Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head CPL Learning Link Paul's Twitter Link Greene King Banner
Morning Briefing Strap Line
Wed 5th Aug 2020 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BrewDog calls for urgent action to stimulate central London economy, Eat Out To Help Out ‘making huge difference’ already: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is calling for urgent government action to stimulate central London’s economy as the company revealed its sales in the heart of the capital are only a quarter of last year’s level. While BrewDog said it had seen revenue recover at its bars in other parts of England and in Scotland, that wasn’t the case in London where a drop in footfall is having a severe impact on trade. In a tweet aimed at the government and London mayor Sadiq Khan, which revealed the company’s latest UK bar sales, chief operating officer David McDowall said BrewDog was trading at 72% of last year’s level in Scotland and 66% in England outside London. However, in the capital itself sales are at 47% of 2019’s level, while in central London they are only 26%. McDowall told Propel: “The economic recovery, or lack of it, is happening at vastly different rates across the country. A one-size-fits-all approach to support and stimulus won’t work, London needs a dedicated economic stimulus package quickly.” Meanwhile, BrewDog said the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme was already “making a huge difference”. On Monday (3 August), the first day of the initiative, the company reported sales up across its estate compared with the previous week. Its bar in North Street, Leeds, saw sales rise 104% while its Dundee site saw revenue increase 78%. In London, the company’s Clapham outlet was up 78%. BrewDog retail director James Brown said: “Our industry needed this. Our staff needed this. Thank you Rishi Sunak.”

Industry News:

More than three-quarters of sector businesses at risk of insolvency, UKHospitality calls for further government support: More than three-quarters of hospitality businesses in the UK are at risk of insolvency within 12 months, according to new research. The survey by UKHospitality, in partnership with CGA, showed one-fifth are at significant risk of insolvency or expect insolvency within a year. More than half of businesses believe there’s a “slight risk”, while less than one-quarter face “no risk”. UKHospitality is warning many businesses face ruin with hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk unless the government provides more decisive support. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These new figures underline the scale of the impact of covid-19 on our sector and paint a stark picture of its immediate future. The future of this sector, which provides jobs in every region of the country and is central to our social lives, has never looked shakier. The support the government has provided has been crucial in ensuring many businesses have survived the initial shock of lock-down and stimulated a return of some demand. Without further support, however, we’re going to see more and more venues going out of business and people continue to lose jobs. This means we need to see an extension of the business rates holiday and VAT cut, employment support for those businesses unable to open and financial support on rent. Otherwise, we’re going to see businesses fail and jobs lost just as the economy begins to reopen.”
UKHospitality is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

More than one-third of UK pubs unable to break even after lock-down: More than one-third (37%) of UK pubs can’t break even one month after reopening, new research has revealed. The findings by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) comes exactly a month after pubs in England reopened for the first time after lock-down. One-quarter (25%) of brewing and pub sector businesses also said they didn’t feel their business was sustainable beyond the end of March 2021. The BBPA has welcomed initiatives such as the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and the VAT cut to food and accommodation in hospitality and pubs to help boost the sector, which it hopes will have a positive impact on pub sales in August. However, it said further support was still required for the pub and brewing sector in the medium and longer term to enable businesses to fully recover. It also said the government needed to play its part in building public confidence to visit pubs and hospitality again, with consistent and positive messaging about reopening. In particular, the trade body said more support was required for community pubs, which tend to sell only drink or small food items and are less likely to benefit from the VAT cut and Eat Out To Help Out. The BBPA said the government should cut beer duty by 25%, cut VAT on beer served in pubs and fundamentally reform business rates to enable the beer and pub sector to fully recover and help grow the economy once more. According to the trade body, such measures would be needed to get pubs through this quieter period and into the new year. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “£1 in every £3 spent in a pub goes to the taxman and now’s the time to reinvest that money in our brewers and pubs to secure them for future generations and enable growth.”

Welsh government moves to ban plastic straws and polystyrene food and drink containers: The Welsh government has launched a public consultation to ban single-use plastic items including straws and polystyrene food and drink containers. The Welsh government said littering had become more prominent as lock-down restrictions had eased. The consultation is open until 22 October and includes straws, stirrers, plates, cutlery, and food and drinks containers made of expanded polystyrene. The move comes three months after Defra postponed an equivalent ban in England to October. Lorenzo Angelucci, chief executive of Caerphilly-based Transcend Packaging, which supplies paper straws to quick-service restaurants such as McDonald’s and KFC, said: “This announcement puts Wales on the front foot in the move away from single-use plastics. We commend the Welsh government for taking meaningful action and hope this sets a strong precedent for other single-use items such as coffee cups and lids.”

UK Coffee Week announces new date: Organisers of charity initiative UK Coffee Week, who postponed the April event because of the coronavirus crisis, have confirmed it will now take place from 19 October to 25 October. The event sees coffee shops, retailers, restaurants and brands raise funds for Project Waterfall, a charity working to end the water crisis in coffee-growing communities. The initiative has raised more than £750,000 and, in its tenth year, hopes to pass the £1m milestone. Founder Jeffrey Young said: “Coffee shops and the whole hospitality industry have been hit hard in the past six months. As a result, demand for coffee beans declined and had an impact on our coffee-growing communities. We are pulling out all the stops for UK Coffee Week 2020 with in-store activity, coffee-making tutorials, and a host of online events and competitions.

Brandie Deignan in finals of Black British Business Awards: Brandie Deignan, managing director of Marco Pierre White Restaurants and Black and White Hospitality, has been announced as a finalist in the Black British Business Awards. Deignan is the only black female managing director in the UK’s branded restaurants industry. She is responsible for all restaurant concepts across the Marco Pierre White brand with Black and White Hospitality, and leads the business’ strategic direction including acquisitions, investor relations and growth. Deignan has also held senior positions at Whitbread, Travelodge, Hilton Hotels, Tesco and British Airways.

Company News:

The Breakfast Club to launch virtual delivery brand ahead of rolling out offer to restaurants: All-day concept The Breakfast Club is to launch a virtual delivery brand this week, Propel has learned. Saint Elmo’s Late Night Sandwich Bar will go live on Thursday (6 August) via Deliveroo before being rolled out across the 12-strong group during the next month. The company, which is led by Jonathan Arana-Morton, will give the brand a physical presence at its site in Berwick Street in Soho from September, with the venue turning into Saint Elmo’s Late Night Sandwich Bar from 5pm including a change of signage and lighting. Arana-Morton told Propel: “We worked hard during lock-down to ensure we came out fighting. We felt it was important to take steps to control our own destiny rather being at the mercy of uncertainty. We’ve thrown talent at the problem with not just one but two executive chefs. During lock-down we brought back Chris O’Neil on a consultancy basis to work with current executive chef James Brown. They’ve delivered a small but beautiful menu. It has been like having Ronaldo and Messi in the same team. In Breakfast Club style we’re playing the nostalgia card and working through some classics. Our chicken kiev sandwich is a take on Findus Crispy Pancakes while our vegan sandwich, The Delhi Deli, contains just about every item you’d find in your local curry house. The flagship sandwich is the Saint Elmo’s Fire – a kebab shop in a sandwich. We’ve seen the resilience of delivery and takeaway and the safety net it has provided but we’re fundamentally a hospitality business and that’s sitting down in a restaurant with friends and family, being looked after by our team and eating great food. It’s much easier to tell a story around a restaurant than a virtual food delivery brand – Saint Elmo’s is restaurant first, delivery second.”

Farmstand closes in on £750,000 fund-raise target within hours of launch, eyes more than 1,000 sites in ten years: Farmstand, the fast-casual concept led by US entrepreneur Steven Novick, is already closing in on the £750,000 target of its convertible share equity campaign, which is offering a 25% discount on the equity valuation. The fund-raise only launched on crowdfunding platform Seedrs on Tuesday (4 August). So far, 39 investors have pledged £735,380, with the company stating it hopes to open in more than 1,000 “canteens and outdoor markets in ten cities in ten years”. Farmstand built its central kitchen in Deptford in 2016, launching a debut permanent site in Covent Garden the same year. A second site opened in Canary Wharf in February last year. The brand also operates cafes, stands, mini-stands and an online subscription service in London. The company has five major catering contracts, while the 11th and 12th Farmstand concessions opened this year. The pitch states: “We cook our plant-powered food in our central kitchen. We only need one per city. We deliver it to canteens and outdoor markets, which sell it to customers via Farmstand-branded concessions staffed by their teams. Customers can also pre-order, pay and pick up via the Farmstand app. There’s no rent or build costs, while it’s capital efficient, technology-enabled and globally scalable. Our all-day offering is flexitarian and 100% customisable. We’re disrupting the $200bn catering market, which will double by 2032. Our plan is to be in 1,000-plus canteens and outdoor markets in ten cities in ten years. Your investment will focus only on our UK expansion. We’re also hiring a data scientist, a head of technology and a head of marketing.” Farmstand has raised more than $6m, including $3m in June 2018 in a record-breaking venture capital financing round. The company is majority-owned by Novick and his team, who are all shareholders.

Laurel Canyon Ventures placed into administration: Joffe family business Laurel Canyon Ventures has been placed into administration, Propel understands. Asher Miller and Henry Lan, of David Rubin & Partners, have been appointed joint administrators of the five-strong business, which operates the Chez Bob, Bob’s Café and Monkeynuts concepts. The company operated Chez Bob in Belsize Park, Monkeynuts in Crouch End, and three sites under the Bob’s Café name in Muswell Hill, The Broadway in NW7 and Salusbury Road in NW6. The business was run by Gideon Joffe, son of Giraffe co-founder Russell Joffe, who sadly passed away earlier this year aged 62.

Mac & Wild founders to launch food hall concept at Edinburgh St James scheme: Bonnie & Wild, a new concept from the founders of Scottish restaurant brand Mac & Wild, will be the new anchor food hall at the Edinburgh St James development. The concept, which is headed up by Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, will cover 16,700 square feet and will be the largest single F&B site in Scotland. The concessions will feature five retail offerings, eight food stalls including Mac & Wild, and a “virtual shooting” experience. The drinks offering will feature three bars serving craft Scottish products. Bonnie & Wild will also run a rotating events programme using its demo kitchen and adjoining events space. A creche and children’s play area will be near the entrance. The hall will feature restaurant operators alongside butchers, fishmongers, grocers, cheesemongers, chocolatiers and bakers. The anchor letting, on level four of the development, will demonstrate the “best of Scottish produce and hospitality while delivering a theatrical experience”. Visitors will be able to taste flights of whisky, see salmon carved and experience Highland stalking in Mac & Wild’s virtual shooting range, Smoky Barrels. Waugh said: “Edinburgh St James is the perfect location to launch Bonnie & Wild. We love the fact it’s rooted in its community but has a global outlook. Our vision is to bring the best of Scottish produce to the community and visitors from further afield and we’re excited to create a platform for some of Scotland’s most interesting traders.” Ed Corrigan, of Edinburgh St James, added: “We partnered with Bonnie & Wild because of the pedigree of its team and passion for quality Scottish produce. It knows Edinburgh inside out, has fantastic connections with Scottish farmers and producers, and has travelled the globe scoping out the top food markets. The signing is hugely significant because it shows that, even in a climate of lock-down uncertainty, Edinburgh St James and the city has lost none of its appeal. Scotland has some of the best produce in the world and this will be the best location to showcase it.”

Mouna steps down as Remarkable Pubs managing director after delay, founder takes over: Elton Mouna has stepped down as managing director of London-focused pub collection Remarkable Pubs after delaying his planned departure. Mouna put his plans on hold in favour of getting the 16-strong business open and trading after lock-down. Now he has handed the reins back to company founder Robert Thomas, who will lead the business. Mouna told Propel: “Our approach to the pandemic was to be the first to close and the first to reopen – a strategy that served the company extremely well. With all the pubs safely and meticulously reopened I’m able to pass the reins back to Robert as I move on to my next adventure.” Mouna joined Remarkable Pubs in 2015 after holding senior board-level roles at Fuller’s. He said: “After five years of consecutive sales and profit growth at Remarkable, the world of writing, podcasting, broadcasting, mentoring and sharing my knowledge beckons.” Mouna broadcasts a weekly round-up of hospitality news on talkRADIO.

Priory Inns North West hits double figures with third Star Pubs & Bars site: Cheshire-based operator Priory Inns North West has opened its tenth site and third with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The Big Lock in Middlewich has undergone a joint £480,000 refurbishment to see the canalside pub reopen after building work was delayed during lock-down. The work has created an open-plan bar, snug and 120-cover dining area, which has had its capacity halved while social distancing measures are in place. The pub also has seating for 80 customers outside. The drinks list includes premium draught lager and cider, gin, wine and cocktails. Priory Inns North West director Neil Sparkes said: “Early indications are it’s going to be a popular place. Customers are delighted by the stunning transformation, the fantastic space that has been created and The Big Lock’s canalside location.” Seven of Priory Inns North West’s pubs are in Cheshire.

Wingmans to open largest site to date, in Soho next week: Chicken concept Wingmans is to open its largest site to date, in Soho. The venue will offer more than 150 covers and an exclusive menu. The site in Old Compton Street will soft launch on Friday (7 August) for dinner service only and take part in Eat Out To Help Out ahead of a full opening on 14 August. Founded by David Turofsky and Ben Ford in 2015, the concept focuses on homemade comfort food such as gourmet chicken wings in signature sauces and American-style sides. New menu items will include flavoured chicken wings, buttermilk chicken burgers and cocktails. Wingmans Soho will span two floors and offer four 20-cover private “caves” named Yolko Ono, Henneth Paltrow, Cluck Norris and Atillah The Hen. The Wing Bar will be a walk-in casual dining spot for solo diners or couples. Safety measures will include PPE equipment, optional gloves for customers, track and trace codes, single-use menus, a one-way system and socially distanced tables. Turofsky said: “Soho is part of London’s cultural fabric and it was always our dream to bring Wingmans to the food scene here. We knew the next move needed to be a big one. We’ve been working hard in the kitchen during lock-down to come up with some fresh, new dishes.” The concept’s debut bricks and mortar venue launched in Kilburn in June 2018 under the banner Authentic Wingmans Wingery. Wingmans also operates a delivery and takeaway hatch in Shoreditch, while Ford and Turofsky recently published a cookbook entitled Wings And Things. Stonebrook London and AG&G acted on the Soho deal.

Multi-interactive leisure experience launches £600,000 fund-raise for permanent site: A multi-interactive leisure experience operating as a pop-up has launched a £600,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a permanent venue. Cloud 9 encompasses the best of Gladiators, Ninja Warrior and Total Wipeout to create an “unbeatable inflatable experience”. It is set to open in an undisclosed location near London. Cloud 9 is offering 12.77% equity in return for investment, giving the business a pre-money valuation of £4.1m. The venue will feature a giant obstacle course; a sports arena for dodgeball, football and basketball; a Gladiator duel platform; interactive bungee run; a “last man standing” game; and Nerf shooting gallery. The venue will also feature licensed bars and cafes. Cloud 9 founders Andrew Fairnington and Megan Thomas said: “After an amazing response at our pop-up we’re excited our vision will become reality this winter when we open the first permanent Cloud 9 venue.” Cloud 9 launched in Watford in November 2017 as a pop-up in a school sports hall as a “great way to prove the concept” and a “stepping stone”. The founders said the pop-up was 45% full in its first year, 60% full in year two and 75% in the first five months of year three before lock-down. The founders said Cloud 9 had FY19 revenue of £229,000 and Ebitda of £10,700.

Mercato Metropolitano launches alfresco cafe concept in Mayfair: London-based Italian street food market Mercato Metropolitano has launched an alfresco cafe concept in Mayfair. The company, which operates a food market in nearby grade I-listed St Mark’s, has opened MM Caffé in Brown Hart Gardens. The cafe, which is in the raised garden in front of the Beaumont Hotel, is offering pastries, paninis and foccacia alongside sharing platters of charcuterie and cheese. There is also a small selection of beer and wine, reports Hot Dinners. As well as its Mayfair food market, the company operates a site in Elephant and Castle.

Neighbourhood cafe Beam to open third London site, in Notting Hill this month: Independent neighbourhood cafe Beam is pressing ahead with plans to open its third London site, in Notting Hill, this month. Beam focuses on healthy breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes inspired by Mediterranean and British cuisine. The site in Westbourne Grove will feature mid-century modern interiors to create a “warm, cosy and chic vibe”. The Beam menu includes goat’s cheese and beetroot benedict, Turkish eggs and a vegan breakfast alongside halloumi wraps, gluten-free buttermilk pancakes and brioche French toast. Family-run Beam made its debut in Crouch End in 2013, opening a second site, in Highbury, five years later. Founders Ozgur and Sidar Akyuz said: “We are excited to bring Beam to west London. We hope to provide locals with a space to catch up with friends and family over breakfast and brunch.”

Diageo reports full-year GB net sales down 4% following on-trade closures: Diageo has reported net sales in Great Britain fell 4% for the year ending 30 June 2020. Of its British performance, the company stated: “Solid first-half results were offset by the impact of on-trade closures from March despite an increase in off-trade sales. The impact was further amplified by the cancellation of significant sporting and cultural events. Continued growth in rum and liqueur were offset by declines in beer, scotch, wine and vodka. Guinness was affected by on-trade closures and the decision to support customers and maintain product quality through a keg return scheme. Focus on e-commerce was upweighted as partnerships were strengthened on activities to drive consumer engagement and sales.” Overall, Diageo reported net sales fell 8.7% to £11.8bn, with operating profit dropping 47.1% to £2.1bn. Organic net sales were down 8.4% and organic volumes fell 11.2%. Organic operating profit was down 14.4%. Chief executive Ivan Menzies said: “FY20 was a year of two halves – after good, consistent performance in the first half, the outbreak of covid-19 presented significant challenges for our business, impacting the full-year performance. The actions we’ve taken to strengthen Diageo over the past six years provide a solid foundation to respond to the impacts of the pandemic. We are now a more agile, efficient and effective business. We have taken decisive action through the second half of FY20, tightly managing our costs, reducing discretionary expenditure and reallocating resources across the group. We are further enhancing our data analytics and technology tools to rapidly respond to local consumer and customer shifts triggered by the pandemic. We have strengthened liquidity, giving us flexibility to continue to invest effectively in the business for the long term. While the trajectory of the recovery is uncertain, with volatility expected to continue into FY21, I’m confident in our strategy, the resilience of our business and am proud of the way our people have responded. We are well positioned to emerge stronger.”

Wingstop opens third UK site: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out US chicken brand Wingstop across the UK, has opened its third site, at Bluewater in Kent. The site is in the shopping centre’s Winter Garden area and is open for delivery, takeaway and dine-in. The group reopened its Dalston and Battersea sites for delivery through Deliveroo in April and has since opened both for dine-in. The brand also operates delivery units in Battersea and Kentish Town. Lemon Pepper Holdings opened Wingstop’s debut UK site in Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End in 2018. Wingstop, which has more than 1,000 restaurants globally, entered its agreement with Lemon Pepper Holdings in 2017.

Dhruv Mittal places both London sites on the market: Chef Dhruv Mittal, who has worked at The Fat Duck, Hibiscus and Sat Bains, has placed his two London sites on the market, Propel has learned. Mittal launched DUM Biryani in Wardour Street, Soho, in November 2016. He followed that by opening Lucknow Social in Mayfair’s Maddox Street in April 2019. Propel understands property advisory firm CDG Leisure is marketing both sites. 

Former US international to launch interactive football and entertainment concept at London’s O2: Former US international footballer Eddie Lewis, who played for Derby County, Fulham, Leeds United and Preston North End, is to launch an interactive football and entertainment concept at The O2 in London. Lewis is founder of TOCA, which owns 12 football training centres in the US and 18 affiliates throughout North America. He will launch TOCA Social at a 30,000 square foot site after taking a long-term lease with Waterfront Limited Partnership, a joint venture between AEG Europe and Crosstree Real Estate Partners, which own and manage Icon Outlet and the Entertainment District at The O2. TOCA Social will launch in summer 2021 offering interactive football games that use artificial intelligence-enabled technology alongside food and drink. TOCA chief executive Yoshi Maruyama said: “TOCA Social, the world’s first football entertainment experience, will transform football from a sport regularly played by only a small portion of fans into a lifetime connection of active participation, fun, play and community for everyone.” TOCA Social president Alex Harman added: “The O2 is the perfect launch pad for our mission to bring the joy of playing football to everyone.” Lunson Mitchenall is the leasing agent for food, beverage and leisure at The O2.

Leeds-based Chinese food retailer moving into restaurant sector with two new concepts: Leeds-based Chinese food retailer Hang Sing Hong is to make a move into the restaurant sector. The company will launch two concepts – Oba Kitchen and Mi’s Noodles – at The Merrion Centre in the city. The restaurants combined will take more than 4,000 square feet of space, with Oba Kitchen in Wade Lane and Mi’s Noodles in Merrion Way. Both concepts are due to open in October and accommodate between 90 and 100 diners. Hang Sing Hong is known as the largest Korean and Japanese food retailer in the region. Oba Kitchen will be a “Korean concept alongside Japanese fusion in contemporary surroundings”, while Mi’s Noodles will offer more traditional noodles and Chinese snacks. Hang Sing Hong director John Jiang said: “We are thrilled to launch our restaurant concepts as the appeal and demand for fresh multi-Asian food continues to rise.” Helen Green, property director for Town Centre Securities, which owns the Merrion Centre, added: “Hang Sing Hong already has a strong reputation. We’re thrilled it has chosen Merrion to open these two restaurants and confident they will add to our ever-growing mix of international food offerings.”

Robinsons reopens Morfa Nefyn pub following £1m refurbishment: North west-based brewer and retailer Robinsons has reopened the Y Bryncynan pub in Morfa Nefyn, North Wales, following a £1m refurbishment. The pub, which was due to reopen in March until lock-down intervened, features a new oak bar and a revamped menu of pub classics such as steak and ale pie, stone-baked pizza, and beer-battered fish with hand-cut chips. The pub also serves a traditional Sunday roast. The dining area has been extended, while a patio with beach huts has been added to the large garden, which also features a children’s play area. Some parts of the building are more than 200 years old and stone walls, wooden beams and log fires have been retained. Robinsons retail operations manager Ellis Wardle said: “We were keen to ensure the pub could serve the community around Nefyn and Pwllheli while catering to holidaymakers. We have all the necessary covid-secure measures in place to ensure customers feel as safe as possible.” General manager Heidi Bakewell added: “It has been a long couple of months and we’ve been itching to reopen. The changes to the pub are incredible.”

Paris Society to open delayed debut UK site, next month: Paris Society, the French restaurant group led by Laurent de Gourcuff, is to open its delayed debut UK site next month. The company, which is behind Parisian eateries Perruche, Loulou and Girafe, has taken over the former L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon site in Covent Garden. The company has joined forces with Guillaume Glipa, who was behind the openings of Zuma, Coya and Chiltern Firehouse, to launch Louie. The 150-cover venture, which was due to open in March before lock-down restrictions were introduced, will be based in a four-storey 19th century townhouse in West Street. The concept has been jointly named after King Louis XIV and Louis Armstrong. New Orleans chef Slade Rushing will be in charge of the kitchen and offer a French-Creole menu, while the restaurant will feature a wood-burning oven and oyster bar. The menu will include dishes such as New Orleans-style barbecued lobster, leeks vinaigrette, and pig’s cheek with langoustine. The ground floor of the venue will “mimic” a brasserie and feature a curved oyster bar, while the first floor will host an “opulent” dining room with velvet pews and a wood-fired oven. The floors above will host a lounge, bar and roof terrace hosting live jazz alongside late-night snacks and New York-style pizza.

Michelin-starred chef takes over Lake District pub: Michelin-starred chef Kevin Tickle has taken over a historic Lake District pub in a move that will see significant investment in the site. Tickle will run the 17th century Crown Inn in High Newton with his wife Nicola. They plan to establish a “top class” restaurant at the venue with an emphasis on quality food served in the bar and an “interesting” drinks selection. Tickle said: “The Crown is a great opportunity for us and I’m excited to take what we’ve learned over the past 20 years and create our own dining destination. I’m passionate about the ingredients we have literally on our doorstep and can’t wait to get behind the stoves to create something interesting. There’s a lot of work to do before we open but we look forward to building a great team to make a real success of The Crown.” Tickle’s previous roles have included head chef at The Forest Side in Grasmere where, within eight months of opening, he gained the restaurant a Michelin star, followed by four AA rosettes the following year. Before that he spent nine years working with Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan in Cartmel. The Tickles were advised on the business’ acquisition and lease agreement by law firm Napthens. The Napthens team also helped source funding for the venture, via Penrith-based Enterprise Answers. Landlords of The Crown, the Kennedy family, were advised by Fylde-based solicitor LHT.

Soho restaurant Yeni launches direct to consumer delivery service: Yeni, the Soho sister site of Istanbul-based restaurant Yeni Lokanta, has launched direct to consumer delivery service Yeni Home. The service offers some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including the Turkish staple of hand-rolled manti dumplings, which are stuffed with aubergine or lamb and “ready to serve in five minutes from packaging to plate”. The menu also includes sweet and savoury pastries, pistachio rolls, starters, sides, salads, main dishes and bread alongside a growing deli collection. Yeni Home is available for customers inside the M25 to order online and offers delivery on Tuesdays and Fridays. Turkish chef Civan Er launched Yeni London in Beak Street in early 2019, almost ten years after opening Yeni Lokanta.

Star Pubs & Bars invests more than £1m in Scottish west central belt sites: Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars is investing £1.04m in pubs across Scotland’s west central belt. The investment includes two Glasgow pubs – a £325,000 refurbishment of The Princess in Riddrie, and The Drum in Shettleston, which has reopened following a £210,000 makeover. Other pubs benefiting from the funds include The Abbey Bar in Paisley and The Spateston Inn – formerly The Osprey – in Spateston. The projects are transforming the pubs inside and out, introducing improved sports viewing, new food menus and extended drinks ranges. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “We are firm believers in the future of community locals. In challenging times such as these, they’re even more important to the residents they serve. However, they need to keep pace with pub-goers’ changing expectations. These refurbishments will reward regulars for their loyalty and attract the new customers pubs need to thrive for the long term.” Star Pubs & Bars has 240 pubs in Scotland including more than 50 in the Glasgow area.

North London-based deli opens debut restaurant: North London-based deli Da Mario has opened its debut restaurant after taking on the premises next door to its Highbury outlet. The former Dear Pizza site in Highbury Park has been relaunched as Italian restaurant and pizzeria Donna Sofia. Dishes include carpaccio of salmon and swordfish; and ravioli girasole filled with spinach and ricotta. It also offers a pizza range. An all-Italian cocktail list is being worked on while there are plans to turn a terrace at the rear of the property into a wine bar that would also serve cheese and charcuterie boards, reports Hot Dinners.

GG Hospitality to keep hotels open for key workers only: GG Hospitality, the company co-owned by former Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, is to keep the doors of its hotels closed to the public during most of August to continue supporting the city’s front-line NHS workers. The Stock Exchange Hotel and Hotel Football have provided beds to more than 300 NHS workers who required alternative accommodation as they fought coronavirus. The hotels will continue to house key workers for the time being. GG Hospitality chief executive Winston Zahra said: “As a company we felt it was the right thing to do to continue looking after the NHS front-liners. We will prepare our properties and continue to train all our team in the rigorous covid-19 safety protocols in the weeks ahead and look forward to welcoming our guests back.” The Stock Exchange Hotel will remain closed until Friday, 28 August, with Hotel Football set to reopen on Tuesday, 1 September – with the exception of some private events.

Tuscan coastal concept Maremma to reopen in Brixton this month: Chef Alice Staple, who is part of the team behind Battersea-based private social enterprise the London Cooking Project, is to reopen her Tuscan coastal concept Maremma in Brixton this month. Staple launched the concept with business partner Dickie Bielenberg in June 2019 after converting former pub the Montego Inn. Now the venue in Brixton Water Lane will emerge from lock-down on Thursday, 20 August. The neighbourhood restaurant takes inspiration from the Maremma coastal region in southern Tuscany, which is known for its seafood, game, olive groves and vineyards. Staple wrote to customers: “We have been working to ensure we can open in the safest possible way. We’ll operate at reduced capacity with greater distance between tables. Both floors will be open for each sitting and our seating times and opening hours have changed slightly to accommodate this. For those wishing to use their vouchers, please include this information in your booking request. We look forward to seeing you all in person and in the meantime we’ll fire up the Bertha oven, roll out the pasta and get the gelato churning ready for your arrival!”

Italian summer party pop-up launches in King’s Cross: An Italian summer party pop-up has launched in King’s Cross, London. Pop Sapori, which is Italian for flavour, has opened for takeaway and dine-in at The Megaro Hotel. It offers handmade pasta, pancetta rolls, Italian wine and breakfast, with spritz for weekend brunch. The Belgrove Street venue features its own radio station, KXF, focusing on “summer of love party vibes from the 1980s”. Pop Sapori also features a pasta studio, espresso bar and a prosecco spritz lab, all wrapped in acid yellow, textured concrete and copper piping. The kitchen has an in-house bakery, while the decor includes bespoke art pieces by British artist and designer Henry Chebaane. Pop Sapori is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and until 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

London nightclub launches outdoor food, drink and events space Costa Del Tottenham: London nightclub The Cause has launched an alfresco food, drink and events space next to its Tottenham Hale site. The industrial space has been transformed into Costa Del Tottenham, consisting of two areas. Southside features vegan street food concept Club Mexicana, burgers from People’s Burger, Neapolitan sourdough pizza from Not Another Slice and family-run Caribbean barbecue specialist Over The Grill. The area features DJs, palm trees, multicolour pergolas and private booths. Northside is a collaboration with Stronghold, a climbing centre next door that has seen its revenue severely affected by the pandemic. Northside will host special events such as bottomless brunches, pub quizzes and drag queen cabaret, while food comes from Caribbean fried chicken concept Only Jerkin’. Craft beer comes from The London Beer Factory, Fourpure and Five Points, with ten draught beers on tap. There is also a bar from rum company Pirate’s Grog serving mojitos and espresso rumtinis. Co-founder Stuart Glen said: “While travel is risky and everyone is missing the summer holiday fun, we’re buzzing to package up everything a holiday brings to sunny north London – amazing food, beers in the sun, late-night cocktails, a bit of disco and some risque entertainment to remember.”

Elephant Park operators continue community support: Food and beverage operators at Lendlease’s Elephant Park development in south London are continuing to support their local community despite lock-down restrictions easing. Italian street food market Mercato Metropolitano has been delivering essential supplies to more than 1,000 vulnerable, elderly and isolated families in association with Age UK and Surrey Square Primary School. Mercato Metropolitano Factory, an urban and artisan production facility, is due to open at Elephant Park this year, providing training and employment opportunities in collaboration with local schools and colleges. HEJ coffee has used its in-house roastery to provide for the community, with youth cycling team One Life Cycle helping with deliveries. HEJ coffee has also donated coffee and hot chocolate to LGBTIQ homeless charity The Outside Project, which is operating emergency hotels. Vegan Ethiopian restaurant Beza has raised more than £1,500 for local causes, while Caribbean takeaway Tasty Jerk is donating hot meals to homeless hostel Rest Up. Mercato Metropolitano founder Andrea Rasca added: “This pandemic has tested us all socially and economically but we recognise we are stronger together.” 

East London-based Forest Road to move into new brewery: East London-based Forest Road Brewing Company is set to move into its new brewery. The site in the South Bermondsey and New Cross area will feature a semi-automatic, 50-barrel, four-vessel brewhouse capable of producing 30,000 hectolitres a year. Founder Pete Brown said the company expected to brew 11,000 hectolitres in the first 12 months. He added: “There is a lot of space to expand into and it’s close to Bermondsey and the centre of London’s beer world.” Founded five years ago, Forest Road supplies beer to many bars and restaurants, including Soho House Group. Leisure consultancy Etch acted on the brewery deal.

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Urchin Spirits Banner
Santa Maria MEXI-GO Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Contract Furniture Group Banner
Bizimply Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner
Inch's Cider Banner
NR&B Banner
Peppadew Banner
Propel Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Access Banner
Christie & Co Banner
The Licensees Association Banner
Airship – Toggle Banner
Libeo Banner
COREcruitment Banner
Hospitality Rising Banner
Cynergy Bank Banner
John Gaunt Banner
Zonal Banner
HGEM Banner
Bums on Seats Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner