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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 18th Apr 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Restaurant numbers hold up, licensed premises fall just 0.3% as drink-led venues lead closures: Restaurant numbers have held up while there was only a small decline in licensed premises in 2017, according to the latest Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners. Many casual dining brands continued to expand on British high streets over the past year, despite the host of challenges facing the eating and drinking out sector – fuelling concerns about market saturation. The monitor revealed Britain had 122,221 licensed premises at December 2017– a drop of just 0.3% on 12 months earlier, despite mounting cost pressures, weak market confidence and uncertainty over Brexit. The bulk of closures of licensed premises in 2017 were of drink-led pubs and bars, the monitor showed. But Britain’s casual dining brands remained in growth last year, with overall restaurant numbers rising by 0.6% in the year to December. The country now has 16.7% more restaurants than it did in December 2012, underlining the growth of the sector. The monitor also pinpointed high streets as the leading source of this growth for restaurant operators. The number of licensed premises on high streets increased by 0.6% in the year to December 2017 compared with declines of 0.8% and 0.2% in suburban and rural areas respectively. CGA’s recently published 2018 Business Leaders’ Survey suggested many operators will now be scaling back their new opening plans over this year. Concerns about market saturation and rising property costs, especially among food-led operations, as well as people and food costs are likely to dent the number of licensed premises in 2018. But while several high-profile casual dining brands have announced closures recently, the monitor provided a reminder not all are turning off the tap – as the long-term picture has been of steady growth. The monitor also showed growth in the north west, with the Granada region increasing its number of food-led licensed premises by 2.9% in the year to December 2017. Meanwhile, it revealed tough trading conditions in outer London, where total licensed premises fell 1.9% in the year compared with 0.6% growth in inner London. There was also consistent growth in food-led pubs and bars, whose numbers have increased by 4.7% since December 2012. AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith said: “With some casual dining operators announcing restaurant closures at the start of 2018, there has been much talk of oversupply in many of Britain’s cities and towns. But where exactly is supply exceeding demand? With consumer habits changing so fast, it can be hard to tell – but the Market Growth Monitor shows some of the places that have been particular targets for new openings in the past five years. Top of the list is Solihull, where the Touchwood retail centre has been a magnet for casual dining brands. Second and third are Milton Keynes and Chelmsford – both towns in which closures have been announced recently. Milton Keynes has about 28% more food-led licensed premises than it did a year ago, and may well be at risk of saturation –though its popularity as a place to live among professionals and young families continues to increase. Darlington, Shrewsbury and Loughborough have also seen a steep rise in new restaurants –although it could be argued that these towns were previously badly underserved by operators. At the other end of the spectrum, Oldham, Wrexham, Rotherham and St Helens have all seen a double-digit fall in licensed premises in the past five years. In all cases, most closures have been pubs rather than restaurants. For all brands, selecting the right towns for openings will be more important than ever.” CGA vice-president Peter Martin added: “2018 is shaping up into a tough year for pub, bar and restaurant operators, and CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey suggests we may not have seen the last of closures from some of our biggest casual dining brands. Operators are reining in expansion plans and are predicting an increase in business failures. But our latest Market Growth Monitor is a reminder of the underlying strength of the sector despite the perfect storm of challenges that has been whipped up. People are still going out to eat and drink, and operators who can deliver value for experience and select the right locations for their new openings can still thrive.”

Industry News:

Propel summer conference and party open for bookings: The Propel summer conference and party on Thursday, 5 July at The Oxford Belfry is now open for bookings. This year, we have the usual great conference, followed by crazy golf at Junkyard Golf in Oxford, plus a barbecue and live band karaoke back at the hotel. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing or calling her on 01444 817691.

Ramadan is ‘biggest untapped opportunity in foodservice’: Ramadan is the “biggest untapped opportunity in foodservice” with millions of pounds of extra revenue available during the festival, an industry expert has said. Salih Sheikh, head of marketing at BB Foodservice, the delivered foodservice arm of Bestway Wholesale, said the industry was “behind when it came to commercialising Ramadan”. He said an increasing number of Muslims were eating out during the festival when feasting together after sunset rather than cooking at home, while there had been a spike in demand for halal products. He said: “Christmas is the biggest event in the foodservice calendar – worth hundreds of millions of pounds to operators every year – and it’s far from alone. Easter, Pancake Day and Mother’s Day are all key for pubs, restaurants and hotels but the industry is behind when it comes to commercialising Ramadan. It’s the biggest untapped opportunity in foodservice. During Ramadan, people gather after sunset to feast together and it’s now common to go out rather than cook at home. And judging by the spikes we see in halal products during Ramadan, it’s not only Middle Eastern, Asian and North African restaurants that see extra demand. The fact is the modern British Muslim – and what they like to eat – has changed over the years, with 47% now UK-born. As a result, Ramadan has quickly become a mainstream opportunity for operators.”

Nichols boss – Ross-on-Wye investment puts us in great position to take bigger share of on-trade market: Marnie Millard, chief executive of soft drinks producer Nichols, has told Propel the £4.5m investment in its Ross-on-Wye site in Herefordshire has put the company in a great position to take a bigger share of the on-trade market. Millard said she continues to see growth in the soft drinks category in the hospitality sector as consumers shift away from alcohol. She added the newly designed factory, which is known as Vimto Ross, forms a key part of Vimto’s out-of-home division, which focuses on the production and distribution of soft drinks dispensed and sold in pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. All Vimto’s own products produced at Vimto Ross are 100% compliant with the soft drinks levy. Millard said: “We are up against some big players in terms of Britvic and Coca-Cola but we are confident this investment puts us in a great position for the future. Pubs are looking for more soft drink options and our acquisition of Noisy Drinks, with its frozen range of beverages, and the Feel Good brand in recent years has given us that. The soft drink market continues to grow and we now have a site to meet that demand.” The company said the out-of-home category was key to Nichols’ growth, contributing more than one-quarter (28%) of total revenue. The investment primarily focused on improved technology and extensive innovation. The latest development, Line 5, is in the planning stages, with an aim to bring all production under one roof. As well as its own products the factory, which Nichols has operated since 2008, also has external partnerships with Coca-Cola among others.

Irish food board opens UK insight centre: Bord Bia, the Irish food board, has launched a UK insight centre in London to provide tailored consumer and market insights for Irish food and drink producers to help drive innovation and product development in Ireland. Bord Bia said the move demonstrated its commitment to an insight-led strategy that would help negate the impact of Brexit, while it reinforced the relationship between UK and Irish food and drink producers – annual imports are estimated to be worth more than €4.5bn. The centre has been modelled on Bord Bia’s Thinking House in Dublin. Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said: “Increasingly, food buyers are looking to partner with their suppliers to understand the evolving demands of their customers and how to meet them in a sustainable way. The insight centre will create a platform for Bord Bia and Irish exporters to work with UK retailers and operators to highlight exactly what the consumer is demanding and how they can supply these needs. This solution-driven approach will strengthen relationships as these partnerships look to meet market challenges such as Brexit. Success in a highly competitive, global market place, where we seek to compete not on price but by creating value, can only come from insights that will enable us to make better-informed decisions leading to commercial success.”

Company News:

Crussh boss – our concessions business gives us stability and security during a difficult time for the high street: Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh has told Propel its concessions business is giving the company stability and security during a difficult time for the high street. The London-based healthy food and juice brand, which has partnerships with Sainsbury’s, Everyone Active and Debenhams, has now joined forces with SSP to take the brand into transport hubs across the UK. Kavanagh said the deal also gave Crussh the opportunity to take its products into new markets. He said: "We have a solid core high street business that's been around for 20 years. However, we all know the problems being faced on the high street currently and we have pre-empted that by building the concessions side of our business. I think it gives us that stability and security as well as getting our products and brand into places that we might not otherwise." The first site in partnership with SSP will open at Paddington station in May with a pipeline of additional sites under discussion. He added: "There's plenty of opportunity in the UK and we have had some conversations on international stuff. We are excited about working with SSP given its expertise and excellent track record and the opportunity to bring our brand of healthy fit food-to-go into travel rail and air locations for the first time. Paddington is the perfect place to start, and we can’t wait to get going." Kavanagh said further concessions would open this year with three sites planned with Everyone Active, including at the new Moberly Sports Centre opening in Kensal Rise in June. He added the company was currently about halfway through refitting the estate and was starting to see the benefits of the revamp, most of which should be completed this year.

BrewDog breaks £15m mark in Equity for Punks V fund-raise: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has passed the £15m barrier on its Equity for Punks V fund-raise, more than 50% above its initial target. The company set out in October 2017 to raise £10m in an initial 90-day period and has now secured £15,140,292 from 32,214 investors. The campaign was due to finish in January but BrewDog extended the campaign until Monday, 15 October or until the maximum potential raise of £50m is reached. With 2.8% equity in the business being made available at £23.75 per share, it means BrewDog values its business at £1.8bn. The initial target of £10m was used to build a brewhouse at BrewDog’s Ellon brewery and invest in the company’s first sour beer facility, The Overworks. The funds raised before October will support accelerated growth across the global business, including £10m to launch a craft beer brewery in Asia and £5m to open a facility in Australia. A further £3m is earmarked for expanding and investing in UK BrewDog bars, with plans to open 15 bars in 2018, including four brewpubs. BrewDog also wants to invest £2m to create its own television network dedicated to craft beer. Meanwhile, BrewDog revealed on Twitter it would move away from all plastic can holders and use fully recycled and recyclable boxes in the next few weeks – just like it already does in the US. April has been a busy month for BrewDog so far, including the acquisition of craft beer bar chain Draft House and London-based cider producer Hawkes. Last month BrewDog saw turnover increase 56% to £112m for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £79.1m the previous year. Ebitda was up to almost £9m compared with £6m the year before.

Patisserie Valerie coming to Carlisle as it targets 20 openings a year: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, is to launch its first venue in Carlisle as part of the company’s target to open 20 sites a year. The store will open in Scotch Street in the heart of Carlisle town centre on Tuesday, 24 April creating 20 jobs. The venue will be just around the corner from Carlisle train station making it an ideal pit-stop for shoppers and commuters. Paul May, chief executive of Patisserie Holdings, the company that owns Patisserie Valerie, told the Cumbria Crack: “We’re very excited to be opening our latest store in Carlisle as this is a new location for us. The opening of this store is the next step towards achieving our goal of opening 20 cafes annually.” Patisserie Valerie currently operates more than 150 stores across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Recent openings include Cwmbran, Sutton Coldfield and Queen Street, Cardiff. Last month the company also upsized its Milton Keynes shopping centre site, while its next opening is set to be in Lancaster.

Gordon Ramsay launches new street pizza concept: Gordon Ramsay has opened a pizza restaurant in London. Ramsay has turned the ground floor of Bread Street Kitchen at One New Change into Gordon Ramsay Street Pizza, which offers a bottomless pizza menu. There are four pizzas available – margherita; pepperoni; a Josper charred aubergine pizza with toasted pine nuts, wild garlic pesto and tomato; and a corn and chorizo consisting of sweetcorn puree, chorizo, pulled chicken, mozzarella, spring onions and coriander. There is also be daily specials and a small selection of sides while there are just two desserts – tiramisu and negroni ice cream. The drinks features two beers, prosecco, four wines - two white and two red – and four cocktails including a hard lemonade and a street spritz. The restaurant has an all-female DJ line-up playing tunes every evening.

Property housing M&B’s first All Bar One sells for £1.5m: A property that houses Mitchell & Butlers’ first All Bar One site has been sold for £1.5m. Coffer Corporate Leisure has acquired 2-10 Hill Road in Sutton, Surrey, on behalf of a private client. The property comprises a bar restaurant let to Mitchells & Butlers on a new, 25-year index-linked lease. The price reflected a net initial yield of 5.34%. Coffer Corporate Leisure director Jack Silvani said: “This is the iconic site where the All Bar One concept was created in 1994. While the concept has slightly adapted to changes in consumer trends since its inception, its modus operandi has remained largely the same. From a property perspective, 2-10 Hill Road possesses all the characteristics private clients look for in a leisure investment – strong macro or micro locations, a long and successful trading history and a happy tenant who has made a long-term commitment to the site.” Tudor Toone advised the vendor while Coffer Corporate Leisure advised the purchaser.

Burning Night Group to open £1.1m venue in Harrogate next month for fifth Potting Shed site: Bar company Burning Night Group is to open a £1.1m venue in Harrogate next month that will house a fifth site for its Potting Shed brand. Ormsborough, parent company of Potting Shed Trading, which was founded by the Burning Night management team and backed by funds managed by Downing, will transform a site formerly occupied by bar restaurant Rift & Co, creating 50 jobs. The venue will open on Friday, 25 May featuring the brand’s trademark brightly coloured wooden sheds with private bench seating, an indoor “lawn”, cocktails, craft beer, artisan spirits and a wide range of food. Director Jade Renner told BDaily: “We take a lot of care in finding all our sites and this landmark building fits perfectly with our brand and gives us a great opportunity. Our bars are different – they’re fun, they welcome families and are even dog-friendly – so we are confident everyone will come and experience that for themselves once we open our doors.” The other Potting Sheds are in Guiseley, Northallerton, Bingley and Beverley, while a sixth site is due to open in Leeds this summer.

Cranberry cider-make Cranes launches crowdfunding campaign to boost on-trade distribution: Cranberry cider-maker Cranes has launched a £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to boost its on-trade distribution. The company, led by twin brothers Ben and Daniel Ritsema, produces three flavours of cranberry-based cider and a liqueur, with its brands to be listed in Asda from next month. The company is offering 4.78% equity in return for investment and so far 54 investors have pledged £44,730 with 60 days remaining. Cranes launched a campaign on Seedrs in 2016 that raised more than £190,000, double its original target, with investors that included Brothers Drinks. Cranes underwent a full rebranding last year and has agreed a UK distribution agreement with Paragon Brands. The pitch states: “Our aim is to be one of the top three leading brands in the UK’s fruit cider and fruit liqueur markets. We believe people will always enjoy a drink but are increasingly looking to choose one that has healthier ingredients without impairing the taste. We believe our ciders provide that choice to the mass market and, along with our liqueur, we are building a strong distinctive brand. We feel our partnership with Paragon Brands ensures the successful navigation of this market with its vast experience, contacts and track record. With listings already in numerous major wholesalers, we are in a great position to advance in this sector. In the shorter term we will use the funds to deliver our marketing plan to help achieve our 2018 revenue target, invest in increasing distribution and support sales in the on-trade through Paragon Brands, support working capital so we can produce larger batches of cider and liqueur, and invest in production capability to ensure we can meet the expected sales demand in 2018.”

Starbucks to close all US stores for racial-bias education training following Philadelphia arrests: Starbucks will close its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the US on the afternoon of Tuesday, 29 May to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in its stores. The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 employees across the country, and will become part of the onboarding process for new partners. It comes after two black men were arrested last week for trespassing while sitting in a cafe in Philadelphia without making a purchase. Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson flew to Philadelphia to apologise in person to the two men, who were eventually released with no charge. Johnson said: “I’ve spent the past few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it. While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.” The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias. Earlier this week, Starbucks began a review of its training and practices to make reforms where necessary. Once completed, the company will make the education materials available to other companies, including its licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership.

Ollie Dabbous launches Hide in Mayfair: Chef Ollie Dabbous has launched his new concept Hide in Mayfair. The restaurant has opened across three floors in 85 Piccadilly offering 250 covers, views across Green Park and a basement bar. Hide consists of three sections on separate floors connected by a spiral staircase. “Ground” offers a sizeable a la carte menu showcasing seasonal offerings, largely sourced from small farmers and suppliers from across the UK. Everything is made in-house where possible, including charcuterie, bread, jam, juice and pickles. “Above”, which is on a mezzanine level, features a main tasting menu and set lunches alongside views across Green Park. “Below” is a basement bar and collaboration with Hedonism Wines. Any bottle available in its Mayfair store can be reserved and delivered to the restaurant. A large selection of bottles and wine by the glass are also on offer alongside cocktails. The venue also features five private dining spaces. The Hide website states: “Hide is for everyone and every occasion, whether a light dinner after work or a grand celebration in one of our private dining rooms.” Dabbous opened his eponymous restaurant in Fitzrovia in 2012 but closed it last year. He previously said people would “understand that decision” when they see Hide.

Bristol-based operators line up Spuntino and former MeatLiquor site for double opening: Bristol-based operators Kieran and Imogen Waite are lining up a double opening in the city. The husband-and-wife team operate Bravas tapas restaurant in Cotham Hill and Cargo Cantina at the Cargo 2 development in Wapping Wharf. Now they will launch seafood restaurant Gambas at Wapping Wharf this summer, taking over the Spuntino site Polpo founders Russell Norman and Richard Beatty will close next month. The Waite’s new offer will specialise in Spanish tapas, seafood and paella, and will also have a seafood counter stocked with fish fresh from Cornwall for customers to cook at home. Kieran Waite told Bristol Live: “We love being part of the Wapping Wharf community with all its different businesses. It reflects Bristol’s unique independent spirit and it was a no-brainer for us to open Gambas there.” The Waites will also open street food market, bar and events space Corner 77 in a former MeatLiquor site in Stokes Croft in the coming weeks.

UK’s first hotel-based cereal cafe launches in Whitechapel: The first cereal cafe to launch in a UK hotel has opened in Whitechapel, east London. Cereal Grind has opened in the New Road Hotel, which also hosts Black and White Hospitality’s Mr White’s English Chophouse. As well as offering a large range of cereals, Cereal Grind customers can build their own bowl by adding toppings such as fruit, Maltesers, chocolate buttons and marshmallows before choosing from ten varieties of milk. The concept also offers shakes and “cereal cocktails” such as Rice Rice Baby and Cap’n America, Hot Dinners reports. Bread, granola and muesli bars, and a variety of pop tarts are also available at the venue, which is open from breakfast until 5pm.

Turkey-inspired restaurant Mandira to launch second London site next week: Covent Garden-based fresh yogurt bar Mandira is set to launch a second London site. The new venue, Simit By Mandira, will open in Spitalfields Market on Monday (23 April) focusing on Turkish street food and simit bagels in particular. A popular bread in Turkey, the simit can be found across the country, sold by vendors on street corners. Simit By Mandira will offer eight simits, including toasted Turkish pastrami, smoked salmon, and ricotta and fig, alongside Turkish tea, yogurt-based “sweet pots”, and bio-live smoothies. Seasonal specials will be introduced throughout the year. The debut Mandira opened last year.

Principal launches Bloomsbury hotel with restaurant, bar and coffee house: Principal has launched the latest addition to its collection of hotels based in landmark buildings, in Bloomsbury. The Principal London has opened in a grade II-listed building in Russell Square. Alongside 334 bedrooms and nine meeting and events rooms, the hotel features four key areas to eat and drink. “Neighbourhood restaurant” Neptune has been created in partnership with Brett Redman, who owns Elliot’s in Borough Market, and restaurateur Margaret Crow. Together they opened The Richmond gastro-pub in Hackney in 2015. Neptune is “quirky and full of theatre”, with signature dishes prepared on a trolley by the table alongside sharing platters and an oyster bar. Fitz’s bar has been named after architect Charles Fitzroy-Doll and mixes “Evelyn Waugh’s Bright Young Things with a dash of Gatsby”. Burr & Co, which Principal operates at its Edinburgh site, combines a Victorian coffee house with a wine bar, while The Palm Court offers drinks trolleys and afternoon tea. Principal stated: “The opening of The Principal London has created a hub not only for its guests but also for Londoners who have a passion for great food, fabulous cocktails and memorable nights.” Principal has also turned historic buildings into hotels in Edinburgh, Manchester and York, with ten sites in total and two in the pipeline, in Birmingham and Liverpool.

Former Mahiki manager to launch tropical rum bar concept in London this summer: Tropical rum bar concept Laki Kane is to launch in north London in June. The concept is the brainchild of former Mahiki bar manager and mixologist Georgi Radev alongside Sam Robson and Steve Kyprianou. Laki Kane will open in Upper Street, Islington, focusing on rum, exotic fruit, sugar cane syrup and natural ingredients. Signature rum will be redistilled in the venue’s Spiced Dry Rum Club, which will also host rum masterclasses. Downstairs, Laki Kane will take inspiration from tropical locations in Asia, Polynesia, Indonesia and the Caribbean. Each table will feature push buttons for guests to call for service, while the food menu will feature tropical-inspired dishes to complement the cocktails. Radev said: “In the past 15 years I’ve been travelling around the world, learning and teaching about rum, tiki and cocktails. The exotic destinations have become a big part of my life and I want to bring a taste of this to London. Laki Kane is an escape and we’re creating everything with that in mind, from the decor and service to the food and an exciting cocktail menu made with tropical ingredients that most people will have never experienced before.”

Former Tom Kitchin protégés to open Edinburgh restaurant: Former Tom Kitchin protégés Roberta Hall and Shaun McCarron are to open their first restaurant this summer. Hall and McCarron met while working at Castle Terrace – Kitchin’s restaurant in Edinburgh. Now the duo will launch The Little Chartroom in Albert Place in the city. Set to open in mid-June, the venue will be a neighbourhood-style bistro serving French and British-style food with chef Hall in the kitchen and McCarron managing front-of-house. The name comes from Hall’s love of sailing, while the 18-cover dining room will be stripped back with a nod to a traditional sailing aesthetic featuring brass hardware and rich marine blues. It will also feature bespoke artwork from old shipping charts and an open kitchen. Hall spent three years at Kitchin’s eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant in Edinburgh before assisting mentor Dominic Jack to open Castle Terrace, where she worked for six years, going on to become head chef. During her time there she met McCarron, who joined as a commis waiter before working his way up to become restaurant manager. The duo previously ran The Abbot’s Elm in Cambridgeshire before moving back to Edinburgh to open a restaurant of their own.

Dublin-based The Key Collection expands into UK with Kensington boutique hotel buys: Dublin-based The Key Collection has started expansion into the UK after acquiring the long-term leases of two boutique hotels in Kensington, London. The Key Collection, which is led by Nina Gillett and Sheila O’Riordan, plans to manage and operate The Exhibitionist and The Gainsborough as part of their growth strategy into the UK market. The Exhibitionist is opposite the Natural History Museum and was restored in 2015. It features eight galleries with frequently changing artwork displayed by renowned artists. The Gainsborough is close to the Albert Hall and is a converted Victorian house. It is named after the celebrated artist whose portrait of the Duchess of Richmond is in the hotel’s lounge. A complete refurbishment plan is in place. O’Riordan said: “The London hotel market is strong and operating two new hotel properties such as The Exhibitionist and The Gainsborough, which are a perfect fit for The Key Collection, is very exciting. Our mission is to provide our guests with great places to stay in fabulous locations. Our aim is to continue to explore all opportunities to grow, expand and diversify our company in Ireland and the UK.” The Key Collection launched in 2016 and has grown rapidly to employ almost 300 staff.

North east’s oldest micro-brewery and neighbouring pub restaurant put on market: The oldest micro-brewery in the north east has been put up for sale along with a neighbouring pub restaurant. Both properties, located within the Tyne Riverside Country Park in Newburn, are being marketed through agents Christie & Co. Established in 1982, Big Lamp Brewery is the oldest micro-brewery in the north east and supplies a range of traditionally brewed fine ales to pubs throughout the UK. Adjacent pub restaurant The Keelman, named after boatmen on the River Tyne, offers seating for about 100 diners and features a mezzanine level, a large conservatory, and a patio by the river. There are also 14 en-suite bedrooms in two purpose-built properties set in the grounds – The Keelman’s Lodge comprises six en-suite family rooms and Salmon Cottage consists of eight. David Cash, senior agent at Christie & Co’s Newcastle office, who is handling the sale, said: “The freehold interest of The Keelman and Big Lamp Brewery is owned by the pension fund of two local businessmen who wish to retire and realise the worth of their asset, which they built up from an unused water pumping station some 30 years ago.” The properties are available by way of a range of freehold and leasehold options.

Boutique fitness concept with live DJs launches in Manchester’s Northern Quarter: Boutique fitness concept V1BE has launched in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The company has secured a 4,400 square foot basement space in a grade-II listed building in Dale Street. Founded by Gareth Evans and Andy Tee, V1BE offers a combination of trainers, state-of-the-art equipment and live DJs to “set itself apart from Manchester’s growing health and fitness scene”. Evans told BDaily: “We chose 35 Dale Street for its excellent location as it suits the type of clientele we believe V1BE attracts.” The property’s landlord, Helical, has also signed an agreement with Northern Quarter-based Idle Hands to operate the site’s new 1,200 square foot coffee shop. Helical said 6,000 square feet of retail space was still available at 35 Dale Street.

Experienced Yorkshire-based operator acquires Wakefield nightclub: Experienced Yorkshire-based operator Catelinn Burdon has acquired the leasehold of the Kookoo Cage – a bar, nightclub and events venue in Wakefield. Burdon, who has worked in the licensed and hospitality sector across the region, will reopen the property in Wetgate as Oscar’s Bar having taken on a ten-year lease through agent Christie & Co. The property occupies the ground and first floors of a grade II-listed, end of terrace property, boasting a spacious main bar, dance floor, 50-cover seating area, DJ booth and a private lounge on the first floor for events and functions. Although the business will be predominantly wet-led to begin with, there is potential to further expand its food offering. Sam Ashton, business agent at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said: “I have no doubt the business will be a successful drinking spot among competitors in the area. An affordable food offering could soon be introduced to the business model once it becomes more established.”

Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare appoints new head chef: The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, has appointed Jeff Nenonen as head chef of the attraction’s food and beverage outlets. Nenonen will be responsible for catering at the pier’s Boardwalk Café, Captain Jack’s Bar and Tiffany’s Tea Room & Restaurant, as well as the venue’s conference and events banquet offering. With 24 years’ experience in catering, Nenonen takes the role following the departure of Tracey Conquer, who held the position for ten years but has relocated to Torquay. The food and drinks offer on the Grand Pier ranges from traditional seaside favourites such as fish and chips at the Boardwalk Café, bar snacks at Captain Jack’s Bar and afternoon tea and light lunches at Tiffany’s, with panoramic views of the sea and the beachfront. Nenonen said: “The Grand Pier is an amazing landmark and I’m honoured to be working here among a team of fantastic leisure and hospitality professionals.” Grand Pier co-owner Michelle Michael added: “Our offering here is widely varied, from hosting weddings and special occasions to welcoming families looking for a portion of fish and chips and an afternoon of fun. I’m sure Jeff will do a great job of meeting our customers’ needs.”

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