EG Group acquires Cooplands: Forecourt and roadside operator EG Group has acquired CS Food Group Holdings, which trades as bakery business Cooplands, for an undisclosed sum. Cooplands owns and operates bakery assets in the UK, including three bakeries that process ingredients and manufacture fresh food distributed through its supply and logistics network to about 180 stores and cafes, predominantly across the north east and Yorkshire regions. Founded by Frederick and Alice Coopland in 1885, Cooplands employs more than 1,600 colleagues and is the UK’s second-largest bakery chain. EG Group stated: “The acquisition will accelerate EG Group’s growing and successful diversification into foodservice and adds highly complementary assets that will drive development opportunities in other parts of the business. Today’s transaction will provide a platform to diversify the Cooplands brand into the transient petrol forecourt and retail convenience store channel, alongside the bakery chain’s traditional store formats, through EG Group’s extensive UK network. The acquisition of Cooplands as a proprietary brand follows EG Group’s acquisition of natural fast food brand Leon in May. These two brands complement EG Group’s extensive foodservice brand portfolio, including popular third-party brands such as Starbucks, KFC and Subway. EG Group plans to invest in the Cooplands brand and fresh food offer, to help ensure it continues to satisfy existing customers and attract new ones.” Zuber and Mohsin Issa, founders and co-chief executives of EG Group, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Cooplands’ many talented colleagues to the EG Group family. Cooplands has a proven track record in the fresh bakery sector and vertical integration with EG Group will help to further drive our success in foodservice, where we continue to see strong growth opportunities in the UK and globally. The transaction will broaden the reach of Cooplands beyond the brand’s northern heartlands and bring its much-loved food to more existing and new customers through EG Group’s unparalleled network of roadside forecourts and retail convenience stores. We know that Cooplands’ impressive bakery platform and our foodservice expertise will be a winning combination.” Cooplands chief executive Belinda Youngs added: “Cooplands is proud to be joining EG Group and bringing our long history of skills and expertise in the bakery industry in both manufacturing and retail to the company. We are looking forward to a great future for the Cooplands brand.”
Pizza Hut Delivery to open 40 further sites as part of new Nine Group partnership: Pizza Hut Delivery has announced a partnership with hotel operator Nine Group that will become the franchisee for 31 existing Pizza Hut Delivery and Express Huts in London. Through this new partnership, Nine Group will also open 40 new Pizza Hut locations across the UK – 30 Delivery and ten Express Huts in the next three years, creating 800 jobs. The first new Hut is due to open in the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley as a Pizza Hut Express in December. This partnership is another step towards Pizza Hut Delivery’s significant growth plans in the UK and Europe. In November 2020, Pizza Hut Delivery announced plans to open 125 new locations over a three-year period – creating about 2,000 additional jobs. Neil Manhas, general manager at Pizza Hut Delivery in the UK, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Nine Group to grow our business, create opportunities for our team members and continue investing in our brand. It has a great track record of success in the hotel business and its growth mindset and commitment to customer excellence makes it well placed to continue to grow with Pizza Hut Delivery. We welcome Nine Group to the Pizza Hut family. This partnership is a testament to the growth we have seen this year, as well as the incredible work of each of our team members who have brought us through a challenging 18 months, and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work.” Nine Group managing director Vivek Chadha added: “This partnership gives Nine Group the chance to diversify into an area that has seen significant growth during the pandemic and we are thrilled to be working with Pizza Hut; benefiting from a strong brand with a heritage of innovation. Nine Group will be responsible for operating the Pizza Hut Delivery and Express Huts across London and we will concentrate our plans to expand the network further across London and the south east. We are eager to embrace the multi-channel strategy of Pizza Hut Delivery, giving the customer what they want, how they want it.” Pizza Hut Delivery is continuing to grow, seeking new locations across the UK by working with Christie & Co. Simon Chaplin, senior director at Christie & Co, said: “Despite the difficulties that some sections of the hospitality industry has faced we are still finding that demand is outstripping the supply of available property, confirming that hospitality is a great sector to invest in whilst many owners are staying put and enjoying a resurgence in sales. The sale of this package to a hotel operator once again proves that Christie & Co’s outreach to those not previously active in the world of franchising is creating great interest.” Pizza Hut has operated as a franchisor in the UK since 1973. In February, Pizza Hut Delivery announced a franchising partnership with Starboard Dining, which saw it take on 27 existing sites in the Midlands, Yorkshire and north west and open new stores. During the height of lockdown in 2020, Pizza Hut Delivery UK delivered more than 565,000 additional meals (March to early July) than in the same period in 2019. Sales continued to grow and Pizza Hut Delivery saw double-digit year-on-year sales growth in the second half of 2020, with sales continuing to grow throughout 2021. Nine Group owns, develops and manages multiple branded hotels in the UK.
Rare Restaurants launches new brand: London-based group Rare Restaurants, the hospitality group behind Gaucho and M Restaurants, has launched sister brand, The Crane Tap. As flagged in Propel Premium’s Diary on Friday (1 October), M Restaurants has converted the M Bar & Grill Twickenham to the new neighbourhood bar and kitchen concept offering all-day dining and drinks. The menu showcases signature dishes by “M”, a beef offering through a partnership with “Gaucho”, and burgers inspired by the successful lockdown delivery service, “Meat & Bun (by Gaucho)”. Highlights from the à la carte menu include a chicken schnitzel, tomato sauce, rocket salad, Parmesan and a fried egg; and ginger baked cod, grilled scallions and shiitake. Inspired by the popularity of “Meat & Bun”, the menu also features sandwiches such as Crane Club – chicken, maple bacon, avocado, tomato and a fried egg. A weekend brunch offering showcases twists on breakfast classics and is available all-day, with dishes such as the Tap Breakfast – maple bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, rosti, eggs and sourdough. The bar features a range of wine, spirits and local beer from Twickenham and Wimbledon breweries. In addition, there is a curated selection of wine, beer and cocktails served “by tap” complemented by a bar snack menu. The restaurant has 80 covers with the bar area having a further 80 covers where there is a pool table, as well as hidden TVs allowing guests to watch major sporting games and matches. There is also a covered terrace and seating area. Rare Restaurants chief executive Martin Williams said: “We are delighted to be opening ‘The Crane Tap’ in Twickenham and trust that it will become the perfect hangout. The opening of ‘The Crane Tap’ marks the start of an exciting growth period for all our restaurant brands and can only be attributed to the talents of the teams and the guest loyalty we enjoy at Gaucho and M.”