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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 16th Apr 2024 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Exclusive – Six by Nico owner appoints advisors as it assesses strategic options: Six Company, the company behind the Six by Nico restaurant business, has appointed advisors to assess its funding options as it looks to step up its expansion plans in the UK and overseas. Propel understands that Six Company, which operates 15 sites throughout the UK and Ireland under its core Six by Nico brand and 20 sites in total, has begun working with advisors at Cavendish on its strategic options. Until now, Six Company’s growth has been funded out of cash flow and debt provided by ThinCats. Propel understands that Six Company, which was founded by chef Nico Simeone in 2017 and offers evolving six-course themed tasting menus, is trading well and sees an opportunity to secure new funding to ramp up its expansion plans. It will open its latest Six by Nico restaurant on Wednesday, 22 May in the Westgate scheme, Oxford. The company is also set to open a second Six by Nico in Edinburgh this summer, in Queensferry Street, in the unit formerly occupied by Foundry 39. Six by Nico now has 15 locations including two in London, two in Manchester and three in Glasgow, as well as sites in Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff. Talking to Propel earlier this year, Rob Wirszycz, chairman of Six Company, said the business was taking a step-by-step approach to the expansion of its core Six by Nico brand and sees additional roll-out opportunities for its “explore” concepts. Wirszycz said: “The format is flexible for between 30-100 covers, but operationally, it has to be on one floor with an open kitchen. We are providing a six-course food and drink experience served within two hours, turning out literally thousands of dishes and drinks, with each seat turning over four times a day. Our recent Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff openings are doing really well, designed on a ‘grand dining room’ approach that has been done down extremely well with customers, with each on track to deliver a return on investment in 12 months.” In terms of mapping out the UK for the brand, Wirszycz said the company is ambitious for growth but going “one by one”. He said: “With our Six by Nico database standing at more than 900,000 and our ever-changing six-week menu cycle being 99% reservation driven, a big part of the future strategy is to ‘double up’ in cities after the successful launch of our second Manchester and Glasgow units.” As well as the Six by Nico expansion, the company has three new concepts – the Somewhere by Nico bar; brunch cafe Valaria; and Sole Club, a posh “chippie and speakeasy” small plate fish restaurant. These are being brought to market, initially in its home city of Glasgow. Wirszycz said in March: “We want to offer our Six by Nico customers additional experiences. As an example, we have spent two years developing Somewhere by Nico, an experiential cocktail-led model similar to Six by Nico with a fixed price, changing menu and so on. We are sold out for the first eight weeks. We are excited to bring this to Edinburgh in early summer and three other locations by the end of the year.”

Industry News:

Oisin Rogers to speak at Excellence in Pub & Bar Retailing Conference, open for bookings with 20% discount on tickets for Premium Club members: Oisin Rogers will be among the speakers at the Excellence in Pub & Bar Retailing Conference. The all-day conference takes place on Tuesday, 14 May at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Rogers will talk about the creation and running of The Devonshire, the Soho pub that incorporates a three-metre-long bespoke wood ember grill, the first of its kind in the UK; an on-site aging chamber that is the biggest in central London; its own bakery; three dining rooms; and the extraordinary lengths it has gone to in order to deliver the perfect pint of Guinness. For the full speaker schedule, click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £395 plus VAT for suppliers. There is a 20% discount for operators and suppliers who are Premium Club members. Email: to book places.

Next Who’s Who of UK Hospitality to feature more than 233,000 words of content: The next Who’s Who of UK Hospitality will feature more than 233,000 words of content when it is released to Premium Club members on Friday (19 April), at midday. The database now features 865 companies, and this month’s edition includes seven new additions and 65 updated entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium Club members also receive access to five other databases: the Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database. All Premium Clubs members will be offered a 20% discount on tickets to five Propel paid-for events – The Excellence in Pub Retailing Conference (14 May), Social Media for Profit (18 July), the Talent and Training Conference (1 October) and Restaurant Marketer and Innovator (two days in January 2025). Operators that are Premium Club members are also able to send up to four members of staff to each of our four Multi-Club Conferences for free. Premium Club members receive their daily Propel Info newsletter 11 hours earlier than standard subscribers, at 7pm the evening before. They also receive videos of presentations at eight Propel conference events two weeks after they are held. This represents around 100 videos of industry insight over the course of the year. Premium Club members will be sent a dedicated monthly newsletter that will highlight key updates in the sector and direct subscribers to all the vital content their membership offers. Premium Club members also receive exclusive opinion columns every Friday at 5pm, which include the thoughts of Propel group editor Mark Wingett and a host of industry leaders from across the sector. A Premium Club subscription costs an annual sum of £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Premium Club for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or supplier. Email today to sign up.
50 hospitality leaders prepare to cycle 230km across north Devon in sector charity initiative: A total of 50 hospitality leaders are preparing to cycle 230km across north Devon in the second Pedalling 2 Pubs event to raise money for Only A Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity. The sister ride of the industry coordinated bike trek Pedalling for Pubs, this year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs has already raised more than £25,000 for the two charities. This year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs team will see the team cycle 230km between 16-18 May. Pedalling 2 Pubs launched last year, with riders tackling the Yorkshire Wolds and raising £80,000. This year’s UK ride follows the effort of the Pedalling for Pubs team, which saw 30 riders from across the hospitality sector take on the 400km cycle across rugged terrain in Kenya, from Nairobi to the Masai Mara, last month. Through the united effort of Pedalling for Pubs and Pedalling 2 Pubs, organisers have set the target of raising more than £400,000 for the two charities this year. This would add to the £670,000 already raised in the first two years since the challenge was founded in 2022. 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a medium-sized company that is seeking a general manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will lead a high-performing team to deliver exceptional service in a dynamic environment, overseeing day-to-day operations and financials, ensuring targets are met, drive sales and profitability through effective P&L management. You will foster a guest-centric culture, empowering the team to exceed expectations.” The salary is up to £56,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Bistrot Pierre set to launch new all-day dining concept: Bistrot Pierre, the Nick White-led business, is set to launch a new all-day dining concept, Pierre’s. The venue will open in Friars Walk in Newport’s Usk Plaza on Thursday, 2 May offering a “value for money menu” including coffee, cocktails, small plates and sharing dishes. It also marks the group’s return to Newport following a two-year absence, with the Bistrot Pierre in Friars Walk having closed in September 2022 after seven years of trading. Pierre’s will serve breakfast from 9am, including cooked breakfast, croissants, French toast and avocado toast, and later in the day will offer dishes such as a 7oz prime British beef burger, chicken Caesar salad and classic steak-frites. Pierre’s is currently recruiting for positions including kitchen manager, chef de partie, kitchen porter and duty manager. “We’re very excited to be bringing our new concept, Pierre’s, to Newport this May”, said White. “As well as bringing new culinary delights to the city, we are thrilled to welcome new team members to our growing family. We believe in offering delicious food, which is great value for money, from a team who understand the importance of a friendly and professional demeanour, in an exciting and fast-paced atmosphere. We welcome all those interested to apply now and look forward to bringing a piece of Pierre’s to the heart of Newport.” Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the group opened its first restaurant in Nottingham in 1994 and currently has 17 bistrots across the UK.  Rooms by Bistrot Pierre also offers “unique rooms located in Bistrot locations where there’s places to explore and relax”.
Two Magpies like-for-like sales up 16% in first ten weeks of new financial year, period of consolidation before looking at new sites for autumn: Steve Magnall, owner and chief executive of Suffolk bakery Two Magpies, has told Propel that like-for-like sales are up 16% in the first ten weeks of its new financial year while the business will now consolidate its position through the summer and then look at future sites for the autumn. Earlier this month, Two Magpies opened its tenth site, in Framlingham. Housed in the former Barclays bank premises in Market Square, the site is Two Magpies’ largest bakery and cafe at more than 3,000 square feet. Magnall said: “It has measured up to our expectations and achieved just under £30,000 in its first week. Obviously, this will be driven by interest in the opening, and we expect trading to normalise around the £20,000 per week mark.” With the company’s financial year ending in January, Magnall said last year was a “tough one driven by all the known factors facing us – energy, increase in cost of goods, etc” – with the business “making a small profit”. He added: “Trading in the new financial year so far is good and ahead of budget. So, ten weeks in, we are up year-on-year on a like-for-like basis by 16%. We will now consolidate our position through the summer and then look at future sites for autumn time. We have several sites of interest and will review them over the coming months.” Last year, Two Magpies begun the rollout of its smaller format, Mini Magpies, with an opening in Wells-next-the-Sea. Magnall said at the time that if the new smaller format was successful, the group saw a mixture of Mini Magpies and fully serviced Magpies being opened going forward as he saw potential for up to 50 sites in East Anglia.
Domino's franchisee launches Pret franchise subsidiary, turnover passes £90m but profits down 60%: Hala Group, one of the UK’s largest Domino’s franchisees, has launched a new subsidiary to operate Pret A Manger franchises, and now operates four stores. In the group’s accounts for the year ending 30 June 2023, director Ahmed Alani said: “A new subsidiary was acquired during the year, Hala Star Foods. This company operates four shops under a Pret franchise agreement.” It comes as the group, which operates more than 70 Domino’s stores, saw its turnover pass the £90m-mark during the period but its profits shrink by 60%. Its revenue was up from £85,208,181 in 2022 to £90,596,625 but its pre-tax profit was down from £7,139,152 to £2,814,579. Costs were up by just under £5m while distribution costs rose by almost £3m and admin expenses by almost £2m. The group paid dividends of £2,805,000 (2022: £814,000). “Turnover increased by 6.3% while profit before tax decreased by 60.5% as compared with the previous year, reflecting increased volume sales, but higher overhead, payroll and finance costs following expansion of the business,” Alani added. “Gross profit margins were lower at 63.6% (2022: 67%). Trading conditions are expected to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, but the directors remain confident that the business will continue to deliver profitable future growth.”
Giggling Squid adds three new sites to opening pipeline: Giggling Squid, the Thai restaurant brand backed by the Business Growth Fund, has added three new sites to its opening pipeline – in Liverpool, Portsmouth and York. The 49-strong brand, which earlier this year opened in Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay, has secured the former Loch Fyne restaurant in the Vulcan Buildings, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. It has also secured the Point Blank bar in Liverpool’s Castle Street, and the former Banks’ Music Room shop in Lendal, York, for new openings. As previously reported by Propel, Giggling Squid has already secured sites in Exeter, taking space in the Waterstones facing on to Cathedral Green; in Leeds – a former bank site in Park Row; in Muswell Hill, north London (a former Bill’s); and in Knowle in the West Midlands, another ex-Loch Fyne site. It is understood that Giggling Squid is in legals on five more sites and has “a few more irons in the fire”. Propel reported in February that Giggling Squid is to open its main UK distribution facility in Leicester. The company will move into a 45,000 square-foot warehouse unit at Elland Road for use as a menu development facility and new product development kitchen, as well as a training and national distribution centre.  Last November, co-founder Andy Laurillard told Propel that there was a “long way to go” when it comes to the roll out potential in the UK for the brand. He said: “How many can we do? I spoke to someone in the industry recently who said they reckoned we could do 200 sites in the UK. I don’t know if it is 200, but it’s not just 100, because we have sites generating sales now, which would be way down that second hundred list.”
Butchies to open London Bridge site: London chicken sandwich concept Butchies, founded and led by Garrett FitzGerald, is to return to the expansion trail with an opening near London Bridge. The business, which is chaired by Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh, is to open a site later this spring at 120 Tooley Street. Butchies, which had previously been linked to an opening in the Borough Yards development, currently operates five sites across the capital – in Canary Wharf, Clapham, Ealing, Earl’s Court and Shoreditch, plus a concession in the Market Halls site in Victoria. Fitzgerald, who founded the company in 2013 after a visit to New York in which the chicken served up at Harlem restaurant Sylvia’s “blew him away”, opened his first site in 2017, in Shoreditch, before adding a 100-seater Oxford Street pop-up and a Market Halls Fulham site in 2018.
McMullens strengthens London estate with Fitzrovia pub deal: Hertfordshire brewer and retailer McMullens has completed the acquisition of the Duke of York in London’s Fitzrovia. The company said the pub, which trades on two floors in Rathbone Street, will complement its other London sites including the nearby Kings Arms in Great Titchfield Street, which was developed in 2020 to include five boutique hotel rooms. The company said: “Despite an uncertain market, as an unindebted cash purchaser McMullens continues to be able to transact at speed and remains interested in acquiring licensed or licensable property to grow its diverse estate in the south east of England.” Last week, McMullens acquired its ninth managed pub in London and said it has three more “waiting in the wings”. It completed the purchase of The Lock, located at 35 Chalk Farm Road in Camden, which last changed hands in 2018 when it was bought by East London Pub Co. The pub, along with three others – The Ten Bells and The Gun in Spitalfields and The Saxon in Clapham – were put up for sale in January after their owners filed for insolvency in 2023. The pub will join the managed estate at McMullens, where it will operate just as it does now – “an eclectic Camden pub, with historic roots and an exciting local vibe”. It will be the company’s ninth managed pub in the capital and the second London pub it has purchased in the current financial year. The next to join the wider estate is expected to be the newly developed Duchess & Dressmaker, in Brentwood, Essex, which is currently in the planning process. 
Chopstix launches first ‘eat-in’ site with Haven: Fast-growing, quick service restaurant brand Chopstix has further strengthened its relationship with franchise partner Haven by launching an “eat-in” restaurant. The new opening at Haven’s Thornwick Bay site in East Yorkshire is a first for the holiday park operator, having launched three modular units with Chopstix across its parks so far. Both companies said the opening of a traditional seated restaurant concept was an important step, with both businesses exploring the potential for future rollouts across the Haven estate. The new site follows openings at Haven’s parks in Presthaven, Wales; Haggerston Castle, Berwick-upon-Tweed; and Craig Tara, Ayr. Chopstix said expansion through franchise sites has been “decisive in driving the brand’s growth trajectory”, having secured multiple high-profile franchise agreements with established food and beverage operators over the past two years. Already the largest Asian-inspired quick service restaurant brand in the UK, the company reiterated that it has set its sights on becoming the largest Asian-inspired quick service restaurant on the continent, with expansion expected to ramp-up exponentially, with the long-term ambition of the founders, Sam Elia and Menashe Sadik, to reach 300 sites by 2027. Elia said: “We’re thrilled to be opening a traditional Chopstix site with seating at Haven’s Thornwick Bay park, the first of this format to open with the franchisee. The fact Haven is confident in adding this traditional format site to its current portfolio of modular units demonstrates the significant appetite for Chopstix noodles among Haven holiday guests. The three modular restaurants we’ve opened with Haven so far have all performed exceptionally well, so I have no doubt the franchisee will have considerable success with this four-walled unit given the even wider range of eating occasions this format offers consumers.” Peter Blake, chief operating officer at Haven, added: “We’re excited to launch Chopstix in Thornwick Bay and to see how the brand performs in this traditional four-walled format, a first for Haven. The feedback from customers at our Presthaven, Haggerston Castle, and Craig Tara sites has been overwhelmingly positive, with guests viewing Chopstix as a welcome addition to our broader food and drink offer. The performance of the initial three Chopstix sites has given us impetus to explore further openings with the brand beyond Thornwick Bay.” Chopstix currently operates 100 eponymous sites, in addition to ten sites operating as Yangtze and 27 sites under the Chozen Noodle brand. 
Des Gunewardena unveils details of upcoming Royal Exchange opening: Des Gunewardena, co-founder and former chief executive of restaurant group D&D London, has unveiled details of his upcoming launch at the London Royal Exchange, which will include two new concepts – Engel and Jang. Opening in June, it is the first project from Gunewardena’s newly launched hospitality company D3 Collective and will be home to two distinct concepts, occupying the mezzanine level of the historic building. Engel, which will occupy the north and east mezzanines, will be a cocktail bar and performance space inspired by 1920s Berlin. The adjoining performance space – Engel Live – will host live cabaret music evenings and be available for private hire. In the summer, Engel will serve German beer, champagne, wine and bar snacks on its outdoor terrace, which will spill down from the portico of the Royal Exchange to the pavement below. Jang, the restaurant situated on the south mezzanine, will serve modern interpretations of Korean and Japanese cuisine. Jang's kitchen will be led by Dana Choi, whose experience includes working with high-profile Korean chef Judy Joo at Jinjuu in Mayfair and, most recently, as executive chef at Seoul Bird. Jang will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The venture is being overseen by Kim Sin Tae (operations director) and Jose Ubero (general manager), who both worked with Gunewardena for many years at D&D London. Gunewardena said: “We're excited about Engel and Jang bringing something new and different to The Royal Exchange with their unique approach to design, dining, and entertainment. Engel is very much a venue for today but inspired by the spirit of 1920s Berlin. Jang will offer a more intimate dining experience that, at its heart, celebrates Korean cuisine. We hope, through Jang, that Korean cuisine will become more widely enjoyed and appreciated in London.” Last week, Propel revealed that Gunewardena is planning to launch a new flagship venue in London’s Olympia. Propel understands that Gunewardena is in advanced talks to open a venue in Pillar Hall, a circa 30,000 square-foot space, which is part of the Olympia development. It is thought that the new venue will incorporate a restaurant, bar, and substantial events and live music spaces. Earlier this month, he announced he had signed a deal with Canary Wharf Group to open a new concept in Canary Wharf in the fourth quarter of 2024, on the former D&D site, Plateau.
Wells & Co hires Richard Hallam as new group property director: Bedford brewer and retailer Wells & Co has hired Richard Hallam, formerly of Stonegate Group and Ei Group, as its new group property director. Hallam joins Wells & Co after four years with Stonegate Group as property director. Previous to that, he spent 22 years at Ei Group, including time as a regional property manager. Earlier this month, Propel reported that Tom Durham, formerly of Young’s and SSP, had joined Wells & Co as its new finance director. Durham joined Wells & Co after nine and a half years at Young’s, where he was most recently director of retail finance. He also spent almost three and half years at SSP, including 20 months as a commercial finance manager. Durham reports into chief financial officer Antony Fryer.
Esquires owner reports 21% lfl sales rise to £18m for UK business, expecting to open more than ten stores in second quarter: Cooks Coffee, the Esquires brand owner, has reported a 21% like-for-like sales rise to £18m for its UK business in the year to 31 March 2024 and said it is expecting to open more than ten stores in the second quarter of the year. UK store sales were up 21.1% at £18.1m (FY23: £15.2m) and Ireland store sales up 11.3% at £9.6m (FY23: £8.6m). At year end, it had 77 group sites in the UK and Ireland, up from 66 a year previously. This includes 60 UK Esquires sites, with site number 60 having opened last month in Crawley, West Sussex. The company said it has a strong pipeline of new stores, with more than ten outlets expected to open in the second quarter of 2024. During FY24, Cooks Coffee added 15 new stores in the UK and Ireland and closed four. The company said it has placed significant emphasis on enhancing sales within its current locations while concurrently pursuing a strategic store expansion initiative. All sales figures and other metrics exclude the discontinued Triple Two Coffee business, which was placed into administration in October 2023. The company said it is benefiting from positive operating cash flow, compared with an operating cash outflow in the same period last year, which “serves as a reaffirmation of the company’s positive trajectory and underscores its continued progress”. It added that is full results for the year will be announced by 31 May 2024, with audited accounts announced by 30 June 2024. Last month, Aiden Keegan, formerly managing director of Cooks Coffee’s Esquires UK business, was promoted to group chief executive. “We are delighted with the sales growth within our current coffee store locations and with the performance of the new stores,” Keegan said. “FY24 has witnessed the company setting new records, and this success reflects the dedication of our extended team of shareholders, directors, franchisees, regional developers and company staff, and most importantly, the support from our valued customers. We remain committed to delivering great in-store experiences and setting new benchmarks in the months ahead through our dedicated team of local franchise store owners. We look forward to updating the market further in due course.”
Mayfair-based Il Borro site placed on the market: Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, the luxury Italian restaurant concept which opened in London’s Mayfair in summer 2021, has been placed on the market. Propel understands that property advisor Paperchase has been appointed to market the 12,000 square-foot property on a new lease basis, with anticipated handover this June. The opening on the former Nobu site in Berkeley Street was the third for Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, which has sites in Tuscany and Dubai. Originating from the Ferragamo family, the Il Borro Estate, located in Arezzo, in the valley of Valdarno, promotes biodiversity and organic farming with its farm-to-table vision. Spanning two floors, the 220-seat restaurant has a menu showcasing traditional Italian dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients and a vast selection of wine. On the first floor is an open kitchen and a private dining room overlooking Berkeley Street.
The Coffee House set to open its ninth location in just over a year, two more to follow this spring: North west independent coffee shop The Coffee House is set to open its ninth venue in just over a year, with two more to follow this spring. It is due to open later this month in Castle Walk, Newcastle-under-Lyme, for its 22nd store overall and third in the Stoke-on-Trent region. The business, founded by brothers Chris and Stephen Shelmerdine in Lymm, Cheshire, in 2011, has accelerated its expansion in the past year, opening seven stores in 2023 and two more so far in 2024. Operations director Russell Simpson, who previously held the same role at natural fast food brand Leon, said: “Store number 22 coming soon! When I joined The Coffee House 12 months ago, we had just opened store number 13 in Longton Exchange. Opening our 22nd store 12 months later back in the Stoke-on-Trent area is fitting and will bring our third store in the area.” The company added in a social media post: “Exciting news on the horizon! Building on the achievements of our Longton and Hanley establishments in Stoke-on-Trent, we're thrilled to announce our expansion to Newcastle-under-Lyme! Renovations are currently in progress as we breathe new life into another vacant space along the high street. This expansion not only means job opportunities for a dedicated team but also offers the community a welcoming space to gather with friends and family. We're eager for everyone to experience our friendly service, indulge in our delicious homemade food and savour our freshly roasted coffee – all within a cosy and inviting atmosphere. We can't wait to become a part of the Newcastle-under-Lyme community!” Following Newcastle-under-Lyme, The Coffee House is set to open in Leigh’s Spinning Gate shopping centre in May, and in Wallasey’s Cherry Tree shopping centre in June.

London dessert business whose offer includes treats made with liquid nitrogen looking to expand through franchising: A London dessert business whose offer includes treats made with liquid nitrogen – which allows the consumer to “breathe out smoke like a dragon” – is looking to expand through franchising. Nitro Treatz, which also offers Nitrogen Ice Cream, Ice Kreme Doughnuts, Shave Ice and Shave Ice Puppies alongside its Dragon’s Breath range of popcorn, Oreo Os, rainbow hoops and choc chip rice cake, currently operates out of a single site in Ilford, East London. It also offers more conventional dishes like waffles, crepes, cookie dough, milkshakes, mocktails and karak chai. Founded by friends Kamran Mansha, Zohaib Akram and Ammar Pasha in 2018, it already has 500,000 TikTok followers, with millions of video views and “likes”. It is now looking to “spread this success across the nation” and exhibited at last week’s International Franchise Show at ExCel London. “With incredible turnover and huge earning potential, this franchise opportunity is one not to miss,” Mansha said. “Since opening our first store in 2019, we have introduced the innovation of combining science with food to the people of East London. Our aim now is to spread this success across the nation through franchising our proven business model. With nearly 500k TikTok followers, over 11 million likes and video views in the millions, there is serious demand for what we offer. You do not need previous experience in food and beverage as the team will take you through a comprehensive training programme to ensure that your business is a success.” Franchisees will undergo an initial two-week training programme and get assistance with site selection, store design and staff recruitment as well as gaining access to approved suppliers, tailored marketing campaigns and the company’s vast social media presence. The franchise fee is £15,000 and the package fee is around £180,000.

Sri Lankan concept Colombo Kitchen to open second London site: Colombo Kitchen, the Sri Lankan concept from chef and restaurateur Sylvia Perera, is to open a second site in London. The business has secured the Holy Cow site at 240 Upper Richmond Road, in Putney, with an opening planned for next month. Perera opened her first site in Worcester Park four years ago. The concept offers “authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in a dramatic setting with a live hopper and kottu bar”. Restaurant Property acted on the Putney deal.
Beannchor reports record turnover, receives £1.2m insurance payment: Northern Ireland hospitality company Beannchor Group reported record turnover of £32,699,853 for the year to 30 June 2023. This was up from £28,022,908 the previous year. The company’s pre-tax profit dropped from £6,309,061 in 2022 to £5,915,551 as costs rose by more than £1m. Staff numbers jumped from 458 to 635 during the year, meaning its wage bill climbed from £8.9m to £11.8m. It operates two Belfast hotels; a Belfast pub with a separate restaurant upstairs; a cafe and nightclub in the same city and a further pub in County Down; as well as eight Little Wing pizza restaurants. Director James Sinton said the business continues to deliver strong revenue ahead of projections and that it is backed by valuable freehold property, while its bank remains wholly supportive. “Given the high cost of inflation, impact of Brexit and the war in Ukraine, it remains difficult to confidently assess the full impact on the business going forward,” he added. “However, the group is comforted that the business remains profitable, well capitalised and has sound reserves. Steps have been taken by the management team to ensure that the business not only has a full complement of skilled staff, but also to manage the rise in business expenses.” No dividends were paid (2022: nil). No government grants were received (2022: £50,179). Post year-end, the group received an insurance payment of £1,194,000 and acquired investment properties for £2,275,000. It is currently building a new 100-room Bullitt hotel and a range of new hospitality venues in Dublin, in the city’s Capel Street, according to The Irish News. Beannchor last month reopened its Sixty6 nightclub, located above its the National Cafe in Belfast, following a £400,000 refurbishment. In May 2023, it handed over the running of the Haslem Hotel and The Lark bar and restaurant in Lisburn, which it had been running on behalf of owners Lisburn Square, back to its owners.
New Mexican concept to open in Soho: CDMX Tacos, a new Mexican concept, is to open its debut site later this month, in London’s Soho. The concept, which is the brainchild of Billy Sengupta, who was formerly at Diageo, has secured the former Yalla Yalla site at 1 Green’s Court. Marc Rogers, of MKR Property, who acted on the deal, said: “There was significant interest in the 700 square-foot unit, allowing us to negotiate favourable terms for the landlord. We successfully facilitated a simultaneous surrender of the existing lease to Yalla Yalla and the granting of a new lease to CDMX.” The deal leaves Yalla Yalla, which is operated by Comptoir Group, with one site in Winsley Street, Fitzrovia.
Hotel management company sees turnover exceed pre-covid levels, pays £2.3m dividend: RBH Hotels UK – part of RBH Hotel Group – has reported turnover increased 58% to £26,698,000 for the year ending 31 August 2023 compared with £16,854,000 the previous year. Revenue also exceeded the £21,085,000 reported in the last full year before the covid pandemic, ending 31 August 2019. The company, which operates hotels across the UK for brands including Accor and Marriott, saw pre-tax profit rise to £2,609,000 from £1,916,000 the year before (2019: profit of £4,299,000). Director Andrew Robb, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said: “The results were driven by higher management fees due to the continued strong performance of the UK hotel market. Further expansion is already secured as a result of a number of signed contracts being in place for new hotels. The group is constantly assessing new opportunities.” The company did not receive any government grants (2022: £14,000). A dividend of £2,300,000 was paid (2022: £1,000,000).
Sticks’n’Sushi to open Richmond site next month: Japanese premium restaurant group Sticks‘n’Sushi, in which McWin, the backer of Gail’s and Big Mamma Group, acquired a majority stake earlier this year, will open its new site in Richmond, south west London, next month. The restaurant on the ground floor of the building on the corner of George Street and King Street, will launch on Sunday, 5 May. When guests enter, they will meet the space in its centre on a diagonal walkway, which divides the restaurant in two. The layout encourages guests to “flow through the space like the nearby River Thames”. The opening will be Sticks‘n’Sushi’s 13th UK restaurant. Group chief executive Andreas Karlsson said: “We’re so excited to bring our newest restaurant to Richmond, building our presence in south west London and welcoming a new team to the Sticks’n’Sushi family. We have long admired this historic town, since our first restaurant in Wimbledon in 2012. We are delighted to open in such an iconic building. Sticks’n’Sushi Richmond will offer the perfect spot for locals and visitors to the area as well as gatherings big and small.” In February, Sticks‘n’Sushi secured a new £22m loan from OakNorth to support its growth plans. Founded in Denmark in 1994 by Thor Andersen, Kim Rahbek Hansen and Jens Rahbek Hansen, Sticks‘n’Sushi also operates three restaurants in Germany, 12 in Denmark and three catering and delivery kitchens. The new loan alongside funding from McWin will aid the company’s plan to accelerate its growth in its existing markets and also enter new markets over the next five years. Sticks‘n’Sushi previously said it sees “many opportunities arising, with markets like France and DACH being top priorities for us”.
Oddfellows secures £4m refinancing, appoints new management company to ‘take full advantage of growth opportunities’: North west hotel group Oddfellows has secured a £4m refinancing following a “deficiency in shareholder funds” and appointed a new management company to “take full advantage of growth opportunities”. The business, which owns Oddfellows sites in Chester and Cheadle, reported a pre-tax loss widened from £32,813 to £366,138 in the year ending 31 March 2023. Its turnover grew from £3,729,747 to £4,116,602 and the business said it is expecting much the same level of revenue in 2024. The post year-end refinancing saw the company agree a bridging loan of £4.072m with Charles Street Commercial Investments, with personal guarantees of £2m provided by the group’s shareholders. As part of the refinancing, the shareholders also put £800,000 into the business, while £476,000 of the company’s prior loan balance was waived by its previous lender. The refinancing followed a deficiency is shareholders’ funds of £5,570,952 being reported in March 2023 “as a result of property and trading losses reported in previous years”. Director Douglas McGeorge said he is confident the bridging loan will be refinanced, either with the existing lender or with a new one, when it expires. He added that the year had seen some recovery to trading and that this was the first year that results have started to reach pre-covid levels. McGeorge said the Cheadle hotel in particular has seen some positive trading and that the new management company, Brightstar Hospitality, has “introduced new ideas and industry experience to support the trading of the hotels”. He added: “Consolidated turnover for the year ended 31 March 2024 is forecast to be in the region of £4m and the group hopes to return an operating profit. Occupancy rates in the region of 80% on average have been achieved. These results are encouraging given the hotels are continuing to adapt to post-coronavirus trading. The group recognises there is opportunity for further growth in turnover and profit in the hospitality and leisure industry, and with the introduction of a new management company, it hopes to take full advantage of this in the coming years. Forecasts beyond the year ended 31 March 2024 show a sensible level of growth. Overseas travel and staycations are expected to gather pace, which should see the group return to occupancy rates of 85% and the pipeline for wedding and events is strong.” No dividends were paid (2022: nil).
London-based international hotel and spa operator narrows losses as turnover increases more than 40%: London-based international hotel and spa operator Shanti Hospitality, which manages a growing portfolio of properties across the globe including the UK, narrowed its losses in the year to 31 March 2023. The group, which also operates venues in the US, India, Mauritius and Switzerland, saw its pre-tax loss narrow from £5,400,850 in 2022 to £1,342,399, while its turnover rose from £16,451,168 to £23,307,192. Of this, a total of £1,388,490 came from its UK operations (2022: £932,458), which consists of the Edinburgh boutique hotel, Nira Caledonia. Group Ebitda recovered from a £1.8m loss in 2022 to a £1.8m profit, with £209,000 of this coming from the UK business (2022: £84,000). The business said the Edinburgh hotel has “continued to improved significantly” since reopening following the covid pandemic. The company received no government grants compared with £104,586 in 2022. No dividend was paid (2022: nil). The group’s net current liabilities for the year were £150.8m (2022: £145.8m), which includes shareholders loans of £150.7m (2022: £149.7m). Cash at bank and in hand increased by £1.7m to £7.3m (2022: £5.6m).

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