway. It is thought to be the first of many planned, with talks already taking place for a second location. Soho Piccolo offers hot food to go, coupled with the company’s triple-certified coffee, vegan shakes and fruit smoothies. The menu includes breakfast butties, sourdough toasties with secret Soho sauce, freshly baked viennoiserie and hot savoury pastries. Soho Coffee Co managing director, Penny Manuel, said: “Building on our two recent very successful openings at Bristol and Birmingham airports, there is clearly an opportunity for a smaller format to sit either as standalone units or to act as secondary units to the full Soho footprint. Soho Piccolo is a highly efficient format for platforms, barrier lines and pier units, providing a strong guest experience through combining quick hot fresh food and premium coffee.”

Foodco to open Jamaica Blue site in Kingston today for 17th site, deal signed for Manchester Arndale outlet: Foodco will open the 17th site for its Jamaica Blue cafe brand today (Thursday, 11 August) in Kingston, south west London. The outlet is on the second floor of the Bentall Centre and is the first in partnership with landlord, Aviva. An 18th site for the brand is due to open in October, at Manchester Arndale after a deal was signed with M&G. Nerissa Bancroft, brand operations manager for Jamaica Blue UK, said: “Jamaica Blue’s foundations are built on two simple beliefs that guide us in everything we do. Firstly, a belief in sourcing the very best coffee, and secondly, only using fresh, premium ingredients to deliver contemporary cafe dishes with a twist. We’re thrilled to be opening at The Bentall Centre.” Foodco also operates Muffin Break, which will open its 60th UK site this month, in Houndshill Shopping Centre, Blackpool. 

Camden’s Buck Street Market welcomes six new F&B operators: LabTech, owner of Camden Market, has announced the openings of six new food and beverage operators at Buck Street Market, the UK’s first eco-conscious consumer market. Nyce, the frozen dessert specialist, has opened on Buck Street Market’s first floor. Joining it is the recently launched Pho Kae Bakery, which sells everything from traditional crepes and bubble waffles to thick shakes and fruit smoothies. Buck Street Market is the first standalone location for Himalayan Dumpling and marks the start of the concept’s London expansion. Middle Eastern fusion street-food trader, Sameat, has also joined with its debut permanent location. Antojitos, the plant-based street food concept, which started as a food truck in Edinburgh in 2020 and won the top prize at the Scottish Street Food Awards in 2021, has arrived at Buck Street Market for its first London outpost. The latest openings are completed by Hiden Curry Labare – providing “authentic Japanese curry”. 

JD Wetherspoon tables Galway pub plan: JD Wetherspoon has drawn up plans for a €2.5m overhaul of the former Carbon nightclub in Eglinton Street in Galway – creating up to 70 jobs. Plans for The Three Red Sails – a bar and restaurant over two floors – were submitted to the city council last week – and the company said the National University of Ireland Galway, and its 18,605 students, will provide a market for it. Wetherspoon has moved to reassure local residents that its “no music” policy will be in force and “large groups in fancy dress” will not be permitted if it is given the go-ahead. The plans for the former nightclub premises – which Wetherspoon purchased in 2019 – involve demolition and refurbishment works on the ground floor and an extension at first-floor level to provide a roof terrace and beer garden. A ground floor terrace already exists and will be slightly extended. Drawings indicate seating for around 220 people on the ground floor and 100 people on the first floor, including 50 in the roof garden.
 
Yum Cha opens second site: A new dim sum and roast kitchen has opened at a Manchester-based garden neighbourhood. The venue at Kampus is Yum Cha's second spot after the restaurant in Liverpool's Lark Lane. The venue – above Nell's pizza and neighbouring recently-opened The Beeswing – also boasts a first floor outside terrace, overlooking the Kampus gardens. Authentic Chinese food is served including dumplings and baos, alongside noodle soups, a menu of Chinese roast meat dishes as well as big plates to share. Set up by brothers Adam and Neil Wan, the move is their first expansion outside of their home town. Adam Wan said: “We're named Yum Cha after the tradition, passed down over centuries, of gathering to swap stories over tea and food. We're keeping that culture alive at Kampus, with delicious food and a welcoming dining spot to spend time with mates and family.”
 
New Middle Eastern restaurant concept to open in Camden this month: A new Middle Eastern restaurant concept is set to open in London’s Camden this month. Hala Wala will launch in Camden High Street on Monday, 29 August. The fast casual restaurant focuses around shawarma, hummus and falafel. The shawarma will come in three iterations – chicken, chicken sojok (spicy chicken) and lamb. There will also be a vegan version. Customers will be able to choose from a variety of ways to have their shawarma including with a variety of bread, salad platters and loaded fries. Other dishes include freshly made falafel with salad, pickles and Lebanese bread along with baba ghanoush – grilled aubergine pureed with tahini (sesame), garlic, lemon, olive oil, with a garnish of pomegranate and paprika with a side of Lebanese bread.

Aparthotel operator Beyond set to open first regional site: Aparthotel operator Beyond is set to open its first site outside London. The company currently has a site in Fitzrovia and is “coming soon” to Regent’s Park and the West End in the capital. Now plans to transform the upper floors of a building in Harrogate town centre into an aparthotel have been submitted. Countrylarge owns the property in James Street, which will soon home fashion and lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas on the ground floor. The 17-bedroom aparthotel will complete the revamp of the building, and will be run by Beyond. James Fry, founder of Beyond, said: “Harrogate is a fantastic place and we are thrilled to bring our sustainable, carbon neutral operating model to the town. This building is ideally placed so people can enjoy everything that Harrogate has to offer.” Countrylarge director Antony Rosindale added: “This planning application will complete the transformation of the building and bring economic benefits to the town centre.”

The Gym Group opens new site in Scunthorpe: The Gym Group, the operator of 216 gyms across the UK, has opened a new site in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. The 10,000 square-foot gym is based at Lakeside Retail Park. Oliver Tester, property acquisition director, said: “Providing high quality health and fitness for our members is a priority for us and we are delighted to be bringing this to the people of Scunthorpe. Last week we celebrated a strong set of financial results for the first half of our financial year, reiterating our commitment to reaching 300 gyms by 2025 and we are pleased to demonstrate how we are continuing to build on this momentum.” 

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