Carluccio's appoints Graham Ford as commercial director: Carluccio’s, the Italian all-day restaurant group led by chief executive Mark Jones, has appointed Graham Ford as commercial director. The appointment comes as Carluccio’s gears up to implement its £10m investment programme, which will see the estate fully refurbished, new product development and an enhanced guest experience. Ford, who begins his new role on Monday (5 November), brings a wealth of hospitality experience to Carluccio’s, joining from Bill’s where he was chief operating officer. During his two-and-a-half years with Bill's, he led the format transformation project that is currently being rolled out across the estate. Prior to that, Ford was managing director of Jackson & Rye, which was sold to French brasserie Cote in 2017. He has also held senior roles at Tragus (now Casual Dining Group). Jones said: “I’m delighted to secure someone of Graham’s experience for our business at this vital time. His strong industry knowledge and insight will be hugely valuable as we embark on a programme that will revitalise the brand and provide a solid platform for the future.” Ford added: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Carluccio’s at this time of reinvestment and new thinking. I am looking forward to working with Mark and the senior management team to reaffirm Carluccio’s credentials as one of the country’s leading Italian casual dining brands.”
Charles Wells buys four Orange Tree pubs as it expands Pizza, Pots & Pints estate: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has bought four sites from independent pub group The Orange Tree to allow for expansion of its Pizza, Pots & Pints concept. The pubs are The Orange Tree in Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham as well as Kelso’s in Loughborough. The deal will enable Charles Wells to extend its reach into new areas of the UK, marking its first sites in Leicester, Nottingham and Loughborough. As part of the acquisition, Charles Wells will continue to trade the Orange Tree pubs, retaining all 82 employees across the sites ahead of making the investment to introduce its Pizza, Pots & Pints format in the spring. Kelso’s will continue to operate in its current form. The sale, which included a combination of lease assignments and freehold disposals together with the associated business at the properties, was brokered by agent Davis Coffer Lyons for an undisclosed figure. Charles Wells chief executive Justin Phillimore said: “We are delighted to acquire these four excellent pubs and welcome their teams to the Charles Wells family. It is an exciting time for Charles Wells as we accelerate the growth of our managed house estate in both the UK and France. Our ambition for the Pizza, Pots & Pints format is to grow it by another 15 sites in the next two to three years so acquisitions such as this, with like-minded regionally-based multiples, are crucial for accelerating our expansion.” Including the new purchases, Charles Wells now has nine Pizza, Pots & Pints sites in the UK, and has plans to increase that figure to 25 over the next two to three years.