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Fri 18th Jun 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Anne Ackord – the government has treated the industry disgracefully, Brighton Pier Group hopes to make further theme park acquisitions: Anne Ackord, chief executive of Brighton Pier Group, has launched a scathing attack on the government following the delay to “Freedom Day”, saying it has treated the industry “disgracefully”, particularly the late-night sector. Speaking to Propel on the back of Brighton Pier Group’s acquisition of Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire, Ackord said the leaking of news through the national press showed a “complete lack of respect and understanding” for the industry. She said: “I struggle to understand how the government thinks we can open our businesses in just one week. Ten days ago, everything was looking fine so businesses would have ordered stock and brought back staff and then, suddenly, you’re reading in the papers that things are being delayed. The detail coming out shows this information is clearly being leaked. The government has no understanding of how the industry works. For example, you’ve got rent debt that just keeps building. We’re lucky that we’ve managed to come to arrangements but others in the industry are not so fortunate. It’s not like Father Christmas is going to turn up and the debt is going to disappear – it needs paying, but how? Businesses in the late-night sector have been shut for 15 months with no extra support. The government has treated this industry disgracefully.” Ackord said the company had repurposed five of its nine bars into “lounge bars” so they could operate but added: “We want to get back to normal and we want everyone in the industry to have the chance to do so. But the government has treated us, as a sector, very unfairly and sadly that means some businesses will not survive.” But Ackord said Brighton Pier Group had performed “very credibly” given the restrictions and was delighted to add to its portfolio with the Lightwater Valley deal, which could cost the company up to £5m. She said: “We’re only interested in acquiring businesses that we think we can develop. Interestingly, the strategy of the management team at Lightwater Valley was to market the park at families with children under the age of 14. We’ll watch for a little while and see how that works but we think, through technology such as virtual reality, we could transform some of the rides very easily. We’ve done a similar thing at the pier and it’s proved very successful.” In terms of other theme park acquisitions, Ackord said: “We hope so. Other businesses like Lightwater Valley exist in the country and we will continue to look at opportunities where we think there is potential to develop those businesses.” 

Industry News:

Food-led business dominate new entries on updated Propel Premium database of multi-site companies this month: Food-led businesses are dominating the make-up of the new companies being added to the Propel Premium multi-site database in June. The updated database, which has the most comprehensive information on multi-site operators in the sector, will include a minimum of 63 new companies when it is released on Wednesday, 30 June, at midday. New additions with a food-led bias include 202 Kitchen, a Birmingham-based restaurant concept inspired by the “trapbox” trend – serving comforting soul food piled up in a metal box. It runs a site in Birmingham and has opened another site in Manchester’s Spinningfields. Maggie Fu is a Liverpool-based Asian street food restaurant business that opened second site at Hanover Street, Liverpool ONE. The Pudding Pantry is a Nottingham-based coffee shop and dessert restaurant that opened its third site in High Road, Beeston. Available only to subscribers, the exhaustive database was most recently sent at the end of May and included the details of 1,819 companies. The go-to database 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, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion column, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (18 June) at 5pm, Jasper Reid, the founder of IMM, which advises brands on international expansion and owns the Wendy’s and Jamie Oliver restaurant chains in India, looks at the growth of the QSR and delivery kitchen sectors in India. Meanwhile, Propel insights editor Mark Wingett looks at the repercussions of the decision to delay “Freedom Day” by a month. Email to sign up.
Propel Friday Wrap video series with Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (18 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 the week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, to discuss taking the government to court, threatening more legal action, the challenges the sector still faces and where the industry goes from here.

Whitbread suffers shareholder revolt over pay plans, opening two new Beefeater sites: Whitbread suffered a shareholder revolt as more than a third of investors voted against the company’s pay plans. The group revealed 35.75% of investor votes at its annual general meeting on Thursday (17 June) were made against its remuneration policy. While the policy was approved, with 64.25% of investor votes cast in favour, almost 24 million withheld votes also failed to back the plans. The backlash was centred on the company’s rewards for chief executive Alison Brittain and other executives. While the company decided Brittain had earned part of her annual bonus entitlement for 2020-21, its remuneration committee decided not to pay them this year but delay them by 12 months depending upon its performance. Whitbread stated: “The board notes the results of the advisory resolution on the 2020-21 remuneration report, which has been supported by the majority of shareholders. We have already had conversations with a number of shareholders regarding the remuneration report and we look forward to ongoing constructive discussions with shareholders over the coming months. We will report on any actions resulting from those discussions in due course.” Meanwhile, Whitbread’s Beefeater brand is set to grow to 174 restaurants with the opening of sites in Saffron Walden in Essex and in Hamilton, Glasgow, this month, both in new-build Premier Inn properties. The Glasgow 182-cover Beefeater will open as part of the new-build 96-bedroom Premier Inn Hotel in Hamilton and will feature a restaurant and bar alongside a garden, offering an additional 16 covers, while the Saffron Walden site is part of the 70-bedroom Premier Inn in Thaxted Road and has 102-covers. Rebecca Donaldson, commercial marketing director, Whitbread Restaurants, said: “We are investing to win this financial year as we recover from the pandemic and continue to grow and innovate our market-leading brands.” Between May and August, Whitbread will have opened seven new restaurants across its Beefeater, Bar + Block and Cookhouse + Pub brands, alongside 15 new and extended hotels.

Paul Chase – ‘the climate of fear that now exists due to the pandemic is no accident but a deliberate strategy’: Leading sector commentator Paul Chase has argued the “climate of fear” that now exists due to the pandemic “is no accident but a deliberate strategy”. Writing in this week’s Propel Friday Opinion, Chase said coronavirus has provided the opportunity “for all sorts of people with long-standing agendas to advance their cause of choice”. He pointed towards comments made by professor Susan Michie, a member of SAGE, who Chase said has been “front and centre in delivering the fear factor needed to persuade people to trade their liberties for state protection”, including comments such as mask-wearing and social distancing should continue “long term”. Chase said: “While I have always understood the extent of institutional capture by an ideological public health establishment, I failed to fully appreciate the extent of professional, psychological expertise used to keep the population compliant with covid restrictions. The climate of fear that now exists is no accident, it is a deliberate strategy. [Professor Michie] helped frame a document issued in March 2020 by SAGE, called ‘Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures’. It concluded we were not yet frightened enough. So, we needed to be scared a bit more. It recommended ‘the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging’. And we’ve all seen how this worked. The problem for the government is how to unwind all that fear when and if they do decide to get rid of covid restrictions and open up the economy and society. But will the government want to get rid of covid restrictions and fully reopen society? Not if professor Michie can help it. I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist. No one can seriously argue that inept governments are clever enough to have planned all this to create a more conformist society. But a crisis such as the pandemic provides opportunities for all sorts of people with long-standing agendas to advance their cause of choice. Professor Michie is just a particularly egregious example of this.” Chase will share more of his thoughts in this week’s Friday Opinion, which will be published on Friday (18 June) at 11am.
Gumbrell – we have a root-and-branch problem when it comes to attracting staff and it starts in schools: The hospitality sector has a root-and-branch problem when it comes to attracting new staff and it starts in schools, Brewhouse & Kitchen chief executive Kris Gumbrell has said. Speaking as part of Propel’s Friday Wrap series, Gumbrell said: “In the short term, you look at what levers you can pull such as pay and benefits, but we have a root-and-branch problem that has been brought into sharp focus by the pandemic. This problem has been kicking around for years and, for me, starts at schools, at an educational level, because children go out more in hospitality settings with their families more than they have ever done before and I am wondering how our teams are perceived by those young families when they go out. We have to get into schools because that is where the problem is. They are funnelling their pupils into universities because that’s where they get their brownie points, and the university system is not dealing with the hospitality sector. I am a fellow at Bournemouth University, I am actively involved and a guest lecturer each year and, every year, I see the hospitality department become diminished and the intake shrinking. They are not seeing the applicants come through and, if that is the case, the problem is at school level and/or possibly the perception the parents have of the sector. We have lost this diverse skill base and now that we have shut the door on migrant EU workers, until we come up with a better, more reasonable solution around getting visas, then we have a big problem because we haven’t got the people coming through. When we talk about young people in this sector, we often talk about it like they have an accidental career. They were doing something else, burnt £70,000 doing a degree, didn’t end up in the career they wanted so they get a bar job. They are fantastic people, great personalities and they go on to become general managers in our business and beyond. This is not a pandemic issue, it is one that has gone on for years but now we are in real trouble.”

Covid ‘hospitality visas’ ruled out: The government has rejected calls for a “coronavirus recovery visa” to help combat the hospitality staffing crisis, with officials branding the idea “inappropriate” while thousands of staff remain on furlough. The Home Office told the i newspaper it had officially ruled out the proposals, which had been backed by UKHospitality and London mayor Sadiq Khan, as thousands of jobs remain unfilled in embattled pubs and restaurants. The hospitality industry currently has about 188,000 vacancies with 80% of venues short of staff. However, the government has said pub and restaurant owners should focus on Britain’s domestic workforce to fill positions. “Throughout the pandemic, the government has implemented an unprecedented package of measures to support workers and businesses right across the UK,” the Home Office told i. “We want employers to focus on training and investing in our domestic workforce, especially those needing to find new employment as a result of the restrictions rather than relying on labour from abroad. It would be inappropriate to introduce a new visa route with high numbers of people in the sector benefiting from the furlough scheme. We want them to be able to get back to their jobs when restrictions end.”

Company News:

Lebanese fast food concept Za’ta set for rollout, aims to grow to ten sites in next year: Za’ta, the London-based Lebanese fast food concept founded by Lebanese national, Francis Zahar, and former Pret A Manger and EAT executive Ed Grimes, is aiming to grow to a ten-strong estate in the next year – and has its sights on eventually growing international. The concept launched in Baker Street in September last year and is inspired by the recipes of Zahar’s mother, Nadia. The menu includes a selection of hot and cold mezzes, meat and vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as breakfast snacks, fair trade organic coffee and sweet treats with a focus on the famous Lebanese man’oushe. And despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, Zahar and Grimes have just started looking for a second site for the concept, which they believe has the format for a rapid rollout. Grimes told Propel he hopes a new site will open in September and is eyeing the City as well as the Gloucester Road and Kensington areas of the capital. He said: “Because we offer a more grab-and-go format, serving people who are in a bit of a hurry, Za’ta can work in a variety of locations. As workers return to the office, the City really appeals to us and we can have a similar set-up to what we have in Baker Street. We are also looking at the outlying London suburbs where we can catch those people who are working from home, or are out and about, and want good food, quickly. We think we can open ten sites in the next year – we have the platform in place that will allow us to move quickly. While our immediate focus is on London, we very much think there is a market for us outside the capital and, in the future, internationally.” Zahar, who met Grimes in London three years ago, said: “The food we serve is the food I eat at home and we treat our customers the same way I would treat people who were coming to my home. We’re serving complicated food but in a fast way and at an affordable price. This is unheard of in the market we are operating in.”
Gusto Italian appoints Ann Elliott as non-executive director: Premium casual dining group, Gusto Italian, has appointed Ann Elliott to its board as a non-executive director. The Matt Snell-led brand, which currently has 12 sites across the UK, said Elliott would work with the board on driving strategy and growth. Snell said: “We’re delighted Ann is joining our board as a non-executive director, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience from the industry. Ann will support us in our expansion plans and in our aim to redefine the landscape of Italian casual dining. Ann’s main role will be to act as the voice of the guest across our board and make sure that we stick to our strategy of owning special occasions and delivering premium experiential food.” Elliott, founder of Luminary Talent and co-founder of Plan B mentoring, also sits on the boards of Wireless Social, Hall & Woodhouse and Tossed. She said: “Gusto is a brilliant brand that I have admired for many years, with an exciting future ahead of it. I’m so pleased to be part of it and support it in its growth.”
Gusto features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is now available to Premium subscribers. Gusto turned over £32,353,000 in its most recent financial year, making it the 102nd highest company turnover in the sector. Gusto has turned over an average of £26,805,400 in the past five years. Email to sign up.

Kanada-Ya lines up opening in Ealing: London-based ramen concept Kanada-Ya is set to open its fourth restaurant in the capital, in Ealing. Propel has learned that Kanada-Ya, which is led in the UK by Tony Lam and Aaron Burgess-Smith, has lined up an opening in the Filmworks Walk scheme, with Neat Burger rumoured to also be taking a site there. Earlier this year, Kanada-Ya announced it planned to open three new sites in London this year, including two new restaurants. The brand launched a delivery kitchen site in Greenwich in March. The group currently operates restaurants in Covent Garden, Haymarket and Angel. Founded in Japan, Kanada-Ya opened its first site in the UK in 2014. It also has locations in Spain and Hong Kong. Lam and Burgess-Smith also operate the Machiya restaurant in Soho.
Coffee#1 co-founder lines up debut England site for Coffi Lab concept: James Shapland, the co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, has lined up the first opening in England for his new coffee concept, Coffi Lab. The business, which is led by former SA Brain finance director Hannah Gillard, has secured the former HSBC in Marlborough High Street for an opening later this summer. Propel revealed last week Coffi Lab would launch its debut site this summer on the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill store in Monnow Street, Monmouth. Propel understands the fledgling business has also applied to open a further site in the High Street of the Llandaff area of Cardiff. In line with the growth of Coffee#1, Shapland is seeking sites for the new concept in neighbourhood centres and high street market towns across south Wales and the south west. Coffi Lab, which is working with property adviser EJ Hales to find suitable sites, plans to be “a heart-warming, authentic retail coffee brand in a neighbourhood setting”. Shapland co-founded Coffee#1 in 2000 and went on to grow it to 15 sites across Wales and the south west, with an annual turnover of £5m a year, before selling it for an undisclosed sum to SA Brain in 2011. Caffe Nero paid almost £30m to acquire a majority stake in Coffee#1, which now operates more than 100 sites, in February 2019.

The Coal Shed team to open fourth site, in Brighton: Black Rock Restaurant Group, which owns The Coal Shed and Salt Room restaurants, has announced it will open its fourth site – Burnt Orange – on Monday (21 June). The venue, which is located in Middle Street, Brighton, from restaurateur Razak Helalat, will have music curated by DJ Norman Cook also known as Fatboy Slim. Burnt Orange will offer Mediterranean-style dining with an all-day of food, drinks and music. It has 54 covers inside, alongside a courtyard that has 28 covers and a private dining room seating for ten. The restaurant is situated within a 16th century former coach house, with food from head chef Peter Dantanus, one of the team’s long-standing chefs from sister restaurant The Salt Room. The basis of the menu, as with The Coal Shed and The Salt Room, is well-sourced, high-quality seasonal ingredients cooked predominantly over fire. Casual grazing dishes include locally sourced crab and samphire fritters, brown crab tahini and Nigella salt, stracciatella, burnt bread, lardo and salted cherries. While larger plates include shawarma pork belly, date molasses and pickled fennel salad and charcoal-roasted octopus. An extensive cocktail list is also available. Helalat said: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve had countless conversations with friends and loyal customers about the need for a totally new space. Something different – not quite a restaurant, not quite a bar – but somewhere that combines great food and amazing drinks with the right music.”

Strong economy keeping McDonald’s on track to offer $15 an hour wage by 2024: McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski said a strong economy is keeping the company on track to meet its promise of providing $15 an hour wages for all employees by 2024. Speaking to US business news channel CNBC, Kempczinski also said the company’s mindset was moving from defensive to more aggressive as covid restrictions have begun to lift. He also said while McDonald’s has relied on drive-thru custom during the pandemic, he expects customers to return to dining inside its restaurants. On the US minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, Kempczinski said he was “willing to have a conversation” about raising the federal minimum wage but indicated economic pressures have already pushed pay rates higher. He said: “$7.25 is not what you should be paying or need to be paying” in order to stay competitive but added wages are already getting pushed above the current minimum because of a strong economy.
High-class cafe brand EL&N plans Middle East rollout: High-class cafe brand EL&N is planning to expand across the Middle East, with openings in the UAE and Kuwait lined up. As reported by Propel last month, the company recently opened its first international site in the Galleria Mall, in Qatar. According to the Middle East-based The National, the business will open in Dubai’s DIFC later this month, while a further site will soon launch in The Avenues Mall, Kuwait. In a video on YouTube announcing plans for expansion, founder Alexandra Miller said the company is looking to take EL&N to “all corners of the globe”. Propel understands EL&N is also close to securing a site in Paris. Last month, the company opened its ninth site in London, in Soho. The group opened its latest site in Wardour Street, on the site of the former Printroom unit. Last year, the company also opened a site in Carnaby – its second under its grab-and-go format – in Great Marlborough Street. EL&N focuses on Instagrammable venues with a plethora of pink products. The menu features pink coffee and pink cake, while the retail section includes pink water bottles, ceramic coffee cups and keyrings. Richard Willcox at Etch acts for EL&N.
Boparan Restaurant Group appoints Phil Neale as new marketing and communications director: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), the owner and operator of brands including Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner, Carluccio’s and Slim Chickens, has appointed Phil Neale, formerly of Tesco, as its new marketing and communications director. Neale joins the company after previously performing in and managing the band The Neales, leading it to the live final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2015. He also spent three years as Tesco, including a stint as brand manager for Tesco Finest. Neale joins BRG as it expands its fledgling virtual delivery brand Rebel Vegan to a further six sites. Launched in April with the tagline: “All plants. No bull”, and originally made available through the Ed’s Easy Diner sites in Birmingham (Ladywood) and Cheshire Oaks, Giraffe in Cheshunt and the former Carluccio’s unit in Upper Street, Islington, the brand has now been rolled out to BRG sites in Southampton, Brighton, Norwich, York, Lakeside and Cambridge.

East London Pub Co to open long-awaited Clapham site on Friday: East London Pub Co will open its long-awaited pub in Clapham on Friday (18 June). Following more than three years of planning and development, The Saxon will launch in Clapham High Street for the company’s sixth pub. Set over four floors, the building has doubled in size. The 220-cover site features multiple private rooms, a mezzanine, rooftop area and street-side terraces. The Saxon will open with a drink offering to begin with, which will be complemented by a small plates menu featuring charcuterie and cheese boards as well as sharing dishes such as burrata, tomato, lemon oil, coriander seeds and toast; and chicken wings, hot sauce and blue cheese dip. The pub will, in due course, introduce brunch, Sunday roasts as well as traditional British pub classics. East London Pub Co owner Patrick Frawley said: “I’m excited after three and a half years to be opening this venue especially given the incredibly difficult year in hospitality. Every aspect of this job has been thoughtfully curated and designed to create something of quality while retaining a timeless and classic feel.” Frawley is also behind Coqbull, the Irish chicken and burger concept, which operates five sites in Ireland and London.
Paddy & Scott’s heads north with Durham cafe opening: Independent Suffolk coffee shop operator and wholesaler Paddy & Scott’s has opened its first site in the north of England. The company has launched a cafe at the Marriott Hotel Royal County in Durham, taking over the space previously occupied by Starbucks. Alongside its ethically sourced coffee, the cafe also serves a selection of sandwiches, salads, snacks and sweet treats. Paddy & Scott’s managing director Jon Reed said: “We are excited to expand our reach up north. We began working with Marriott Hotel group in 2019 and are slowly bringing our iconic ‘wings’ branding to more of its cafes while supplying it with our coffee. This new site is brilliantly located in the heart of the city, which attracts a big student audience that we are very used to serving.”
Former Cinnamon Club general manager to open yakitori restaurant in Marylebone: Former Cinnamon Club general manager Rizwan Khan is opening a yakitori restaurant in London’s Marylebone. Khan has teamed up with chef Aman Lakhiani, who has worked at Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Dos Palillos in Barcelona, to launch Junsei. Meaning “pure” in Japanese, Junsei will open in Seymour Place on Tuesday (22 June). The menu focus on skewers grilled over Binchotan, a white charcoal using Japanese oak that cooks at very high heat. There are more than 20 skewers on the menu, including shiso breast with ume, all coated in house tare – soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar – or shio salt, before being grilled and caramelised over the Binchotan. Alongside the skewers are sharing plates including cuttlefish somen with a cucumber mirin soy sauce. The drinks menu will feature a sake and shochu list and Japanese-inspired cocktails. Lakhiani said: “We are excited to be bringing our version of the art of yakitori to London. I have always been fascinated by cooking over fire and the central tenets of yakitori; bringing amazing flavours out of the simplest of ingredients. My training to date has all led to this moment, and it’s a dream come true to be launching our first concept in London.”
Quintet with more than 65 years’ experience across London’s hospitality sector open Vauxhall pub: Five childhood friends with more than 65 years’ experience across London’s hospitality sector have joined forces to open a pub in Vauxhall. The Jolly Gardeners is the brainchild of Jonathan Kaye, Dan and Nick Blucert, Rob Humphreys and Ryan Vivian. Having found themselves out of work or on furlough as the pandemic hit, the quintet have brought the former The Zeitgeist pub in Black Prince Road back to life. The team’s collective experience includes restaurants such as Oblix, Polpo, Neptune, Big Easy, The Delaunay, Gauthier and Silo. The original timber bar acts as a centrepiece to the 170-cover site, which offers a weekly changing menu of dishes such as Iron Age pork chop, spring greens and smoked apple jam; and Monkfish schnitzel, Jersey Royal potato salad with crispy capers. Drinks include a range of beer and an ever-changing wine list. Kaye said: “Having the chance to open the pub with my friends has been the dream for so long. We all grew up in pubs and, for most of us, it was our very first job. It’s great to go back to our roots and build a proper local pub.”
German Doner Kebab to open a site in Cwmbran: German Doner Kebab, the Hero Brands-backed business, is to open a site in Cwmbran as part of plans to hit the 100-site mark by the end of the year. It will be the company’s third site in Wales when it opens in early July and will be located on Glyndwr Road, creating 40 jobs. The Cwmbran restaurant will be the brand’s 64th site in the UK. Its other Welsh sites are in Swansea and Cardiff. In May, German Doner Kebab announced it was to open a site in Colchester this month in the former Bright House premises in High Street, following news it had secured the former PizzaExpress site in London’s Canary Wharf’s and the ex-Revolution site in Manchester’s Fallowfield. Imran Sayeed, chief executive of the Glasgow-based business, said: “We have been extremely agile during the pandemic and there continues to be a huge demand for our game-changing kebabs. Our plans will almost double our portfolio and create in the region of 1,800 jobs as we continue to disrupt the market space and maintain our mission of building the fast-casual brand of the future.” The company is looking to open more sites in the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the Republic Ireland.
Various Eateries to open Bristol site next month: Various Eateries, the AIM-listed Andy Bassadone-chaired business, will open a site under its Coppa Club brand in Bristol next month. As previously revealed by Propel, the company will open its eighth site under the brand in the former PizzaExpress site in Regent Street, Clifton Village. It will launch on Wednesday, 14 July, and comprise 200 covers spread across two storeys, with the ground floor home to the main restaurant, bar and lounge and the upper floor housing a dining area and workspace. It will serve an all-day menu from breakfast through to dinner, focused on European small plates, alongside sourdough pizzas, salads and more. Various Eateries chief executive Yishay Malkov said: “We’re very excited to bring Coppa Club to Bristol. We’ve always wanted to open in south west England and couldn’t think of a better location than this vibrant city.” In April, Propel revealed Various Eateries had applied to open a Coppa Club in Brewhouse Lane, Putney Wharf. It is also in talks to take the former Georgian Hotel in Haslemere for an opening later this year. Last September, Various Eateries raised £25m through an initial public offering and said it believed there was potential to open up to 100 sites under its fledgling Tavolino brand, and capacity for more than 50 Coppa Clubs across the UK.
Aparthotel operator Roomzzz to make Scottish debut as it resumes expansion plans with £20m Edinburgh venue: Aparthotel operator Roomzzz is to make its Scottish debut as it resumes its expansion programme. The company, which launched 15 years ago in Leeds, has announced it will open a £20m Edinburgh venue next summer. The brand currently has ten properties across the UK, in Yorkshire, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. The new site is its first post-pandemic, and the company has said it is anticipating further developments in the UK and Europe, with discussions now progressing. Chief operating officer Robert Alley said: “Prior to the pandemic, it was predicted the aparthotel market would grow three times faster than the rate of hotels and I expect this trend will continue unabated. Despite the recent challenges posed, we remain on track with our expansion plans with the pending introduction of the £20m aparthotel in Edinburgh and are confident we can grow the brand internationally.”

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