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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 27th Jul 2021 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

US investment funds among bidders for Hawthorn: A pair of US-based investment funds were among the final bidders for community pub company Hawthorn, Propel has learned. On Monday (26 July), Admiral Taverns announced it had agreed to acquire the 674-strong from real estate investment trust NewRiver for £222.3m, taking its estate to more than 1,600 pubs. Propel understands the Chris Jowsey-led Admiral beat competition from US-based funds DE Shaw and Sixth Street to acquire the Mark Davies-led business. It is thought those three, plus Punch, made it through to the second round of bidding. NewRiver had previously announced it was exploring an initial public offering of Hawthorn following a strategic review, which would see the pub group launched as a separately listed company. Admiral is owned by a joint venture between Magners cider-maker C&C Group and real estate investor Proprium Capital Partners, with a minority stake held by the senior management team. The company is paying for Hawthorn with a mixture of debt and new capital from Proprium. The deal, which works out at just under a 12-times multiple on Hawthorn’s most recent full-year Ebitda of just over £19m, is expected to complete in August. Hawthorn was created through the acquisition of 202 pubs from Marston’s in December 2013. It acquired 158 pubs from Punch in September 2015 before the acquisition of the eponymous Hawthorn business in May 2018, which comprised 298 pubs. It then acquired the 44-strong Bravo Inns in December 2019 and a further 28 pubs from Marston’s. In April, the business acquired 14 community pubs from Everards. Davies said: “Throughout our sale and initial public offering process, we have been blown away by the high level of interest that has been expressed in Hawthorn, which is testament to the high-quality business we’ve built and the quality of our people. The past 18 months have shown just how vital the community pub is to the social fabric of this country. Chris and the Admiral team will inherit more than 670 thriving community pubs and a fantastic group of highly committed, loyal and talented people, and we wish them and the new owners every success for the future.”

Industry News:

Number of new burger restaurant operators increasing on updated database of multi-site companies, another new database also released on Friday: The number of new burger restaurant operators is increasing, according to the updated Propel Premium database of multi-site companies, which will be released on Friday (30 July) at midday. The Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will include 71 additions and is exclusively available to subscribers. The 71 new companies operate 477 sites between them. Among that number is Phat Buns – a Midlands-based burger concept that is looking to open a new site in Coventry. Burger & Sauce has sites in the Midlands and London, and has recently opened another, at the Bullring shopping centre, Birmingham. Bun & Steak is a gourmet burger and steakhouse concept that is set to open a second site, in Coventry, in August. 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. Premium subscribers will also receive a new database at exactly the same time this Friday. A Guide To New Openings will focus on the newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and will be updated every month. Meanwhile, subscribers also have access to another database called Turnover & Profits Blue Book. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. 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. 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. Email to sign up.
Peazi founders reveal how mobile ordering is ‘revolutionising’ hospitality operations in latest The Supplier Perspective video today: In the latest of Propel’s video interviews with leading sector suppliers, Niels Nielsen and Dave Pickering, founders of order and pay system Peazi, share their customer-centric solution that is “revolutionising” hospitality operations. Allowing customers to order and pay in less than 20 seconds, with no app download and no lengthy sign-up process, the duo talk about how sites using the solution are seeing a 20% increase in the sale of cocktails and 300% increase in tips. The video will be sent out as a stand-alone email today (Tuesday, 27 July) at 9am.
Food-to-go market recovering faster than expected, says IGD: The food-to-go market is recovering faster than expected, according to new analysis by insights firm IGD. It predicts the channel will be worth £15.6bn at the end of 2021, which is 82.5% of its 2019 value. It is forecast to return to its pre-covid levels in the second half of 2022, six months earlier than expected. However, recovery is not consistent across sub-sectors. Foodservice food-to-go operators – quick-service restaurants, in particular – have been the main driver of the growth, increasing market share from 77% in 2019 to 79% in 2021. Covid restrictions have played a significant role, predominantly due to consumers suffering from cooking fatigue and opting for affordable treats, which has, in turn, benefited “destination” food-to-go sites, IGD said. Nicola Knight, senior analyst for food-to-go and author of the forecasts, said: “By 2026, the market will be worth £22.7bn, which is 20.5% more than 2019. This will be the outcome of five years of growth at above pre-pandemic levels, following significant contraction in 2020, and will predominantly be driven by foodservice operators.”

Berisha – ministers must act fast to save restaurants: Baton Berisha, chief executive of Richard Caring’s hospitality empire, has warned the restaurant sector faces a fresh wave of closures next year without major government support. Berisha told The Standard that ministers wrongly believed hospitality was “resilient” and over the worst of the pandemic. He added they had badly underestimated the impact of the end of the moratorium on rent payments, which has been extended to March. He said: “The government has to do something quickly. Because of the moratorium a lot of businesses have been able to trade but after March a lot will be going under and that will be very sad to see.” Berisha was speaking ahead of the launch of The Ivy Asia Chelsea, a £7m 99-seater restaurant opening next door to The Ivy Chelsea Garden in King’s Road. He also called on the government to freeze the VAT rate on restaurant food at 12.5% and change visa rules to allow restaurant staff to count as skilled workers. He also called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to return congestion charge hours to those in place before the pandemic so customers can drive to restaurants in the evenings without paying the toll.

Experiential concepts replacing closed high street shops with one in seven stores lying vacant: Experiential concepts are replacing closed high street shops, with one in seven stores, on average, lying vacant, according to industry experts. Mark Allan, boss of the UK's biggest property company, Landsec, thinks a quarter of what is currently retail space will need to be turned into something else. He told the BBC: “For me, it's really difficult to think of an example where you have 25% of something that it exists in the UK that is no longer required. And so you're not going to solve that sort of a problem by tinkering around the edges. Covid has been a tipping point. If we don't tackle it over the next couple of years together then there's a real risk some of this redundant retail property sits there for decades empty and that would be a disaster for the communities where that property is located. This needs people to come together. I think it's a significant moment and a really big opportunity, particularly for those centres and high streets where there is no future for retail, for radical, bold, thinking. I think it could be exciting.” Landsec owns the Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth where the team behind trampoline park operator Gravity is opening a £6m multi-attraction that will offer eight immersive experiences under one roof. Co-founder Michael Harrison said he has no shortage of retail landlords now ringing him up offering him potential new locations. Allan added: “Some places are going to be virtually empty and they are not going to survive as retail in any shape or form. Some are going to be absolutely fine – rents are lower, sales are lower and they're worth less than they were but fundamentally they've got a role to play longer term and some places are going to be in the middle where they are going to survive but they need some investment.”

King – businesses are bearing the cost of poor government decisions: Businesses are bearing the cost of poor government decisions and its lack of a clear strategy, according to Dermot King, chief executive of Oakman Inns. Writing in inews, King said: “In the latest wave of cases, the government has now landed on personal shutdowns, where the NHS covid-19 or Test and Trace apps inform individuals they must self-isolate due to them having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Businesses up and down the country are suffering from what has been described by some as a ‘pingdemic’. Employers cannot make any plans in an environment where they simply do not know how many of their staff will show up for work from one day to the next. In the past three weeks an average of two Oakman Group businesses have been unable to trade due to employee shortages. And the government is not aligned on this strategy. The business minister, Paul Scully, reassured us the self-isolation messages were only advisory, only for Downing Street to say it was essential to comply. That is no way to run a country or an economy or for that matter a government. The strategy is broken. As in previous phases of this crisis, the solution to high case numbers is intensive testing. If you get pinged by the NHS apps, you should be sent for a PCR test and only then, if that result is positive, should you have to isolate. Businesses are bearing the cost of poor government decisions and its lack of clear strategy.”

Leisure sector sees significant improvement in ability to pay rent: The leisure sector has significantly improved its ability to pay rent, according to Colliers. Collection levels rose from 20% on the June quarter day to 41% in the 21 days following. The cafe sector performed particularly well, with rent collections rising from 15% on the June quarter day to 53% in the 21 days following. Health and fitness and restaurants both also saw a strong performance, to reach 34% and 35% of rent collected, up from 9% and 25% respectively. Comparing the 21 days following the June quarter date to previous quarters, there has been marked improvement in the leisure sector’s payment ability, which registered just 17% of rents collected at the same period last year, and is up from three months ago, when just 25% was collected 21 days after the March date. Across all sectors, the ability to pay rent has improved, jumping from 68% collected on June quarter day to 87% in the 21 days following. This compares with 63% of rent collected across the board in the same period last year. The figures are taken from the portfolio of 1,023 properties that are under Colliers’ management. Ross Kirton, head of UK leisure agency at Colliers, said: “While many are still uncertain about how to tackle rental debt accumulated over the past year, the willingness to pay while still operating at a reduced capacity provides proof that the leisure sector, as a whole, is more resilient than many give it credit for. As long as there are no additional restrictions imposed, levels of collection should continue to rise as we go through the next quarter, boosted by the summer trading period and a return to the office (and thus city centres) for many.”
Peter Backman – rise of virtual brands leading to less choice for consumers: Foodservice analyst Peter Backman has argued the rise of virtual brands is leading to less choice for consumers. He said: “The problem of trying to predict what people will want in the future by limiting their choice to what is available now leads to two things. First, it reduces choice and, secondly, it becomes a reinforcing cycle whose ultimate end point, over a long period of time, is no choice at all. I am fearful this is a process set in train by aggregators and others with access to acres of consumer data. The most recent report on dark kitchens featuring Deliveroo, which I co-authored, shows, among other things, that ten brands – mostly virtual – were responsible between November last year and this month, for a net increase of 547 sites from which they are available around the country. And of those sites, 338 – or 62% – were based on chicken; and of those, more than three quarters had a strong offering of chicken wings specifically. Mac ’n’ cheese and ice cream also featured but not nearly as strongly as chicken. Burgers and burritos make up the rest. Now, only the 44 Ben & Jerry’s stores are in any way a ‘bricks and mortar’ offer. The rest – 503 sites – are for brands that have been created especially for delivery. And given the claims made by Deliveroo, and other aggregators, they use their data to guide their partners’ menu offerings, it is fairly safe to assume the menus from these fastest growing delivery dark kitchen brands are based on data about consumers’ existing menu choices. And these choices are only built on what has already been offered to consumers. In the past, they have chosen chicken so, therefore, the logic seems to go: offer them more chicken. Clearly, human ingenuity being what it is, this is not a given outcome, but there is a clear trend.”
Batali and Bastianich agree $600,000 sexual harassment settlement claim: Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich, of B&B Hospitality Group, have agreed to pay $600,000 to at least 20 former employees in a settlement following a four-year investigation that found multiple violations of unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation. New York attorney general Letitia James found Batali, Bastianich and B&B Hospitality – which has been renamed Pasta Resources – had violated state and city human rights laws. The reported allegations took place between 2016 and 2019. Batali divested his interest in all of the company’s restaurants in 2019, but Bastianich still holds substantial ownership in Babbo and Lupa. Meanwhile, Del Posto was sold in early 2021, and was closed. James said: “Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behaviour that is inappropriate in any setting. Every individual deserves to work in a safe environment and this agreement marks one more step towards remedying workplace harassment.” In addition to the payment, the settlement dictates B&B Hospitality must revise training materials in all restaurants and submit biannual reports to the attorney general’s office to certify compliance with the agreement. Bastianich told the New York Times: “There have been a lot of lessons learned over the past three and a half years and it has given us an opportunity to redefine our business and the culture we want to foster within our restaurants, emerging as the company we want to be.”
UK leads Europe on hotel occupancy levels but lags behind comparable period in 2019: The UK continues to lead Europe in hotel occupancy with four straight weeks above 60% in the metric but levels are still circa 20 percentage points below 2019 figures, according to research agency STR. Its data showed the UK’s highest weekly occupancy level (63.5%) came during 12-18 July, but that was still significantly lower than the occupancy achieved during the comparable week from July 2019 (84.5%). STR director Thomas Emanuel said: “Demand is almost exclusively leisure-driven because the UK has benefited from a successful vaccination programme, a phased reopening and improved travel sentiment overall. Other countries are showing improvement in recent weeks for those very same reasons, but this is still far from a normal summer in Europe.” 

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a hospitality business that is looking to appoint a general manager for a fine dining pub and restaurant in London. The business is looking to secure a strong general manager from a fine dining background. People will be at the heart of what they do, and they will ensure the best performance of the team through consistent coaching and mentoring and excellent leadership from the front. There are three concepts in one – traditional pub, restaurant and venue – and the business is looking for a candidate who can tie the whole building together while offering a dynamic service and product. They should also have an understanding of multifaceted spaces and a good grasp of the London dining scene. The position is based in London and will pay up to £55,000 base plus bonus and extras. Anyone interested can email
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

Red Lion Holdings appoints Simon Herbert as group finance director: Red Lion Holdings (RLH), the pub investment group led by sector entrepreneurs Jason Myers and David Ramsey, has appointed Simon Herbert, formerly of PizzaExpress, as its new group finance director, Propel has learned. Herbert stepped down from PizzaExpress earlier this year after more than 18 years with the pizza chain. During his time at the David Campbell-led business, he was its head of finance and its international finance director. RLH comprises the 12-strong Red Mist Leisure and the four-strong Grosvenor Pubs. In May, RLH appointed Mark Robson, founder and managing director of Red Mist Leisure, as group chief operating officer. Robson takes responsibility of the day-to-day running of RLH operations, working closely with the RLH board “to deliver an ambitious vision of growth”, and oversee the senior teams in both Red Mist Leisure and Grosvenor Pubs – RLH’s first two acquisitions.
Hawksmoor appoints Vicky Ellison as new marketing director: Hawksmoor, the upmarket steakhouse chain, has appointed Vicky Ellison as its new marketing director, Propel has learned. Ellison joins the Will Beckett and Huw Gott-founded business from lifestyle brand Equinox, where she was marketing director – international markets. Prior to that, she worked for GMR Marketing and skincare brand Elemis. Earlier this month, it was reported Hawksmoor was working with Berenberg, the stockbroker, to gauge potential demand among City fund managers for a possible initial public offering. Hawksmoor’s plans are understood to be at an early stage and a flotation is among a number of avenues under consideration. The Graphite Capital-backed steakhouse concept is to open its first London restaurant in four years this winter. The company will open a new restaurant and bar in a floating pavilion in the docks of Wood Wharf, a new part of Canary Wharf, this winter. Beckett and Gott launched the first Hawksmoor restaurant 15 years ago in Spitalfields, east London. The business has grown to include six restaurants in London, one in Manchester and one in Edinburgh. It is also set to open a site in New York.
Farm Girl founders launch rice paper rolls concept: The founders of West London-based healthy eating cafe Farm Girl have launched a Vietnamese street food kiosk in South Kensington. Roll Baby is the brainchild of Rose Mann and Anthony Hood, who took inspiration from the Vietnamese street food served in Melbourne, Australia. It serves eight styles of gluten-free rice paper rolls, which are freshly made each day, available with a choice of seven different sauces – costing between £3 and £6. Roll Baby is located at South Kensington Underground station with customers also able to buy via UberEats and Deliveroo.

Moto appoints new property director: Motorway services area operator Moto has appointed Jess Lockwood as its new property director. Lockwood will succeed Steve Masters who retires from the Moto operating board in September 2021. Lockwood joins from fellow motorway service area operator Welcome Break where she was head of development, leading its UK property and construction function. Prior to this, she worked for Applegreen, focusing on roadside development. She will report directly to chief executive Ken McMeikan and will join the Moto operating board in October. McMeikan said: “Jess’s years of direct industry experience with both Applegreen and Welcome Break mean she is brilliantly placed to continue driving Moto’s ambitious property strategy, both building the new site pipeline and further developing our existing property portfolio. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve for his outstanding contribution to Moto, particularly in the building and opening of our newest motorway service area at Rugby.”
Moto features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which has recently been updated for Premium subscribers. Moto turned over £530.7m in its latest financial year, making it the 13th highest of the 280 companies featured. The Blue Book provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks the companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. 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. Email to sign up.

Thunderbird Fried Chicken to replace Bird at Westfield Stratford City: Thunderbird Fried Chicken, the wings and fried chicken concept backed by TriSpan, is to open a site at Westfield Stratford City in east London. The company will replace the Crown Partnership-owned concept Bird at the scheme. The 804 square foot outlet is located on the first floor in the World Food Hall. Thunderbird Fried Chicken chief executive Paul Gilchrist said: “We’re excited to be opening within one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. As an east London-born brand, this is a big step for us.” Kate Orwin, leasing director UK, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, added: “Our recent How We Shop research revealed more than half of UK consumers are looking to spend more locally than last year, which is why we’re pleased to continue supporting local businesses and helping them reach new audiences at our centres. Thunderbird Fried Chicken is a great example of how London’s street food market has thrived.” Founded by Matt Harris and led by Gilchrist, Thunderbird Fried Chicken has been backed by TriSpan since January 2019 and continues its expansion across London and beyond. Earlier this month, it opened its second franchise site with holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts, at Trecco Bay Holiday Park in Porthcawl, south Wales. Thunderbird Fried Chicken operates restaurants at Earl’s Court, Charing Cross and The O2, and delivery kitchens at Battersea, Shoreditch and Streatham. As well as the disposal of its Westfield Stratford site, Bird has also exited its site in Brixton, leaving it with three restaurants in Canary Wharf, Islington and Camden. Kate Taylor at Davis Coffer Lyons acted on the Westfield Stratford deal.
Five Guys, Taco Bell and Pollo by Tomahawk sign for sites at Xscape Yorkshire: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell and Pollo by Tomahawk, the concept from the team behind Tomahawk Steakhouse, have signed for sites at Xscape Yorkshire in Castleford. Five Guys will add to its UK portfolio with a 2,347 square foot unit opening in the autumn after agreeing a deal with landlord, Landsec. Adjacent to Five Guys, Taco Bell has secured a 1,599 square foot restaurant space. Meanwhile, Pollo by Tomahawk, which specialises in chicken and shawarma, will launch its third site – and first that will not be on a high street – covering 967 square foot later this summer. Russell Loveland, senior portfolio director at Landsec, said: “Enhancing and diversifying our food and beverage offering is something we are looking to do across our entire portfolio, and at Xscape Yorkshire these three signings help us do just that.” BKL Property Consultants and Pudney Shuttleworth acted for Landsec. Five Guys, Taco Bell, and Pollo by Tomahawk dealt direct.
Ellen Chew to open Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen site in London: Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew is to launch the second site under her fledgling Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen concept in London. After debuting late last year in the Grand Central shopping scheme in Birmingham, the second Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen will open next month in Westfield London. It will replace Sabroso, the concept from Lima London founders Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez, on Westfield’s balcony food court. Last summer, Chew secured the former Herman Ze German site plus a unit next door at Grand Central to launch Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen. The concept serves “unpretentious” Chinese cuisine following time-honoured recipes using fresh ingredients. Under the umbrella vehicle – Chew On This, Chew also operates the restaurants Lotus Leaf in Westfield Stratford; Arôme Bakery in Covent Garden; and Lobos Tapas in London Bridge and Soho. She also operates Shan Shui in Bicester Village, with a second site under the concept set to open in London’s Victoria. Kate Taylor at Davis Coffer Lyons acted on the Westfield London deal.
Lane7-owned Gutterball concept to make Scotland debut: Lane7, the bowling alley, ping pong and karaoke business led by Tim Wilks, is to open a second site under its fledgling Gutterball concept in Glasgow. The second site for the bowling alley with mini golf, pool, karaoke, ping pong and arcade games concept will be located at the St Enoch Centre at its junction with Buchanan Street in the former 28,000 square foot Hamleys of London toy store. Lane7 entered the family bowling market when it launched Gutterball Alley in North Shields at the end of 2019. It will be joined at the St Enoch Centre later this year by Scotland’s first Boom: Battle Bar, as well new restaurants from Cosmo, Nando’s, Delhi Darbar and Donut King. Lane7 operates ten eponymous venues across the UK. It recently opened its latest site at the Edinburgh St James scheme. Will Biggart, of Torridon, acts for Lane7. 
Pizza Pilgrims launches free academy programme to entice new entrants into sector: Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based pizzeria concept founded by Thom and James Elliot, has launched a free new programme at its Pizza Academy to entice new starters into the sector. The eight-week traineeship programme is a free gateway to help foster long-term careers by furnishing young people with a range of skills and experience. Open to anyone aged 16 and above – the space provides an opportunity for people who have fallen out of work – from homeless people to ex-offenders to those wanting a career change. Trainees will gain experience over the eight weeks across all areas of the Pizza Pilgrims operation from the Camden pizzeria training site – from service and the business side to working in the kitchen, cooking Neapolitan pizzas. After completion, trainees will leave the academy with a professional qualification and references “to start their career in the world of hospitality” and will also have the opportunity to join the Pizza Pilgrims team. The academy is also working closely with RFEA’s – The Forces Employment Charity – Career Transition Partnership to provide an accessible route into the hospitality industry for ex-servicemen and women.
The Pepper Collective partners with Harvey Nichols to open whisky bar in menswear department: Salt’s restaurant division, The Pepper Collective, has partnered with department store Harvey Nichols to launch a whisky bar within its Knightsbridge store. Benjamin’s, which is named after store founder Benjamin Harvey and will open next week, will serve more than 100 whiskies by the dram or bottle, including the rare Glengoyne 50-Year-Old and Tamdhu 50-Year-Old as well as a cocktail list prepared by bartender Rik Patel, previously of Mayfair’s Magpie, Adam Handling and Cornerstone, in Hackney. Cocktails include Meadow Sweet Martini (£10), a blend of hand-foraged meadowsweet, vodka and dry French vermouth; and Nettle Leaf Negroni (£10), made with nettle-infused gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. A rotating wine list will be served by Coravin – allowing customers to try varieties by the glass – and there will be craft beers, vintage champagnes and other sparkling wines, and coffee by speciality roasters Origin. A daily small plates menu will feature charcuterie from London producers such as Cobble Lane. The 24-cover bar is tucked away in the menswear department of Harvey Nichols. The Pepper Collective managing director Paul Fleming said: “This fledgling partnership with Harvey Nichols is so exciting – we think the new space’s namesake, Mr Harvey, would have approved.” Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge store director Iain Mackenzie added: “The new hospitality space will offer our menswear department a stylish setting in which to enjoy fine whiskies, cocktails and small plates.”

Maki & Ramen opens seventh site: Maki & Ramen, the Edinburgh-based, independent restaurant brand, has opened its seventh site in Scotland. The brand, which was founded in 2015 by Teddy Lee, has opened a site in the St James Quarter in Edinburgh – its sixth opening in the Scottish capital. The business, which also operates a site in Glasgow, has agreed a new 15-year lease on a restaurant totalling 1,500 square foot. The site forms part of a wider expansion plan for the brand, which is seeking further sites across Scotland and the north of England. John Menzies, director in the retail team at Savills Glasgow, which advised the brand on the St James Quarter opening, said: “Maki & Ramen is a popular, fun, young and exciting brand that has had huge success already in Scotland with ambitions to grow further. Located within the prime market in what is the largest mall to open in the UK this year, Maki & Ramen’s latest restaurant is testament to the growing success and confidence of the brand as it continues its journey.”

Adam Handling Restaurant Group to end Cadogan Hotel consultancy contract to focus on UK expansion: The Adam Handling Restaurant Group, owned by chef Adam Handling, will end its consultancy contract at the Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea in October. This includes the Adam Handling Chelsea restaurant, which opened at the beginning of 2019. The group said this mutual agreement would allow Handling to focus on expansion across the UK. The Cadogan will be relaunching a new dining experience later this year. Handling said: “As I said at the end of lockdown, I really want to focus on our flagship restaurant in Covent Garden, Frog by Adam Handling and, with the launch of The Loch & The Tyne in May in Old Windsor, and the upcoming opening of Ugly Butterfly at Carbis Bay in August, we have so much to get our teeth into. Working with the Cadogan Estate and Belmond for the past three years has been a great experience and we wish the team every success with the new operation when it opens later this year.” The Cadogan general manager Xavier Lablaude added: “We plan to build on the excellent work of Adam to offer a signature Belmond welcome, combining understated elegance with local charm.” Restaurant Adam Handling Chelsea will continue to operate as normal until 14 October.
EG Group launches Cinnabon brand into Asda: EG Group, the forecourt and roadside operator, which earlier this year acquired Leon, has launched Cinnabon, the US bakery brand, into Asda. The company, which late last year signed a deal to roll out 150 sites under the US bakery brand across the UK over the next five years, has opened a concession site in the Asda store in George Street. It is the tenth site to be launched under the brand by EG Group in the UK, with the other nine operating at petrol forecourts. EG Group and Asda are both backed by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital. Propel revealed last October, the EG Group was in talks to relaunch the bakery brand in the UK. Cinnabon previously operated a handful of sites in the UK, including one at the Trocadero in Piccadilly at the start of the previous decade, before retreating from the country.
Plant-based ‘meat’ pizzas and sides made permanent fixtures at Pizza Hut Delivery UK: Pizza Hut Delivery UK will increase its vegetarian offer by adding Beyond Meat products to a range of pizzas and sides to its permanent menu. After a successful trial last year, Pizza Hut has added four varieties of pizza/side dish, which all use plant-based “meat”. The new additions are: Beyond Italian Style Sausage Supreme; Beyond Three-Meat Three Cheese; Beyond Beef Sizzler; and Beyond Italian Style Sausage Tear & Share Topper. The launch is part of a global strategic partnership between Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat, and builds upon previous announcements in the US, Canada, Belgium and Puerto Rico. Pizza Hut chief brand officer Amelia Riba said: “Last year, we were the first pizza chain to bring Beyond Meat toppings to the UK, and we’re delighted to introduce them across the country this year. Partnering with Beyond Meat, we are offering more flexitarian and meat-free options without sacrificing any flavour.” 
Parkdean Resorts strengthens entertainment programme with ViacomCBS Networks UK deal: Holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts has strengthened its entertainment programme after agreeing a partnership with broadcasting company ViacomCBS Networks UK (VCN UK). The deal – reported to be the largest of its kind in the holiday park sector – will take three ViacomCBS properties: Milkshake!, Nickelodeon and MTV, to 40 of Parkdean’s parks in 2021.The Milkshake! Mornings programme includes exclusive activity for pre-schoolers, with arts and crafts, singalongs and dancing, with Milkshake! presenters also making special appearances to enhanced shows at scheduled times across the year. Parkdean will also run an entertainment programme with Nickelodeon, with shows including Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The partnership is rounded off with MTV Music Weekends for over-18s with Club MTV DJs, live music and MTV specials. Catherine Lynn, chief customer officer at Parkdean Resorts, said: “ViacomCBS brands are naturally aligned with our own focus on family-friendly fun, and we’re looking forward to bringing Milkshake! and Nickelodeon’s shows and characters to our parks to create some amazing memories for our guests. We also have a long history of running Weekender events, and it’s exciting to be able to partner with MTV to take those to the next level.” Virginia Monaghan, vice-president, events and experiences at ViacomCBS, added: “This partnership will offer a new way for audiences from pre-school kids to adults to experience and connect with the ViacomCBS brands.”

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