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Tue 6th Nov 2018 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector’s biggest benchmarking survey sees Ebitda as percentage of turnover steady as operators ‘find new ways to absorb costs’: Ebitda as a percentage of turnover has risen 0.1% in the past year to 10.8% as operators start to find “innovative ways” to absorb additional costs, the haysmacintyre benchmarking survey produced in association with Propel has revealed. More than 120 multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators, operating more than 5,000 restaurants and pubs, took part in the biggest benchmarking survey in the sector. Speaking at the Propel Multi Club Conference, haysmacintyre partner Andrew Ball said: “Ebitda as a percentage of turnover has held up – this was perhaps the most pleasing number of all for me. We’re not quite at the heady days of 2015 (13.4%), but at 10.8% we’re seeing a good level of turnover drop to the Ebitda line. People are starting to find innovative ways to absorb the additional costs of wages, rates and food costs.” Average wet-led turnover per site increased 9.4% to £1.19m in the past year, while dry-led venues saw a 9.7% fall to £1.21m. However, dry-led businesses saw an increase in gross profit margin (2.8% on food; 2.9% on drinks) during the year, while there was a decrease for wet-led (minus 1.3% food; minus 0.8% drinks). Ball said one reason for the figures could be dry-led businesses are “managing direct costs better”. Operators are targeting 12% turnover growth during the next year, taking into account site acquisitions as well as natural growth, compared with 11% last year. Like-for-like turnover growth was 4.7% this year, down from 5.0% in 2017, with venues outside London seeing a fall to 5.1% from 6.0%. However, the capital saw a 0.5% rise during the period to 3.7%. Almost half (47%) of dry-led businesses have a delivery agreement in place, rising to more than four-fifths (82%) in London, compared with 72% in the capital last year. The majority (92%) use Deliveroo, followed by UberEats (37%), Just Eat (11%), other suppliers (5%) and Amazon (3%). Ball said average commission paid to delivery providers was 24% of gross sales, compared with 27% last year, but was still a “big hit to your bottom line”. When asked what affect the delivery market had on turnover, almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents claimed a neutral or negative impact, while more than four-fifths (82%) said it had a neutral or negative affect on profit. Ball blamed cannibalisation of turnover, especially in central London, an inability to upsell and lesser sales of alcohol for the reported neutral affect on profit. The trend towards healthier eating has risen, with 89% of operators increasing the number of healthy options on their menu, compared with 71% in 2017. The number offering gluten-free options was 90%, followed by vegan (87%) and dairy-free (51%). Looking ahead, more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents think Brexit will have a negative impact on their ability to recruit staff, while two-thirds (67%) think it will affect revenue.

Industry News:

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator tickets now on sale: The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its second year following a bumper inaugural event. The summit is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality and aims to build a community, promote idea sharing, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, which will be the centrepiece of the event series and take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London. The event will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, the latest market insights, technology and digital developments, building strong links between marketing and operations, embedding a brand throughout a hospitality business, and future trends. It has been designed for marketing, development and innovation teams as well as senior executives and investors who want to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. The event will feature more than 40 speakers, with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs from companies including TGI Friday’s, YO! Sushi, Hakkasan Group, Casual Dining Group, Claus Meyer Restaurant Group, New World Trading Company, Wagamama, Hilton, Inception Group, Coca-Cola, Just Eat, Arc Inspirations, Novus, SSP, Be At One, Marriott International and Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. As well as sharing successes from across the UK, the event will bring international speakers to the conversation. The 2019 edition will feature speakers from five countries including Anders Houman, partner at multi-award winning Victor Restaurant Group in Copenhagen; John Rigos, chief executive of New York-based Aurify Brands; and Australian entrepreneur Sarah Holloway, co-founder of Matcha Mylkbar, which became an overnight hit after posting one incredible shot on social media. Special guest speakers will include Chris Miller, founder of the White Rabbit Fund and investor on the BBC’s Million Pound Menu; Martin Morales, Ceviche Family founder and winner of Innovator of the Year 2018; and Zahra Kahn, founder of Feya, a concept designed with Instagram in mind. Early-bird tickets are available until Monday, 12 November at the special rate of £525 for operators and £795 for suppliers for the two days. Full-price tickets after this date will be £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at anne.steele@propelinfo.com or calling her on 01444 817691

More than one-third of millennials eating out less than a year ago: More than one-third (34%) of millennials are eating out less than they did a year ago, according to new research. The YouGov study commissioned by technology company Flyt revealed three in five (60%) have cut down to save money, while one in eight (14%) are worried about Brexit. Flyt has weaved the findings into a report entitled Dining Out Isn’t Dead which, it said, demonstrated how pivotal technology is in improving millennials’ dining out experiences. Two-fifths (40%) want to be able to book a table via an app or social media, while almost one-third (32%) want to be able to use their smartphones to receive more accurate wait times for a table. More than one-quarter (26%) want to order food on their own tablet or a device provided by the restaurant. Almost another quarter (24%) would like to see technology introduced at their favourite restaurant that enables them to confirm their order on their smartphone to guarantee it’s correct. More than one in five (22%) would like to see technology that enables direct tipping into a waiter’s bank account and the same amount want to see personalised menus based on dietary requirements. Almost one in five (18%) want technology that gives them the same amount of ingredient information with delivery companies as they would at a restaurant. Meanwhile, fewer than one-fifth (17%) want to be able to leave detailed feedback easily online, 15% would like technology that helps them discover the source of ingredients in a dish, and 11% want technology to streamline operations so they can eat out quicker. The statistics showed one-fifth (17%) of 18 to 34-year-olds don’t have enough spare time to eat out in restaurants. The average amount of time this age group is willing to wait between requesting the bill and paying it is only nine minutes and eight seconds. Younger people (18 to 24-year-olds) appear to be more frustrated than the older generation when they are unable to split the bill easily, with two-fifths (21%) branding this a key frustration. Flyt chief executive Tom Weaver said: “Restaurants can no longer look at technology as optional – integrating it in the right way is now critical to attract diners.”

UK hoteliers see double-digit growth in demand: UK hoteliers saw double-digit, year-on-year growth in demand during the third quarter of 2018, with a number of cities and regions witnessing strong uplifts, according to new data from Expedia Group. The findings showed a continued rise in hotel demand from domestic and international visitors, while demand remained strong from traditional and new visitor markets. The number of travellers from China surged almost 180% year-on-year, while visitors from the US grew almost 40%, followed by Australia (30%) and France (25%). Several fast-growing markets such as Ireland, Japan and Brazil registered double-digit year-on-year increases. Regionally, Devon and Cornwall both grew almost 10% year-on-year, while the Lake District & Cumbria was up 25% and the Cotswolds 15%. East Anglia, Hampshire, the West Midlands and South Wales also experienced a substantial boom in demand, each growing between 20% and 30% year-on-year. The data showed almost 50% of demand during the period came from UK-based guests. Package demand to the UK has also grown strongly across a number of visitor markets, encouraging a small uplift in average daily rates for those bookings. Edinburgh showed an increase of almost 30% year-on-year for package demand, with Birmingham up 20%. Expedia Group director of market management Helen Maher said: “Summer continued in a positive vein for UK hotels, with those across a number of regions and tourist destinations enjoying impressive growth compared with the same period last year. Demand remains strong from key international markets, where visitors tend to book further in advance, stay longer and spend more on their trip.”

Dine and Three UK partnership can provide potential two million new customers per month for operators: A partnership between Dine, the UK marketing platform for hospitality, and telecommunications company Three UK is set to drive footfall for operators. Dine will be available on Three’s reward app, Wuntu, from January. The deal gives operators listed with Dine access to two million potential new diners per month, particularly in the millennial age bracket, which makes up almost half (48%) of the platform’s users. The Three deal follows a partnership with GoCompare.com, which has seen Dine heavily advertised on television in recent months. Since launching a year ago, Wuntu has achieved two million downloads and sees 1.2 million active users a month take advantage of the rewards it offers. Customers can use the app to view tailored content and receive perks that include eating out, holidays, gifts and experiences. Wuntu offers its users location-based incentives with nearby venues, while Dine offers exclusive short-term promotions with partner operators to drive Three customers to their restaurants. Dine founder and chief executive Andy Huggins said: “We are so proud to be able to offer this opportunity to our restaurant partners. Dine is designed to complement their existing marketing strategy with a focus on filling tables at quieter times and attracting new customers to achieve a site’s full turnover potential.” Dine works with more than 4,500 restaurants across the UK, more than 80% of them independent sites.

Government health drive ‘must not undermine’ sector’s work: The government’s move to promote healthy attitudes to food and drink should not include “kneejerk” measures that could undermine businesses in the sector, UKHospitality has warned. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Venues have worked hard to reformulate menus to reduce calories and provide greater choice and transparency. The sector also works alongside partners such as Drinkaware to promote safer drinking and healthy attitudes towards alcohol. We will continue to work with our members, the wider sector and our partners to promote healthy eating and drinking and communicate our efforts to the government to help tackle any health issues. It should be noted that, for the vast majority of customers, eating and drinking out is not an everyday occurrence. We are ready and willing to support the government but we need to avoid any kneejerk measures that threaten businesses disproportionately.”

SIBA Business Awards 2019 opens for entries: The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) Business Awards 2019 is open for entries. The awards will take place during SIBA’s flagship event, BeerX UK, which will be held at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool in March. The awards have a deadline of Thursday, 31 January and aim to recognise excellence in the brewing industry across a variety of categories, from pump clip, can and bottle design to efforts taken by brewers to make their business more eco-friendly, innovative or successful. The awards also feature categories for bars, restaurants, retailers and companies that promote independent craft beer in the UK. The SIBA Business Awards are free to enter and judged by a panel of independent industry experts. The craft beer retailing, promotion, restaurant and bar categories were introduced in 2016 to highlight the work being carried out to promote British independent craft beer and are open for entry by businesses across the UK.

Company News:

Deltic to hold off further deals following Tiger Tiger acquisitions to avoid business becoming ‘laden with debt’, IPO ‘not off the table’: Peter Marks, chief executive of The Deltic Group, has told Propel the company will hold off further deals having acquired three Tiger Tiger sites from London bar and restaurant operator Novus because it does not want the business to become “laden with debt”. Marks also said the company would invest more than £1m in each of the venues – in Manchester, Newcastle and Portsmouth – in a project he deemed “Tiger Tiger 2.0”. He added: “Our focus will be on these sites, although if something special became available we would look at it. But what we want to do is to continue growing the business sensibly so we are not laden with debt and have a properly invested estate. We’ve got that balance about right and if we do more deals we’ve either got to take on more debt or ask our shareholders to put in more money.” He said the company had been looking for some time to enter the Manchester and Newcastle markets and had finally found the “right property in the right location”. He said: “It’s not often these premium sites become available so we moved heaven and earth to get them. These are big cities with great reputations that people come from all over the place to enjoy.” Marks said the sites would trade under their current format for the next nine months before being rebranded to a new concept. He said: “We’re spending a lot of money on each of the sites and we’re still working on how the new concept will look. We’re looking at a few designs at the moment. It will be an evolvement of the current Tiger Tiger format – I’ve dubbed it Tiger Tiger 2.0 for now.” Marks said the company would eventually look at refinancing the business and an initial public offering (IPO) was “not off the table”. He added: “When we look at new investment, it’s something we’ll consider. The public market is something I’m comfortable with but if it’s going to work as well as making sure the company is in fit shape, the IPO market also has to be right and it’s very tough at the moment.”

Inn Collection Group appoints new chairman: The Inn Collection Group, which is owned by Alchemy Partners, has appointed Ian Goulding as its new chairman as the nine-strong operator enters its next stage of growth and development. Goulding is co-founder and former chief financial officer of 26-site QHotels. The Inn Collection Group chief executive Sean Donkin said: “Ian has a wealth of commercial experience and specific experience in hospitality that will be of great value to us at a crucial time as we begin the next phase of our buy-and-build growth plans. Expansion brings with it a number of challenges – not only finding properties that meet our pubs with rooms blueprint of providing quality accommodation, food and beverages in contemporary inn environments, but ensuring the business can accommodate the increased portfolio. Having achieved this with great success on several occasions with QHotels, we will draw on Ian’s wisdom and experience as we progress the continual evolution of The Inn Collection Group.” Goulding, who also co-founded and was chief financial officer of Paramount hotels for ten years, added: “What The Inn Collection Group has brought to the industry is unique and its approach excited me. For more than a decade we have been reading about the number of pub closures in the UK every week. Yet The Inn Collection team is making pubs a success, which is down to the management team, their processes and their multi-tasking staff who make a successful customer experience their priority. I look forward to providing support and guidance to Sean and his team as they go through the growth phase.” Goulding replaces chairman Geoff Hodgson, who stepped down from the board in June.

Jones Bar Group to double up Roxy Ball Room brand in Liverpool: Jones Bar Group is to open a second site in Liverpool for its Roxy Ball Room brand. The company has submitted an application to the city council for a premises licence within part of a former BHS store in Rainford Square. The site comprises 16,000 square feet split over two floors in the former cafe space. In 2016, Roxy Ball Room opened in Hanover Street as part of Liverpool ONE and the new venue will be bigger – in terms of floor space and gaming. It will feature a nine-hole mini-golf course, shuffleboard, ping pong, pool, retro arcade gaming and four full-size bowling lanes. Brand development manager Joel Mitchell told The Business Desk: “Roxy Ball Room was founded in a rebellious spirit, going against the norms of what was around us. I think Liverpool has that same outlook. It’s safe to say we have fallen in love with the city. The site in Hanover Street is nearly full for December in terms of advance bookings so we are confident there is capacity in Liverpool for a second Roxy Ball Room.” The new Liverpool venue is due to open in the spring. Jones Bar Group currently operates seven Roxy Ball Rooms, including sites in Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham.

Loungers secures West Bridgford site: Cafe bar group Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has secured a site in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, for its Lounges brand. The company has acquired the former Mud Crab premises in Central Avenue through agents FHP Property and will launch Portello Lounge in time for Christmas. The property comprises 3,042 square feet on the ground floor and 2,807 square feet on the floor above. Loungers has taken an unbroken term of 20 years, subject to five-yearly rent reviews at a commencing rent of £120,000 per annum exclusive. FHP director Alan Pearson, who secured the deal, said: “I received a considerable amount of interest in the property from regional and national operators resulting in four offers. I’m delighted to have secured a leading operator in Loungers, which will invest circa £750,000 into the property. This is the third site we have let to Loungers in the region.” As part of the deal, a planning application was made to Rushcliffe Borough Council to secure permanent trading hours until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. Martin Herbert, of Space RPC, acted on behalf of Loungers, which was founded by Dave Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop in 2002. The company operates about 130 venues under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands and is on track to reach 140 by the end of the year.

Tim Hortons to open first Scottish drive-thru: Canadian cafe and bake shop Tim Hortons is to open its first drive-thru in Scotland. SK Group, which is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons, will open the venue in Linwood Road, Paisley, in the coming weeks. The new outlet will offer Tim Hortons’ signature coffee, espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, French vanilla and classic frozen Iced Capp, as well as baked goods and breakfast and lunch offerings. The first Tim Hortons in the UK opened in Glasgow in June 2017. Since then, a further 17 have launched in and around Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and Belfast, with plans for up to 100 UK outlets. Kevin Hydes, chief finance and commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “We have had a wonderful welcome from the people of Scotland since we first opened in Glasgow last year and this will be the first of many drive-thru restaurants.” Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.

Andrew Brownsword Hotels invests ‘significantly’ in F&B offer but turnover hit by ‘mixed’ underlying trading: The portfolio of luxury hotels owned by businessman Andrew Brownsword has invested “significantly” in its food and beverage offer as it reported turnover was hit by “mixed” underlying trading and a loss of trade from a venue damaged by fire in 2016. The company operates Abode hotels in Canterbury, Manchester, Chester and Glasgow as well as the grade II-listed Royal Clarence in Exeter, which was damaged in a blaze two years ago. Turnover fell to £14,406,392 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £17,909,655 the year before. The company also reported a pre-tax loss of £495,085, compared with a profit of £15,433,512 the previous year. However, profits in 2016 were hit by a £21m insurance settlement from the Royal Clarence fire. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The group operating results for the period reflect mixed underlying trading and significant investment in the refurbishment and rebranding of food and beverage spaces and associated disruption to trade as well as the loss of trading from the Royal Clarence. During the period the board and senior management, working alongside a consultant team, have developed detailed designs for rebuilding the Royal Clarence. Planning permission was also received during the period. At the time of signing the financial statements, the contractor has commenced work on-site. The loss for the period will be transferred to reserves. No dividends were paid or proposed in the year.” Andrew Brownsword Hotels operates alongside Bath Priory, also owned by Andrew Brownsword. It includes Gidleigh Park and its Michelin-starred restaurant in Devon, The Bath Priory, as well as Amberley Castle in West Sussex, Buckland Manor in Worcestershire, and Old Swan & Minster Mill in Oxford, all of which operate under the brand Andrew Brownsword Hotels. Turnover at Bath Priory rose to £28,295,827 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £21,426,284 the previous year. Pre-tax profit increased to £2,150,620, compared with £1,198,860 the year before.

Cyrus Todiwala to start expansion of kitchen concept with Canary Wharf opening: Chef Cyrus Todiwala is to open a second site for his Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen concept, in Canary Wharf. Todiwala will launch the venue in January at the new Lincoln Plaza London hotel. The restaurant will have its own entrance and offer authentic Indian street food and specialities inspired by Todiwala’s own Parsee culinary heritage. The menu will include Leeli Chutney Ni Salmon (Wester Ross salmon marinated in Parsee-style fresh green chutney, skewered and chargrilled in the tandoor and served with chutney based on a family recipe). It will also feature Venison Tikka Aflatoon based on a recipe shown to Todiwala by his father during hunting trips in Rajasthan and flavoured with a treble hit of anise. Guarded by a huge elephant, the double-height dining room will be decorated in bright blue, orange and red, complemented by fans created with sari fabrics, hanging copper pots, shelves full of Indian artefacts and mismatched furniture. Todiwala’s other Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen is at Heathrow airport. He also operates Café Spice Namaste, near Tower Bridge.

Former Murano head chef and Great British Menu winner opens debut restaurant, in King’s Cross: Pip Lacey, former head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Murano and last year’s winner of television series Great British Menu, has opened her debut restaurant, in King’s Cross. Hicce is on the top floor of concept store Wolf & Badger with a terrace overlooking the new Coal Drops Yard development. Lacey has launched the concept with business partner Gordy McIntyre, who formerly worked for Conran Restaurants and Urban Pubs and Bars, with backing from her mentor and friend Angela Hartnett. Hicce uses traditional techniques such as cooking over fire to create dishes inspired by Lacey’s travels. The venue offers “DIY sandwiches” featuring rye and beer bread made in-house, plus a selection of cheese, charcuterie, cured fish and fermented vegetables. The dinner menu offers choices from five sections – meat, fish, vegetables, hot sticks and special – while the bar offers local craft beer, cocktails and wine. Coal Drops Yard features more than 50 restaurants, cafes and stores in a reimagined set of buildings and arches next to Granary Square and Regent’s Canal. Other ventures include three sites from the Hart Brothers and a debut UK site for Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse’s chocolate brand.

Whitbread introduces paper straws: Whitbread has introduced paper straws across its Costa Coffee and Premier Inn & Restaurants businesses. Costa Coffee UK and Ireland managing director Jason Cotta said: “Following our announcement earlier this year, we are delighted to be introducing a sustainable alternative to plastic straws – removing 45 million plastic straws from our stores as part of our ongoing commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle. We removed all plastic straws from our condiment units last year as a first step to reducing waste. This change alone reduced the use of straws across the business by 27% so we are confident replacing them with a non-plastic alternative will have a significant impact on reducing the consumption of single-use plastic – and hope to see others do the same.” Costa Coffee also revealed that following the introduction of glassware for its summer drinks range, almost eight million drinks were served in glassware this year that would previously have been sold in single-use plastic takeaway cups. Premier Inn & Restaurants is also introducing paper straws this month, eliminating the use of 12 million plastic straws annually from across its 680-plus sites.

Pachamama Group launches third London site, in Shoreditch: Restaurant operator Pachamama Group has launched its third London site, in Shoreditch. Pachamama East has opened in Great Eastern Street offering a different experience to Peruvian-style sister sites Chicama and Pachamama. The new venue focuses on seasonal produce and “applying the bold flavours, aromas, textures and spices that make Asian food so tasty”. The 85-cover site is split over two floors with the main restaurant featuring plants, pastels, reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and an open kitchen. A staircase leads to a 16-cover private dining room on the lower ground floor. The group’s new executive creative chef Mikkel Gregersen, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and AOC in Copenhagen, has placed an emphasis on sharing at Pachamama East, with dishes such as grilled hispi cabbage and smoked aubergine. The snacks menu includes Sichuan fried chicken, while brunch includes Peruvian waffles with a choice of toppings. The main, sunken bar offers pisco-focused drinks and bubble tea cocktails alongside beer, wine and spirits. Pachamama Group opened modern-Peruvian restaurant Pachamama Bar + Kitchen in Marylebone in 2014, launching Chicama Bar + Kitchen in Chelsea two years later.

Maitre Choux to open fourth London site and largest to date, in Chelsea this winter: Maitre Choux, the patisserie specialising in choux pastry, is to open its fourth site in London and largest to date, in Chelsea this winter. The venue will launch in King’s Road offering the brand’s “modern version of a French patisserie” with seating for 15 to eat in. The brand specialises in eclairs, choux and chouquettes (empty choux pastry balls topped with pearl sugar). Chef Joakim Prat and business partner Jeremie Vaislic launched Maitre Choux in 2015. As at its other sites, Maitre Choux King’s Road will take customised orders along with corporate and private orders. Maitre Choux’s other sites are in Soho, South Kensington and Westfield White City. Prat has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants including Mayfair’s The Greenhouse, where he was head pastry chef, and as executive pastry chef at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier in Covent Garden.

YouTube star launches vegan burger restaurant in Liverpool: YouTube and Instagram star Monami Frost has opened a vegan burger restaurant in Liverpool. The Latvian, who is known for her heavily tattooed look, has launched Frost Burgers in Wood Street in the refurbished Vanilla Factory building. The restaurant, which has been entirely funded by Frost and her friends, specialises in 100% plant-based “junk food” such as burgers, desserts and shakes, reports the Liverpool Echo. Announcing the opening on Instagram, Frost said: “Can’t believe all the hard work we have put into this place the last year has taken us to this day. We hope you are gonna love this place and the food as much as we do. I can’t wait to have you guys here and try my kind of food and be a part of my family because this is going to be my second home. It has been a dream come true to make it the way we want to make it.”

Swindon-based nightclub operator lines up third site, in Gloucester: Swindon-based nightclub operator Altlanco is lining up a third site for its Tree concept, in Gloucester. The company has lodged an application with the city council to renew the alcohol licence of the former H2O bar in Eastgate Street. H2O closed in April having been a mainstay of Gloucester nightlife for more than 20 years. Altlanco has applied for a licence to sell alcohol from 8am to 3am, reports Gloucestershire Live. Altlanco, which opened its debut Tree venue in Swindon in August 2016, already has a presence in Gloucestershire having opened a site in Cheltenham in September, taking over the space above Bierkeller in Bath Road.

Mastcraft to launch Indian street food concept at Soho hotel this month: London-based Mastcraft Hotels is to launch an Indian street food concept at its Courthouse Hotel in Soho this month. Culinary development director Preet Tandi has developed and will head up Soho Wala at the hotel in Great Marlborough Street. The 50-cover restaurant will have its own entrance and resemble an Indian market. The menu will include mirchi matchstick chicken with fresh green chilli, lime and root ginger; and assam tea brulee with vanilla ice cream and malai crème alongside cocktails such as the Chai White Russian, reports Hot Dinners. Tandi joined Mastcraft Hotels in August and is designing and creating multi-cuisine fine dining and casual dining concepts for the group. He developed his skills working with luxury venues including Edwardian Hotels, where he helped develop the launch of its Kitchen concepts. He also worked at restaurants such as Nobu London, Dinner by Heston, Kiru and Madhu’s.

Dalata agrees new €525m debt facility: Irish hotel operator Dalata has agreed a new €525m debt facility, completing the refinance of its existing debt facilities. The new facilities, made up of a term loan facility of £176.5m and a multi-currency revolving credit facility of €325m, have a five-year term expiring in November 2023 and replace the existing term loan (about €300m) and revolving credit facilities of €190m, which were due to mature in February 2020. The existing facilities were provided at intervals from February 2015 by a banking group comprising AIB Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays and Ulster Bank. The group has been joined by HSBC and Banco de Sabadell in providing the new facilities. Deloitte acted as debt advisor for Dalata. Dermot Crowley, deputy chief executive – business development and finance, said: “Our banking group has been very supportive of our growth ambitions since we first drew down facilities in February 2015. I am pleased HSBC and Banco de Sabadell have now joined our group and it demonstrates the growing attraction of Dalata to international lending institutions. The terms of the new facilities reflect the increased strength of the balance sheet since 2015. These new facilities will help support the continued growth of our business, reduce our financing costs and extend the maturity of our debt.”

Richard H Turner and Colin McSherry head kitchen of new Mayfair restaurant: Chefs Richard H Turner and Colin McSherry are heading up the kitchen of a restaurant that has just opened in Mayfair. Gridiron has launched at Como Metropolitan London in Park Lane at a spot that formerly housed The Met Bar. The restaurant combines Turner’s expertise in open-flame cooking and ethical sourcing with McSherry’s creativity and fine dining craft honed at The Clove Club, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck and Murano. The 62-cover site pays homage to the “ancient art of grilling”. Turner said: “With charcoal and live-fire cooking every ingredient becomes a unique encounter – the way the meat, fish or vegetable responds to the flame. We are thrilled to partner with Como Hotels and Resorts to showcase the techniques inherent in this simple, yet flavourful way of cooking.”

Revolution Bars Group to open Revolution site in Durham this month: Revolution Bars Group will open a Revolution site in Durham this month. The company will open the venue on Friday, 23 November in Silver Street, creating more than 60 jobs. The company is investing £1m to transform the former Bishop Langley pub, which sits on the banks of the Wear. General manager Nigel Wood told BDaily: “We are excited to bring a long-awaited Revolution bar to Durham city centre.” Revolution Bars Group operates 76 premium bars trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands. Last month, chief executive Rob Pitcher told Propel its Revolution brand needed to “catch up”. The company has outlined a number of initiatives for its core brand, including extending delivery and “Instagrammable entertainment”.

New World Trading Company to open The Botanist in Cheltenham next month: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company will open a site for its The Botanist brand in Cheltenham next month. The company will open the 6,500 square foot venue in The Brewery Quarter leisure complex in the town centre on Monday, 3 December, reports Gloucestershire Live. New World Trading Company chief executive Chris Hill previously said: “Cheltenham is a fantastic location for us to open and The Brewery Quarter felt a natural choice.” New World Trading Company, which also operates The Florist, The Oast House, The Trading House and The Canal House, was acquired by Graphite Capital for £50m in June 2016. It currently operates 15 sites for The Botanist.

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