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Tue 23rd Aug 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Snowfox Group sales up 60% in first seven months of 2022, remains on track for a further uplift in Ebitda profits for financial year: Snowfox Group, which owns the YO!, Taiko and Bento brands, has reported sales growth of 60% in the first seven months of 2022 and says it remains on track for a further uplift in Ebitda profits for the financial year. The growth, in the seven months ending 30 June 2022, took revenue for the period to £182.7m. The period also saw the opening of 124 further sushi kiosks, supported by the rollout of 76 UK sites in partnership with Tesco and Asda. One new restaurant has also opened in the UK, with another scheduled to open in FY22, and further selected openings “remain under consideration”. The group said it has also opened an additional commissary location in Los Angeles and expanded its existing UK commissary “to meet increased demand from existing and new customers”. In the UK, it has expanded its relationship with Waitrose and started a new one with Lidl, while in the US, it has grown its partnership with Costco. This follows the group reporting record sales of £197,263,000 in the year ending 28 November 2021 (2020: £134,289,000), up 47% on 2020, with group adjusted Ebitda doubling to £34,448,000 in the period, up from £17,073,000m the previous year. It sold 60 million trays of sushi in the period and now operates almost 6,000 distribution points across the US, Canada and UK, with 75% of its group system sales now coming from North America. The group’s franchised kiosks (US and Canada) recorded like for like sales growth of 33%, while its owned corporate kiosks (UK and Canada) saw like for like sales increase 25%. During the year, the group achieved a net opening of 381 sushi kiosks with its retail partners, taking the total number operated to circa 2,200. The group’s sushi commissary business also strengthened current partnerships and successfully established several new ones. It added Tesco, Co-op and WHSmith during the period and built on its relationships with the likes of Asda, Costco, and David Lloyd. The group’s restaurant business began the period with an estate of 52 sites and successfully delivered an improved Ebitda margin per restaurant. Richard Hodgson, chief executive of the Snowfox Group, said:  “We continue to see increasing demand for the freshest, most affordable and convenient Japanese food at scale. This has supported Snowfox Group’s continued growth, record revenue and now Ebitda in 2021, and established the group as an international diversified and market-leading Japanese food business. The strength of our offer is borne out by our long-standing and trusted partnerships with some of the world’s leading retailers. They turn to us for our expertise, scale and unrivalled ability to provide a one-stop sushi solution. It is our high-quality products and services which provide retailers with a key point of differentiation and enable them to fulfil growing consumer demand for sushi in the US, UK and Canada. We are encouraged to have achieved considerable sales growth of 60% in the first seven months of the new financial year. Looking ahead, I am confident in the future growth opportunities for the group – across kiosks, pre-packaged and restaurants. We are a clear leader within a large and growing market, and we are ideally placed to respond to those prevailing consumer trends which are driving the appeal of sushi – namely health, convenience and the growing adoption of international cuisine.” The group has access to a £5m revolving credit facility, which is says is deemed sufficient to meet its cashflow needs during 2022.

Industry News: 

Three days to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 47 businesses being added: A total of 47 new multi-site companies, operating 292 sites, have been 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, includes regional bar and restaurant operators, expanding bakery brands, and growing entertainment 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. The database now features 2,617 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 13,000-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.
Budweiser Brewing Group not anticipating beer shortages amid further strike action: Budweiser Brewing Group has said it does not anticipate beer shortages amid further strike action after workers turned down the latest pay offer from the company. The GMB union said 275 of its members working at the group’s Samlesbury site, near Preston, have downed tools until 7pm next Monday (29 August). Further stoppages are scheduled for September. In total, 93% of GMB members rejected the latest offer from Budweiser. In July, union members held a series of walkouts over a 3% pay increase offer that was rejected on the basis it amounted to a real terms pay cut. Stephen Boden, GMB organiser, said: “We don’t believe there is any real desire from Budweiser to resolve this dispute. It continues to ignore workers and put profit before people with this derisory pay offer. Workers are rightly angry. But it’s not too late for management to listen to workers and get back round the table with us to work out a fair deal.” A spokesperson from Budweiser Brewing Group said: “We remain committed to finding a mutually acceptable outcome and have been making every effort to manage the negotiations in the most productive manner. Our people are our greatest strength, and as such we are proud to offer a competitive package – wages in the brewery are in the top 10% for the region and a range of benefits are provided. We have implemented plans to ensure supply has not been interrupted, including enhanced logistics measures and co-operation with transport partners to minimise the impact to customers and consumers.”
Access Group acquires Rotaready: The Access Group has acquired Rotaready, the staff rota software system. Rotaready will be integrated into the Access Group’s hospitality division. Rotaready helps operators schedule rotas, optimise wage spending, record attendance and approve timesheets for payroll. Henry Seddon, managing director of Access Hospitality, said: “The acquisition of Rotaready demonstrates our commitment to invest in technology that enables our hospitality customers to deliver great guest experiences, operate with maximum efficiency and profitability, and develop engaged and compliant team members​.” Carl Holloway and Jamie Harvey, co-founders of Rotaready, will join Access Hospitality to help integrate with existing hospitality software products through Access Workspace and steer further product development. Holloway said: “We started Rotaready in 2015 with a mission to revolutionise the way hospitality, retail and leisure businesses manage their teams and drive commercial performance, drawing on our experience from working in those very industries. Seven years later, that mission remains unchanged, and we’re delighted to be joining a business that shares our goals and ambitions.”
CAMRA to release special collector’s hardback edition to mark 50 years of Good Beer Guide: The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, CAMRA will be releasing a special collector’s hardback edition and the foreword has been written by HRH The Prince of Wales. This year’s guide builds upon decades of experience to give readers overviews of the beer and pub scene across each region of the UK, compiled by the award-winning author of 50 years of CAMRA, Laura Hadland. It brings together pub and brewery information for the first time. CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “The last few years have been an incredibly difficult time for the industry, and we need more support than ever before to keep our nation’s pubs open and thriving. I’d encourage everyone to use this year’s guide to visit the very best pubs across the UK and support them for generations to come.” The Good Beer Guide, sponsored this year by Cask Marque, is set to be published on Thursday, 27 October and pre-orders for the special collector’s edition are available until next Tuesday (30 August). 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a wholesale business trading in multiple categories across various channels, both in the UK and abroad. It is looking to appoint a chief operating officer as it embarks on expansion. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The chief operating officer will be a pivotal figure in spearheading this planned expansion for the foreseeable future. They will work closely alongside a creative and passionate founder to develop the business, implement new ideas and ensure the business continues its successful incline.” The salary is up to £100,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Jamie Barber – sector may face ‘an almighty new year hangover’ unless government intervenes over growing energy price crisis:Jamie Barber, executive chairman of The Hush Collection, has warned the sector may face “an almighty new year hangover” unless the government intervenes over the growing energy price crisis. Barber has joined the growing calls for an urgent price cap on energy for businesses, just like households. Alternatively he suggested the government stands as guarantor for say three months to the energy companies that offer “reasonable” terms to hospitality businesses – therefore removing the credit risk. He said: “What is happening right now is an advancing wave of restaurants are coming out of previous fixed term contracts and are facing a shocker. It seems like energy companies don’t like restaurants and are either refusing to offer terms, or are offering horrific terms that send shivers down the spines of many a chef; rates that are two to five times their current energy tariffs. To put that into perspective, the restaurant that used to be pay £25,000 in gas and electricity is now staring down the barrel of a bill of more than £100,000. You just can’t pass this on to the consumers. It’s just too big. Increase prices by 25% and there will be no customers left. So, do the maths. For the restaurateur that was making £50,000 profit a year, that’s game over. The spread of terms being offered by energy companies is vast. It’s possible some businesses have previously had a great deal and are now facing the reckoning, but I think energy companies still see restaurants as mostly unstable and therefore a credit risk and have priced this into the cost of energy they’re offering. The industry needs an urgent price cap on energy like households. An alternative would be for the government to stand as guarantor for say three months to the energy companies that offer ‘reasonable’ terms therefore removing the credit risk. Without swift intervention, I would imagine cash reserves are going to dry up by November, be lifted a little by Christmas trading, and the sector may face an almighty new year hangover. So Liz [or Rishi], unless you fancy dealing with more insolvencies than you’ve had hot dinners, I suggest you get your thinking cap on and start talking to UKHospitality about emergency measures.”

Moore – we’re taking on ‘ambitious spaces’ to create a legacy, central team grows 300% as it prepares for five openings in six weeks: Steve Moore, co-founder and chief executive of Red Engine, has told Propel the business is looking to take on “ambitious spaces to create a legacy”, and now has a team big enough to handle simultaneous roll outs. In October, Red Engine will open its largest site yet, a Flight Club over three floors in Cardiff, which will feature four bars and a 250-person roof terrace. It will be the first of five openings in six weeks this autumn for Red Engine’s Flight Club and Electric Shuffle brands. The Cardiff opening will be followed in quick succession by Electric Shuffles in Austin and Leeds that same month, and then by Flight Clubs in Las Vegas and Atlanta in November (the US sites in partnership with State of Play Hospitality). “Cardiff was an old, heritage building, and we’ve really bought it back to life,” Moore said. “Glasgow next year will be equally challenging, same for Austin and Leeds, but we love the sense of community and heritage – we’re taking on these ambitious spaces to create a legacy. If we did that every time, we wouldn’t have a business as it takes so much time, but every now and then we will take on these developments in old buildings. There’s a certain style we love; old buildings in a cool location, we’re quite picky. But now we’ve got a bit of a name it’s easier as landlords come to us.” Moore added: “Each of them takes a year, so we find we’re working simultaneously on ten venues. Five in six weeks means it has all been condensed, especially when you’re stretched as far as Las Vegas with our partners State of Play Hospitality, so we have to stay focused with Cardiff, Vegas, Austin, Leeds and Atlanta all opening on top of each other – as it’s a privilege to see these sites come together. We can stagger by a week in terms of the opening date, but all other aspects of design and build are on top of each other. It’s a lot of work, but we’ve got such a mature team now who are prepared for this. The size of our team is 300% up, going from 40 coming out of covid to 120, and that’s just the central team. We’ve had to bolster the team as there’s nothing else out there like it in terms of detail, and we’re really focused on never losing that – every detail matters – and so far, it’s paid dividends. We’re designing Melbourne and Sydney too at the moment. We always have the ambition to do five or six a year, and overall, with our partners in Ireland, Australia and the US, we probably want to hit about 12 a year, as our design capability can handle that.”
William Reed reports turnover boost as conferences and events return, sells 5% stake in CGA for £2.6m: Turnover at Big Hospitality and MCA publisher William Reed increased 31% to £43,002,000 for the year ending 31 March 2022, compared with £32,992,000 the year before. Turnover was derived from: digital: £19,274,000 (2021: £21,326,000), face-to-face: £14,661,000 (2021: £1,767,000), insight: £3,009,000 (2021: 3,414,000), licensing and other: £447,000 (2021: 274,000), magazines: £6,111,000 (2021: £6,141,000). Turnover in the UK was £23,769,000 (2021: £17,608,000), rest of Europe was £8,810,000 (2021: £6,357,000) and rest of the world was £10,423,000 (2021: £8,957,000). In June, the business sold its 5% stake in CGA as part of the sale to NielsenIQ for £2.6m, giving CGA an enterprise value of £52m. William Reed stated: “The business performed strongly and operating profit of £8.4m (2021: £3.3m) and Ebitda of £9.3m (2021: £4.5m) increased by 152% and 107% respectively – due to strong revenue growth, effective cost control and £0.3m gain on disposal of an investment. As a result, operating profit margin grew by nine percentage points to 19% and Ebitda margin grew by eight percentage points to 22%. Net cash grew by £10.9m to £29.6m by 31 March 2022, which was in line with expectations and reflects strong cash conversion of profits for the year. Net assets grew from £16.7m to £23.4m by 31 March 2022, which represent the above increases in the trading results.” Profit before tax increased to £8,392,000 compared with £3,341,000 the year before. The number of staff employed by the company went down by ten to 335. A dividend of £358,000 was paid, the same figure as the year before. The Morning Advertiser saw turnover increase to £2,325,000 compared with £1,289,000 the previous year. Pre-tax profit for the year was £630,000 compared with £48,000 the year before. William Reed International – which runs international conferences in Asia, Latin America and Europe – saw turnover rise to £7,262,000 from £2,560,000 the year before. It made a pre-tax profit of £2,696,000 compared with a loss of £213,000 the previous year.
Bewiched Coffee opens new store, in Warwickshire: Northampton cafe operator Bewiched Coffee has opened a new store in Lower Heathcote, Warwickshire. It is located at unit four in Vickers Way. Bewiched last month secured a site in Wellingborough for its 14th cafe and second drive-thru. Managing director Matt Fountain is planning a 20-strong drive-thru estate by 2025 and aims to have five of these operational by the end of 2023. In March, the company signed its first franchise partnership, with plans to extend its overall estate to 40 sites by the end of 2026.
Gordon Ramsay set to take Lucky Cat concept to Manchester: Chef Gordon Ramsay looks set to take his Lucky Cat concept, which he launched in London’s Mayfair in 2019, to Manchester. Ramsey has applied to open a branch of the “authentic Asian eating house and vibrant late-night lounge” concept in a former HSBC bank in King Street, reports Manchester’s Finest. The application includes plans for “trading on three floors”, indicating the bank’s vault will be in use once again – as well as the upper mezzanine balcony spaces above the former main banking floor. The unit was most recently a Jamie’s Italian. Lucky Cat’s menu is designed for sharing, with small plates cooked on a robata grill including grilled black cod, spiced lamb chops and hand dived scallops, all alongside a menu of maki, dumplings and bao buns and tempura-fried dishes. It also has a special “Sunday shares” menu and a late night senu of sushi and skewers, available alongside Asian-inspired cocktails and Japanese sake. Ramsay is also set to open a Lucky Cat site in London’s Shoreditch in Kingsland High Road, in the premises where chicken and waffles concept Bird used to operate.
Ramside Estates returns to profit, plans further expansion: North east bar and hotel group Ramside Estates returned to profit in the year ending 30 November 2021 and is planning further expansion. The group reported a pre-tax profit of £3,519,678 compared with a loss of £1,163,126 the year before. Turnover was up from £15,363,993 in 2020 to £23,312,244. It received £1,761,583 in government grants, compared with £2,317,222 the year before. The group has now completed several projects put on hold during the pandemic, including five new Ramside Treehouses and two new deluxe bedrooms at The Impeccable Pig boutique hotel and restaurant in County Durham. “The business remains in a strong position to trade going forward and now expects to continue with future development plans that were temporarily paused due to the pandemic,” the company said. “The directors plan for continuous growth of the business, with plans to invest further in treehouses and lodges in addition to further developments to make the business more of a resort. These developments will further improve the hotel and leisure offerings ensuring the business remains competitive in the market.” The group added it traded at “exceptionally high volumes” following the easing of restrictions in May 2021, allowing all its venues to generate “significant profits over the period to the end of the financial year”. Main drivers of demand included major events, which had not been permitted the previous year such as the Hardwick Festival and Oyster Festival, along with weddings, functions and conferences.
Freehold of Cheltenham pub let to Stonegate sells for £2.8m: The freehold of a Cheltenham pub let to Stonegate Pub Company has been sold for £2,800,000. Coffer Corporate Leisure has advised an institutional client on the disposal of 1 Regent Street – a public house investment trading as The Whittle Taps. The property is single let to Stonegate Pub Company for a further 22 years. The price reflected a net initial yield of 5.80%. Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “We are transacting a lot of pubs regionally at present, highlighting the robust health of the sector. In the last six months, we have completed a dozen pub investments with Stonegate as the tenant and demand has been strong. Fundamentals remain important.” Philips Lockhart Starr acted for the purchaser.
Wedding venue group opens third site: Wedding venue group the Oldwalls Collection has opened its third venue in Wales following a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK and the Development Bank of Wales. The Swansea business has used the funding to add the Sant Ffraed House – formerly the Llansantffraed Court Hotel – in Abergavenny, to its offer. The venue adds to its existing portfolio, which comprises Fairyhill and Oldwalls Gower in Swansea and several luxury holiday cottages. The Sant Ffraed opening has created 50 jobs and the company is anticipating 15,000 guests through 2023. Andrew Hole, managing director of the Oldwalls Collection, said: “The wedding events industry has been severely disrupted since the pandemic, with couples rescheduling dates multiple times. As the industry begins to bounce back, we sought an expansive solution to provide more choice.” Sant Ffaed House is set in 16 acres and boasts a 150 person ceremony and reception room.
London plant-based Italian restaurant launches new pop-up while seeking permanent site, plans further expansion: Plant Hub, the plant-based Italian restaurant and natural wine bar in London’s Newington Green, has launched a new pop-up while it seeks a permanent site for the concept, and is planning further expansion. Plant Club has been launched at Nomadis Cafe, which operates at the same site as Plant Hub, at 49 Green Lanes. It is open Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm-11pm, Saturdays from 1pm-11pm and Sundays from 1pm-8pm, and will run into the autumn. Run by Antonio Alderuccio and Daniele Rivolta and seating 45 people, the pop-up features a new rotating menu of Italian dishes made with premium ingredients. This includes a selection of antipasti such as pasta cacio e pepe with creamy cashew and crushed black pepper sauce finished with parmesan, and the tomato orecchiette, alongside a selection of natural wine and no-alcohol options. Alderuccio, who is also chef patron, said: “We’re extremely excited to be opened again to the public, serving our delicious gluten free and plant-based dishes to locals and visitors. The feedback has been amazing so far and really shows us how unique our offer is – we’ve big plans for the future and we can’t wait to expand in London and abroad!”
Chef Ben Wilkinson permanently takes over West Sussex restaurant: Ben Wilkinson, who earlier this summer left his role as chef director at Michelin-starred The Cottage in the Wood in the Lake District, has permanently taken over The Pass in West Sussex. Wilkinson, who has also had stints at Holbeck Ghyll in Windemere and Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House, has taken over as head chef at the 28-seat restaurant, set within the South Lodge manor house hotel in Lower Beeding. Joining him is partner Monika Zurawska, who was previously restaurant manager at The Cottage in the Wood and Rampsbeck Country House Hotel in Ullswater. Wilkinson will introduce a chef’s table-style seven-course tasting menu of seasonal and local produce, including Sussex Downs venison with fennel, caper, smoke and rye; and wild Cornish turbot with leek, oyster mushroom, ossetra and champagne. Diners can also choose from a diverse wine list or opt for pairings from the wine flight. The seven-course tasting menu (plus snacks) is priced at £120 per person, while the five-glass wine flight pairing is priced at £85 per person. Wilkinson said: “We are very pleased to be part of the new team at South Lodge to reopen The Pass. It is a big move down from The Lake District, but I am excited to begin working with the produce and suppliers of Sussex.” David Connell, general manager of South Lodge, added: “The past two years have seen us working with some fabulous chefs for short term residencies, but we now feel the time is right to bring in a more permanent team to take the restaurant to its next level. The Pass has always been about providing excellence and fabulous dining experiences, and we believe Ben is the chef to deliver this for the longer term.”
Historic Sussex Hotels reports turnover down but profits up: Historic Sussex Hotels, which operates three hotels in West Sussex, has reported a drop in turnover but an increase in profit for the year ending 28 November 2021. Turnover fell from £954,864 in 2020 to £777,521. Pre-tax profit rose from £142,012 in 2020 to £235,337. It received £17,310 from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, compared with £45,182 the year before. Dividends of £234,500 were paid (2020: £136,500).
Former King’s Cross nightclub to be relaunched in pub basement, with restaurant and bar above: Former King’s Cross nightclub The Cross is set to be relaunched in a nearby pub basement, with a restaurant and bar on the floors above. The Cross formerly operated in the space that is now Coal Drops Yard, which hosts such brands as Barrafina, Casa Pastor, Hicce, Parrillan and Plaza Pastor. Billy Reilly, the original owner of The Cross, is now converting his nearby pub The Driver, at 2-4 Wharfedale Road, into a relaunched The Cross, based over six floors. As well as the basement club, there will be a ground floor bar, a first floor restaurant, a second floor lounge, a chilled space on the third floor and a rooftop terrace. The new venue will open on Friday, 9 September, reports The Camdenist.
Rare Restaurants confirms new opening date for M Canary Wharf: Rare Restaurants, the owner of Gaucho and M Restaurants, has confirmed a new opening date of Monday, 5 September, for its M Canary Wharf restaurant. Propel reported in October that the Martin Williams-led business would be opening a third restaurant for its M brand at a site it secured in 2016, before embarking on a “five-year passion project” to develop the 10,000 square-foot venue. Based in the 220-metre-high Newfoundland building, it will extend over both the ground and first floors – offering a bar serving sensory cocktails, a 180-cover restaurant, two private dining rooms, a wine tasting room, the Taste of La Petite M Café and an exclusive private members’ lounge. Originally slated to open in July, it will also feature a Provence-inspired terrace offering rosé wine and gin in partnership with Maison Mirabeau, as well as live DJs and film screenings. The menu will showcase M signature dishes and 100% carbon neutral premium beef, while also “transporting diners to Provence” through dishes including seabass with garlic, herbs and lemon; and breaded rib of veal with anchovies, capers and parsley. The M Den members’ lounge will offer a workspace, member parties, wine tastings and annual polo and golf days, while La Petite M Café will offer healthy and breakfasts, plant-based and beef sandwiches at lunch, and charcuterie boards and fine wine in the evenings. Founded by Williams and Mike Reid in 2014, M also operates restaurants in London’s Threadneedle Street and Victoria Street.
Cotswolds Distillery secures £3m to support growth plans: The Cotswolds Distillery is set to ramp up its production after securing funding worth £3m from Santander UK. The company said it plans to create jobs over the next few years in line with its growth. Cotswolds Distillery is on track to increase its annual alcohol production from 125,000 litres currently to reach a capacity of 500,000 litres. Santander UK has provided Cotswolds Distillery with a funding package to support business liquidity, enabling it to lay down additional stock to meet future demand and improve production efficiencies. The bank is supporting the business with its export growth strategy, building on existing sales in the US, France, Germany, China and Australia. Cotswolds Distillery is targeting annual sales growth of 15%, with plans to achieve £25m turnover by 2030. Founder Daniel Szor said: “I am delighted we have had the support of Santander UK in enabling us to maximise our sales potential, allowing us to meet growing demand from the single malt consumer in this luxury category that is forecasting strong growth globally.”
Nottingham operators set to open second sports-themed pub: Nottingham operators Tom Holodynsky and Owen Roach, who operate sports bar Southbank City in Friars Lane, are set to open a second sports-themed venue in the city. The duo will open The William Gunn – a pub, bar and restaurant located in Radcliffe Road in West Bridgford named after local 19th century cricketer and footballer William Gunn. The venue was formerly Indian restaurant Delhi Nights. Holodynsky said: “One of the things we’re most excited about is the location. The fact it is between two of Nottingham’s great sporting grounds means it can become a hub for Nottingham’s sporting community, where they can come to celebrate the wins and likewise get over any losses. As well as the sporting community, we also look forward to being able to welcome residents of Nottingham, West Bridgford and Lady Bay to enjoy a bite to eat and a drink in this great city.” Holodynsky also operates underground music venue the 1998 Club in the space below Southbank City. He is also operations manager at Great Northern Group – formerly Great Northern Inns – a collection of bars, pubs and venues in and around Nottingham and surrounding areas. These include Gilt and The Refinery in West Bridgford, The Ram in Newark, The Old Flower Shop in Mapperley and Trent Navigation Inn in Nottingham.
Former east London nightclub reopens as all-day restaurant, taproom and cocktail lounge: The former Cargo nightclub in Shoreditch, east London, has reopened as The Viaduct, an all-day restaurant, taproom and cocktail lounge. The new venue, at 83 Rivington Street, is described as a “360 concept with three separate identities”. The restaurant, which is called The Arch, serves a casual British menu and includes a terrace that is home to a couple of Banksy murals. A bar called Tap serves craft beer in partnership with El Brew Club, while cocktail lounge Cosmos offers cocktail masterclasses alongside its drinks and sharing platters, reports Hot Dinners.
Chef returns to the kitchen to launch online food business: Chef and former Huddersfield restaurateur, Barrington Douglas, is back in the kitchen cooking up a new online business venture. Douglas, who ran Caribbean restaurant Discovery Bay in Huddersfield for 12 years, is bringing his patties, chutneys and secret-recipe sauces back with his Phat Patty Company. The chef achieved a lifelong dream when he opened his own restaurant. He later produced his own award-winning jerk pork pies and a hot pepper sauce. After closing Discovery Bay in 2017 and needing to spend more time with his family following the death of his father, he left the food industry and went into sales. But he said: “My passion for food and cooking is back and is burning bright. I’ve had the break that we all need at some time in our life and I’m back in the kitchen. I started in a small way making patties at home on a weekend and selling them via social media and the response was amazing. I quickly found I couldn’t keep up with demand so now I’ve turned what was a weekend operation into a full-time online venture with plans to grow and expand.” Douglas makes an artisan Jamaican curried patty, a twist on a Cornish pasty. The original recipe is based on his mother’s from back home in Jamaica but over the last ten years he has refined and perfected it. He is also bringing back his royal hot pepper sauce. It is medium-spiced and comes in 270ml bottles. In future, he plans to expand his range to include a jerk barbecue sauce, a tomato and pimento chutney and a Caribbean spice mix. 
Leicester siblings to open second Portuguese restaurant in city: The owners of a popular Portuguese restaurant in Leicester are set to open another branch, in the city centre. The second branch of Port and Nata will open later this year in a former art gallery in St Martin’s Square, adding to its debut site in Clarendon Park. Brother and sister Miteche and Grichma Trambaclal launched Port and Nata in January 2021, aiming to offer “authentic Portuguese food with a twist”. Co-owner Miteche told Leicestershire Live: “We wanted Port and Nata to be more accessible to our customers that live around the city centre or travel in from other parts of Leicester. St Martin’s Square has an incredible variety of restaurants, bars and shops, and we hope we can contribute in bringing Portuguese gastronomy and culture.” It is hoped the restaurant will be ready to open in October or November, and in the meantime, it will be operating a pop-up in the unit next door. The pop-up is due to open on Saturday (27 August), and will initially be open 9am-4pm Thursday to Sunday before the opening hours are extended in September.

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