Story of the Day:
Imbiba closes £50m fund for high-growth UK leisure and hospitality businesses: Imbiba, the specialist leisure and hospitality investment group, has closed the Imbiba Growth Fund at its hard cap target of £50m. With an investment of £30m provided by the government-backed British Business Bank, the Imbiba Growth Fund will provide growth capital and operational support to young and dynamic UK leisure businesses seeking to scale. The £30m contribution comes from the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which combines private and public money to make equity investments in high-growth businesses. Since inception, about £1.14bn (including third party investment) has been committed through the programme. The ECF programme is a significant part of the UK venture capital industry, with 27 funds facilitating finance to 421 small and medium-sized enterprises. Imbiba chairman John Connell said: “We are pleased to have raised this new fund, with investment from the British Business Bank alongside several of the UK’s most successful leisure entrepreneurs, to provide both capital and operational support to some of most exciting growth businesses in our sector. Having traded through different economic cycles over the past 20 years, we see some fantastic opportunities in the current leisure market and believe that an agile £50m fund will be key to help to drive the growth of some of the more dynamic businesses in our industry.” Ken Cooper, managing director, venture solutions at British Business Bank, added: “The expansion of our Enterprise Capital Funds programme is a central part of the bank’s work to grow the UK’s patient capital market and ensure high-growth smaller businesses can access the equity finance they need to realise their growth potential. We are delighted to have completed this investment into the Imbiba Growth Fund and to partner with the team at Imbiba, which has a history of success in supporting high-growth UK companies.” Founded by former leisure entrepreneurs, Imbiba has been investing in the UK leisure market for 20 years, supporting leisure and hospitality brands including Drake & Morgan, Darwin & Wallace, Temper and Purple Dragon, among many others. At last year’s Autumn Budget the government gave a vote of confidence to the British Business Bank’s ECF programme, committing a further £1bn over the next ten years.
Propel Multi Club Conference open for bookings, two free places for operators:
The first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2018 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Wednesday, 7 March at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s, London. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speakers include Tim Barrett
, travel and leisure analyst at Numis, who will examine the unprecedented current cost environment in the foodservice sector and the potential winners and losers. Ian Edward, who is leisure advisor to Canaccord Genuity and sits on the boards of Brasserie Blanc, Seafood Pub Company and Hippo Inns
, will set out his views on mergers and acquisitions trends and the ten key challenges and opportunities in the sector. Jon Collins, former chief executive of CGA Group
, who has returned to the UK after living in Chicago for two years, will contrast the US and UK markets and offer thoughts on trends and practices over there that could be ripe for adoption over here. Sarah Bridge
, former Mail on Sunday leisure correspondent and founder of the aLadyofLeisure.com hospitality website
, will offer her top ten moments of hospitality, experienced on her travels in the UK and elsewhere, which could be replicated by UK operators. Iqbal Wahhab
, founder of Cinnamon Club and Roast,
will talk about the genesis and development of his new US southern barbecue concept Atticus and give his views on how foodservice entrepreneurs can make a difference in their communities. Max Hilton Jenvey
, global head of franchise for Chopstix
, which has 35 outlets, will set out how the brand has evolved since its unlikely birth at a fish and chip shop in Camden, with a focus on its rapid progress in the past two years following simplification of its cooking process, international expansion and franchising – and future plans for new concepts, a breakfast offer in transport hubs, further product development and European penetration. Alex Salussolia, managing director of Glendola Leisure
, will talk about the longevity of the company’s three-strong Waxy O’Connor’s brand, which was conceived 25 years ago and is still winning major awards, and the company’s expansion into restaurant and coffee offerings such as Bar & Beef and Gordon Street Coffee. Paul Wells, chairman of Charles Wells
, will talk about making a “sea-change” decision on strategy in selling its Bedford brewery to Marston’s, developing a managed pub estate, partnering great retailers and developing a pub estate in France. Bob Ivell, chairman of Mitchells & Butlers
, whose brand portfolio includes Miller & Carter, Harvester, All Bar One and Toby Carvery, will talk to Propel managing director Paul Charity about progress across the company’s estate as it evolves its offer. Nick Taplin, chief executive of Black and White Hospitality
, will explain how the company is developing a 50-strong franchised restaurant estate in partnership with chef Marco Pierre White, its unique brands, its USPs, partnership model and future prospects. Meanwhile, Yasha Estraikh, of Piper
, will report on the findings of an exclusive survey of UK foodservice operators, undertaken in partnership with Propel, in relation to the effects of the growth in delivery opportunities on their business.
Almost half of UK consumers worried about food safety when eating out: Almost half of UK consumers are worried about food safety in the out-of-home sector, according to new data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The biennial Public Attitudes Tracker found 45% of people were concerned about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways, compared with 42% who expressed concern about food safety in shops and supermarkets. The top food safety issues were food hygiene (36%), food poisoning (30%), chemicals in food (29%), and additives (26%). Wider issues were the amount of sugar in food (52%), food waste (48%), prices (46%), and animal welfare (43%). Three-quarters (75%) said they trust food is accurately labelled, while a similar number (74%) said they trust authenticity of ingredients. Meanwhile, the GMB Union has said workers should have a voice on the government’s new Food and Drink Sector Council. The council, whose aim is to boost productivity and make the industry more resilient, sustainable and competitive, met for the first time earlier this month but has no trade union representation. GMB national officer Eamon O’Hearn said: “Without a true voice for the workers on the Food and Drink Sector Council, it seriously risks becoming an exclusive talking shop for big business.” The council used its inaugural meeting to agree priorities for the next 12 months, including boosting skills, agricultural productivity, improving nutrition and establishing a sector deal. It plans to set up expert working groups to develop recommendations for industry and government on each of its priorities.
Newcastle Restaurant Week generates £500,000 business boost as sales increase 11%: NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week generated a £500,000 boost to business for the 100-plus restaurants that took part, according to new figures. Results from participating restaurants in last month’s event showed an 11% year-on-year increase in sales during the week, making it the most successful to date. Held between 15 and 21 January, record numbers of diners enjoyed the Newcastle Restaurant Week offer of dining out for only £10 or £15 per head, with some restaurants reporting sales up 50% on the same week last year. Many of the restaurants were fully booked throughout the week. Stephen Patterson, director of communications at NE1, told Insider Media: “As soon as we announce the dates, diners are quick to make their bookings to secure their place at one or more of Newcastle’s top restaurants. A number of restaurants were almost fully booked for January’s Newcastle Restaurant Week, even before Christmas.” The week-long event was launched in 2011, with one event in January and another in August. NE1’s next Newcastle Restaurant Week will take place from 6 to 12 August.
Edinburgh budget hotels could be curbed to encourage luxury chains: Strict new curbs on the opening of budget hotels are set to be put in place in Edinburgh city centre. New research has revealed budget hotel chains such as Whitbread-owned Premier Inn and Travelodge now make up more than half of the capital’s hotel stock for the first time. The city council has admitted Edinburgh’s hotel offering has become too heavily “weighted” in favour of budget operators during the downturn since the financial crash of 2008. Now it is to launch a new drive to target big-spending visitors and expensive hotel chains amid warnings Edinburgh is failing to meet key industry growth targets. This is despite the opening of 12 new hotels across the city in the past few years and an average occupancy rate of 83%. Budget operators are said to be able to regularly outbid luxury hotel brands for sites. Tourism and marketing chiefs in Edinburgh are expected to prioritise the targeting of some of the world’s biggest luxury brands for key development sites in future, reports the Edinburgh News. New planning regulations are set to be drawn up by the council to ensure an “appropriate mix of uses” in the city centre. An audit of the hotel sector showed 707 hotel rooms were built across the city last year, with work under way on a further 661 rooms. By the end of last year, planning permission had been approved for more than 3,000 new hotel rooms, while a further 15 developments planned across the city are awaiting approval and could deliver another 2,100. Of the 4,653 budget hotel rooms in the city, Premier Inn and Travelodge operate 2,693.
Best Bar None reveals plans to expand reach: Best Bar None, the Home Office-supported community safety programme operated by pubs and bars in the UK, has revealed plans to expand its reach. Its 2017 annual report stated: “In a number of geographical areas Best Bar None reaches beyond pubs, clubs and licensed venues, engaging with theatres, leisure centres, hotels and football clubs and shifting the emphasis on managing the night-time economy to one that benefits businesses that operate throughout day and night. The plans are to further engage with businesses where large groups of people gather to socialise, encouraging them to be part of the Best Bar None programme. This includes the development of a central scheme that would enable individual premises in areas where there is currently no local scheme to join Best Bar None.” The scheme currently operates in more than 70 towns and cities.
Deliveroo considers plans for £1.5bn float: Deliveroo is considering plans for a £1.5bn stock market float. Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed to evaluate strategic options, including a listing in the next 12 to18 months. It is understood the company could go public in either London or New York. A float would value Deliveroo, which is yet to make a profit, in excess of $2bn (£1.5bn), reports The Sunday Times. Deliveroo lets users order food for home delivery from thousands of restaurants, including companies such as Nando’s and PizzaExpress. It charges for an order and takes a commission from the restaurants in its network. The business has grown rapidly since it was founded more than five years ago by William Shu, a former investment banker, and now operates in 12 countries. Turnover in 2016 increased by 611% to £128.6m. However, the cost of doing business has meant the company has not come close to making a pre-tax profit. In 2016, its loss widened to £129.1m compared with £30.1m the year before as it spent heavily on promotion and new technology. Last year, Deliveroo raised $385m from investment giants including Fidelity and T Rowe Price. The most recent fund-raising round gave the startup its $2bn valuation.
Jamie’s Italian racks up £71.5m worth of debt: Jamie’s Italian has debts of £71.5m, new documents have revealed. The company had its Company Voluntary Arrangement approved on Friday (9 February), which will see up to 12 restaurants close and rent cut at others by 30%. But documents at London’s High Court showed Jamie’s Italian owes £30.2m to HSBC in overdrafts and loans. It is also £41.3m in the red with creditors such as HM Revenue & Customs, landlords and suppliers — with staff owed £2.2m, reports The Sun on Sunday. Balthazar Wholesale Bakery is owed £133,000, Daily Fish Supplies is waiting for payments worth £263,000 and Camden Town Brewery is owed £41,000. Many others, such as League Two football club Crawley Town and Teapigs, are owed smaller amounts. The documents showed Oliver’s personal assets are not at risk if the business goes under. He has put £3m into the business to help out, and his other group has loaned it £6.5m. Legal papers blamed underinvestment, unsuitable new locations and high costs.
Champneys reports turnover and profit boost: Champneys, the health farm and leisure resort business owned by Dorothy and Stephen Purdew, has reported turnover rose 13% to £36,560,723 for the year ending 30 April 2017, compared with £32,490,307 the previous year. The business, which added Eastwell Manor in Kent to its portfolio of four resorts in November 2016, saw pre-tax profit of £3,489,613 compared with £1,818,425 the year before. The total number of guests visiting Champneys resorts rose to 183,342 from 166,970, with average revenue per guest down slightly to £166.84 compared with £170.13 the year before. The company earned royalty income of £1,426,026 in the year, compared with £1,441,283 the previous year.
New food hall concept Dockside Dining Club to launch in Liverpool: New food hall concept Dockside Dining Club is set to launch in Liverpool this spring. Operator Andy Duckworth will launch the concept in Mann Island at Liverpool’s Pier Head in collaboration with real estate firm CBRE and the building’s owners RBH Properties. The multi-vendor, casual dining food hall will feature a market-style layout with ten units that will focus on seasonally changing street food, a permanent bar and a centralised, communal dining area with bench seating. The space will be available to hire for corporate events. Duckworth, who has operated hospitality brands in Liverpool for the past 25 years, said: “Food halls have seen a massive resurgence in recent years. The Pier Head presents a great opportunity for a place like this – not only serving the flourishing tourist market but the business community. With the huge cultural agenda for 2018 as the tenth anniversary of the Capital of Culture, it feels like a great time to be launching. We want to hear from vendors in the city keen to show Liverpool for the amazing food hub it is and from national restaurants that want to test out the market with a pop-up in a great location.”
Shaftesbury's biggest shareholder votes against plans to give company more freedom to raise cash: Shaftesbury, which is landlord to 282 pubs, restaurants and cafes in the West End, has had its ability to raise money curtailed after its largest shareholder, Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee, voted against plans that would have allowed management to waive shareholder pre-emption rights in some circumstances. Lee, who owns little more than 25% of Shaftesbury’s shares, blocked two resolutions at the company’s annual general meeting on Friday (9 February). These would have allowed directors to ignore pre-emption rights in some cases, potentially allowing them to raise money more easily. The rights allow shareholders to have first refusal over new shares but can be discounted in some circumstances. But a third resolution, which Lee also voted against, which allows the directors of the company to allot shares, was passed. Lee had raised concerns about the way in which Shaftesbury was raising money after it complete a £260m equity raising in December. But after the annual general meeting, Shaftesbury chairman Jonathan Nicholls said: “Following the successful placing in December 2017, currently the board does not anticipate the need to raise further equity for some time.”
Yorkshire-based Brazilian restaurant Estabulo Rodizio Bar and Grill to open fourth site, in Beverley: Yorkshire-based Brazilian restaurant Estabulo Rodizio Bar and Grill is to open its fourth site in the county, in Beverley. The company will launch the venue at the Flemingate shopping centre in mid-March. The concept features all-you-can-eat dining with customers paying a fixed price and using a two-sided disc to control the pace of their meal. The green side indicates to the waiter to serve more meat, while the red side indicates a pause, reports the Hull Daily Mail. Estabulo Rodizio Bar and Grill, which was launched in 2016, has two sites in Leeds and another in Wakefield.
Two landmark London restaurant sites come to market: Two landmark London restaurant sites have come on the market. The sites, which are being sold unbranded, are fully fitted, individually styled venues, each with capacity to seat more than 250 diners. The first is in One New Change, the retail centre for the City of London, alongside a range of offices, major shop brands and 12 restaurants. The available restaurant has views over St Paul’s Cathedral and combines bar and dining areas over a total of 8,700 square feet. The other site sits in Piccadilly between Piccadilly Circus and The Royal Academy. The restaurant occupies two levels of a grade II-listed building with a bar and dining area on both floors. It is spread over 11,000 square feet. The sites, which are being marketed through agents Christie & Co, are available individually on long leases and offers are now being invited. Simon Chaplin, Christie & Co’s senior director and head of restaurants, who is handling the sales, said: “London remains the dining capital of the world, with new ventures and concepts opening almost daily so the opportunity to acquire large sites in such well-known locations is rare indeed.”
Harrogate-based seafood and champagne restaurant eyes expansion in south east and overseas: Harrogate-based seafood and champagne restaurant Fisk is eyeing expansion in the south east of England and overseas following the opening of its second site. Owners Stuart and Kanyana Williams, who launched the concept in 2016, recently expanded with the addition of a second, larger venue in the Cheshire village of Prestbury. A new location is now being sought for Fisk in the Home Counties and the business also plans to expand internationally. Stuart Williams told Insider Media: “Fisk is Scandinavian for ‘fish’ so a move there makes perfect sense. I’ve definitely got my eye on certain areas within the Nordics for Fisk’s next venture and we have been approached by an operator in the Middle East about a possible venue there.”
Tullymore House unveils plans to covert disused Belfast church into boutique hotel and restaurant: Belfast-based hospitality group Tullymore House has unveiled plans to convert a disused city church into a boutique hotel and restaurant. The company is proposing to turn the former Holy Rosary Church in Ormeau Road into one of its Fratelli restaurants and a 21-bedroom hotel. The scheme includes internal and external alterations to the listed building and adding a single storey extension to the rear. The existing former parochial house will be retained, refurbished and extended to provide the 21 rooms. More than £1m will be invested improving and enhancing the site, which has been derelict since 1980, although last year the church used to screen movies as part of the annual Belfast Film Festival. Project manager Colin Johnston told the Belfast Telegraph: "Once we had the opportunity to get in and start work, we were able to fully appreciate the sheer size and scale of the space, and, after exploring a number of options, we agreed there was potential to create an exciting accommodation offering to complement the restaurant.” Tullymore House recently invested more than £11m in a redevelopment programme at its Galgorm Resort and Spa. Its Fratelli brand boasts one restaurant at Galgorm and another in Great Victoria Street in Belfast.
Tim Hortons to open seventh Scottish site, in Ayr this month: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, is to open its seventh Scottish store, in Ayr this month. The restaurant will open on Monday, 19 February at Whitletts Roundabout. SK Group is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons and the Ayr opening will continue its nationwide expansion plan. Tim Hortons’ debut UK site opened in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in June last year and the brand has since added three venues in the city – at the Silverburn shopping centre, East Kilbride shopping centre and Strathkelvin Retail Park. Its other Scottish sites are in Hamilton and Dunfermline, while it has also opened a restaurant in Cardiff and five sites are earmarked for the Manchester area, including its first UK drive-thru. Tim Hortons is planning up to 100 UK sites. The company was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.
Team behind street food and cocktail bar Zindiya takes over Solihull pub for Indian gastro-pub concept: The team behind Indian street food and cocktail bar Zindiya in Moseley has taken over a Solihull pub to launch an Indian gastro-pub concept. The Saddlers Arms, which closed permanently in May, will be transformed into the Tap & Tandoor ahead of an April opening to offer craft beer and Indian food. The pub will be refurbished to accommodate 80 diners with a new kitchen and a design mixing a traditional pub with Indian heritage. As with Zindiya, a cocktail menu will be curated by Rob Wood, of Birmingham bar Smultronstalle. Zindiya was launched by husband-and-wife team Ajay and Shivani Kenth in February 2017. Ajay Kenth told Birmingham Live: “This is a different concept to Zindiya. This is more about restoring a once iconic pub to its former glory, albeit with a few changes. Zindiya was borne from our passion for Indian street food and Tap & Tandoor is being created out of love for the Great British pub, which is constantly under threat. We will use the skills and knowledge we have picked up with Zindiya but the pub will stand on its own. We hope to deliver exceptional food at reasonable prices while retaining that pub feel.”
Adventure Leisure brings indoor golf brand Mr Mulligan’s to Newcastle: Adventure Leisure is bringing its adventure golf brand Mr Mulligan’s to Newcastle. The company is launching Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf in the former Co-op building in Newgate Street on Friday (16 February). The brand started life as an outdoor venture but now has a number of indoor centres – its first opening in Stevenage two years ago. However, Newcastle is the first city to have a Mr Mulligan’s. There are three different courses – Inventor’s Hangar, Cosmic Storm and Lunar Crash – as well as a 360-degree bar and a restaurant serving a variety of food, including burgers, pizzas and sharing platters. Adventure Leisure director Andrew Scholey told Chronicle Live: “When you think of cities in the UK where you want to have a venue, Newcastle is near the top of the list and it’s great to be here. We’re getting ready to open in Milton Keynes and Birmingham, but Newcastle is the first major city we’ve opened. I think we’re in a generation where a lot of people like to do a lot more with their nights out than just sit and drink in the pub. They want to be doing different things and be putting all their pictures and videos on social media showing what a good time they’re having.”
JD Wetherspoon set to open £1.5m site in Bourne: JD Wetherspoon is set to open a £1.5m site in Bourne, Lincolnshire (population: 11,933). The company has been granted permission by South Kesteven District Council to transform the former Jenny May and Wands shops in North Street into a pub, creating 60 jobs. Wetherspoon now needs to submit a licensing application before it can complete on the purchase of the building and get started on the work. Spokesman Eddie Gershon told Lincolnshire Live: “We are keen to open a pub in Bourne and believe that it will be welcomed and also be an asset to the town." The plans showed downstairs would have seating for customers with a beer garden to the rear.
Craft brewer and distiller Eden Mill St Andrews unveils £4m headquarters plan: Craft brewer and distiller Eden Mill St Andrews has unveiled plans to create a new £4m headquarters in Fife. The expansion project would see a historic former paper mill transformed into Eden Mill’s new home – allowing it to increase production of gin, beer and whisky and retain space for further expansion. Sitting within the University of St Andrews’ new Eden Campus, the plans submitted to Fife Council include a cafe-bar, visitors’ centre, shop, presentation room and a VIP tasting area on the top floor of the distillery that would offer views over the university campus and Eden estuary. The new facility would enable Eden Mill to double the number of tourists that take its distillery tours from 25,000 to 50,000 a year. Co-founder Paul Miller told Insider: “With ambitions to grow the business, it is the right time for Eden Mill to move forward with plans for a new distillery and brewery.” Subject to approval, Eden Mill aims to be on-site this summer with the buildings operational by the autumn.
Glasgow-based restaurateurs reveal plans for bar and brasserie for second site: Glasgow-based restaurateurs Phillip and Grace Reilly have revealed plans to open a bar and brasserie for their second site – in a traditionally “dry” area of Scotland. The Reillys, who operate Loks Bar & Kitchen, are opening the new venue in Clarkston, a suburb on the south side of Glasgow, which had been Scotland’s last surviving “dry” area until 2006, when the first alcohol licence was granted. They have bought the site of the former Beanscene coffee shop and plan to open the bar and brasserie in the summer, creating 20 jobs. Phillip Reilly told Herald Scotland: “Clarkston is a hub for several large, affluent communities and while there are various good places about there is room for a stylish, relaxed, independent bar and bistro, serving a wide variety of drinks and food.” The Reillys launched Loks in Pollok in 2014, which came after the couple refurbished a building previously home to junior team Pollok FC’s social club.
Loungers to launch Abingdon venue next month at former Wildwood site: Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, is to open a venue in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, next month. The company will launch Pablo Lounge on Wednesday, 7 March in Bury Street on the site of the former Tasty-owned Wildwood restaurant, which shut in January. The venue, which will create 25 jobs, will feature pop art-inspired table tops, vintage sofas and school benches. Community manager for Lounges Gemma Irwin told the Oxford Mail: “Each restaurant is different. I don’t think it feels like they are part of a big company.” Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, was founded in 2002 in Bristol by Jake Bishop, David Reid and Alex Reilley. The company currently operates 114 venues.
Lancashire-based micro-pub operator bids to open second site, in Preston city centre: Adam Godwin, who operates The Market Ale House micro-pub in Leyland, Lancashire, has submitted plans to open a second site, in Preston city centre. Godwin plans to transform a former beauty salon in Lune Street into Plug & Taps, featuring four or five cask beer lines, more than ten keg lines and at least one cider on tap. The micro-pub’s name is in memory of striking cotton workers who were killed or injured during the 1842 general strike, also known as the “plug plot riots”. Godwin hopes to tap into Preston’s recent influx of independent bars and restaurants. He told the Lancashire Post: “We hope that with the help of other pubs and bars already selling craft beer plus the introduction of other places due to open, we can create a beer and drink scene in the city. There seems to be a boom, with independent restaurants and coffee shops opening and we hope to draw people into the city instead of heading out to Manchester or Liverpool.”
Roomzzz to open second Manchester site: Aparthotel chain Roomzzz is expanding its Manchester footprint with the opening of a second venue in the city. The company’s new development will deliver 114 apartments at the Corn Exchange, marking the completion of a three-year renovation project for the grade II-listed building. When it opens later this month, Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange will be the eighth aparthotel in the company’s UK-wide portfolio. Roomzzz has venues in Chester, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham. Chief executive Naveen Ahmed told BDaily: “Building on the brand’s success in the thriving city of Manchester, Roomzzz is delighted to launch its second Manchester aparthotel in the iconic Corn Exchange. The excellent location and vibrant food and drink offering make it the perfect venue for guests looking to enjoy the variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment the city has to offer.” Roomzzz plans to open further sites in Liverpool, Harrogate, York and Edinburgh in the near future.