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Wed 8th Sep 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector bosses warn ‘firebreak’ lockdown would be ‘final nail in the coffin’ for many businesses: A “firebreak” lockdown in England during October would be the “final nail in the coffin” for many sector businesses, industry leaders have warned. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has not denied restrictions could be implemented next month if covid-19 hospitalisations remain high – but said it depends on the success of the booster jab programme for the elderly and most vulnerable. Zahawi said the booster programme is his “absolute priority” as it will “absolutely help us to transition the virus from pandemic to endemic status”. But he warned the “one-way road towards sustaining the opening of the economy” will only happen “if we do that well” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told talkRadio: “Many businesses simply won't survive. This will be the final nail in the coffin.” She added: “Government needs to work out quickly whether it wants our taxes or restrictions to protect the NHS, it cannot have both.” William Lees-Jones, managing director of north west brewer and pub retailer JW Lees, tweeted: “October lockdown – you're having a laugh. Looks like Westminster is back with a bang with more ‘Project Fear’ just as hospitality starts to feel around and get back on its feet.” He told Propel: “Many licensees are already worried about the VAT increase at the end of September as well as the lack of support that wet-led pubs have had through the crisis, and so to have the prospect of another lockdown hanging over them will drive many people out of the sector and will mean some operators might just call it a day altogether. It’s really not at all helpful for a minister to say things like that.” Tim Foster, co-founder of Yummy Pub Company, tweeted: “Can’t believe we’re here yet again. If the government wants a firebreak it can cover all my costs! Head on down any MP to any of my pubs and I’ll walk you through what closing it looks like, costs, wastage, stocks, let alone what it does to my people.” 

Industry News:

Costa’s largest UK franchisee among 62 companies added to next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book: Costa’s largest UK franchisee, Scoffs Group, is among the additional 62 companies that will be added to the updated Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which will be published for Premium subscribers on Friday (10 September), at midday. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, shows Scoffs Group was turning over £35.2m from 90 sites pre-pandemic, generating a pre-tax profit of £1.6m. The 62 new companies are turning over a combined £1.6bn. The Blue Book will now feature 408 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators with a total turnover of £30.7bn. The Blue Book has begun to reflect the economic damage of the pandemic with 200 companies reporting a profit and 204 reporting losses. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive two other databases – the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. 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.

Scottish hospitality bosses believe over-50s can help solve ‘worst recruitment crisis in living memory’: Scottish hospitality bosses believe the over-50s can help in the battle against the “worst recruitment crisis in living memory”. The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) said a generation of “silver servers” could be the saviour, and have called on anyone aged over 50, with or without experience, to join the trade. The group has revealed its members are currently looking to fill at least 500 vacancies as younger staff leave due to the strain of ongoing understaffing issues. With furlough ending this month, the SHG said thousands of older workers could be left out of work, and should be enticed into the sector. Industry bosses also admitted they are having to self-impose lockdowns at their top venues, opening fewer days a week and reducing opening hours to prevent staff burnout. SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: “The industry is on its knees, and we are looking for solutions at every turn, I hope this could be it. Hospitality has taken a bashing, but that’s been caused by the fractured state it’s been left in after the pandemic. We need help to save the industry. Our members are currently looking for 500 staff, but we know of about another 500 roles that could be created as part of planned upgrades or new venues in the pipeline – totalling some £30m of investment. However, this all hangs in the balance because of the current jobs market. If we can entice a generation of ‘silver servers’ in, they could save us.”

UKHospitality warns Scottish government’s new policy programme set to deliver further challenges for industry: The Scottish government’s new policy programme is set to deliver further challenges for the sector, UKHospitality has warned. First minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday (7 September) unveiled plans to address the key challenges Scotland faces as it looks to tackle the challenges posed by covid and Brexit. The Programme for Government includes investment and reform in public services, the establishment of a National Care Service, building more affordable houses and rebuilding the economy. But UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said there was precious little to get excited about for an industry battered by the pandemic. He said: “With many hospitality businesses still in survival mode, the programme for offers little that is new for one of the nation’s most important economic sectors. While the reiteration of full business rates relief is very welcome, hospitality remains the hardest hit. With the threat of vaccine certification hanging over some of our businesses, now would have been the time for the Scottish government to say more about ongoing support for a sector which employed 285,000 people pre-pandemic. Instead businesses struggling with short term debt, and chronic staff and supply shortages, have learned that the Scottish government will unveil an Out of Home Action Plan, as part of a Public Health Bill, that is likely to push more burdens and costs on to businesses.” He added: “Hospitality wants to play its part in delivering the healthy eating agenda, but to do this it needs to be treated as a partner by the Scottish government. UKHospitality Scotland will be meeting with officials this week to hear more on this and to make the case for limiting burdens on businesses that are still getting back to work in the face of immense challenges. Hospitality can help to lead and drive Scotland’s economic and social recovery but the programme fails to recognise this. Rather, it has the potential to increase pressures on businesses at a time they are least able to manage them.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an international retailer that has gone through a period or change post-covid and is now looking to grow. To support this growth, it is hoping to appoint several new operations managers. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “These operations manager will drive P&L, cost control and brand standards and take a focus on supporting the development and retention of their teams. The ideal background would be in a high volume, national or international retail business, either at high-street level or travel hubs and across grocery, convenience, personal goods or grab and go food. Positions are available across regions including the south west, Yorkshire and East Anglia and a salary between £45,000 and £70,000 plus bonus and benefits will be considered.” Anyone interested can email
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Company News:

Papa John’s to open its 500th UK store next week: Papa John’s will open its 500th UK store, in Ormskirk, Lancashire, on Monday (13 September). The company is opening the outlet in the former Coral betting shop in Aughton Street. Papa John’s, which was founded in the United States in 1984, opened its first UK restaurant 21 years ago. Earlier this year, the company announced it would be targeting small UK towns as part of its expansion strategy and to reach more communities. To celebrate the landmark, Pappa John’s is offering a free limited supply of pizza-style cakes to its customers, mimicking its most popular flavours but with a rice crispy base, strawberry jam and icing replacing the dough, tomato sauce and toppings. Giles Codd, Papa John’s UK’s senior director of marketing, said: “We’re delighted to announce the opening of our 500th store in Ormskirk, and there’s no better way to mark the occasion than handing out complimentary cakes to our loyal customers across the UK.”

Itsu appoints chief customer officer, looks to open 20 new restaurants this year: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Julian Metcalfe, has brought in former McDonald's digital expert Neil Miller, as it looks to push ahead with its UK expansion. Miller, who has also previously worked for Samsung and Adidas, has taken on the newly created role of chief customer officer, which will see him develop and manage Itsu’s customer proposition, marketing and digital transformation. Miller has spent the past 25 years working in business leadership, digital transformation and e-commerce development. His appointment comes at a time when Itsu plans to open 20 new UK restaurants in 2021 and expand its footprint beyond the M25, following a recent tie-up with private equity group Bridgepoint. Recent restaurant openings in Reading and St Albans, the latter of which Metcalfe told Propel earlier this week had been the “best opening in our history”, looks set to be followed by new sites in Bath, Edinburgh, and Bromley, with work having started on all three. As previously reported, the company hopes to open 100 new UK restaurants over the next five years. Itsu chief executive Ganan Kanagathurai said: “Neil brings a wealth of experience to this new role. His track record of digital execution and customer-centricity will be a valuable addition to our senior team, as we navigate Itsu into the digital age.” Miller added: “This is an exciting opportunity to lead the customer proposition of one of the UK’s most popular brands, bringing together marketing, digital transformation and brand management.” 

Adventure Bar Group opens second Blame Gloria site, eyes expansion of concept to other UK cities: A second Blame Gloria bar has opened following a rebranding and refurbishment of London bar operator Adventure Bar Group’s original site in the capital – with more set to follow in other UK cities. The new venue replaces the site in Clapham Junction where the group – whose late-night venues include Tonight Josephine, Bar Elba, Nikki’s Bar and The Escapologist – began its adventure 16 years ago. Sarah Willingham, founder and chief executive of Nightcap, which acquired the group earlier this year, now hopes to take the Blame Gloria concept outside the capital. She said: “We believe Adventure Bar Group and its brands have significant potential for expansion across the country. This is the first step to get their iconic brands into more areas and cities, with news to follow as our expansion plans continue to gain momentum.” Since its inception in the summer of 2018 in Covent Garden, Blame Gloria has earned a reputation for its drag brunches, speciality cocktails and opulent interiors. Upcoming plans for the new venue include its sell-out Mamma Mia Brunch, which sees a cast of wayward West End stars performing ABBA hits, and its funk-filled Disco Drag Brunch, bringing a sexy twist on the era of 1970s disco. Adventure Bar Group co-founder Tom Kidd said: “After witnessing the success of Blame Gloria in Covent Garden, it was a no-brainer that bringing this venue to Clapham, the party hub of London, would be a hit. We aim to make this the go-to late night for locals, but also to attract party-goers from around the UK, by providing unforgettable experiences and unmatched vibes.” 

SlamBurger set to double estate with five new openings: Burger concept SlamBurger is set to double its estate with five new openings, Propel has learned. The company operates two sites in Birmingham as well as one in each of Aylesbury, Luton and Walthamstow in east London. SlamBurger is set to add to its portfolio with outlets in Camden and Ilford in the capital along with Cardiff, Leicester and Reading. SlamBurger’s menu includes grilled burgers such as the Piri Chicken Wooper and the Double Cheese Egg alongside wraps, sides and desserts. Called Slam at the time, and known by the customers as Slam’s, the concept opened its first site in Muntz Street in Birmingham in 2012 before moving to larger premises in Ladypool Road in 2016. The Walthamstow restaurant launched in 2019, with Alum Rock in Birmingham and Luton opening the following year. The Aylesbury outlet was the latest to open, in January this year.

Paskin siblings to open The Barbary’s ‘little sister’ venue next month, Jacob the Angel to relocate: Brother and sister duo Layo and Zoe Paskin will open their new venue The Barbary Next Door in London in October. The neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar, which features Moorish-Spanish and African cooking on its menu, will sit adjacent to The Barbary in the heart of Covent Garden. The current occupier of the site, the Paskin-owned English coffee house Jacob The Angel, will be moving to a new location not yet announced. Zoe Paskin said: “The Barbary Next Door was initially our neighbourhood delivery service during lockdown. Now that everything has reopened, we’re bringing that welcome sense of familiarity to Neal’s Yard with our new restaurant and wine bar.” Layo Paskin added: “The Barbary Next Door will certainly reference some of the food and design elements that The Barbary has become known for, but it will be a new experience. It’s a relaxed spot where you can pop by for a coffee, chilled beer or glass of wine.” The Paskins opened The Barbary in 2016, their second restaurant following The Palomar in Soho, while Jacob the Angel followed a year later.

North west-based Mexican restaurant concept Goburrito opens third site: North west-based Mexican restaurant concept Goburrito has opened its third site, in Morecambe. The company has launched the venue in Market Street in the former Greenwoods men’s store premises, reports the Lancaster Guardian. Goburrito specialises in Mexican-inspired slow-cooked food and serves burritos, nachos and “chilli specials”. Goburrito opened its debut restaurant in Church Street in Lancaster ten years ago before adding a site in Edward Roberts Court at Lancaster University in 2017.

First Kent site for expanding burger chain 7Bone opens: A new branch of 7Bone Burger – its first in Kent and 11th altogether – has opened. The restaurant in Canterbury is based in the former premises of better burger brand Byron, which never reopened post-lockdown after the company entered administration. Based on the corner of Burgate and Butchery Lane, the 7Bone restaurant employs up to 25 staff. The menu offers beef burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches, as well as a selection of craft beer and cocktails, and a full vegan menu. In July, Propel revealed 7Bone, which was founded in Southampton in 2013 and is backed by Kings Park Capital, is planning a second Kent branch, in Maidstone. The business managed to remain profitable throughout the pandemic and maintained sales, on average, of more than 60% of pre-covid levels. The company is in legals on sites in Surrey, the West Midlands, Kent and Spelthorne, and also has branches in Coventry, Bournemouth, Camberley, Eastbourne, Hove, Newbury, Northampton, Portsmouth and Reading.

Tim Hortons set to continue UK expansion with Ipswich restaurant opening: Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons has moved forward with its plans to open a restaurant in every major UK town and city by 2022 with a new Ipswich site. The branch is set to open later this year and take over the former Pizza Hut unit at Anglia Retail Park, which failed to reopen following the third covid lockdown. The plans include a drive-thru, and the restaurant is set to open this winter. Bosses at Tim Hortons, which has 32 locations across the UK, hope the new site will create more than 50 jobs. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of the company’s UK franchise, told the Ipswich Star: “Opening in a new area of the country is always a momentous occasion for our brand, and we look forward to bringing our Canadian charm to all our fans based in the area.” Founded by former Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Tim Horton in 1964, the company has more than 4,000 locations worldwide and opened its first UK branch in Glasgow in June 2017 with SK Group leading the rollout in Britain. Last month Tim Hortons announced plans to take over former Pizza Hut branches in Boldon, Tyne and Wear; Wolverhampton; and Lakeside in Essex. It also this summer tabled plans for drive-thru sites in Aintree, Oldham and Warrington.

Patrick Powell to oversee menu at new bar and restaurant at St Pancras hotel: Former Chiltern Firehouse head chef Patrick Powell is to oversee the menu at a new restaurant and bar opening at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Booking Office 1869, an all-day drinking and dining destination, will launch next month in place of the Booking Office bar and restaurant. A reimagining of the original, 19th century St Pancras ticket hall, the launch marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. The room, which will seat 120, will feature a 22-metre long bar. Powell has curated an all-day style à la carte menu running through snacks, salads and starters, mains, sides and desserts, designed to highlight classic dishes finished with a modern twist. Accompanying the menu will be a live raw bar serving market oysters and sashimi-style tuna skewers. The drinks offering will feature cocktails, including a tea-inspired non-alcoholic range, alongside a premium selection of Champagne, wine and spirits. Following the launch of Booking Office 1869 will be the opening of the Roof Garden – a hidden alfresco garden, which will serve a snacking menu from its indoor counterpart. 

Milton Keynes leisure park to welcome three new F&B and entertainment venues, with more to follow: Xscape Milton Keynes has announced three new openings at its site this autumn – including escape room concept Escape Hunt – and plans more later this year. Turkish restaurant Sumac and sports bar Wing Kingz will join the line-up in October, followed shortly afterwards by Escape Hunt, which will feature five themed escape rooms, a virtual reality room, pulse-racing missions and challenges against the clock. Sumac, meanwhile, will be serving up Turkish and Mediterranean-style cuisine, and American diner-style Wing Kingz will be streaming sports from across the globe all day, every day. Xscape manager Nick Coppock told the MK Citizen: “As we gear up to celebrate the centre’s 21st birthday next month, we are thrilled to announce these new activity and dining brand openings, with more announcements to come later this year. Each of these major new lettings offer something new and exciting to our visitors. We’re particularly pleased most of these new openings are independent businesses that will enhance our offer, giving our visitors more choice than ever before.” This follows the opening of independent Punjabi restaurant Namji’s second Milton Keynes restaurant at Xscape last month, which serves traditional, made to order dishes handed down through the generations.

First stand-alone shop for Derbyshire gin-maker: Gin concept Dr Derbyshire’s Emporium is due to open its first stand-alone retail outlet early next month. Featuring sampling, personalised labelling and regular gin-related events, the shop will be based at the Peak Village in Rowsley. The emporium is the brainchild of Derbyshire Distillery, set up in 2018. Centre manager Katayune Jacquin said: “It’s a real vote of confidence in the changes we’re making that Derbyshire Distillery has committed to Peak Village. A huge amount of work is being done to improve the site, and that’s generated a lot of interest from aspirational brands.”

Hertfordshire chef opens second ‘exclusively vegan’ restaurant and plans further expansion: Matt Prior has opened Bishop’s Stortford’s first “exclusively vegan” restaurant and set his sights on taking his concept beyond just Hertfordshire. Prior, whose first restaurant is based in his home town of Hertford, now wants to expand his Veg Heads business across the UK and persuade others to try going vegan, as he did four years ago. Prior told the Bishop’s Stortford Independent: “In five years, I'd like the business to be nationwide and accessible to places with low-to-no vegan options. This is our second permanent branch in Hertfordshire, the first-ever exclusively vegan place in Bishop's Stortford. I wanted to inspire people to try vegan, save as many animals as I can through my food and incite social change in the local area.” The opening brings the 32-year-old full circle as his latest venue is based in the town’s Eat 17 “food utopia”, where he first began selling vegan food from a market stall. Prior added: “When Veg Heads first started, I could be found cooking burgers on the Stortford market every Thursday. Now, here we are, with two permanent branches and an events arm of the business too.” Among the items on the Veg Heads menu are a Frigg'n Chikk'n burger with a crispy fried seitan chicken fillet, and Mighty Marmitey fries tossed with a Marmite butter sauce.

Lancashire-based Cedar Farm bolsters F&B offer with dedicated market-style food hub: Lancashire-based Cedar Farm has launched a dedicated market-style food hub and communal dining area following an extensive renovation of one of its barns. The redevelopment at the farm, which is based in the village of Mawdesley, also features a music school, and specialist retail outlets. It is home to three new and diverse eateries – pan-Asian street food and sushi from Kaizen; hand-stretched pizza, sharing boards and Italian charcuterie from Da Massimo; and brunch, sweet baked goods and desserts from Moreish. The venue also offers coffee and tea from Roberts & Co, which has an existing coffee roastery based at the farm. With a heritage dating more than 30 years, the unveiling of the new barn marks the next step in the farm’s history as it looks to bolster its food and drink offering. Katie Baillie, partner at Cedar Farm, said: “The opening of the new food barn is hugely significant for Cedar Farm. We were determined to invest in the future of the farm to offer something new to the area and put ourselves on the map as a foodie destination, while supporting small food businesses by giving them an outlet for their creativity.”
North east-based Scream For Pizza opens new grab and go concept in Newcastle: North east-based pizza concept Scream For Pizza has opened a new grab and go concept in Newcastle. Scream For Pizza, which has a site in Newcastle’s Sandyford and a mobile van, has opened the pizza and ice cream shop in Quayside following a £40,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund. Scream For Pizza was founded by Victoria Featherby and Alexandra Walker, who left their cruise ship jobs in 2010 to move to Naples and train at the La Notizia restaurant under chef Enzo Coccias. They launched a mobile food van from a converted former French army ambulance in Newcastle in 2014 and opened their first restaurant in Sandyford five years later, with a Scream For Pizza concession also established at the Full Circle Brewery in Hoults Yard. Featherby said: “The success of our business has always been based on using locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, great quality Italian products and traditional pizza-making techniques, and that’s exactly what we’ll be offering in our new Quayside restaurant. While we do have ten seats in the new venue, the focus is very much on ‘grab and go’, with the products on offer tailored to appeal to customers who are on the move or who have limited time to find some food.” In June, the company revealed it was looking at options for opening further venues elsewhere in the region, which will offer a range of different pizza concepts. 
Distillery and brewery plan unveiled for Lurgan: Plans have been unveiled for a new brewery and distillery, which will be the first of its kind in the County Armagh town of Lurgan in 200 years. Spadetown Brewery will be based at Silverwood Business Park and will open in October. The project is led by a group of local people, with plans also in place to create Lough Neagh Distillers. The initial planned investment of more than £2m is expected to create about 55 jobs by 2023. Vernon Fox, who has been involved in the drinks industry for almost 30 years, is leading the consortium with backing from local business people including Patrick McAliskey, who founded and built Novosco. The Spadetown Brewery and Lough Neagh Distillers brands have been in existence since 2018 but the new investment has led to a relaunch of the companies and the new plans to invest in the dedicated facilities. Fox said: “I have long wanted to open a brewery and distillery in Lurgan, drawing on centuries of tradition, given that Lurgan was home to one of the island’s largest distilleries – Greer’s Distillery – until it burnt down in 1837, and the wider area was previously a hub for micro-brewing. My idea to do so was put on hold due to the pandemic but that has become a positive as it led to new conversations with other local people who are passionate about the area’s brewing and distilling heritage, and to new investment and even bigger plans as a result.”
Surrey-based hotel Beaverbrook opens London outpost: Surrey-based hotel Beaverbrook has opened a London outpost. The Beaverbrook Town House in Sloane Street has 15 suites and features the Fuji Grill and Omakase Sushi Bar. It serves sushi, sashimi and nigiri alongside dishes such as “charcoal” wagyu with juniper miso. Meanwhile, the art deco-inspired Sir Frank's Bar, offers a mixture of cocktails from the original Beaverbrook hotel in Leatherhead with some new London-only drinks. 
Sunderland-based coffee shop concept to double up: Sunderland-based coffee shop concept Grinder Coffee Co is to double up in the city. Michael Curtis and Riki Tsang launched the venture in Durham Road in September 2019. Now they are launching a larger sister site in Waterloo Place. The site, which closed as Hills book shop in 2008, is undergoing a huge revamp after being taken over by Broadside Creatives Community Interest Company, which is turning it into a multi-purpose arts centre housing a cafe, supplies shop, gallery, offices and exhibition space. Grinder Coffee Co will be running the coffee shop side of the new business in a space that, at triple the size of its Durham Road venue, means it can expand its current food offering thanks to an on-site kitchen and more seating. Curtis told the Sunderland Echo: “It’s a great opportunity for us to move into the city centre. We’re a little anxious too because we’re still in a pandemic, but we felt it was too good an opportunity to turn down. There’s going to be a lot happening in the building and it’s great to be housed with so many other independents and creatives.”

Team behind Altrincham pub to open ‘tropical garden’ restaurant: The team behind a pub in Altrincham has submitted plans for an adjacent jungle chic-themed restaurant. It hopes to turn some dilapidated buildings and a car park next to the Stamford Arms in Bowden into a new venue called Casa Koko. Although based just yards away, the intention is for the 4,800 square foot restaurant, bar and social space to compliment the pub rather than compete with it. Director Nick Theakston told Altrincham Today: “Our new space – Casa Koko – will be the tropical garden restaurant you never knew you needed in your life until now. Think Bali, crossed with Tulum matched with fab food, sundowner cocktails, grid-worthy interiors and slick service.” Food would have an emphasis on a fresh seafood barbecue, while the restaurant, which is scheduled to open next spring, will feature a retractable roof to turn it into a sun trap in good weather.

Pan Pacific opens London hotel with three F&B offerings: Hotel group Pan Pacific has opened its new London hotel – its first in Europe – featuring three food and beverage offerings. The 237-bedroom hotel within the mixed-use development opposite Liverpool Street station will eventually have five restaurants and bars as well as a well-being floor with treatment rooms. Three of the food and beverage offerings – Straits Kitchen, Ginger Lily and The Orchid Lounge – are now open, with a further two venues to be announced shortly. The menu at Straits Kitchen reflects the wide range of cooking styles brought into Singapore through the Straits of Malacca. The à la carte menu includes Scottish lobster nonya laksa; and butter-aged Buccleuch beef with roasted black garlic and Himalayan salted chips. All dishes are paired with a wine list featuring 500 bottles. Ginger Lily offers a “premium drinks experience”, with an extensive Champagne list from more than 200 houses and “the largest list of by-the-glass bubbles in the City”, as well as a specialist rum menu with more than 150 varieties. The cocktail menu is inspired by Singaporean flavours. Drinks are complemented by a small plates menu. The Orchid Lounge offers a menu that combines Asian flavours with the traditional British tea, including a selection of handmade pastries. Pan Pacific is owned by Singapore’s UOL Group. It manages almost 50 hotels, resorts and serviced suites.
North west-based Two Brothers Coffee opens in St Helens for third site: North west-based coffee shop concept Two Brothers Coffee has opened its third site, in St Helens. The company, owned by Steve and Dave Jones, has opened the outlet off Barrow Street, in the former Galloways bakery premises. The coffee shop serves hot and cold drinks, matcha, beetroot and turmeric lattes as well as a variety of cakes, bakes and sandwiches. Manager Sean Lyall told the Liverpool Echo: "There’s obviously a big appetite for coffee in St Helens. There’s a Costa, a Starbucks and a Nero, all in the town centre within a mile of each other. There’s a big demand for coffee but there’s no specialty coffee here and St Helens is somewhere we looked at before covid.” The Jones’ launched their first coffee shop in Altrincham four years ago and expanded to open a shop and roastery in Warrington Market last year.
Galgorm Collection reopens newly acquired County Down hotel following revamp: Belfast-based hospitality group Galgorm Collection has reopened The Old Inn Crawfordsburn, in north County Down. The company bought the hotel in a multimillion-pound deal earlier this year and has been refurbishing the property. The new-look 1614 Bar and the revamped 120-seater Old Inn restaurant have reopened. Plans are currently under way to upgrade each of the hotel’s 32 individually-styled bedrooms and the exclusive cottage accommodation, situated in the grounds of The Old Inn. The Galgorm Collection said it’s also developing a new treetop spa, which will feature a vitality pool, two hot tubs, steam room and sauna and forest view relaxation space. Additionally, plans to reimagine the hotel’s two wedding spaces are due to be revealed in the coming months, with refurbishment expected to be complete by early 2023. Galgorm Collection managing director Colin Johnston said: “The Old Inn is one of Northern Ireland’s most historic hotels and our refurbishment works have been carefully considered to retain the property’s charm while updating the offering and experience for a new generation. We’ve significantly invested in remodelling the bar and restaurant area, upgrading room specifications and constructing a new outdoor spa area that will open in the new year. This has been a long-awaited project and we’re already experiencing strong demand for bookings.”
Worthing-based operators get go-ahead to open Mexican restaurant for second site: Worthing-based operators Tom Lines and Mark Sharp have been given the go-ahead to open their second site in the West Sussex town. The duo, who own the Finch restaurant in Warwick Street, bought 29 Marine Parade with the goal of turning it into a new Mexican restaurant called Crudo with flats above. The premises used to be home to Hitchcock’s restaurant but it has been empty for more than 15 years, reports the Worthing Herald. Now Lines and Sharp have been granted planning permission by Worthing Borough Council for the venture.

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