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Fri 4th Jun 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Trade bodies join forces to tell government the sector’s ability to be at heart of recovery is in jeopardy: Trade bodies have joined forces to tell the government the sector’s ability to be at the heart of the UK’s recovery is in jeopardy. The British Institute of Innkeeping, British Beer & Pub Association and UKHospitality have written to the chancellor and the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Kwasi Kwarteng to highlight the critical business impact of uncertainty surrounding the move to step four of the covid roadmap. The letter outlines how that uncertainty is exacerbating workforce challenges, with workers unconfident the hospitality and pub sector are a stable sector for careers. It also conveys the additional staffing costs incurred due to current restrictions such as table ordering and additional test and trace requirements. Confirming that the sector remains passionate about creating accessible and skilled jobs across the UK, the letter explains the sector’s ability to do this is now in jeopardy. Key points from the letter stated include: one in four of hospitality businesses – 26,500 venues – remain closed due to legal restrictions, and those that are trading are delivering revenues at 63% of normal pre-covid levels; each further month of trading at reduced capacities reduces revenues by a further £3bn, undermining the sustainability of businesses and putting jobs at risk; and the sector has seen closures of 12,000 hospitality businesses during the past year, which is one in ten restaurants and one in five town centre casual dining and late-night bars. A spokesperson for the trade associations said: “The government is assessing potential risks around removing all restrictions on 21 June and we urge them to follow their own roadmap, if the data supports it, and to allow the hospitality and pub sector to open free of restrictions. We urge them to fully consider the significant risk that a delay would result in business failures and job losses in every community across the UK. Our members’ businesses are extremely fragile and only the dropping of restrictions and the extension of the business rates holiday in England until April 2022, will enable them to snap back at the heart of the economic recovery.”

Industry News:

Propel Premium subscribers to receive first edition of new sector turnover and profit database, most profitable UK companies revealed: The ground-breaking first edition of a new database for Premium subscribers, The Blue Book, to be released at midday on Friday, 11 June, shows McDonald’s has been the most profitable company in the UK for the past five years by some distance. The company has a total pre-tax profit of £1.7bn in its five most recent years. In its most recent full year, it made four times more pre-tax profit than any other company in the UK. Among impressive company performances are two Richard Caring companies, Caprice and Ivy Collection, which rank in the top ten UK companies for quantum of profit. Operating the simplest business model, an entirely free-of-tie leasehold estate, Wellington Pub Company achieves a top 20 place in terms of quantum of profit and ranks number two in the whole of the UK for percentage conversion of turnover to profit. Coffee Republic founder Bobby Hashemi also achieves a top 20 profit conversion position with his Pizza Union business. Propel’s Blue Book also shows outstanding performances from some experiential leisure businesses, such as Junkyard Golf and Swingers. The new database, which will be updated and expanded each month, ranks the top 215 sector operators by turnover and then by profitability. It also has a five-year overview of turnover and profit and shows what percentage of turnover is converted to pre-tax profit – or otherwise. The first edition of the Blue Book shows there are 106 companies in the sector turning over more than £30m, with 76 of them turning over more than £50m and 43 turning over more than £100m. The Blue Book shows companies with franchise and tenanted operations converting turnover to profit very efficiently, with family brewers, for example, also performing well. The Blue Book also sees strong performances from some of the outstanding UK restaurant brands and operators. Each month, Propel will be expanding the scope of The Blue Book – we want to add any company either turning over more than £5m or making a £1m pre-tax profit. Email paul.charity@propelinfo.com to add your company to The Blue Book universe. Charity said: “The Blue Book will start to show the devastating impact of the pandemic on company profitability but, in due course, will chart the sector’s bounce back. It’s a fascinating document.” Propel Premium subscribers have just received their monthly update to the multi-site database, which has had 108 companies added since the last release at the end of May. They not only received the database as a PDF and an Excel spreadsheet, they were also sent a 14,000-word report on the businesses added during May. The go-to database, which now features 1,822 companies that collectively operate 59,197 sites, provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. A single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Propel Friday Wrap video series BrewDog president and chief operating officer David McDowall: Propel continues its Friday Wrap video series on Friday (4 June) at 3pm. The new series, which is sponsored by innovative staffing solution provider Stint, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing this week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by BrewDog president and chief operating officer David McDowall to talk about how the reopening of the sector is going, the mood in the BrewDog camp in regards to what the next year holds and the issue of recruitment and how that could be solved.

UKHospitality and DWP launch initiative to help promote sector opportunities to jobseekers: UKHospitality and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have joined forces to promote jobs in hospitality, with the sector facing a shortage of workers following more than a year of closures and severely restricted trading. With hospitality reopening following 15 months of pandemic-related disruption, the trade association is keen to demonstrate the wide range of jobs and career options available in the sector to UK workers. To promote the diverse opportunities, UKHospitality will be running sessions in partnership with Jobcentre Plus work coaches in every region of England, as well as across Scotland and Wales this month. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re delighted to be working with the government to restore confidence in a sector that is a stable employer for millions of skilled and unskilled workers across a wide range of diverse roles, and that can play a constructive role in tackling unemployment. Prior to covid, the hospitality industry employed 3.2m people in the UK, making it the third largest private sector employer in the UK. The government can help to restore confidence in the sector so, once again, it as seen as a dynamic sector of growth and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.” Minister for employment Mims Davies added: “It’s been a challenging time for the hospitality sector but our roadmap is giving employers the confidence to hire and our brilliant work coaches are helping them recruit local talent.” A recent UKHospitality survey suggested a current vacancy rate across the sector of 9%, which implies a shortage of 188,000 workers. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said a survey carried out by the trade body showed 62% of businesses are struggling to employ staff within the sector. The NTIA added: “The industry is suffering, in many cases, from the success of the furlough scheme where many workers have decided not to return to the industry.”
 
Sector bosses fume as five councils ban smoking outside pubs and restaurants: Hospitality bosses have reacted with fury after five councils in England banned smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants with others considering joining them as the government tries to make the UK smoke free by 2030. Newcastle City Council, Manchester City Council, Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and North Tyneside Council have all banned smoking on the pavements where outdoor hospitality venues have tables. And Oxfordshire County Council is set to follow suit under plans for the first smoke-free county, with employers expected to enforce smoke-free spaces outside shops, offices and factories to help staff kick their habit. A seventh local authority, Gateshead Council, does not have an official policy on smoking outdoors but all the licences it grants to venues state that pavement cafes must be smoke-free, reports The Guardian. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told the Daily Mail: “This damaging decision would be a hugely disproportionate step and will, inevitably, deter customers from pubs, bars and restaurants – businesses that already find themselves in a very fragile state following months of closure and over a year of severely disrupted trading. Venues already cater for non-smokers and smokers alike, so making people walk ten metres away from a venue, simply displacing the smoke, is illogical.” British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “We would encourage all local authorities to work with the sector in helping us get back on our feet, not burdening us with more red tape at the worst possible time.” A JD Wetherspoon spokesman added: “We already have quite a large number of non-smoking beer gardens. Our other beer gardens have smoking and non-smoking areas. This proposition has come out of the blue, and we have no policy on it, but we will discuss the issue with our pub teams and customers in the coming weeks and months.”
 
Leisure sector shows recovery as rent collection levels double since March quarter day: The leisure sector appears to be recovering with total commercial property rent collection in the industry doubling, according to Colliers. Two months on from March quarter day, total commercial property rent collection in the leisure sector increased from 18% to 37%. Meanwhile, the retail sector saw levels rise from 38% to 85%. Considering leisure assets, the hotels sector has significantly improved rental collection levels, rising from 33% to 63% since the beginning of the March quarter and similarly achieving its highest collection rate in the two-month period following the rent quarter date since June last year. The restaurant sector has also seen record collections since June 2020, exceeding the rent levels collected during last summer’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with 30% of rent collected two months on from the March quarter day. The figures showed high street and out-of-town retail has been particularly boosted in the two months following 25 March, rising from 25% to 87% for high street and 44% to 78% for out of town. High street and shopping centres have seen their highest collections recorded two months on from the quarter date since the beginning of the pandemic. Mark Jarrett, head of property management at Colliers, said: “The increase in rent payments from leisure and retail businesses demonstrates the significant impact the lifting of restrictions can have on operators. The coming quarter day on 24 June will hopefully show the resilience and optimism felt today is reflected in financial performance.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a business that is looking for an experienced London operator, ideally within the brewing, craft beer and drinks world. This role is a specialist position, joining a company that is expanding. To support its rapid growth, the owner of the company is looking to work with a managing director who will head up the whole operation. While experience in brewing and craft beer is essential, established operator experience and knowledge of scaling up a business is also needed. The position is paying up to £120,000, plus a benefits and incentive package. Anyone interested can email Stuart@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 
 

Company News: 

Hawthorn ‘evaluating all options’ after receiving ‘good level of interest’ following IPO plans: Mark Davies, chief executive of community pub company Hawthorn, has told Propel the business had a “good level of interest” from the public and private sector and is “evaluating all its options”. In April, parent group NewRiver announced it would explore the potential for an initial public offering of Hawthorn, following a strategic review. Speaking following NewRiver’s full-year results, Davies said the process was still ongoing. He said: “Our recent focus has been on reopening the pubs and we are now turning our attention back to the process. There’s a lot of work to be done before we advance to the next stage. We’ve had a good level of interest from both the public and private sector, and we now evaluate all those options and will provide an update in due course.” In the meantime, Davies said all the attention was turning to 21 June – in what is being dubbed Freedom Day. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” restrictions would be lifted but admitted “media speculation in recent days had been unhelpful”. He added: “The message seems to have shifted a bit in the past week or so, but it’s important the government follows the facts and figures when it makes its decisions. It will be very challenging for the sector if we don’t get back to where we need to be. We could have a really good summer of trading with the Euros, the British Lions and the other sporting events on offer and with the pent-up demand we are seeing from consumers. The importance of this decision for the hospitality industry as a whole cannot be underestimated – it is absolutely massive.” Davies said the 700-strong company was continuing to support its circa 550 tenants, and rent reductions would continue until at least August – depending on the government’s decision. He added: “We are in a very strong financial position – we’ve got about £200m of cash available to us. As well as investing our estate, and we’ve spent about £10m over the past 14 months, it’s been about looking after our people. We’ve offered more than £8m in rent support – and that is ongoing – and we will continue to support our people as much as we can.” Davies said a “few” non-core pubs were still closed, which the company was looking to dispose of while the deal to acquire 14 Everards sites, announced in April, had now completed.

Thunderbird Fried Chicken signs first franchise agreement as it takes brand outside of London with Parkdean Resorts partnership: Thunderbird Fried Chicken, the wings and fried chicken concept backed by TriSpan, has partnered with holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts as it takes the brand outside of London for the first time, Propel has learned. The franchise agreement, which is the first of its kind for Thunderbird, will see an initial two sites open at Parkdean Resorts’ parks in Camber Sands, in East Sussex, and Trecco Bay, in south Wales, this month. The plan is then to roll out the offer across additional parks over the coming year. The concepts will trade under the Thunderbird Fried Chicken name, offering a menu of classic Thunderbird dishes, all cooked to the exact specification that has seen the business quickly gain a cult following and grow to six sites. Under the agreement, Parkdean Resorts will oversee the full management of the sites, but it will be a collaborative process with all employees undergoing a full Thunderbird induction at its London restaurants. Thunderbird chief executive Paul Gilchrist said: “We’re excited to be expanding the business through this franchise, with the opportunity to open Thunderbird sites outside of London for the first time. In Parkdean Resorts, we’ve found a partner that fundamentally gets what we’re about as a business and I have complete faith in their systems and people to meet and deliver the stringent quality control standards we set for Thunderbird.” Parkdean Resorts chief executive Steve Richards added: “This move represents the wider intent across the business to continually improve the quality of our food and beverage offer, giving our guests an unrivalled choice and experience when they visit us. Thunderbird is a young, exciting brand that has perfected an outstanding product which we’re absolutely certain will be a hit with our guests.” Parkdean Resorts operates 67 caravan, lodge, cabin, glamping and camping holiday resorts while Thunderbird has a number of new openings lined up in London for the rest of 2021.
 
Mapal acquires France-based restaurant and kitchen management software provider Easilys: Mapal Group, the European hospitality software developer behind Edinburgh’s Flow Hospitality Training, has acquired Easilys, a multi-site restaurant and kitchen management software provider based in France with offices in Paris, Geneva and Barcelona. The acquisition is the latest in a series of investments by Mapal in complementary hospitality technologies, with a view to combining solutions to create a powerful, integrated back-of-house multi-site operating system for the hospitality sector. The move follows the acquisition of UK-based Flow Hospitality Training in December 2019, US-headquartered Cloud Reputation in 2020 and Sweden-based GetCompliant earlier this year. Easilys was founded in France by three brothers who aimed to change how catering and restaurant groups manage, supply and control their restaurants and kitchens. Its software is used by more than 5,000 hospitality websites in six countries to improve margin and drive procurement efficiencies through multiple features such as production and recipe management, inventory, RFP management, waste reduction and compliance control. Key customers include Sodexo, Big Mamma Group, Vapiano, Pokawa and more than 2,000 schools. Mapal founder and chief executive Jorge Lurueña said: “Welcoming Easilys to the Mapal Group family is very exciting because we believe it represents one of the missing pieces of our puzzle in offering a full-suite of management tools to the hospitality sector. While we have been active in France for a while, we are excited to grow our presence in the country and use it as a base to grow in neighbouring countries also.”

Roxy Ball Room to double up in Nottingham with largest site to date: Roxy Leisure is to open the largest site to date for its Roxy Ball Room concept as it doubles up in Nottingham. The company has agreed a deal with Orchard Street Investment Management to take 21,000 square foot of space at the 200,000 square foot leisure complex, The Cornerhouse. Roxy Leisure has signed a 20-year lease across the basement floor of the property. The venue, which opens next Friday (11 June), will offer a range of leisure and gaming facilities, including tenpin and duckpin bowling, ping pong, shuffleboard, ice curling and a selection of karaoke rooms, in addition to a number of traditional arcade games. The Cornerhouse is anchored by a 14-screen Cineworld and is home to 13 restaurants/bars, a nightclub, indoor adventure golf and a casino. Roxy Leisure chief executive Matt Jones said: “After the success and warm reception to our first site in Nottingham, we decided to open a second one here. We love this city and its amazing community and nightlife, and with The Cornerhouse, we think Roxy Ball Room will fit in perfectly there.” Roxy Leisure currently operates 11 sites across Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham under the Roxy Ball Room, Roxy Lanes and Roxy Arcade banners. Last year, the company secured a £7.5m investment from private equity firm Foresight, with Mark McQuater, the former chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, becoming its chairman.
 
Chilango appoints Wagamama COO Nigel Sherwood as non-executive director: Mexican restaurant brand Chilango has appointed Nigel Sherwood as a non-executive director to support the company’s ambitious growth plans. Sherwood brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his current and ongoing role as chief operating officer at Wagamama as well as in his previous role of managing director at Shake Shack, and within other senior roles at Nando’s and Pizza Hut UK. He joins Chilango’s new owners to drive the business forward alongside managing director Richard Franks. Chilango has a pipeline of new openings planned for 2021-22. Following the success of its regional sites in Manchester, Reading and, most recently, in Brighton, the chain is looking for new regional locations as well as further sites in London. A trial of a digital-only kitchen at the company’s Boxpark Croydon site was a “huge success”, acting as a test bed for further digital growth and development. Sherwood’s appointment follows the sale of the business in August 2020 to RDCP Group, an investment firm run by Sameer Rizvi and Iryna Dubylovska. A recruitment process to find a new head of people and culture for Chilango is also in place. Sherwood said: “I am delighted to be involved in yet another business with so much potential.” Franks added: “Nigel’s wealth of experience in the hospitality sector is invaluable and I can’t think of anyone better to help guide our growth and support our aim to continually improve.” Rizvi said: “Nigel has tons of experience in taking a mid-sized hospitality chain such as Chilango and helping it grow into a market leader.”
 
Argentinian chef Fernando Trocca to bring Latin American restaurant concept to UK: Argentinian chef Fernando Trocca is bringing his Latin American restaurant concept Sucre to the UK. Launched in Buenos Aires in 2001, Sucre combines traditional Latin American open-fire cooking techniques with a broad palette of international influences. Now Trocca is opening a restaurant in London, which will occupy the former home of the London College of Music in Great Marlborough Street in Soho. Taking over the college’s former concert hall, Sucre London will feature a 123-cover restaurant along with a 75-cocktail bar Abajo, which will be housed underneath. The restaurant’s dishes will include Iberico pork matambre as well as brill with tarragon and chicken butter sauce. The wine list will pay tribute to the journey from old world to new, listing South American labels alongside wine from their European origins. Beneath Sucre will sit Abajo, which will offer a programme of DJs and live music alongside a variety of cocktails.
 
Plant-based concept co-founded by Tom Kerridge to launch in Camden this month: Bad Vegan, a new plant-based concept, co-founded by chef Tom Kerridge and experienced brand creator Mark Emms, is to launch its first site, in Camden this month. The new concept, which focuses on providing a fundamentally vegan menu, will open its debut site at Buck Street Market on Thursday, 24 June. It has taken an 800 square foot on the top floor of the eco-conscious food and retail destination, which is owned by LabTech. The open-plan terrace restaurant will feature more than 60 covers, with over-the-counter takeaway options and click and collect also available. The Bad Vegan menu will offer a range of innovative vegan “hero” dishes, alongside vegan shakes and beer partnerships with Camden Town Brewery. Emms said: “Bad Vegan is a restaurant that caters for all diets with any judgements left at the door. Ultimately, Bad Vegan aims to showcase that delicious and filling plant-based food can help non-vegans become more aware of their meal choices.” LabTech acted on behalf of Buck Street Market while Bad Vegan dealt direct.
 
Kudu Collective to open fourth site next month: South African restaurant brand Kudu Collective is to launch a braai restaurant in Peckham next month. Kudu Grill will open in Nunhead Lane in the former Edinburgh Castle pub, which was operated by east London-based brewer Truman’s. Launching on Wednesday, 28 July, the 50-cover restaurant will offer a menu that centres around the braai – a South African grill using only wood and charcoal. Dishes, which are designed for sharing, will include dry-aged T-bone with beer pickled onions and onion treacle bordelaise; and whole black bream with zhug butter naans. There will also be a range of sides, snacks, starters and desserts. The concise 30-bin wine list will focus on mainly South African varieties sourced from family-owned wineries. There will also be a six-seater bar counter, overlooks the custom-built braai. Kudu Collective is owned by Amy Corbin, daughter of Corbin & King co-founder Chris Corbin, and her partner Patrick Williams. The company operates Kudu restaurant; cocktail bar Smokey Kudu; and Curious Kudu, a gallery and private dining space accommodating up to 14 guests, all in Queen’s Road, Peckham.
 
Hedonism Wines opens wine-led pub in Mayfair: Drinks wholesaler Hedonsim Wines has opened a wine-led pub in Mayfair. The White Horse, which is located on Davies Street, just off Shepherd Market, will use the full breadth of Hedonism Wines’ 6,000-plus wine and rare spirit offer and also offers freshly prepared cheese from La Fromagerie, charcuterie and small plates. The venue is built over two floors on the site of a former jazz club and opens from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4pm, with the lower ground floor Cellar Bar available for private events and tastings. Guests will be encouraged to order wine by the bottle, with wine by the glass featuring a particular region, grape or vintage priced from £7 to £25. Hedonism Wines’ resident wine writer Sherry Rose will host a series of informal monthly events combining wine knowledge, blind tasting and a wine quiz. 

Camden Town Brewery to open beer hall on Monday: Camden Town Brewery will open Camden Beer Hall on Monday (7 June), next to the north London brewery’s original production site in Wilkin Street Mews. The site, which has taken inspiration from traditional Bavarian beer halls, promises fresh beer straight from its tanks, with no pasteurisation, from 24 beer taps. It also claims it will be one of the only venues in the London to introduce a manual glass washing station at the front of its bar. On food duty is Theo Randall who will curate a menu designed to pair with Camden’s range of beer that will combine his love for Italian cooking with dishes found in a Bavarian-inspired beer hall. For the first time, Camden is making its “Beer School” experience available to the masses. Having been running the classes internally for years, Beer Hall guests will be able to brush up on their beer knowledge over an exclusive brewery tour, the chance to chat with the expert brewing team and a beer tasting to finish. These will take place monthly. Camden Town Brewery founder Jasper Cuppaidge said: “After years of dreaming of our perfect beer destination, we’re excited to welcome guests to the Camden Beer Hall. There are so many great new ideas that make our beer hall awesome and we know our Camden fans are going to absolutely love it.” The site will also house a merchandise shop plus beer to take away. 
 
Bottega to open rooftop bar at London hotel: Italian drinks brand Bottega is to open a rooftop bar in London. The company will launch Bottega@Bokan at The Accor Group’s Novotel London Canary Wharf. The large space occupies the entire 39th floor of the skyscraper, offering customers views of the London skyline while drinking Italian wine and spirits. Bottega@Bokan will offer a selection of Bottega wine, prosecco and “signature” cocktails, accompanied by Italian dishes. Bottega president Sandro Bottega said: “The collaboration with Accor represents an important milestone for our project and is, at the same time, an incentive to maintain and further improve the quality of our products and our service.” Bottega launched its first retail format – Prosecco Bar – in 2014 on board Viking Group’s Cinderella ship, which operates on the Baltic Sea. Over the years, it has been introduced at airports, including in the UK at Birmingham, as well as hotels. Last month, it launched a new bar and restaurant concept – Bottega Terrazza Bar & Restaurant – at Bath and Windsor racecourses follows a commercial agreement with Arena Racing Company that will also see Bottega open pop-up bars at other racecourses in England.
 
Kent food and drinks provider Macknade to open third site within family-owned department store: Kent-based food and drink provider Macknade will open its third site, within department store Hoopers in Tunbridge Wells. The company will occupy the 4,000 square foot former cafe site within the family-owned store, where it will offer an all-day dining experience for customers from breakfast to supper when it opens in September. Macknade at Hoopers will also offer a retail range, including a selection of produce used on the new restaurant menu, as well as wine, beer and cider. A curated collection of indoor plants and bouquets from the floristry department will be available, alongside bespoke hamper services and foodie gifts. Macknade chief executive Stefano Cuomo said: “Macknade’s whole purpose is to bring communities together through quality food and drink experiences. By partnering with Hoopers, we aim to create a favourite place in the town for everyone to enjoy. Tunbridge Wells residents have long taken pride in supporting local, independent businesses and the surrounding area of the Weald is full of producers that we already admire, and whose stories we can’t wait to share.” Macknade managing director Shane Godwin added: “Once finished, the restaurant will become the ideal place for all manner of get-togethers from business breakfasts, to relaxed brunches and suppers with friends and family.” Macknade operates a food hall with dining, a deli and a butcher in Faversham and a site in Ashford that offers dining, a grocer and a deli.
 
Anthony Lyon to launch brasserie and wine bar concept in Hackney for second venture next month: The team behind Lyon’s Seafood & Wine Bar in London’s Crouch End will launch a “modern warehouse brasserie and wine bar” in Hackney next month. Hackney Coterie will be the second venture from Anthony Lyon, who opened nose-to-fin seafood restaurant Lyon’s in 2019. Sommelier and sake master Kelvin McCabe has joined forces with Lyon to launch the site, which has been billed as a “multifaceted dining experience and community hub”. Taking over the former L'Entrepot wine bar premises that was operated by Borough Wines, Hackney Coterie will be set over two floors and consist of a brasserie, wine bar, bottle shop and deli, along with an intimate events space that will open later. The food will be seasonally driven and with zero waste in mind but will not be attached to a specific cuisine to allow the kitchen team to “freely explore flavours and ingredients to create the dishes”. To drink, wine will be sourced from small-scale low-intervention vineyards. There will also be a selection of sake, craft beer and cocktails.
 
Edinburgh-based Bakery Andante opens third site featuring debut sit-down area: Edinburgh-based Bakery Andante has opened its third site, which includes its first sit-down area. The company is known for its bread, which includes sourdough, focaccia, baguettes and croissants. Established more than a decade ago with a small shop in Morningside, the business expanded to its second site in Leith in 2017 and has continued to grow. It has now opened a site in Broughton Street, which includes a café area. The menu features house waffles and French toast as well as Greek grilled cheese sandwiches and a Tuscan panzanella salad. Three is also a selection of cakes and desserts as well as coffee. Head baker Jon Wood told the Edinburgh Evening News: “It has been a long-held aim to open a cafe alongside our retail offerings, and also to find a location in such a fantastic area as this.”
 
Michelin-starred Scottish chef Graeme Cheevers opens debut restaurant: Michelin-starred Scottish chef Graeme Cheevers has launched his debut restaurant. Cheevers, who has worked with Geoffrey Smeddle at fine dining restaurant Étain, Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond and at the Isle of Eriska Hotel, has opened Unalome in Glasgow. The venue in Kelvingrove Street has taken the place of The Sisters restaurant following owner Jacqueline O’Donnell’s retirement. The site has about 60 covers and the estimated £350,000 investment has also created 50 jobs. Unalome is a Buddhist symbol that represents the path each person takes in life. Cheevers said he has chosen Unalome as the name to signify “something new and completely different for Glasgow’s food scene”. The offer is modern European and the menu changes weekly. Cheevers won Michelin stars at both Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond and the Isle of Eriska Hotel and hopes to win Glasgow’s first star since 2004. He said: “There is nowhere else I would rather launch my own restaurant than in my home city of Glasgow. It is scary going solo but I feel like I’m now at a point in my career where I’m ready and I have the confidence and experience to take it forward and make it a success.” 
 
Treetop Adventure Golf opens two indoor courses in Birmingham: Discovery Adventure Golf, a partnership between former Goldman Sachs entrepreneur Elizabeth Stanway and experienced leisure operator Chris Richards, has opened a site for its Treetop Adventure Golf concept in Birmingham. Treetop Adventure Golf Birmingham is the company’s fourth site, which opened this week in the Bullring & Grand Central shopping centre after a £2.4m refurbishment. The latest venue features two indoor 18-hole courses and has sister branches in Cardiff, Leicester and Manchester. Treetop Adventure Golf Birmingham general manager James Scott told The Business Desk: “We’re so excited to finally be getting into the swing of things at Treetop Birmingham. We can’t wait for guests to come explore our mighty rainforest. Our jungle is open seven days a week for putters of all ages and is suitable for every occasion – from family days out to student hangouts, date nights, work get-togethers and celebrations. Plus, there’s no need to book, so you can join us for a jungle adventure whenever suits you best.” Treetop Adventure Golf chief executive and co-founder Stanway added: “We’re extremely proud to be finally welcoming guests into our new Birmingham site at Bullring & Grand Central. We can’t wait to help guests from the West Midlands and further afield create treasured memories together.”

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