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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 28th Aug 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector rallies behind test and trace: Operators have rallied to get behind NHS Test and Trace – to show customers their spaces are safe and to help avoid further lock-downs. Industry companies across the spectrum are supporting the initiative including The Restaurant Group, Fuller's, Greene King, Young's, Marston's, Hawksmoor, Prezzo, Loungers, PizzaExpress, Caffe Nero, D&D London, The Deltic Group, Peach Pub Company, Tortilla, Barburrito, Rosa's Thai Cafe and Tokyo Industries. The aim is to show all pubs and restaurants in the UK demonstrate effective support for NHS Test and Trace by always following the three-point plan. This means capturing the details for every customer/party either through reservation information or taking details for walk-ins. This includes name, phone number, email address and time of arrival. They will explain to all customers the restaurant or pub supports the NHS Test and Trace programme and check parties are only drawn from households as set out by the various governments' guidelines. Prezzo chairman Karen Jones, who has helped spearhead the push for the industry to support NHS Test and Trace, said: “We have a real responsibility to keep our customers, our teams and our communities safe and well. NHS Test and Trace is a powerful way to do just that – collecting and providing the information to help break the chain of transmission and control the virus. It takes minutes. It helps to save lives and stop further lock-downs. It shows our people and our customers that we are professional, proactive and caring. It will enhance our reputation. Government will see us as an industry worth supporting because we in turn wholeheartedly support government initiatives.” Dido Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, added: “We have been incredibly impressed with the way our hospitality partners have embraced the NHS Test and Trace guidance, to help create safe environments that customers can enjoy, while reducing the risks of spreading coronavirus. Logging customer details is essential for NHS Test and Trace to be able to pinpoint any infections and contact those at risk so they can self-isolate and get tested. We count on the hospitality industry as key partners in the fight against coronavirus and thank you for all your continued support.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Diageo offers six months free contactless order and pay through partnership with Omnifi: The Diageo Great Britain team has launched a partnership with hospitality innovators Omnifi, to help support on-trade outlets with contactless commerce in response to covid-19. Orderbee is a click and collect and order and pay digital menu tool. It’s a simple solution, based on proven technology, for anyone selling food and drinks. Melissa Wisdom, on-trade director at Diageo, said: “Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community and our customers are looking for ways to help them operate a safe environment for employees and guests. Contactless payment and ordering are high on the agenda, and this partnership allows us to support on-trade operators with solutions that drive value for consumers and their business”. The Orderbee powered by Diageo platform is free for the first six months, with a reduced rate after and no long-term commitment. So far, the Orderbee platform has taken £10m worth of orders, with some venues seeing up to 50% of sales going through Orderbee order and pay. If you’re interested in this for your business, find out more and register your interest here. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email
Mark Wingett to look ahead to crucial period for sector in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will look ahead to a crucial period for the UK’s hospitality sector and whether it has a chance of a reset in this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (28 August). There will also be the latest sector whispers from Premium Diary. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has grown to 1,600 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email
Further operators finance Eat Out To Help Out scheme extension through September: Further operators have said they will continue the Eat Out To Help Out scheme in September, by financing it from their own pockets. Fulham Shore, operator of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, is set to continue its discounted offer through September. Franco Manca has used the tagline “Rishi paid half your bill in August, Franco will pay half in September”. The Real Greek will give diners 50% off its lunch menu and 50% off the Filoxenia evening menu. Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse will extend the initiative in most of its managed pubs until the end of September. Managing director Matt Kearsey said: “We have been delighted by our communities’ positive response to the scheme, so it only seemed right that we extend the offer ourselves, as a thank you to the guests who have supported us since our reopening. We are thankful for the government’s support that was available to us throughout August, that not only supported our industry as a whole, but also provided guests with a phenomenal incentive to experience our safe and well-managed pubs.” The incentive allows guests to receive 50% off food and drinks, up to the value of £10 per person on Mondays to Wednesdays. Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, will follow suit with the government initiative for September at its branches in Carnaby, Liverpool Street, Regent Street, Shoreditch and Stratford as will London-based better pizza brand Homeslice at its outlets in Marylebone, Shoreditch, City and White City. London-based casual dining group Balans is extending the scheme for September too. All five of its sites will participate, with two located in Soho and others in Shepherd’s Bush, Stratford and Kensington. Diners will be able to enjoy the continued discount at Spanish restaurant group Brindisa Kitchens. During September all the company’s Tapas Brindisa sites will allow diners to take 50% off in line with the government scheme, including London Bridge, Battersea, Soho, Shoreditch and South Kensington. Diners must quote ‘Comemos’ to redeem the offer. Humble Grape, the wine bar and shop concept founded by James Dawson, is offering a discount on its food across all five sites in September. East London-based The Culpeper Group – which operates The Culpeper, The Buxton, The Green and The Duke of Cambridge – is also extending the scheme as well as Aqua Restaurant Group, which is behind Aqua Shard, Hutong and Aqua Kyoto, which will extend the scheme but require a minimum spend of £30. Plant-based brand By Chloe, The Lebanese Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery, which are operated by Qoot Restaurant Group, are taking part and so is Levantine restaurant Arabica, which has sites in King’s Cross and Borough Market. Other operators also forking out from their own pockets to extend the Eat Out To Help Out scheme include south east Asian restaurant Sticky Mango in London’s Waterloo, Mama Shelter London in east London, Bala Baya in the City of London, Jumera at The Mandrake Hotel in central London and Latin American restaurant Paladar in Elephant & Castle. Atul Kochhar’s Mayfair restaurant Kanishka will offer the discount from Tuesday to Thursday, and on Sundays too on its à la carte dishes or any set menu while Madera at Treehouse Hotel in central London will participate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only.
Class planning system amends to come into force next month: Government regulations amending the Use Classes Order will come into effect from Tuesday (1 September). It will offer more flexibility and opportunity to operators in terms of site selection in what will be the biggest change to the system since its creation in 1987. A1 retail, A2 professional services, A3 restaurant and B1 offices will be combined into a new single business, commercial and service Use Class E, which will also include gyms, nurseries and clinics. Pubs and hot food takeaways will move into “sui generis”, with that “catch all” Use Class also containing hot food takeaway, cinemas, bingo halls, dance halls and live music venues. In a separate change, two new General Permitted Development Order Regulations are introduced from Monday (31 August) to allow the construction of additional storeys on some buildings as well as the demolition and redevelopment of freestanding blocks of flats and certain commercial buildings for residential purposes.
SPBA plea to end music ban amid 20% drop in pub sales: The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has said a ban on background music will result in pub closures and job losses. SBPA wants the Scottish government to reverse its policy on music and sound from TVs in hospitality venues because it believes raised voices increases the potential of spreading covid-19. SBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The ban on music and sound from TV in pubs has seen trade plummet across Scotland, to the point where it is simply not viable to stay open. Takings are down as much as 20% since the ban came in. Not only is it hammering the recovery of our sector, there is evidence to suggest the policy is having the opposite of its desired effect. A lack of commentary at football matches makes it harder to control customers watching the game. Customers seeking privacy in their conversations are more likely to lean in and whisper. Rather than go to their local, people are gathering at home where safety measures are not in place. There is an easy middle ground to be had here, where responsible pubs can be allowed to create an atmosphere and ambience that makes them what they are while controlling noise to a level that doesn’t require customers to shout. Music adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the pub.” Edinburgh-based Signature Group’s director of sales and marketing Louise MacLean added: “The music ban is having a direct impact on our business and, in some venues, trade is moving in the wrong direction. We strictly adhere to all social distancing and the restrictions to trade that have affected the atmosphere in bars prior to the music ban. Customers don’t want to go to venues that are silent and awkward so, inevitably, our takings are down. We understand the concern about noise but we would happily work with Scottish government officials and set decibel levels to create a welcoming atmosphere within acceptable limits. Otherwise the future for bars in Scotland looks bleak as autumn approaches and inside spaces become more important.”
FSB Wales calls for finance lifeline as tourism businesses lose half their income: Although three quarters of tourism businesses in Wales have reopened, half are failing to operate at full capacity. A Welsh government survey also found the average business in the tourism sector has lost almost half of its annual income. Ben Francis, policy chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Wales (FSB) said: “With the average tourism business having lost half of its annual income, it is clear the concerns of these seasonal businesses facing three consecutive winters is beginning to be borne out in many places. Welsh government research also shows two thirds of tourism businesses still have staff on furlough. Unless significant measures are now taken to support this industry, it is clear there could be difficult decisions ahead for many small firms.” Francis added FSB has called on the Welsh government to begin a tourism hibernation scheme – a mix of loans and grants – to help tourism businesses make it through to next spring when it believes the industry will be viable once again. The tourism sector is estimated to be worth in excess of £3bn across Wales.
US restaurant stocks rally after covid testing development: A total of 39 out of the 50 US publicly traded restaurants stocks are higher a day after the Food and Drug Administration approved Abbott Labs to mass produce a $5 rapid covid-19 test. The biggest were Shake Shack (up 6.7%), Ruth’s Hospitality (5.3%), Darden Restaurants (5.3%) and Cheesecake Factory (5.2%), which all have very little overlap with the track of Hurricane Laura. The test, which is said to be the size of a credit card, is the first antigen test where results can be read directly from the testing card, according to the FDA. It can be administered in a doctor’s office, emergency room or school with results delivered in 15 minutes. Postmates chief executive Bastian Lehmann told a recent conference that the most successful restaurant partners are leaning into take-out and delivery opportunities by creating sub-brands, prioritising marketing spend for off-premises, and promoting to-go-focused menus to stay visible and mitigate the sting of covid-19.
New company takes control of four Intu sites after landing £30m of investment: A new company is to take control of four of Intu’s shopping centres after landing £30m of investment. Intu SGS will take control of the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham along with Intu Watford, Lakeside and Braehead in Glasgow. Intu’s creditors have voted through the move. The firm will continue to manage the four centres but Intu SGS is looking to take full control and is likely succeed later this year. An Intu SGS spokesman said: “The positive vote underlines the significant support we have from our creditors. The proposals that we have agreed provide us with the stable financial platform to move forward as we continue to recover from the impact of covid-19. Creditors have also agreed to inject up to £30m of new money if required, in a further statement of support.” Intu collapsed into administration in June.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking to speak to general managers in the Birmingham area for a position paying up to £36,000 at a community-focused leisure business. The incoming general manager will have sole responsibility for strategic development and commercial success of the site and will ensure the delivery of the best standards of customer service. They will have strong leisure or hospitality management experience, ideally in a multi-revenue stream business, and will also possess excellent commercial knowledge. They will also be passionate about the leisure industry and committed to training and building a great team. Anyone interested can email their CV or profile to
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

The Alchemist brings forward opening of new Cheltenham site after being buoyed by post-lock-down trading: The Alchemist, the 18-stong Simon Potts-led bar and restaurant concept, has brought forward its planned opening of its new site in Cheltenham after being buoyed by post-lock-down trading. The company had pushed back the opening of the 4,500 square foot venue in The Brewery Quarter to the end of year, but this has been brought forward to Friday (28 August). Potts told Propel: “Along with everyone else, we’ve had a stellar August – the Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been an astonishing success, providing a real shot in the arm in revenue terms with a number of the venues in double-digit growth in recent weeks, but far more crucially in reminding the general public that not only is eating and drinking out a safe thing to do – it is also incredibly good fun.” Potts said its offer was “working well” in line with the current guidance, with both dwell time and average spend up on last year. He added growth was being seen across all dayparts, which is helping to smooth out the impact of the capacity restrictions at what would have previously been peak trading. Potts said: “While we don’t expect to maintain the current remarkable numbers as we move into autumn, we are feeling confident about the future of the business. Our venues are all metro orientated, but we haven’t had to rely on footfall alone – the brand has demonstrated an enduring ability to draw people in, in each of our city locations – not least in central London.” Potts said the company had been able to reach “sensible consensual agreements” with the majority of its landlords while he was grateful to its suppliers that worked with the business through the lock-down period, “allowing us the headroom to positively and confidently reopen all of our sites”. Potts said: “We’re delighted to be getting back to what we do well and opening the new site in Cheltenham this weekend – it marks the first important step in us looking to return the business to growth in the fullness of time.”

Chilango bought out of administration: Mexican restaurant brand Chilango has been bought out of administration. The company has been sold to investment group RD Capital Partners, run by founders Sameer Rizvi and Iryna Dubylovska, following a competitive sale process. The deal secures ten of Chilango’s 11 restaurants and preserves about 130 jobs. The Leather Lane site has closed. Managing director Richard Franks, who took over running Chilango in February, will continue to lead the business. Propel understands trading in recent weeks at Chilango has been very good, particularly around delivery. Franks said: “Chilango is an incredible brand with quality food and an amazing team. Despite covid-19, the team has put forth an outstanding effort to continue bringing our vibrant flavours to the UK. I’m grateful for the team’s commitment and resilience and the strong results from delivery, speak to their hard work and determination, all of which was recognised by RD Capital Partners.” Rizvi added: “We are delighted to partner with a brand and business we have long admired. Chilango has a great proposition, which appeals to a diverse customer base, and we look forward to working with Richard and his team.” Gordon Thomson, joint administrator at RSM, said: “Despite the commendable support provided by the government, the pandemic and associated lock-down measures have presented significant challenges to the casual dining industry. This deal, together with the backing of RD Capital Partners, secures 130 jobs and will allow the Chilango brand to grow.” Chilango was launched by Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton in 2007. The company was struggling with rising operational costs and mounting debts even before the coronavirus pandemic ground much of the restaurant industry to a halt. It underwent a CVA in January as part of the company’s plans to get a grip on its finances and £6.9m debt pile. It included slashing rents at three restaurants and exiting four leases on dormant sites. Bondholders in Chilango were offered the choice to transfer their investment into shares in the company or cash out at a rate of 10p in the pound. About 1,500 people became bondholders in the business via mini-bond offerings in 2014 and 2019, which raised more than £5.8m with a promise of 8% returns. In September 2019, Partaker and Houghton – acting as directors – decided to make their co-chief executive roles redundant.

Greggs confirms coronavirus outbreak at Leeds distribution centre: Food-to-go retailer Greggs has confirmed an outbreak of coronavirus at its bakery distribution centre in Leeds. An undisclosed number of people working at the centre in Bramley tested positive. Following further tests the company said more staff were found to have the virus and the centre was deep cleaned. Public Health England (PHE) could not confirm the exact number of cases but told the BBC it was “fewer than 20”. Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said the company had taken immediate action. He added the group was “working with Leeds City Council and PHE to ensure we minimise any possible impact on our customers and the wider community in Leeds and the surrounding area”. Lucy Jackson, Leeds City Council's deputy director of public health, said: “Following further testing, more staff have been identified as being positive. This highlights why further testing and contact tracing is so important, which Greggs is proactively undertaking. The workplace is being deep cleaned and further contact tracing carried out, with necessary advice shared about self-isolating and awareness of symptoms. We are satisfied the necessary steps are being taken quickly to minimise any further spread of infection.”
Costa trials new-look store with street-facing counter: Costa Coffee has unveiled its debut street-facing service counter at a busy central London location. As previously revealed by Propel, customers to the Argyll Street site, off Oxford Circus, will be welcomed by a refreshed look and feel and an enhanced digital offering that includes outdoor ordering screen, the option to pre-order via the company’s app and deliveries through UberEats. Costa global retail director Connie Emerson said: “The Argyll Street store was the perfect location to trial a new store design. Our customers have shared that they’re looking for safe and comfortable space to relax. But for those that are not quite ready to sit inside, an all-new solution has been designed so they can still get their coffee without entering the store. We have re-imagined a new store focus – one where visitors to the store can meet friends and take time out in our warm and relaxing seating areas, and give those looking to just grab a coffee on the go a quick and easy limited contact service through a redesigned digital-only ordering service. We’re looking forward to welcoming new and returning customers to our Argyll Street store.”
Trinity Kitchen and British Street Food Awards founder Richard Johnson reveals name for new street food offer: Richard Johnson, founder of the British, European and USA Street Food Awards and the man behind the Trinity Kitchen food court in Leeds and street food concepts at Euston station in London, has told Propel that the name of his new casual dining offer featuring the best UK traders, will be Main Stage bar and kitchen. The concept will unite the best street food traders from the awards series and the “most original beverage vendors – in one place”. Traders will change seasonally, with the site designed on a “Glastonbury meets Borough Market vibe”. He said: “The drawings by architect Derek Barker and his team at Haskoll have a real festival feel, with a day into night backdrop and a relaxed vibe.” The company has also added two new directors. Sean Gogarty, former global divisional chief executive at Unilever has been added to the board for his branding experience and Mark Williams, ex-president of Revo and director at RivingtonHark has been recruited “for his encyclopedic knowledge of the British high street”. The company is also currently interviewing for a chief operating officer with a proven track record in successfully running a multi-site food and beverage or restaurant business. Johnson added: “The chief operating officer will be a main board partner and vital to the successful establishment and scaling of the business.” Earlier this month, Johnson told Propel he was progressing plans with a “growing list of landlords in repurposed retail space in key towns across the UK”. Johnson said: “After covid, people will want to continue supporting the best of their local food businesses and they will also want new casual, freewheeling dining opportunities in places that are less confined than a restaurant.” He said the concept would be a single-contact partner with landlords and councils to create, promote, lease and operate an “exciting food environment” in town centres and retail spaces.
Inamo – trading well above expectations: West End operator Inamo has reported business has greatly exceeded expectations, with sales 20% above forecast for August. The company on track to be only 25% down for the month year-on-year, despite all sites being restricted to circa 65% capacity and the Soho location not reopening until mid-August. A spokesman said: “These positive results bode well for the company’s forecasts at a time when Inamo is exploring investment opportunities to grow our innovative tech-led brand. Revenue has been assisted by the Eat Out To Help Out scheme (EOTHO) with Monday to Wednesday trade generating 30% of weekly sales. In the last two weeks of August, the company has been in 20% year-on-year weekly sales growth. While EOTHO has grown weekly, the business has not seen a reduction in weekend covers and, in fact, numbers have continued to rise week-on-week. Covers booked for Tuesday, 1 September, and Wednesday, 2 September, are, however, currently less than 25% of covers dined in the week commencing 24 August. Following the fantastic results of August, and the green shoots of recovery that Eat Out To Help Out has helped nurture, we are concerned that, without further support, autumn 2020 will be challenging. Like many within the sector, we would be delighted if the chancellor were to extend the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which has encouraged guests to venture out to support restaurants, increasing opening hours, reducing the number of team members on furlough, stimulating the economy and, in turn, generating tax revenue for HMRC. Our calculations indicate that the support given under Eat Out To Help Out would be less in September than our potential furlough claim without the accompanying benefits to the economy, HMRC, suppliers and partners.” Chief executive Lee Skinner added: “In the event that the chancellor does not choose to extend the scheme prior to Tuesday, Inamo will join in continuing the promotion for September under the same terms, additionally we will extend the availability from Monday to Thursday at all times open, and on Friday lunch, to encourage more first-time guests and thank our loyal patrons. Naturally, we would also like to thank our dedicated team which has worked tirelessly to ensure guest safety.”
Michael Caines launches Porthleven restaurant after taking over former Rick Stein site: Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines has opened a site in Porthleven, Cornwall, for his fourth venue. Caines has relaunched the former Rick Stein site he acquired last month as The Harbourside Refuge, Restaurant and Bar. It is Caines’ second venture in Cornwall and adds to the Michael Caines Collection that comprises luxury country house hotel and restaurant Lympstone Manor, The Cove at Maenporth, and a new project in Exmouth. Paying homage to its quayside position, The Harbourside Refuge offers a menu inspired by its seaside setting as well as a selection of drinks sourced from the south west. Dishes include Cornish mackerel with gooseberry and grain mustard relish along with Cornish steaks from the grill. Caines said: “This lovely small town is rich in culture and history and, in recent years, has become renowned as a food-lover’s destination. We are looking forward to revealing fully our plans for the restaurant in the future but for now our priority is to reopen with an outstanding food offering, featuring the finest Cornish produce.” Trevor Osborne, of the Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company, which includes the site of the restaurant, added: “I am confident with his outstanding reputation and award-winning food, Michael’s new restaurant on Porthleven’s harbourside will be an excellent addition to our community and complement the impressive list of distinguished chefs already working here.”
Lost City Adventure Golf to open third site in Hull: Nottingham-based adventure golf operator Lost City is to open its third site, in Hull. The venue, which will create 15 new jobs, will feature two 18-hole adventure indoor golf courses will have a tropical rainforest theme, with large-scale special effects, animal animatronics, tropical rainstorms and interactive features. Lost City Adventure Golf director Lane Scott told Insider Media: “We’re really excited to bring something new to Hull. We’re now busy transforming our new space into an immersive, interactive golfing experience that’s fun for all ages. Work is progressing really well so now we’re looking for staff to join our journey.” The company runs sites in Nottingham and Belfast.
Rick Stein to reopen Marlborough restaurant next Friday following reprieve after rent deduction: Rick Stein will reopen his restaurant in Marlborough, Wiltshire, on Friday, 4 September. The venue was previously earmarked for closure due to covid-related cuts, but the division was reversed after a rent reduction from the landlord. The restaurant will offer customers “a taste of Cornwall in the English countryside”, serving fresh Cornish ingredients, including sustainable fish and seafood. For dinner, guests will be able to choose from either the à la carte menu, which will include scallops in the half shell with a hazelnut and coriander butter; and Indonesian seafood curry, served with pilau rice, or the set menu that will feature options including a coarse pork and herb terrine with toasted sourdough and beetroot chutney. To accommodate for guests who would still prefer to dine at home, the restaurant will be offering a takeaway service. Select dishes such as the fish and chips, Thai fish cakes and the curries will be available to order via the Rick Stein app and collect at the restaurant, which originally opened in 2016.
Second Taka restaurant prepares for September opening: Japanese restaurant Taka will open a second site after rescheduling its unveiling from May. The Marylebone venue is slated to open its doors on 24 September after covid-19 hampered the original opening date. The first Taka site, in Mayfair, reopened in July. Group executive chef Taiji Maruyama, formerly of Beaverbrook and Nobu, has created the menu alongside head chef Jonathan Dowling. It focuses on hot and grilled small plates as well as sushi. The restaurant also hopes to take a slice of the weekend brunch market with waffles and pancakes leading the line-up. Cocktails, sake and wines will be key to its drinks selection. The 2,500 square foot space has been designed by B3 Designers, which lists Roka, Hakkasan and Gymkhana among its previous achievements, and blends Japanese and European styles.
Kin+Ilk secures permanent St David’s site: The St David’s Partnership has announced the launch of a new 1,133 square foot cafe at St David’s, Cardiff, for speciality Welsh coffee company Kin+Ilk. Following a successful pop-up, the brand has secured a permanent site on Hills Street, adjacent to Hugo Boss and directly accessed via The Hayes, as part of their expansion within the region. Kin+Ilk, meaning family and kind, is focused on providing directly sourced coffee from the producer, Finca El Corozo, in partnership with Clifton Coffee, while supporting the local communities in El Salvador. All takeaway drinks and food are served in 100% compostable cups and packaging by Vegware. Haydn Darke, director at Kin+Ilk, said: “We initially opened at St David’s for a Christmas pop-up and soon saw the demand for our unique coffee and range of locally made products. We wanted a more permanent location within the destination, so we waited for the right unit to become available to complement our other coffee shops in Wales, and are pleased to have been able to open our doors and grow our business further at St David’s.” Kin + Ilk has two other sites in Cardiff.
Goodbody – Dalata well positioned for the recovery, but key questions to answer at first-half results: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has said Irish hotel operator Dalata, which has a growing presence in the UK, is well positioned for the recovery given its liquidity is in order and strong management team, but said there would be some “key questions to answer” at its first-half results on Tuesday (1 September). Dalata last updated on trading at the end of April when it said for the first quarter like-for-like revpar was down 18.6% in the UK, 24.3% in Dublin and 14% in regional Ireland. Ruddy said: “Given the second quarter was largely lost, the key focus in first-half numbers will be net debt and cash burn. As a result, any commentary on recent trading in the reopening phase will be closely scrutinised.” Other questions, Ruddy said, included given the level of occupancy being witnessed in Dublin and London, is it worthwhile keeping all the hotels open through this winter? He added it would be interesting to hear details on property valuation, new supply of hotels and decisions around sale and leasebacks. Ruddy said: “We recognise the current difficulties the hospitality sector faces, which has been further compounded by second wave concerns and no immediate visibility over a recovery in international travel. However, we see Dalata as well positioned for the recovery given its liquidity is in order, it has a strong and experienced management team, good freehold assets and the medium term valuation looks attractive.”
Chef-restaurateur Ben Tunnicliffe announces second Cornish pub: Cornwall-based pub operator Ben Tunnicliffe is opening a second site with his head chef Matt Smith. The Packet Inn – an old coaching inn near Prussia Cove will officially opens its doors on 2 September. With the promise of a “Cornish pub for all seasons” to follow on from seafood pub The Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn, Tunnicliffe said: “As ever, we’ll be guided by seasonal cycles and our love for the finest local produce, but we’ll be working with local butchers and smallholders as well as growers and fishermen. So, as well as superb seafood, guests can expect grass-fed beef, free range poultry and outdoor-reared pork as well as colourful and creative vegetarian and vegan food.” The menu will be in a “small plates” format, encouraging diners to order and share a variety of dishes rather than the traditional three courses. Tunnicliffe took over The Tolcarne Inn in 2012 and Smith joined him in 2019.
Tomos Parry extends Brat residency at Climpson’s Arch: Michelin-starred chef Tomos Parry is to extend the residency of his Brat concept in the outdoor space at events hub Climpson’s Arch in Hackney, east London. The residency, which was launched last month had been due to finish at the end of September, but will run until January. The residency offers dishes inspired by the open-fired grilling techniques of the Basque country. The daily menu will continue to showcase native seasonal produce, with dishes including roasted game rice; fried pork chops with anchovy and hay butter; and winter tomatoes with aged mutton and grilled cep mushrooms. Alongside Brat’s wine and bar selection, Climpsons & Sons will be serving some of their new range of bottled and on-tap cocktails and its coffee roasted on-site. Parry said: “We created a residency at the Arch to support our team and suppliers, and we’re looking forward to continue growing and bringing people together. The dynamic space and menu will be slightly adapted to work with the seasons and we can’t wait to warmly welcome guests during the winter months.” In March, Parry opened a farm grill and wine shop at Brat in Shoreditch to support staff and suppliers during lock-down.
Soho restaurateurs to reopen 10 Greek Street next week: Luke Wilson and Cameron Emirali will reopen their 10 Greek Street restaurant in London’s Soho on Wednesday (2 September). The ever-evolving menu, created by Emirali, will now include a choice of small dishes, plus a selection of Roman-style pizzas, which will also be available for takeaway and, very shortly, delivery. Small plates will include presa, romesco and green beans; and tuna carpaccio, broad beans and chilli. Wilson has curated a short wine list that will celebrate a range of styles, grapes and regions, all available by glass and carafe. Beers will be supplied by Wilson and Emirali’s brewery, Braybrooke Beer Co, available on draught via two taps. Tables will also be set up on Greek Street where diners are able to enjoy alfresco dining in the temporarily pedestrianised area.
Covent Garden’s Frenchie to reopen with new menu options: Parisian restaurant concept Frenchie will reopen its doors on Friday, 4 September. A revamped terrace plus new menus await customers on Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. Chef Gregory Marchand’s classic dishes will be joined by new items, which include brandade croquettes and tartare sauce, a smoked lamb ragú pappardelle, kalamata olives and confit lemon, and Woolley Park Farm duck, piquillo purée, carrot and burnt paprika. Best-sellers that will remain include bacon scones served with maple syrup and Cornish clotted cream, duck foie gras presse, and banoffee, nutmeg and caramelised pecan. Frenchie Covent Garden is the sister restaurant to Paris’s Michelin-starred Frenchie Rue du Nil and Frenchie To Go.
Cornish climbing centre secures £20,000 loan: The Tide Climbing Centre has secured a £20,000 loan from non-for-profit company SWIG Finance. The Wadebridge-based leisure site will use the loan to help the business overcome issues that arose from a downturn in the exchange rate. The company has raised £340,000 through a mix of personal savings, business loans, private investors and crowdfunding. Co-owner Sophie Reynard said: “We have put everything we have into The Tide. With the recent downturn in exchange rates, we are grateful to SWIG Finance for facilitating our start-up loan to boost our initial investment.” The Tide has created 15 jobs and comes as climbing becomes the latest Olympic sport to be included in the Summer 2020 Olympics.

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