TGI Friday’s boss contacts Propel to dispel ‘nonsense’ closures stories: TGI Friday’s chief executive Karen Forrester has contacted Propel to quash “nonsense” regional news stories suggesting site closures and financial distress after news emerged that owner Electra Private Equity is considering its options. The options include retaining the business and adding other brands – as well as a sale. Forrester told Propel: “I had to schedule a call to all my managers yesterday (Wednesday, 7 February) to tell them (reports of site closures) are nonsense. There is a lot of bad news in the industry at the moment and I think we have to take a stance and stress this is a very good, sound business. We have a private equity owner that may or may not sell the business but that’s the nature of private equity ownership. We ended 2017 in like-for-like growth of almost 1% and we have six openings, creating 400 jobs, scheduled for 2018 – they will be in Bracknell, Liverpool Speke, Romford, Ashton-under-Lyme, Doncaster and Bolton, although the last one might slip into next year. We are busy filling our pipeline of new openings for next year. We are a good news story.” TGI Friday’s took the unusual step this week of issuing a statement to various regional newspapers to stress it is in robust health. The statement said: “These are just market rumours and speculation. Friday’s is operating very well and ended 2017 in growth. We intend to open more great Friday’s restaurants across the UK in 2018 and beyond, with a further six new stores planned this year alone, creating 400 jobs.” Misleading headlines appearing in regional press in recent days include the Leicester Mercury’s: “Is TGI Friday’s in Leicester likely to shut down?”, Wales Online reporting: “TGI Friday’s latest restaurant chain reportedly in trouble”, “Uncertainty looms for TGI Friday’s as UK restaurants could be sold” in the Bristol Post and “Future uncertain for Nottingham’s TGI Friday’s” in the Nottingham Post.
Daisy Green Collection acquires Timberyard: On behalf of Timberyard, the US-inspired “working cafe” concept, Davis Coffer Lyons has completed a deal at 2-4 Noel Street in Soho to The Daisy Green Collection, the all-day restaurant, bar and coffee group. The deal is a leasehold assignment for the remainder of the ten-year lease from 2015. Rob Meadows, director, agency and leasing, Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The sale will allow Timberyard to focus on new opportunities and the new site in Facebook’s headquarters in Fitzrovia – under a new concept TY Collab; and its site in Seven Dials. The founders are very focused on steering their business model towards new creative initiatives, particularly those centred around corporate social responsibility. It was a complicated deal subject to planning, but the successful outcome shows that new A3 planning is possible and there are always opportunities for operators and landlords to explore deals like this with the right advice.” This will be the first opening for The Daisy Green Collection since it secured a new debt finance deal worth £3.4m at the end of 2017, when it stated plans to open six additional sites by 2020. The eight-strong group plans to reopen the 4,000 square foot Soho site in the spring, following a successful change-of-use planning application.