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Mon 22nd Oct 2018 - Update: Duncan Garrood, Whitbread, Slim Chickens and Patisserie Valerie
Former Bill’s chief executive Duncan Garrood takes over as chief executive at Ten Entertainment: Ten Entertainment Group, one of the UK’s leading family entertainment companies, has hired Duncan Garrood as chief executive, succeeding Alan Hand. As previously announced in June, Hand will be leaving the Group on 14 December. Garrood will join the group as chief executive designate with effect from 19 November and take up the role as chief executive and join the board with effect from 15 December. Garrood has significant expertise in the consumer and leisure sectors, with a career spanning 35 years. He has board-level experience of private and public businesses and, until recently, held the position of chief executive of Bill’s Restaurants, overseeing 80 sites and 3,000 employees. Prior to joining Bill’s, Garrood was chief executive of Punch Taverns, the UK’s second-largest pub company with more than 3,500 pubs. In addition, he served on the board as president of MH Alshaya, where he was responsible for the group’s food division, and before that was regional vice-president of SC Johnson. He began his career at Unilever, serving for more than 20 years in a variety of management positions in the UK and latterly Shanghai, China. Garrood holds a PhD in biochemistry from Imperial College, London. Chairman Nick Basing said: “We ran a deep and wide-ranging search process and we are delighted to appoint Duncan as the new chief executive. Duncan was the stand-out candidate. We sensed his significant enthusiasm for the opportunities in the business but he also has a strong track record that clearly demonstrates his ability to grow businesses and build brands operating in consumer-facing markets.” Garrood added: “Ten Entertainment Group is a family-oriented business in the exciting and growing area of experiential leisure. I am pleased to be joining a business with a proven model and in a robust, growing market.”

Whitbread to debut budget brand Zip in Cardiff: The Times has reported Whitbread will open a new “no-frills” version of its Premier Inn brand today as it seeks to expand its hotel business with new formats after it sells Costa Coffee. The company will launch its first Zip by Premier Inn in Cardiff in February, with rooms from £19 a night, and aims to open three or four before deciding whether to introduce them more widely. Premier Inn managing director Simon Jones told The Times consumer research and a trial of six Zip rooms at its hotel in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, had established guests were willing to forgo large rooms, central locations and “bells and whistles” if it saved them money. The average price of a standard Premier Inn room is £57. The Times added: “Whitbread, which is in the process of selling Costa to the Coca-Cola Company for £3.9bn, has 789 Premier Inn hotels in Britain, six in the Middle East and one in Germany. Its Zip in Cardiff is near an industrial estate and it has secured a site in Southampton for a second one. The rooms will be roughly half the size of a standard Premier Inn room at 8.5 square metres. They are designed by Priestman Goode, the consultancy behind first-class cabins for Air France and Lufthansa.”

Slim Chickens to debut in Wales: US brand Slim Chickens has chosen Cardiff for its second restaurant opening in the UK, following the launch of its flagship London restaurant. Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), which signed a franchise agreement with Slim Chickens USA earlier this year, has signed a lease for a restaurant in St David’s shopping centre. Scheduled to open before Christmas, the 2,400 square foot Slim Chickens will offer seating for 92 diners and create 40 jobs in the area. With more than 80 outlets in the US, Slim Chickens UK opened its first restaurant off Oxford Street six months ago and it has been “trading ahead of expectations”. BRG now has its sights on Cardiff before rolling out the fast-casual restaurant concept to other cities across the UK and Ireland. Signature menu items include buttermilk-marinated, hand-breaded chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings and a range of Southern US sides such as Texas toast, fried pickles and mac ‘n’ cheese, as well as a choice of 13 house dipping sauces. Those with a sweet tooth will be able to enjoy the new milkshake range as well as fruit pies and jar desserts. The brand’s focus is on delivering authentic Southern US hospitality, along with fresh, high-quality chicken.  The Cardiff restaurant will feature ordering kiosks and a refillable drinks station as well as delivery and a click-and-collect service. Tom Crowley, chief executive of BRG, said: “We are delighted to be introducing Slim Chickens to St David’s. Cardiff is a lively city with a fantastic student population and booming food scene. It was the obvious choice for us to open our first regional restaurant outside London. There is something unique about Slims with its freshly cooked chicken, house sauces, modern blues music and Southern US hospitality. We always knew this brand was a good fit for the UK and Ireland and we are pleased with the speed at which Slim’s has already established itself. We’re looking forward to opening in Wales and extending the Slims base into more sites next year.”

Law firm plans Patisserie Valerie legal action: A law firm is contacting Patisserie Valerie investors in the hope of launching legal action following the discovery of a near-£40m hole in the company’s books, The Sunday Times has reported. Teacher Stern wants to pursue the company for losses endured by shareholders when it announced the board had been “notified of significant and potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities”. The shares, which had risen from 170p to 429.5p over four and a half years, were suspended while accountants from PwC investigated irregularities in its accounts. Chris Marsh, the company’s finance director, was suspended and then arrested before being released on bail. Patisserie Valerie launched a £15.7m rescue package from shareholders including stockbroker Hargreave Hale and the fund managers Schroders, Invesco Perpetual and Miton. However, the shares were sold at a deep discount of 50p, slashing the company’s implied valuation from £446m to £68m. Philip Rubens, head of financial services litigation at Teacher Stern, is trying to gather support for a group action case. Rubens said he had spoken to half a dozen institutional shareholders about filing proceedings against the company over “misleading statements” and that he was close to securing funding for the litigation.

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