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Tue 8th Aug 2017 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

North West-based Know Collection seeks investment as it sets out ambitions for rapid growth: Managing director and co-owner of Liverpool-based Know Collection, Steven Hesketh, has told Propel the company is seeking investment as it looks towards its most enigmatic 12 months to date. Know Collection, whose portfolio includes eight businesses in the hospitality, service and financial sectors, recently acquired the Bridge Street Townhouse in Chester and it is looking to expand further in the second half of the year. As part of the plans, cafe bar concept Love Thy Neighbour, which the company launched in Bold Street, Liverpool, in October, is set to roll-out across the north west and beyond, reaching six sites by the end of 2018. A second site is close to being agreed in Greater Manchester. Hesketh, who formed the company with wife Nicola in 2013 having worked in hotels for most of his career, said: “We’re working hard to secure some private investment to help us grow. We’ve got a superb management team, we’re going from strength to strength and we’re ambitious. I feel there is a real opportunity but the important thing for us is our independence and we want to retain that. Our properties have character and a quirkiness and that’s what makes us special. Everything is falling into place. Love Thy Neighbour has the potential to be on most high streets and while our initial focus is on Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester the plan eventually is to roll-out nationwide.” Know Collection’s portfolio also includes The Richmond Aparthotel in Liverpool, female-only spa Nourish and the Know Hospitality Academy, which aims to prepare 16 to 18-year-olds for an apprenticeship. Hesketh said current trading across the group, which has more than 100 staff, was “excellent” with revenues “way above target” in June alone. He added profits had soared in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 and the first quarter of 2017-18. 

Industry News:

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass open for bookings: Propel will host Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 29 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include building the case for strategic growth, developing multi-unit managers from players to coaches and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Mastering Multi-Units founder Lee Sheldon will also talk about how to successfully drive profitable growth for your business. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book tickets, email Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Ten places left for Operators and Investors Dinner: There are now only ten places left for the fourth annual Operators and Investors Dinner, which is being held at the Banking Hall in London on Monday, 11 September. The event provides an opportunity for members of the banking and investment community to network with sector companies to expand mutual networks. Tickets are £120 plus VAT and available by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Those already attending from the investment and banking community include Imbiba, Beringea, Risk Capital Partners, True Capital, Bowmark Capital, Piper Private Equity, Santander, Barclays Corporate, Alpha Real Capital, NatWest, Marechale Capital, Kings Park Capital. Isefield Investments, Weight Partners, Downing, Rockpool Investments Houlihan Lokey, Corpro Consulting, Enterprise Investment Partners and Finance Kitchen. Operators attending include Benito’s Hat, Chozen, Friska, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Coaching Inn Group, Castle Rock, We Are Bar, Victual Inns, Casual Dining Group, Aspirational Pub Company, The Snug Bar, K10, Dalziel & Vine, Redcomb Pubs, Square Pie, Anglian Country Inns, Dip & Flip, Chozen Noodle, Chalk Valley Kitchen, 16 Hospitality, Zanna Group, Roseacre Pubs, and CG Bars and Restaurants. 

Majority of Brits think beer duty is too high: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is urging the government to turn back the clock and freeze beer duty once again, as new research showed most Brits think beer duty is too high. Research carried out by YouGov found 55% of people who expressed an opinion believed beer duty was too high at 54p per pint. Taxes now make up a third of the cost of a pint – a situation made worse in the spring Budget when the government announced the first rise in beer duty in four years. CAMRA said the spring Budget U-turn undid many of the benefits of the three beer duty cuts, and risks a return to the days of the much-hated Beer Duty Escalator, which other research showed has contributed to 75,000 job losses, 3,700 pub closures and a 24% fall in beer sales in pubs. With CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival expected to attract thousands of beer lovers this week, visitors will be asked to back the campaign by calling on the government to bring back a Budget for beer drinkers and pledge a beer duty freeze for the whole of this Parliament as well as permanent business rate relief for pubs in England. Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman, said: “Pubs are a huge part of many people’s lives. If people can’t afford to visit their local, we will see even more pubs close their doors forever – hurting jobs, the local economy and the community. We urgently need to ease the tax burden on our pubs in order to ensure that pub-going remains an affordable activity for the majority of Brits.”

Important role of menu science in driving greater profitability highlighted in new research: The important role of menu science in driving greater profitability for hospitality operators has been highlighted in new research. A survey to uncover the decision-making process diners undergo when ordering from a menu has been carried out by Elliotts, the integrated agency for the hospitality and leisure sector. It found the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” was particularly pertinent, especially when it comes to diners deciding on a dish. Three in four (75%) said they had found something they would consider ordering within two minutes, with 65% arriving at a final decision 60 seconds later. For some, this decision-making process started even before setting foot in the restaurant or pub, with 63% of consumers admitting they judge what a venue is like by reading its menu ahead of their visit. Familiarity is a key factor for three in five diners (60%), who would be more likely to order a dish they’ve had before, during a previous visit to a restaurant or pub. Meanwhile, two in three said they only read the full descriptions of up to five menu items, with the same percentage (67%) citing short, concise menu descriptions as preference. Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott said: “Competition among hospitality operators remains fierce and if that wasn’t bad enough, operators now have to contend with increases in the living wage, food prices, business rates and rents. In addition, average spend per head is on the decrease and operator costs rising. As a result, restaurant and pub operators need to consider innovative methods of increasing profitability without passing these costs on to their customers. The role of the menu within the wider customer journey is the key to getting this balance right, however, not enough operators are developing their menus with profitability in mind and therefore missing an extremely lucrative trick.”

SIBA research finds drinkers want more transparency on craft beer ownership: New research has showed the majority of beer drinkers want greater clarity over who is brewing the beer they drink, following an increase in the popularity of craft beer and a number of buyouts of independent craft breweries by global brewers. The independent YouGov survey of more than 1,000 beer drinkers was commissioned by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) as part of its campaign to inform consumers which beers are brewed by its members as truly independent British craft brewers. The “Assured Independent British Craft Brewer” initiative allows SIBA member brewers who are relatively small, fully independent, and brewing quality beer to use an “Assured” seal on their beer products and point of sale marketing material to help them stand out from beers from other brewers. The research showed a large majority (60%) of beer drinkers cared who brewed their beer and more than two-thirds (69%) thought it would be useful to see the logo on beer pump clips, bottles and cans, in order to identify the beer as being brewed by a truly independent craft brewer, rather than a global beer company. More than half (54%) went even further and said they would be more likely to drink a beer that carried the logo. The research also showed half of beer drinkers (50%) were now drinking “local craft beer”, with this number rising to 61% for 25 to 34-year-olds, which SIBA said suggested a healthy future for this “important British manufacturing industry”.

Goodbody – ‘sales growth could be misleading barometer for sector health given persistence of discounting’: Leisure analysts at Goodbody have said sales growth at hotels, bars and restaurants in July could be a “misleading barometer for sector health given the persistence of discounting”. The Visa UK Consumer Spending Index showed the third consecutive month of decline with spending down 0.8%, slightly worse than the -0.2% recorded in June. This is the first time since February 2013 overall spending has been down for three consecutive months. However, spending at hotels, restaurants and bars increased 6% year-on-year, which followed a 5% rise in June. Goodbody said: “While the fall in overall consumer spend is a worry, we take some comfort from the resilience being displayed in the hotels, restaurants and bars category. While weather was a driver of June’s performance, we believe it was less favourable in July and the 6% increase is being driven by a greater number of staycations. The increase is all the more impressive given the tough prior year comparative (July 2016 +8.8%). However, as we have highlighted previously, sales growth can be a misleading barometer for sector health given the persistence of discounting among pubs/restaurants.”

UK association files multiple complaints against OTAs: The UK Bed and Breakfast Association has filed a series of complaints to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) against Booking.com and other online travel agents (OTAs). The association has alleged “rate parity” clauses imposed on accommodation providers are driving up prices to consumers and OTAs are misleading consumers with “false discounts” and “false availability claims”. The association has also complained about “misleading and manipulated default search rankings” and of “forced bidding” by OTAs on hotel and bed and breakfast names. It has raised five complaints against Priceline-owned Booking.com and one each against Expedia and Hotels.com, reports Travel Weekly. The association said in documents sent to the CMA: “OTAs, especially the Priceline group and the Expedia group, force hotels and B&Bs, using ‘rate parity’ clauses, to charge the commission-inclusive price to guests even where the property sells direct to the guest from its own website and no OTA commission is payable.” It argued these “anti-competitive clauses prevent hotels and B&Bs charging the net-of-commission price to direct customers and result in the consumer paying more than otherwise”. The association pointed out rate parity clauses are banned in France and Germany and “should also be banned in the UK”. The association also claimed OTAs are deceiving consumers with false discounts as well as “false availability statements”, which are illegal under UK law. It also gave examples of OTAs “deceiving consumers with misleading, opaque and manipulated rankings in default search results that omit properties that might more closely match the consumer’s requirements”, listing these “in an order designed to benefit the OTA commercially”. Its final complaint was “OTAs force (by making it a non-optional contract term) hotels and B&Bs to let the OTA bid on the property’s name with Google – so the top listing on search results for that property’s name is for the OTA, which then benefits by taking commission on all bookings resulting from those clicks”. The association has called on the CMA to ban such contract terms, limiting the practice to “an optional agreement expressly entered into, independent of the OTA-property agreement”. Hotels must be allowed to enter a contract with an OTA “but still choose not to agree to let the OTA bid on its own name”, the association said. 

Company News:

Hands pumps in additional £13.25m at Hand Picked Hotels: Sector investor Guy Hands pumped in another £13.25m into his Hand Picked Hotels business during its most recent financial year. Companies House documents showed turnover decreased by 0.9% to £61.9m for the year to 24 November 2016, down from £62.4m the year before, due to the disposal of Priest House hotel in Derby in February 2016. Ebitda decreased to £10m from £10.5m the previous year. Pre-tax losses rose from £2.3m to £3.5m. The firm also owes Guy Hands £11.2m and Julia Hands £14m. Julia Hands said: “On a like-for-like basis turnover rose by 1.8% or £1.1m, with growth in occupancy and average room rates. We continue to invest heavily in improving quality, and 2016 saw the reopening of our spa and health club at St Pierre Park Hotel in Guernsey as well as extensive room refurbishments at Hotel L’Horizon in Jersey and Rhinefield House Hotel in Hampshire, continuing to drive our market-leading customer satisfaction scores.” The company sold its Seiont Manor Hotel site for £1.4m in December 2016. 

Manchester multi-site operator MAD secures multimillion-pound funding deal to support expansion: Manchester-based multi-site operator Mark Andrew Developments (MAD) has secured a multimillion-pound funding deal with Allied Irish Bank to support its future growth strategy as it expands across the city. MAD was founded in 2004 by managing director Mark Andrew with the opening of a small bar in West Didsbury. The company now has eight bars located across Manchester’s Northern Quarter, West Didsbury and Heaton Moor. The funding package will give MAD access to working capital that will support its growth strategy, including its plans to open further sites. The company currently employs 150 people and has seen steady growth across all its sites. MAD director Jonathan Hawkins told BQ Live: “MAD has come a long way since the opening of the first cocktail bar in West Didsbury and we have created some of Manchester’s most popular bars. We have been confident in leading the way in the Northern Quarter since opening Walrus, which was our first bar there. We are keen to identify new locations for our bars and extend our success across the city and are delighted to secure the financial backing of Allied Irish Bank (GB) to do this.” Allied Irish Bank (GB) relationship manager Evan Geoghegan added: “We are delighted to support MAD in its exciting expansion plans. This funding package puts it in a great position when identifying new sites.”

TGI Friday’s launches A-level equivalent qualification for team members: TGI Friday’s has launched a Learners Qualification Programme (LQP), available to those who are aspiring to move into management. The 12-month development plan is equivalent to two A-levels and is offered in partnership with HIT Training. The programme consists of on the job experience, projects based on manager competencies, reading assignments, and regular testing. Learners are fully tracked and supported throughout the programme. The programme is part of the wider Myrna’s development path, offered by TGI Friday’s. In the past 12 months, it has seen TGI Friday’s put a specific focus on its management-level team members to “build and sustain a strong base of managers that can efficiently and effectively support the business from the ground up – to enhance guest experience, generate profit for the company, and fulfil the business’ growth strategy”. The goal of the programme is to empower existing team members to make the step up to management. This allows the company to call on an existing pool of talent that already knows and understands the brand, and that can be more quickly and adeptly trained. It follows the recent launch of the new TGI Friday’s Academy App, which acts as an employee hub where users can access features like online learning courses, appraisals, internal news announcements, and a social learning network. TGI Fridays UK culture and people development director Jacqui McManus said: “We strongly believe at TGI Friday’s we create careers – not just jobs – for our thousands of team members up and down the country. We want new and existing team members, who had perhaps never considered a career in the hospitality industry, to see TGI Friday’s can provide award-winning and industry-leading training to support them on their journey up the career ladder. It also allows team members, who perhaps weren’t suited to traditional educational environments, to secure A-level-equivalent qualifications that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

London-based Vinoteca reveals more details about new site at Bloomberg’s European headquarters: Vinoteca, the London-based wine bar, restaurant and shop, founded by Brett Woonton and Charlie Young, has revealed more details as it prepares to open its sixth and largest site in Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in October. Vinoteca City, located in Bloomberg Arcade, a covered pedestrian walkway that links the two Bloomberg buildings, will offer an ever-changing seasonal menu served alongside a global wine list. The corner site restaurant set over two floors, will comprise of three dining spaces. The 4,400 square foot ground floor dining area will accommodate up to 90 covers, with additional seating for 40 people on the outdoor terrace. The main dining area will feature a tiled central bar, mixed level seating, geometric mirrors, aged brushed brass pendant lights and a dedicated wine shop offering bottles from the restaurant’s own cellar. A private dining area seating 30 will also be housed upstairs on the mezzanine level, with views over the restaurant and several glass wine cabinets highlighting the restaurant’s collection. The kitchen, led by head chef Kieren Steinborn, will serve modern European and British cuisine. The menu will accompany a wine list incorporating premium varieties from all over the world as well as a selection of craft beers, spirits, dessert wines and cocktails. Woonton said: “It’s great to be in the City and we’re looking forward to showcasing our unique wine list with premium ‘off piste’ wines alongside our seasonal food menu.”

Advertising Standards Agency will not investigate KFC ‘whole chicken’ advert: The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) will not formally investigate KFC’s latest campaign, despite receiving nearly 500 complaints. The ASA has decided there are not grounds to formally investigate the ad, which features a chicken strutting to DMX’s X Gon’ Give to Ya. The ASA confirmed it had received 480 complaints, many of which said the ad was “disrespectful” to chickens, was “offensive” and also “distressing”. Some viewers also complained the ad was misleading because it featured a healthy, older-looking chicken, which they believe misrepresents the age, quality and living conditions of KFC chickens. “The whole chicken” phrase was also alleged to be “misleading” because not all parts of the chicken are used in KFC products or because additional ingredients are used. Other viewers even objected to the use of a “gangster song” with lyrics that allude to guns. However, the ASA’s council decided the ad did not break its rules. A spokesman said: “Overall, while we acknowledge some viewers may find the ad distasteful it is unlikely to cause distress or serious or widespread offence.” Instead, the ASA said the ad would be seen as “bizarre” and an attempt at light-hearted humour. It said there are no explicit images to references to animal slaughter. It added the ad depicts a fantastical scenario that would not depict the chicken as truly representative as those used in KFC products. Regarding “the whole chicken” claim, the ASA said this would be interpreted as KFC using 100% chicken in their products, rather than using every single part of the chicken.

Macellaio RC opens fourth site: Italian steak brand Macellaio RC has opened its fourth London venue in Northcote Road in Clapham, joining the existing sites in South Kensington, Exmouth Market and Union Street. Macellaio RC Northcote Road sets itself apart from its sister restaurants with an emphasis on Italian wines, hand-picked by founder Roberto Costa. Since the first Macellaio RC opened in 2012, Costa has been developing a bespoke wine list, made up entirely of Italian winemakers from all over the country. With more than 100 different labels, the wine list showcases “wines of character”, paying homage to the produce of Italy and highlighting the distinctive differences between various regions – from Piedmont and the Nebbiolo grape, noble varieties of world famous Barbaresco and Barolo wines, alongside lesser known grapes grown in extremely limited quantities such as Pelaverga.

Newport-based Niche Hospitality to open fifth site in city: Newport-based Niche Hospitality is to open its fifth site in the Welsh city. The company is launching Sixteen, which is being described as an “innovative sharing eatery”, in High Street, on Saturday, 30 September. The building, which was previously home to the Parc Central restaurant and bar, will feature three spaces – the lobby, the restaurant and the terrace. Lewis Lewis, who co-owns the business with Seng Koh, told Wales Online: “Sixteen is something really exciting and new for the city of Newport. The menu centres on first class steak sourced from around the world including from Argentina and Wales as well as first class chicken and all prepared fresh and in house for convivial sharing. Sixteen will also offer a wide selection of spirits wines and cocktails from around the world and stage live music.” Niche Hospitality already operates Mojo the FoodBar, Dog ‘N’ Dough and Riverside Sports Bar & Kitchen in the city while it is also opening steak house Hide and Sea.

Oswestry-based multi-site operator to open third Welsh border site: Paul Fitton, who runs Ye Olde Vaults in Oswestry and The Station Grill in Llansantffraid, has had plans to open a third venue on the England and Wales border approved. Fitton will create a bar and restaurant at a building in Church Street, Oswestry, which used to house The White Horse pub. It will be the first time customers have been welcomed into the building after it closed as a pub almost 50 years ago. Fitton hopes to have the new venue up and running by early next year. He told the Border Counties Advertizer: “The new restaurant will be a multi-room dining venue keeping all the original features with a contemporary vintage look. Work is due to begin imminently. We are finalising interior plans and decor with our architect and getting contractors in place. We will look to open the restaurant in the new year. It will have a grill theme with a strong emphasis on a British menu and a continental influence using fresh and locally sourced produce.”

Di Maggio’s Group eyes new Glasgow opening: Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group is to open a site in the former newspaper printing building in St Vincent Place in Glasgow. The company, which operates The Atlantic and Anchor Line restaurants, is planning to transform the site into a newspaper-themed bar and eatery named The Citizen. As mentioned on Lost Glasgow, the Renaissance-style building was one of the first in the city to use red sandstone, and opened in 1889. The restaurant team plans to line the walls with old editions of the newspaper in an ode to the building’s history. Di Maggio’s Restaurant Group, which owns 18 restaurants across Scotland including Amarone and Café Andaluz, saw turnover increase 12.4% to £33.7m for the year to 30 April 2016. Pre-tax profits increased 22% to £5.76m. At the time of its results, joint managing director Mario Gizzi, who co-founded the business in 1983, said: “Our strategy of reinvesting in the business helps us to set the pace with new restaurant concepts and the latest additions, including the Atlantic in Glasgow and our new Spanish seafood restaurant Cadiz in Edinburgh are already trading very well.”

Nottingham-based independent pizza restaurant to move to new premises after outgrowing current site: Nottingham-based independent pizza restaurant Oscar & Rosie’s is to move into new premises in the city after outgrowing its current site. Oscar & Rosie’s, which also has a Leicester venue, is moving to The Lace Market after acquiring a site in Stoney Street. The company has been based in Thurland Street since 2015, but has outgrown the space and is set to move into the new 3,358 square foot premises next month. Founder Olly Hunter told The Business Desk: “We’ve run out of space at our current location and simply have nowhere left to grow. We already supply our Leicester site from Nottingham and would like to supply future branches in the same way so we really need the space. The investment level in the new restaurant is a considerable amount for us given that we’re only tiny and are self-funding. I like to find buildings with character that I can work with. Not only does it keep the cost down but it gives the place a real sense of soul and, in my view, makes it a more special place to be.” Hunter set up Oscar & Rosie’s in 2013 and initially had pop-up restaurants in The Picnic Basket and then Das Kino.

Birmingham-based Indian street food trader to open permanent site at former premises of Michelin-starred restaurant: Birmingham-based Indian street food trader Indian Rasoi is opening a permanent venue in the city after acquiring the former site of Michelin-starred restaurant Adam’s. Indian Rasoi, which is a regular part of the Digbeth Dining Club street market, is launching The Indian Streatery in Bennetts Hill. The site is currently being refurbishing and extended to house the 50-cover restaurant and cocktail bar, which will open on Thursday, 17 August. Rakesh and Meena Sharma set up Indian Rasoi five years ago after noticing “a lack of Indian street options” in Birmingham. Meena Sharma told the Birmingham Mail: “This is a dual concept restaurant – a grab and go lunchtime menu in the day with a restaurant style menu at night as well as a cocktail bar. Our menu is based around authentic Indian street food dishes complemented by our home favourites and some quirky extras. We’ve been looking for the perfect location for two years.” Adam’s was at the Bennetts Hill site for more than three years before moving to bigger premises in Waterloo Street in January.

Scottish hospitality group Manorview opens new restaurant as part of £1.5m Renfewshire hotel development: Scottish hospitality group Manorview has opened a new restaurant at its Bowfield Hotel & Country Club in Howwood, Renfewshire. The Plumpy Duck is part of a £1.5m redevelopment programme, which also includes The Stables Bar. The restaurant is a completely new addition for the hotel, while The Stables is a refurbishment and refit of an existing bar, which leads into the eatery that has an “upmarket country feel”. The name The Plumpy Duck was derived to create a separate identity and personality for the restaurant while The Stables is a nod to the hotel’s heritage as an equestrian centre. The restaurant space includes panelling incorporating open wrought iron while the seating features large booths, leather sofas and high-backed armchairs. The menu offers dishes such as steak and ale pie, roast chicken, haddock, pork belly as well as steaks and burgers from the grill. There is also a selection of fish including langoustines, rainbow trout and mussels. Many of the specials include duck options. The redevelopment, which also includes new reception areas, kitchen and spa developments, has been taking place in timed phases to allow the hotel to remain open for members and visitors. Manorview, which owns various pubs, bars and hotels throughout Glasgow and Lanarkshire, bought the Bowfield Hotel & Country Club in 2012. 

Turtle Bay to open Swansea restaurant next month: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay will open a site in Swansea next month. The company is investing £800,000 transforming 4,000 square feet of ground-floor space at the former Inspirations store in Castle Street into the 200-seat venue. The restaurant, which will create 50 jobs, will open on Sunday, 10 September, reports Wales Online. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was launched by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 37 sites across the UK, having opened its first restaurant in Milton Keynes in 2010. It will also open a restaurant in Plymouth next month, while it has secured sites in Durham, Northampton and Winchester.

Stonegate Pub Company to reintroduce Yates’s Wine Lodge to Ipswich at original site: Stonegate Pub Company is to reintroduce Yates’s Wine Lodge to Ipswich almost a decade after a site closed in the town. Yates’ Wine Lodge will open on Friday, 25 August. The previous venue, in Tower Ramparts, was sold to JD Wetherspoon in 2008, which converted it into the Robert Ransome pub. Wetherspoon sold the Robert Ransome to Stonegate Pub Company earlier this year. The original venue was sold when the brand had a major restructuring at the start of the recession. Yates’s retained a venue in Colchester, which has remained a popular venue in that town.

Bradford-based operator acquires third site: Bradford-based pub operator William Wagstaff has acquired his third site, in nearby Shipley. Wagstaff has taken on The Shipley Pride in Saltaire Road, which has been shut since last year. He plans to restore the Victorian pub to its former glory and will focus on craft beers and real ales. The refurbishment will include expanding the pub into its basement space, as well as creating an outdoor area for small concerts. Wagstaff told the Telegraph & Argus: “I’d heard people wanted to buy it to change its use and that was the main reason I took it on – I wanted to prevent the town losing it as a pub. It is a question of refurbishing the pub the best way we can, so it probably won’t reopen until next year.” Wagstaff also runs the Beehive and Jacob’s Well in Bradford city centre.

Nando’s to add to Kent presence with Aylesford opening: Nando’s will add to its presence in Kent by opening a site in Aylesford this month. The company is opening a restaurant in South Aylesford Retail Park on Wednesday, 23 August, reports Kent Live. It has several restaurants in the county, including a site in nearby Maidstone while it opened a branch in Sevenoaks last year. Nando’s operates more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 400 in the UK and Ireland.

Nottingham-based Doughnotts to start expansion with Derby site: Independent Nottingham-based operator Doughnotts is to start expansion by opening a second site, this time in Derby. The company will open a doughnut store in Sadler Gate having signed a new lease on the former 420 Skate Store in the Cathedral Quarter in a deal brokered by FHP Property Consultants. Doughnotts opened its first site in Nottingham in 2015. Darran Severn, of FHP Property Consultants, told The Business Desk: “Sadler Gate continues to be a popular destination. We received strong interest when this property went to market and within the first few weeks we had four offers on the table.”

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