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Wed 1st Sep 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Industry losing £17.6bn a year through no-shows as sector campaign launches to highlight issue: The hospitality sector is losing £17.6bn a year due to no-shows, with 18 to 34-year-olds the worst offenders, according to new research. This has led to hospitality companies and leaders joining forces to highlight the issue. The new initiative is aimed at educating customers on the impact of not turning up for bookings, as well as to provide insight, tools and tips to operators to help mitigate the impact. Zonal, CGA, UKHospitality, Bums On Seats and Wireless Social are among those supporting the #ShowUpForHospitality campaign. Data from hospitality technology company Zonal and insights firm CGA has revealed the damaging and costly impact caused by customers not turning up for their bookings. Since the sector reopened one in seven (14%) people have not turned up to their reservation, with one in eight (12%) people saying they are more likely to no-show than they were before the pandemic. The report showed more than a quarter (28%) of 18 to 34-year-olds have not honoured their bookings, compared with just 1% of those aged 55 or above. This is partly explained by the fact younger adults are more frequent bookers in comparison with other age demographics, the statistics revealed. Almost three quarters (73%) of 18 to 34-year-olds said they have made a reservation since April – well above the national average of 60% and older age groups such as 65-plus (52%). According to the report, more than half of consumers (55%) are willing to pay a no-show fee if they didn’t turn up while almost as many (51%) would be happy to pay a deposit to secure a booking. Some 36% said they would be more likely to show up if the venue simply reminded them by phone, SMS, email or app. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “No-shows have been a blight on the industry for many, many years, but with tens of thousands of hospitality businesses in such a fragile state following prolonged periods of closure and heavily-restricted trading, they are currently deeply damaging to venues. We need a revitalised relationship between venues and their customers – and for people to be supportive and respectful of these businesses as they rebuild from the pandemic.”
Bums on Seats, UKHospitality, Wireless Social and Zonal are Propel BeatTheVirus campaign members

Industry News: 

Dozens sign up to become Premium subscribers in August: Dozens of companies signed up to become Propel Premium subscribers in August. They included Cote, JD Wetherspoon, Attensi, Laine Pub Company, KIbou Restaurants, Young's, Aston Manor Cider, Davis Coffer Lyons, Deliverect, Selecta UK, All About Food, Sloemotion Distillery, Cambscuisine, Savills, The Alchemist, AB InBev, Lucky Saint, Love Lane Brewing, Ambiente Tapas, Inn Collection Group, Rosemount Taverns, Emporia Leisure, Troika, Mendu, Pearson Ham and Digestible Tech. On Tuesday (31 August), the second edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, was sent to Propel Premium subscribers. It showed details of 258 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. The database provides the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There is also a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (27 August). The database contained 64 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,016. The 417 sites run by those 64 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 60,133 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 12,000-word report on the new businesses added. 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. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Premium subscribers also receive the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. 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. There are currently 351 companies featured in the database. 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

Meat prices remain high as current labour shortage continues to put pressures on supply chain: The current labour shortage is causing meat prices to remain high while supplies of UK lamb rumps and racks are set to run out by mid-September, butcher Birtwistles has warned. In its latest market report, the company said the return of schools is “only going to compound and worsen an already under pressure food supply chain”. From producers/production to deliveries, the urgent need for extra staff/drivers, which are simply at this time not available, will lead to further delays across the sector at all levels, Birtwistles said. It added slaughter houses/processors are opting to not further process cuts due to labour shortages. Birtwistles said: “Poultry prices are staying firm with no downward movement and little upward movement as the market is still inflated due to shortages of product available. Lamb and beef prices are also still firm. UK lamb rumps/racks are under some serious pressure and the possibility that they will currently be unavailable from mid-September if the current labour issues continue will become a reality. Lamb rumps from New Zealand will most definitely not be available when current stocks are exhausted over the next few weeks as the season will not commence until November, restrictions allowing, which will not see any product arrive on these shores until at the earliest January 2022. While all proteins have come under some record levels of pressure in terms of pricing and availability pork has probably taken the least impact in terms of the level of rises, we have seen. We as a business have also had to adjust our production methods in this ever fast changing landscape, particularly on value added poultry lines. We are currently unable to offer any stuffed breast portions along with fresh diced kebabs on all proteins until we are able to fully establish again a full dedicated team/unit for this area of the business. Given the tight supply and elevated price points of steak cuts, whole UK rib eyes are still at record levels and firm with no downward movement. The feather blade steak trade is strong with pockets of the market trying to mitigate against high premium steak prices on rib eyes, sirloin and fillets. As the economy has reopened, the UK’s labour market has tightened markedly. Vacancies are at a record high, and wage inflation is at its highest in more than 20 years.”

Eight in ten food business owners feel unprepared for Natasha’s Law: Eight in ten food business owners admit they feel unprepared for Natasha’s Law despite the new legislation coming into effect from 1 October, according to new research. The findings by not-for-profit organisation GS1 UK, the global provider of interoperable standards that cover 90% of UK retailers, showed four in ten staff across the food industry have never heard of the legislation. About 50% more chain and franchise employees had heard of Natasha’s Law than those in small independent food businesses. Meanwhile, 44% of business owners admitted items will come off menus while about 60% said they will change suppliers if they cannot provide the correct allergen information. Natasha’s Law will require all food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen information on foods pre-packaged for direct sale in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It follows the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after she suffered an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette. The study of businesses – which include food manufacturers, wholesalers, grab and go retailers – found 80% of chains and franchise welcome more definitive and explanatory packaging whereas this figure was less than half among small independent businesses (39%). One fifth of small independent businesses feel the new legislation is coming in too soon and does not leave enough time to adapt, whereas just 2% of food chains and franchises held this view. 

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a restaurant/cafe brand that is looking to expand its coffee team. The business is looking for a coffee manager, who will report into the head of coffee and manage a team of barista trainers. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The role will also work with senior management across the business to build and develop strong process, quality and customer service as well as innovating across the product and equipment used. This role would suit a coffee expert who knows and loves the coffee sector, understands branded restaurant/cafe concepts and is focused on craft, quality and people.” The role is based in London with UK travel and pays up to £42,000. Anyone interested can email 
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News: 

Soho House unveils first Israeli outpost: Soho House has unveiled its first Israel outpost following a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Tel Aviv club will welcome select “founder members” for a brief soft opening beginning this week before a full opening later in September, a spokesman said. Located in a “turreted building” at 27 Yefet Street near Jaffa’s historic flea market, the Tel Aviv location will offer such amenities as a pool, outdoor bar and 24 bedrooms as well as a garden “dotted with 300-year-old olive trees from Galilee and set beneath a retractable pergola roof”. Plans for the members-only club have been in the works for more than a year as the company has navigated the throes of the pandemic. The newest location in Tel Aviv is the company’s second foray into the Middle East after opening in Istanbul in 2015. Annual rates for membership in the Tel Aviv outpost are $2,237 and discounted by 50% to $1,118 for applicants under 27.
Whistle Punks plans permanent site for Colombian concept Tejo Social: Axe-throwing operator Whistle Punks, which is backed by Edition Capital, is planning to open a permanent site for its Colombian-inspired concept Tejo Social. Earlier this summer, the company launched a pop-up of the concept at The Queens Walk, in London’s South Bank. Running until 23 December, the concept is based on Colombia’s 450-year-old national sport and bar game. The essence of the sport is players throw a metal puck (tejo) at a target loaded with exploding mechas (pronounced meh-kuh). When the tejo strikes the mechas they burst open, emphasised by a bang and flames. At Tejo Social, a £15 ticket gets customers a 50-minute game. Each throwing lane can host up to six players and comes with its own tejo expert. It is thought the company will look to open a permanent site under the concept next year. Earlier this month, Propel revealed Whistle Punks was set to continue its expansion plans for its core brand with the opening of a site in London’s West End. The four-strong business, which operates a site in Vauxhall, is in talks to take space at 200 Piccadilly for a new flagship site. John Nimmons and Jools Whitehorn launched Whistle Punks in 2016, and it also operates sites in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. It is understood a site in Leeds is also under consideration for the business.
Golf club concept Pitch set for Soho: Golf club concept Pitch is set for further expansion in the capital after lining up a site in Soho. Propel understands the concept, which is the brainchild of friends and golf professionals Elliot Godfrey and Chris Ingham, has secured a site at 8-14 Meard Street for what would be its second venue. Pitch was launched in London’s Bishopsgate more than four years ago, complete with state-of-the-art golf technology. In January, the business told Propel the opening of its second site would form the first phase of a rapid expansion across London, with a view to opening multiple sites over the next two years across the capital. The original Pitch at 60-64 Bishopsgate is set over two floors with a split-level clubhouse on the ground floor. It features eight private golf bays, a clubhouse with a bar, changing rooms and a food menu from several local partners. Players have the choice of playing more than 60 of the world’s most popular golf courses, including classic venues such as Wentworth and Royal Troon. It is thought Adam Bowers at onepoint2, and Stonebrook London, acted on the Soho deal.
Yard Sale Pizza set for Lewisham: Yard Sale Pizza, the restaurant and delivery concept that includes sector investor Paul Campbell as non-executive director, has lined up an opening in Lewisham, south east London. The Johnnie Tate-led business, which recently opened in Crystal Palace, is understood to have secured the Fish Bar site in Brockley Road, Crofton Park. Earlier this year, Yard Sale Pizza secured the former The Crust Co site at 63 Bedford Hill, Balham, for its seventh site. The company opened its debut restaurant in Clapton in 2014. It also has branches in East Dulwich, Hackney Road, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Finsbury Park. Casey Phillips, at Casey Phillips Property Partnership, acted on the Lewisham deal.
Toby Cowan appointed COO of new competitive socialising concept founded by Paul Campbell and Richard Hilton: Toby Cowan, formerly of Cote, Young’s and Urban Pubs and Bars, has been appointed chief operating officer of the new competitive socialising concept set to be launched by Richard Hilton, the founder of Gymbox, and sector investor and non-executive director Paul Campbell. Cowan joins the new business from Cote, where he spent less than a year as its operation director. Previous to that he was vice-president of operations at Electric Gamebox and head of brand experience – Europe at ZX Ventures, the innovation incubator within AB InBev. Propel revealed earlier this summer Hilton and Campbell had teamed up to launch the new venture, which will be backed by BGF – the current backer of Gymbox. Hilton founded fitness club chain Gymbox in 2003, which launched in Holborn and now operates 11 sites across London. Campbell is an investor in several companies and holds the position of either chairman or non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Blacklock, Tortilla and The Alchemist. He is also a former finance director of PizzaExpress and owner of Clapham House, which used to own Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek brands. He is also currently the chairman of Gymbox. It is thought the new competitive socialising concept is close to signing on a flagship site in central London, which is scheduled to launch next year.
Vanessa Hall steps down as chair of Cubitt House: Vanessa Hall, the former Vapiano, YO! and Mitchells & Butlers executive, has stepped down as chair of London gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, Propel has learned. Hall had chaired Cubitt House, whose sites include The Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Cubitt, for the past four and a half years. Propel revealed earlier this year Cubitt House, which is backed by a consortium of private investors led by Manjit Dale, founding partner of TDR Capital, was close to securing the former Pomona’s bar and restaurant site in Hereford Road in Notting Hill, for its seventh site in the capital. Earlier this month, the Mail on Sunday reported Hall had been drafted in as chairwoman at fast-growing leisure company Gravity Active. Her appointment came as the business appointed KPMG to advise on fundraising for the company's next phase of growth. Harvey Jenkinson, co-founder and chief executive at Gravity, said the company could raise about £10m by early next year, but plans are still to be finalised. The company has its eye on ten sites in Saudi Arabia and in October opens its first mainland Europe site, in the German city of Leipzig.

Gordon Ramsay to open first Bread Street Kitchen outside London as it secures former Drake & Morgan site in Edinburgh: Chef Gordon Ramsay will open his first Bread Street Kitchen concept outside of London, in Edinburgh. Gordon Ramsay Restaurants has secured the premises previously occupied by Drake & Morgan’s the Refinery in St Andrews Square. Bread Street Kitchen will occupy 3,728 square foot on the ground floor and a further 3,357 square foot on the first floor. Bread Street Kitchen currently operates from four locations across London. The concept offers “sophisticated, yet approachable all day dining”, which is inspired by classic Ramsay dishes. Gordon Ramsay Restaurants chief executive Andy Wenlock said: “We have taken our time to look for the perfect location for our first Bread Street Kitchen outside of London and we are delighted with the site we have chosen in Edinburgh. Such a vibrant city with a cool food scene, it really feels like the perfect match for Bread Street Kitchen.” Earlier this month, Drake & Morgan said it has been served with notice by the landlord. In April, Drake & Morgan announced plans to close three sites, which did not include the Refinery in Edinburgh. The company, which runs 22 venues in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, said it was taking action to survive the “unprecedented and challenging” trading conditions brought on by the pandemic and was seeking the support of its landlords to secure the future of the business by moving to a turnover-based rent model. Savills advised the landlord while Graeme Wait advised Gordon Ramsay Restaurants.

haysmacintyre promotes Emma Maile to partner in hospitality team: Sector specialist accountancy firm haysmacintyre has promoted Emma Maile to partner in its hospitality team. The company stated: “Having trained and qualified at haysmacintyre, Emma found her passion within the hospitality sector and established a client base ranging from scale-up businesses within the food and drink space, to restaurant, bar and hotel groups. Internally, Emma is instrumental in driving the strategy for the sector and acts as a mentor to guide and develop the new talent coming through.” Jeremy Beard, managing partner at haysmacintyre, said: “We are delighted to welcome Emma to the partnership, a recognition of her outstanding performance at the firm over the past ten years. Since joining haysmacintyre as a trainee, Emma has demonstrated her commitment to her role and her clients, and has become an integral member of our hospitality team.” Maile added: “Despite the challenges the sector has faced over the past 18 months, there is now a sense of optimism and I look forward to working with clients as they strategise and look to seize new opportunities.” 
haysmacintyre is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Tattu lines up London debut for fifth site: Independent restaurant group Tattu has confirmed its expansion into London with plans to open its fifth site, at Outernet’s The Now Building, located in Denmark Street this winter. Established in 2015, Tattu opened its first restaurant in Manchester’s Spinningfields district, followed by sites in Leeds, Birmingham and most recently Edinburgh, offering contemporary cuisine inspired by traditional Chinese flavours and ingredients, curated by executive chef Andrew Lassetter. Work has now commenced on Tattu London’s landmark 220-cover site, which will offer guests an “elevated dining experience” with panoramic views of the capital from its position on The Now Building’s rooftop and terrace. Richard Metcalfe, group chief operating officer of Outernet Global, said: “The vision for Outernet is to boldly embrace the creative expression of Denmark Street and its rich history of culture, art and music. We wanted to provide a platform to celebrate leading independent brands that share that sense of expression and individuality. Tattu encapsulates this completely. The restaurant group brings a unique approach to dining, offering guests an impeccable interpretation of the art of hospitality. It’s built an impressive reputation in the UK for consistently pushing both culinary and design boundaries.”

Costa Coffee unveils revised rewards scheme: Costa Coffee, which is owned by Coca-Cola, is relaunching its Costa Club rewards scheme. The new scheme will see points swapped to beans. From the end of September, Costa Club members will receive one bean for every barista crafted hot or cold drink of any size, purchased from a Costa Coffee store nationwide. For those visiting one of its 11,000-plus Costa Express machines nationwide, customers will also be awarded one bean per drink purchase. Once a Costa Club member has earned eight beans, they will receive a voucher for a free barista-crafted drink of any size to redeem at any Costa Coffee store nationwide. Customers can also earn two beans when purchasing their drink in their reusable cup. Costa Club members will also receive exclusive offers personalised to them on the updated scheme, including more ways to earn bonus beans throughout the year and a free treat on their birthday. During September, existing Costa Club members will be switched over to the updated scheme and will be notified via email of when their account has been updated. Any free drink rewards earned by points will be automatically converted to the equivalent value in beans and current balances will also be transferred. A Costa Coffee spokeswoman said: “Our Costa Club rewards scheme is one of the most competitive loyalty programmes in retail, but it’s vital we grow and evolve our scheme to offer more rich rewards for our members – we ultimately wanted to thank our existing customers for their loyalty to Costa Coffee with the most generous scheme yet.”

Inflatable park operator Futures Leisure to open sixth site as it replaces Inflata Nation in Beverley: Inflatable park operator Futures Leisure is to open its sixth site and fifth under its Jump concept. The company is launching the venue at the Flemingate centre in Beverley, East Yorkshire. The business is taking over a 14,000 square foot unit, currently occupied by Inflata Nation, from Sunday (5 September) with all staff transferring to the new operator. Futures Leisure is investing £300,000 in the attraction, which will offer trampolines, ninja obstacle courses, giant airbags, tumble tracks, parkour ramps, slam dunk lanes and interactive walls. Later this autumn, the venue will expand into an adjoining unit at Flemingate and introduce additional activities, including a ninja zone, trampoline zone, multi-level soft play and zip lines. Once this expansion is complete, the combined unit will provide 18,000 square foot of activities. Emma Towse-Bertram, head of marketing at Jump, said: “We’re excited to expand into East Yorkshire and we have some really fantastic plans ahead. One of our priorities is to improve engagement with the other businesses at Flemingate and work with the local community to build stronger partnerships and excitement around the concept.” David Donkin, property director of Hull-based Wykeland Group, developer and owner of Flemingate, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Jump to Flemingate and bring another growing brand to the centre. This is a very exciting new investment, including a significant expansion that will offer new, healthy and fun activities for adults and children to enjoy.” Futures Leisure operates Jump sites in Lincoln, Leeds, Rotherham and Sheffield as well as a Rebound Revolution centre in Bicester, Oxfordshire.

London-based Melbourne-inspired eatery and coffee house Friends of Ours to double up: London-based Melbourne-inspired eatery and coffee house Friends of Ours is to double up. Founder Anthony Dyer has signed to open at Greenland UK’s Ram Quarter development, the former home of Young’s brewery in Wandsworth. The independent business will take a 2,245 square foot unit looking on to the development’s central square. This latest addition brings the mixed-use scheme to 90% let. The new site will build on Friends of Ours’ existing outlet in Hoxton. It will feature a seasonal, all-day brunch menu and coffee. In the evenings it will transform into a wine bar, serving small sharing plates alongside a broad selection of natural wine. Dyer said: “Our customers value our community feel and we wanted to stay true to the fantastic atmosphere we have created at our first site in Hoxton with our second opening. The ambition behind Ram Quarter really matched what we were looking for, as a new destination at the heart of the Wandsworth community.” Chris Daly, deputy director, commercial, at Greenland UK, added: “Friends of Ours fills a gap in the current Wandsworth market and we look forward to seeing it thrive.” Bruce Gillingham Pollard acted for Greenland and Cafe Ventures for Friends of Ours.

HotBox to open second standalone site this week: American barbecue restaurant HotBox is opening its second standalone site, at LabTech’s Hawley Wharf complex in Camden. The restaurant will open on Wednesday (1 September), adding to its flagship site in Spitalfields and operations at the Market Hall sites in Fulham and the West End. The new site will accommodate 42 covers – with its menu led by executive chef Lewis Spencer. Every dish on the menu has an element cooked over fire or smoke and is mix of smoked meat, burgers and buns and beef rib tacos. The drinks list focuses on cocktails, with new concoctions including the Spicy Bourbon Sour made with Evan Williams whiskey, lemon and jalepeño agave. HotBox launched as a street food venture before opening a permanent restaurant in Commercial Road, Spitalfields, in 2014.

Roadchef reports record-breaking trade over bank holiday weekend: Motorway services operator Roadchef has reported record-breaking trade at its sites over the bank holiday weekend. Almost one million people visited the company’s 30 sites across the UK over the three day period, with almost 230,000 hot drinks and more than 200,000 McDonald’s burgers served. Roadchef chief executive Mark Fox said: “This is without question, one of the busiest weekends in our trading history. We planned ahead for the crowds and ensured there were sufficient dining options and space for more customers than ever before to visit our sites. We are very much looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.” The most popular Roadchef motorway service area over the August bank holiday weekend was Strensham (combined north and south sites) on the M5, followed by Norton Canes on the M6 toll and Sedgemoor on the M5. To cater for the additional visitor numbers, the company also installed a number of outdoor food kiosks, in addition to their traditional offering, to offer grab-and-go items including bagels and ice cream.

Norwich-based vegan concept to open second site, in Cambridge: Norwich-based vegan concept The Tipsy Vegan is to open a second site, in Cambridge. Founders Michelle McCabe and Cheryl Mullenger will launch the venue in Quayside in October. The restaurant will be able to seat up to 150 people and include two outdoor terraces. The current menu is a range of small plate world-inspired dishes, including the Chorizo Croquettas with Peruvian sauce and Venezuelan Jackfruit Arepas. Alongside the launch of the new Cambridge restaurant, The Tipsy Vegan team will also be introducing new main courses, brunch and Sunday lunch. Heading the Cambridge kitchen will be newly appointed head chef, Fatih Guven, who was formerly development chef at London vegan institution, Farmacy. The drinks menu will focus on cocktails as well as in-house made soft drinks. McCabe said: "My vision in starting The Tipsy Vegan group was always to create a replicable format restaurant that puts customer experience at the core, in a totally vegan setting. I’m therefore delighted to be opening our second restaurant in the heart of Cambridge. Our aim is to make the decision to eat vegan an exceptional experience for vegans and non-vegans alike.” 

Buzzworks to open Linlithgow site this week: Scottish bar and restaurant operator Buzzworks Holdings will open The Bridge Inn in Linlithgow on Wednesday (1 September). The east coast venue will feature a bar, restaurant, private dining room and courtyard, which Buzzworks will manage as part of its House collection. The venue will create 35 jobs. The Bridge Inn, which was vacant when Buzzworks acquired it in 2018, is a former coaching inn that dates to 1660. The company has made significant investment to restore the historic building while modernising it. Buzzworks managing director Kenny Blair said: “We’re proud to be investing in Linlithgow, it is a fantastic town. The Bridge Inn has been an exciting project to work on. We hope to have delivered a venue that locals can enjoy and be proud of for many years to come.” Buzzworks manages 13 venues in Scotland.

Trio of F&B concepts to open within new Hilton hotel in Woking: A trio of food and beverage concepts are to open within the new Hilton hotel in Woking, Surrey. Glow Lounge & Terrace, Oxbo Kitchen and Loft will form part of the 189-bedroom hotel offering for guests, and will also be open to the public. Located on the seventh floor, Glow Lounge & Terrace will provide a “modern and luxurious barista lounge environment during the daytime, evolving into an ambient bar space in the evenings”. The 3,710 square foot venue will have a menu comprising wine and cocktails, premium coffee and tea, and a selection of light bites. An all-day dining destination on the 21st floor, Oxbo Kitchen, will cover 2,780 square foot. Offering views of Woking from 22 storeys high will be the 2,940 square foot sky bar, Loft. It will serve a drinks-led menu with cocktails, wine and speciality spirits, as well as a “premium” afternoon tea experience. Hilton Woking will also house a 5,900 square foot ballroom as well as an additional 7,600 square foot of function areas and corporate meeting space. All three food and beverage sites will launch in line with the official opening of Hilton Woking later this year. Nicolaas Houwert, general manager of Hilton Woking, said: “Glow Lounge & Terrace, Oxbo Kitchen and Loft are dynamic and distinctive concepts. We look forward to seeing the vision for each venue come to life later this year, adding another exciting dimension to this flagship Hilton site.” The hotel forms part of the Victoria Place scheme being delivered by Victoria Square Woking, a joint venture between Moyallen Group and Woking Borough Council.

Newmark to open new street food market on former Dinerama site this autumn: Robert Newmark, the owner of Beach Blanket Babylon, the bar and restaurant concept, will open new venture, Lalaland, on the former Dinerama site in London’s Shoreditch, this autumn. Propel revealed in February that Newmark and his Soho Restaurant Group had applied to open on the site in Great Eastern Street. The new £1m development will offer 21 street food stalls, nine bars, lounges and live music and is now taking applications from street food traders. Soho Restaurant Group stated: “We are delighted to now be welcoming traders to become part of the Lalaland community. It’s an exciting new concept launching right in the heart of Shoreditch for Londoners who want to explore the best in food and drink.” Last October, Jonathan Downey instructed restructuring advisers to liquidate the company that operated his four street food businesses. Trading as Street Feast, the food markets came under parent company London Union, and included Dinerama, Hawker House, Giant Robot and Model Market. A pioneer of the street food market and bar model in the capital, Dinerama in Shoreditch had been described by Downey as “the best business I’ve ever been involved with”. Newmark and his son Brett were disqualified from acting as company directors in August 2016 for a combined eight-and-a-half years for allowing a company, Rosslyn Hill, trading as Beach Blanket Babylon, to trade while insolvent and owing £1m to the taxman.

Young’s appoints new non-executive director: London pub operator Young’s has appointed Aisling Meany as a non-executive director. Meany is currently a director of Rothschild & Co in the investor advisory team. During her 11 years at the company she has also held the positions of vice-president, corporate development and strategy; and vice-president in the financial institutions mergers and acquisitions team. Meany is a trustee of Kiftsgate Court Gardens and Estate, holds a master’s in finance from the London Business School and qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Young’s chairman Stephen Goodyear said: “Aisling has considerable investment banking, capital markets, financial services and strategy experience. My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to working with her.”

Rangers sign Black Rooster partnership deal: Rangers have signed an official “restaurant partnership” deal with peri peri chicken brand Black Rooster, which has 14 sites in the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas. The Ibrox side continues to invest in a range of associate partnerships that can improve the club’s image and fan experiences with this move having the potential to “revolutionise” the club’s catering. As part of the partnership, the Glasgow-based brand will be visible at Ibrox on matchday with Rangers claiming the partnership will focus on “supporter engagement” with several initiatives revolving around exclusive offers and giveaways. James Bisgrove, Black Rooster director of commercial and marketing, said: “Black Rooster is one of the fastest growing brands in the UK and, like Rangers, is expanding its international footprint with restaurants opening in the Middle East later this year.”
Viva Italia Group lines up former Zizzi site in Glasgow: Glasgow's Viva Italia Group is to open a restaurant in the former Royal Exchange Square site in Glasgow that was occupied by Zizzi. Glasgow City Council planners are currently assessing an application to convert the premises at 31 Royal Exchange Square, which forms part of a historic A-listed building in the central square. Viva Italia operates Toni Macaroni and Mozza in Glasgow as well as Nardini's in Largs. The proposed new venue will have space for 156 diners, with an expanded upper mezzanine set to provide space for a further 76 seats. The application states the intention to “reopen former Zizzi’s restaurant in Royal Exchange Square as a new Italian restaurant, creating some addition customer space with formation of a small mezzanine floor above existing kitchen/server area”.
Dutch-based restaurant concept The Seafood Bar makes UK debut: Dutch-based restaurant concept The Seafood Bar has made its UK debut. The opening in London marks the fifth site for the restaurant group, owned by the de Visscher family, and its first venture outside the Netherlands. Housed in a grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in Dean Street, Soho, the restaurant spans two floors comprising 190 covers and feature a seafood bar downstairs. The menu includes the “fruits de mer” platter, featuring lobster, North Sea crab, razor clams and langoustines; and The Mixed Grill – a combination of crustaceans and fish cooked on a La Plancha grill. The food is paired with a range of wine from across the world. In the evenings, the basement transforms into a bar serving cocktails and wine with the space hosting a monthly schedule of events. Fons de Visscher worked as a fishmonger in Helmond, a small city in the Netherlands. After 27 years honing his craft and imparting his knowledge to his family, together they decided to start The Seafood Bar. The first restaurant opened in 2012 in the neighbourhood of Oud Zuid in Amsterdam. He said: “It’s our dream to bring our guests incredible seafood, and we are living that dream. We fell in love with London a long time ago, and we’re very excited we’ve finally arrived.”

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