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Tue 16th Aug 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Like-for-like sales remain flat amid market turbulence, ‘not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels’: Like-for-like sales at Britain’s top managed pub, bar and restaurant groups remained flat in July against pre-covid levels, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The month’s figures were bolstered by the Women’s European Championship tournament and there were periods of unusually hot weather, but those behind the tracker warned it was “not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels”. The results from the tracker – produced by CGA by NielsenIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK – represents a drop in like-for-like sales following the strongest month of like-for-like growth this year in June, and given high levels of inflation since 2019, sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Restaurants were the strongest performing of the tracker's three hospitality segments in July, with like-for-like sales up 1.3% versus three years ago. Managed groups’ dine-in only sales were down 8.0% suggesting performance for the segment was in part supported by consumers opting for deliveries. Pubs continued to perform reasonably well with like-for-like sales growth down 0.6%, while bars’ fared worse with their like-for-like sales dropping 1.7%. Trading in London continues to struggle, with like-for-like sales falling 2%, compared with a decline of 1% in June and a flat performance in May. Beyond the M25, like-for-like sales were up 0.7% as ongoing rail strikes continued to significantly reduce footfall into central London. Overall like-for-likes are flat compared with 4.7% growth in June and in decline by 3.3% when sales from deliveries and takeaways are removed from this metric. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “A flat rate of like-for-like sales reflects the slow but steady trajectory of the past few months.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “Flat sales on 2019 numbers in the face of rampant inflationary pressure on every front may appear catastrophic but these number show the steady progress hospitality is making. Those that survive may well thrive but for operators these improvements need to continue. 2019 is the benchmark for now but it is not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels.”

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – first look at new products and services at Casual Dining 2022: With visitor pre-registrations coming in fast, and more than 200 companies preparing to exhibit, the 2022 edition of Casual Dining – the industry’s favourite restaurant, pub and bar event – promises to be a big hit. Returning to ExCeL London on 14-15 September, the show is renowned for being the central hub for new innovations in the restaurant, bar and pub sector. As well as hearing about new trends in the free seminar programme, visitors (who annually include some of the most influential leaders and buyers in the business) will have plenty to see, smell and sample across the show floor. With stand sales almost sold out, a few of the latest signings include Amber Beverage UK, Redefine Meat, Gunna Drinks, Tails Cocktails, The Sausage Man UK, CleanCo Ventures, Drop Bear Beers, Nory, Aviko and Lanique. To search the exhibitor list, visit: To register for a free trade ticket, click here. Quote VCD15 to save the £20 door fee. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

Host of hotel operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of hotel operators are among the 36 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 26 August, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features hotel group Sandman, part of Northland Properties UK, which operates four hotels in the UK under its Sandman Signature brand – in Aberdeen, Newcastle, Gatwick and most recently in Sheffield. Also added this month is Barons Eden, the luxury hotel and spa group led by managing director Adrian Pearson, which operates Hoar Cross Hall in Burton-on-Trent and Eden Hall Day Spa in Newark. In addition, Andrew Long, co-founder and chief executive of motorway services operator Extra MSA Group, who also operates the Hotel Polurrian in The Lizard, Cornwall, and the recently acquired The White Hart in Lincoln, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 2,500-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. The database currently features 2,572 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 2 September, 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 10,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to 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 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 is 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 propel group editor Mark Wingett.

BBPA demands business leaders’ summit to help save pubs and winder industry venues: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has written to Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak demanding a summit with business leaders to save pubs and other hospitality venues from closure should they become prime minister. In the face of rising energy bills, staff shortages and a cost-of-living crisis, the trade association has called for a roundtable of business leaders “at the earliest opportunity” to ensure there is a long-term strategy in place for hospitality. It comes shortly after leaders from across hospitality and the night-time industries, including the BBPA, called on the government to take immediate action on rising energy bills by introducing an energy cap for small businesses. Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “Our sector hangs in the balance. Rising energy bills are crippling pubs across the country, with only one in three turning a profit, and that figure only likely to worsen as winter approaches. The situation is dire, and what we are experiencing now is arguably worse than the pandemic because we are receiving absolutely no relief on out-of-control energy costs. We need urgent action from the government to save businesses and jobs in communities across the country, but we also need a long-term plan to ensure the health of the hospitality sector so it can continue to support the economic and social fabric of our country.” The letter warns government support provided during the pandemic will count for nothing if support is not also provided “at this acutely difficult moment in time”. It states: “It is no exaggeration to say the future of thousands of pub and hospitality businesses hangs in the balance, and the longer that no action is taken, the more significant the threat of permanent failure becomes.” It also points out 40% of those employed across the whole sector are 16 to 24-year-olds, “providing a vital source of employment for young people and an early introduction to the world of work”.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a global leisure business, turning over £150m, which has major expansion plans over the next three years. To support the growth, the business is looking to appoint a fully qualified commercial finance director. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The role would suit an individual who understands the leisure sector and has international finance experience. The executive team is anticipating significant growth worldwide. As well as scale up support, the incoming finance director will also work collaboratively with the operation of other business functions and be an integral part of an active and energetic leadership team.” The position is based in the north west of England with a salary of circa £110,000 plus benefits package. For more information, email

Company News:

Grounded Kitchen targets 50 new UK sites in £15m investment: Midlands-based Korean-inspired restaurant Grounded Kitchen is aiming to open 50 new UK sites in a £15m investment. The ten-strong company, which launched in Leicester in 2017, is looking to sign up franchise partners for up to 25 sites at a time, creating more than 500 jobs. Ralph Llanwarne, Grounded Kitchen’s franchise director, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be rolling out the Grounded Kitchen experience across the UK and to be working with some fantastic partners on multiple sites. Our focus on delivering fast and healthy, balanced food has really captured the imaginations of those who dine with us, and we’re delighted to be able to share that experience with new communities as we expand the Grounded Kitchen family and fanbase. Grounded Kitchen is one of the most exciting franchise opportunities to come to the market in years, and this is a rare opportunity to get in on the ground level. We are actively looking to engage with ambitious partners to join us, as we continue the expansion of Grounded Kitchen across the UK. We are particularly interested in experienced partners looking to develop multiple sites with us.” Grounded Kitchen last week opened its tenth site and first in the ‘London commuter belt’, at 43 High Street in Watford. It also operates four sites in its home town of Leicester and one each in Worcester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and Leamington Spa. The company says its menu focuses on the growing market for free-from, flexitarian, vegan, vegetarian and plant-based diet options, with every dish calorie-counted. All sites feature an open kitchen offering a range of made-to-order ‘nourish bowls’, so diners can create a dish to “best suit their tastebuds and dietary needs“. They consist of fresh vegetables on a bed of rice, infused with a range of “intense and authentic” marinades. Diners can then add tofu, tempeh, meat or fish. It also offers Korean ssambaps and bao buns alongside a range of smoothie-style drinks topped with coconut, granola, almonds, strawberries and blueberries. Each store also works with the zero-food waste app, TooGoodToGo.

Watt – enormous new 26,500 square-foot flagship site reflects BrewDog’s future direction: James Watt has described BrewDog’s massive new flagship site, which opens its doors this week, as a reflection of the company’s future direction. The Scottish brewer and retailer will this Thursday (18 August) open The Sidings, its biggest site yet, covering 26,500 square feet in London’s Waterloo. Set over two floors and standing at around six times the size of a Wetherspoons pub, it will have space for 1,775 people. It will feature 60 taps of beer, including house beer Trainspotter, which will be brewed on site and available to drink in or take away. A “Martini Roulette” showcasing the evolution of the cocktail, will also be available in the Lost Property Office, an “immersive cocktail hideaway” from Rich Woods based within the venue, which will open on the same day. Food options will include wood-fired pizza, oak-fired chicken, wings and burgers, plus bottomless brunches from Grind and ice creams with a BrewDog twist from Hackney Gelato. Among the experiential elements will be a slide to take guests between floors, tables that turn into ping pong tables after hours and duckpin bowling lanes (where kids bowl free with a paying adult). It will also house co-working spaces and pods, a podcast studio, meeting rooms and a floristry. Watt, BrewDog’s chief executive, said: “This is one of our most exciting bar creations and a true reflection to where our brand is heading. Wait for your train as you sip a bar exclusive beer, brewed onsite. London has supported us since the very beginning, so whether you live in the capital, work in the city or are just visiting, get ready for the biggest BrewDog Bar on Earth.” BrewDog last month opened its second Bristol site, and earlier this month secured a site for an opening in Durham, in the city’s Milburngate development. It has 67 UK sites in addition to bars in more than 20 countries, and earlier this summer signed franchise agreements to extend its presence in both India and Australia. The company last week made the first of its profit share payments under its Blueprint bonus scheme, which sees team members receiving a share of 50% of each bar’s profits.

Barber – we’re now in a position to consider new UK and international franchise opportunities for Cabana: Jamie Barber, executive chairman of The Hush Collection, has said the business is now in a position to consider new UK and international franchise opportunities for Cabana. The 13-strong London restaurant group, which consists of Hush Mayfair, Cabana and Haché along with virtual vegan brand, Little Planted Kitchen, said its 20-year-old Hush restaurant continues to trade “exceptionally well” and is on track to have one of its best years. The business added the Cabana franchise in Saudi Arabia continues to trade well, with a further site expected to open in late 2022. Further international development is planned as the group seeks new franchise territories. The group has also refurbished the Cabana estate to support the brand’s focus as a “modern, vibrant group of independent Latin American restaurants”. Little Planted Kitchen is now operating out of 12 locations, including a first Deliveroo Editions site. It comes as the company reported turnover increased 36.3% to £11.48m for the year ending 26 December 2021 from £8.42m the year before. Group Ebitda stood at £1.076m (2020: Ebitda loss of £389,000). The group’s senior debt has been repaid in full. Barber, who leads the business with Ed Standring, said: “We are proud of our 2021 results, with our restaurants performing well ahead of expectations. As well as an exceptional year for Hush, we are now in position to consider new UK and international franchise opportunities for Cabana, while our focus on new product development and recipe collaborations has resulted in solid trading for Haché. While we remain cautious in the short term as we navigate through a myriad of pressures including a cost-of-living crisis, squeeze on consumer spending, labour shortage and material increases in utility bills, we are confident with our continued commitment to brand development and drive to create exceptional experiences, our guests will continue to visit us.”

Creams to launch Nottingham academy and open four new regional sites this autumn: Dessert parlour operator Creams is set launch an academy in Nottingham this autumn, alongside four key regional openings, adding to the brand’s portfolio of more than 100 UK restaurants. The academy, which will offer extensive training for Creams’ franchise partners in the north, will be based in the upper floor of the company’s current Nottingham restaurant, which has been closed for refurbishments. It will also act as a learning hub for employees from restaurant up to management level. One of the new openings, meanwhile, will be a flagship site in Manchester’s Arndale centre, as reported by Propel in June. The 2,303 square-foot restaurant, featuring 64 internal covers and an additional eight outside, will open in November. Creams will also open new sites in Sheffield, York and New Haw, in Surrey. Othman Shoukat, managing director of Creams, said: “We have received a lot of demand for our brand in the north of England and are delighted to be opening new restaurants in these locations. It is a huge achievement to be in as strong a position as we are, and these openings will help pave the way for future expansion in the north. We’re also really excited about the Nottingham training academy. From digital-based learning using the Creams Academy portal to hands-on practical experience in the kitchen, as well as space for roundtable discussions and role play, the academy will prove an invaluable resource for our franchise partners.” Shoukat told Propel in June that he had “multiple sites” in legals.

London club owner Luca Maggiora partners with Seed Consulting to take new luxury Italian restaurant concept to Saudi Arabia: Luca Maggiora, who was behind clubs such as Project and Toy Room and who also owns B-Soho pizzeria, has partnered with Seed Consulting to take his new luxury  Italian restaurant concept to Saudi Arabia. Bardo St James’s, a 150-cover, 11,000 square-foot space which features an open kitchen, walk-in wine cellar, whisky room, private dining room and private lounge, opened in London’s Pall Mall in October 2021. In a deal facilitated by Seeds Consulting, it is now expanding to the Middle East, with a first opening planned for next year in the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh. Maggiora said:“It is a great achievement for Bardo to open in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a vibrant society and an ambitious nation. I look forward to expanding our operations in Riyadh together with our Saudi partners. Our customers will be able to experience the essence of the Italian Dolce Vita in a classy and relaxed atmosphere.” Matteo Frigeri, co-founder and director of Seeds Consulting, added: “We are proud to have forged this partnership which highlights that – with our connections across the UK, Europe, and the Middle East – we can assure our clients of a pathway towards global expansion. Our portfolio continues to develop, and we are excited to be behind the growth in the brands that we represent, which range from quick service restaurants and coffee shops to high-end dining. Congratulations to Bardo on its expansion into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – we are sure this is only the beginning of its overseas ventures.” Propel understands Bardo is keen to look at franchise opportunities in other countries once the Saudi Arabia agreement has “bedded in”.

Former Prescott & Conran operations manager to launch Surrey’s first food hall: Former Prescott & Conran operations manager Peter Farrell is launching Surrey’s first food hall. Farrell, who was also behind the now closed bowl food concept Sow in Soho, has partnered with the team behind Street Food Markets – Jason McKenzie, Linh Tong and Otokunor Kojo-Smith – to open the venue in Epsom. The 200-seater Epsom Social is set to open on Monday, 29 August. The venue in Epsom Square will bring together eight food vendors, with a central bar serving coffee, craft beer, cocktails, wine and non-alcoholic drinks, and a range of entertainment from local artists. Food options will include local pizza purveyors Doughboyz, award-winning Venezuelan street food vendors Pabellón, Curry On Naanstop as well as Lebanese, Mexican, Korean and dessert options. Farrell has a background of 23 years working in high-end restaurants and hotels, cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants such as the Fat Duck, and managing at Anthony Demetre and Will Smith’s Arbutus and Wild Honey, before becoming group projects and operations manager for Sir Terence Conran’s restaurant group.

Rhumshack Group to relocate Cottons in Shoreditch, adding 100-cover bar, plans second Ma Petite Jamaica: London-based Rhumshack Group will next month relocate its Shoreditch Cottons Caribbean Restaurant and Rhum Shack, adding a 100-cover downstairs bar. Owner Chris Singam, who operates three other Cottons venues in the capital, launched the 70-cover Shoreditch site in 2017, in Curtain Road, after closing its unit at nearby Boxpark Shoreditch. It is now moving to a site at Hoxton Square, with a 66-cover restaurant upstairs and the bar downstairs, opening in early September. The menu will include a selection of small plates such as salt fish fritters with Bajan pepper compote and mango chutney, and larger plates like creole gilled mahi with avocado, tomato and red onion slaw, garlic pan fried potatoes, Bajan pepper compote and coconut sauce. There will also be a dedicated all-day takeaway section called Cottons Cool Runnings, while the bar will serve a world-record 300-strong rum list alongside Caribbean cocktails. The other Cottons branches are in Camden, Notting Hill, and Vauxhall. Singam’s Rhumshack Group also has plans to open a second Ma Petite Jamaica site, in Shoreditch, in the coming months, adding to the one in Camden’s Inverness Street. Rhumshack Group also operates Asian food cooperative Tai Pan Alley, British-European brasserie Camden Social and Spanish brunch bar Bar Gansa – all in Camden – and two branches of bubble waffle concept Bubblemania, in Camden and Brent Cross.

Incipio Group founder set to launch debut creche and family hub venture next month: The founder of Incipio Group, the Edition Capital-backed operator of venues including The Prince and Lost In Brixton, will launch his first venture in the nursery and soft play market next month. Propel reported in October 2021 that Charlie Gardiner, who founded Incipio in 2016, was planning to launch Jaego’s House in Kensal Rise as the first venue for his new vehicle, The Little Houses Group. Branded as a club for all the family, it will feature a jungle gym, crèche, child-minding service and kids’ cinema for children, plus a co-working office, gym, treatment room and library for adults, when it opens on 26 September. A restaurant and waterside cafe, seating 85 inside and 24 on a canalside terrace, will also offer three specially curated menus – for kids, adults, and a ‘one-handed’ menu for breastfeeding guests. Led by head chef Alexander Militsopoulos, menu highlights for adults will include baked eggs with butter beans, chorizo and chard, while kids’ options will include coconut milk porridge with a choice of toppings and egg and soldiers. Among the one-handed menu choices are San Daniele ham, seasonal mushroom, artichoke and lemon thyme pizza, while a milk bar on the ground floor will sell ready-made formula bottles, store milk and heat up bottles. In the soft play area, parents can also make use of an on-site wine dispenser. Militsopoulos said: “We wanted to create fuss-free healthy food for the whole family to enjoy. I sense the restaurant will be the real hub of Jaego’s House, and I want members and walk-in guests to be able to drop in for a coffee, a quick bite or a sit-down lunch – with the whole family. We have spent a lot of time creating a menu that really caters for all, and I cannot wait for members to try it.” Set over 20,000 square feet, Jaego’s House will offer annual memberships as well as ‘affordable pay and play’ options without a long-term commitment.

Calcot Health & Leisure reports turnover boost as it returns to profit with aid of hotel sale: Hotel and leisure group Calcot Health & Leisure has reported turnover grew to £13,403,698 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £9,827,189 the previous year. It saw a pre-tax profit of £2,363,843 versus a loss of £1,489,229 the year before. This followed the sale of the Barnsley House hotel in the Cotswolds in November 2021 for £1.4m “as part of a strategy to concentrate on the development of the retained properties.” No dividend was paid. The company operates the Calcot Manor and Painswick hotels in the Cotswolds and The Lord Crewe Arms Hotel in Blanchland, Northumberland. 

Coffee shop operator Shot London to double up with Marylebone site, two more set to follow: Coffee shop operator Shot London is to double up with a second site in the capital, with two more set to follow, Propel has learned. Shot London opened its debut outlet in Berkeley Street in Mayfair last year. It has now acquired a site at 104 Wigmore Street in Marylebone that is due to open in October. Propel understands a further two central London locations are set to open, with the business looking for further sites. Taylor Gershon, of CBA Leisure, acts for Shot London. 

National Trust-owned hotel group returns to profit as turnover more than doubles: Historic House Hotels, which operates three sites and is owned by the National Trust, has reported turnover more than doubled to £5,736,772 for the year ending 25 February 2022, compared with £2,410,551 the year before. The business saw a pre-tax profit of £280,930 versus a loss of £803,000 the previous year. A total of 12,073 hotel bedrooms were sold, compared with 5,835 in the prior period, while restaurant cover numbers totalled 43,058, up from 23,872 the year before due to fewer mandatory closures caused by the covid-19 pandemic. The three Historic House Hotels are Hartwell House in Aylesbury, Middlethorpe Hall in York and Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno. In September 2008, Historic House Hotels and all its interest in the three sites became the property of the National Trust, by donation, with all profits henceforward benefiting the houses and the charity.

Dorchester Collection set to open new restaurant at Coworth Park: Luxury hotel company Dorchester Collection will next month open a new restaurant at Coworth Park, its 71-room country house hotel in Ascot, Berkshire. Opening on 8 September, Woven by Adam Smith will be led by the venue’s executive chef of the same name, who worked at both The Ritz and The Devonshire Arms before arriving at Coworth Park in 2016. Smith will head up a seasonally changing menu offering “fresh seafood, outstanding butchery, foraged mushrooms, hand-picked herbs and native flowers from Britain’s famed larder”, alongside seasonal cocktails and wines from English and leading international producers. Smith said: “A memorable dining experience is created by so much more than the dishes that we eat. With Woven, we will be pushing the boundaries of creativity and excellence in food, but also in drinks, service and design, to create a restaurant that delights both destination diners and hotel guests alike. Stories and knowledge from my entire career, alongside inspiration from the idyllic landscape, will be woven into the menus, and the dishes, while refined, will be presented in playful and contemporary ways.” The restaurant will serve a set priced menu at £80 per person for lunch, and £130 for dinner. The Dorchester Collection portfolio also includes London venues The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, as well as hotels in Paris, Milan, Rome, Beverley Hills, Los Angeles and, opening in 2023, The Lana in Dubai.

Birmingham operator behind 18/81 and Smultronstalle to launch new cocktail bar and ‘creative drinks studio’: Robert Wood, the bartender behind former Birmingham venues behind 18/81 and Smultronstalle, is set to open a new cocktail bar and ‘creative drinks studio’ in the city. Wood will launch Atelier in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in September, housed in a grade II-listed restored factory in Newhall Square. It will open for just a few nights a week (Thursday to Saturday), for a handful of guests each evening (limited to 26), and with each menu available for a limited time only. The first menu, called Terrior, will be available from 22 September to 12 November and is a “seven-course cocktail tasting experience that takes guests on a journey across the UK celebrating a plethora of landscapes and their esoteric flavours and ingredients”. Although Atelier will try to cater for walk-in guests, advanced bookings are recommended. Wood opened experiential cocktail bars Smultronstalle in 2016 and 18/81 in 2018, but both have since closed.

Michelin-starred chef Alex Dilling confirms opening date for first standalone restaurant: Michelin-starred chef Alex Dilling has confirmed that his eponymously titled first standalone restaurant will open on 1 September. Propel reported in May that Dilling would open the 34-cover venue at the Hotel Café Royal in London, following spells at The Greenhouse and Helene Darroze at The Connaught. A French-inspired menu will start at £65 for a three-course lunch, while a six-course dinner menu, with an amuse bouche and petit fours, will be priced at £155. A chef’s special menu, also consisting of six courses and additions and showcasing seasonal ingredients, will also be on offer in the evening for £195. “Alex Dilling At Hotel Café Royal will represent everything I love about French cuisine,” said Dilling. “My dream, together with my talented team, is to not only be one of the most ambitious restaurants in the country, but one where our guests feel at home and can come time and time again.” The venture is being backed by hospitality entrepreneur Victoria Sheppard, who previously worked with Dilling while public relations and marketing director at The Greenhouse, when he was executive chef. She has gone on to open Mayfair coffee shop and café Queens of Mayfair among other businesses. Shepperd added: “After working with Alex previously at The Greenhouse, it is an honour to open a restaurant with one of London’s most talented chefs. The restaurant will combine an elegant setting, exceptional service and the finest cuisine.”

Generator and Freeland Hotels appoint new CCO: Boutique accommodation provider Generator and Freeland Hotels has appointed Siim Karu as its new chief commercial officer. He was previously global head of revenue management for Generator from 2017 to 2019 and has also worked for hotel groups including A&O Hotels, Penta Hotels and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. Karu said: “I am thrilled to be returning to the Generator and Freehand Hotel team at such an exciting time in the company’s development, and to work once again with some of the industry’s best talent. The two brands are both well positioned for free-spirited travellers, offering design-led accommodation, community-driven experiences coupled with world-class food and beverage concepts. I look forward to being part of the solidification of their position as global leaders in the field.” Generator and Freehand Hotels chief executive, Alastair Thomann, added: “We are delighted to have Siim rejoining the Generator family and taking up an expanded role in the executive leadership team. His wealth of experience is pivotal to the company’s exciting future, at a point where we are achieving record-breaking numbers and are continuing to expand.” Earlier this month, the company reported record quarterly profits, with an 11% increase in profitability in the second quarter of 2022 versus 2019. June 2022 was the group’s most successful month ever, with almost 30% year-on-year growth in profit, with its properties in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid all performing well.

York holiday home business acquires fourth site after securing £2m funding: York holiday home business Chateau Anna is set to open a fourth site after securing £2m funding to acquire a former railway building in the city. Chateau Anna owner Neil Cook has bought Holgate House in Holgate Road, which he plans to convert into eight luxury self-catering apartments, together with a sauna and steam room in the basement. Guests will also be able to enjoy private cocktail-making workshops. Cook, who runs three other holiday lets in York, hopes to open his latest site by Easter 2023. He said: “This is a really exciting step forward for us and we’re delighted to be in a position to bring this empty building back to life. It will be a great addition to York’s hospitality scene, while honouring the heritage of the building.”

RBH Hospitality Management to operate new Sheffield hotel: Hotel management company RBH Hospitality Management has been appointed by Stapleford Ventures to operate the new Courtyard by Marriott Sheffield, on the outskirts of the city. Located at the entrance to the Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Park, which forms part of the residential Waverley Development, the 150-bedroom property, due to open in spring 2023, will include a brasserie restaurant as well as a fitness centre and meeting facilities. David Hart, chief executive of RBH Hospitality Management, said: “This new hotel is a great addition to our 2023 pipeline and a reflection of the continued success in our growth strategy. We are delighted to have forged a new relationship with Stapleford Ventures and look forward to growing our partnership together.” Neil Searle, managing director of Stapleford Ventures, added: “We are excited to bring the first Marriott-branded hotel to the Sheffield area and to be working alongside RBH. Courtyard by Marriott Sheffield will be a great addition to the area.” RBH operates 44 sites. 

Multimillion-pound leisure development set to open in Liverpool this month, with new cafe and restaurant: A new multimillion-pound leisure development in Crosby Coastal Park, in the Waterloo district of Liverpool, will open its doors to the public later this month. Opening on 22 August, The Lake House, which will sit alongside the leisure facilities at Sefton Council’s Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, will host a new café and restaurant, The Lake Kitchen, led by head chef Matt Cox. It will also include four conference and event spaces and 14 refurbished accommodation rooms. The new venue, led by Sefton Hospitality Operations, will create more than 70 jobs. Sefton Hospitality chair Kellie Rixon, who is also chair of The Institute of Hospitality, said: “The Lake House has been created with the local community at its core, and throughout this whole process, regeneration has been a key objective. Not only are we going to appeal to several different demographics in what we are about to deliver, but we believe that the venue will help to further propel Waterloo and this area of Sefton’s fantastic coastline into the national arena.”

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