Story of the Day:
Coffee shops and restaurants see biggest bounce back in rental payments: Coffee shops, gyms and restaurants are becoming confident in their recovery post-lockdown and increasingly met their rental requirements, according to Colliers. The company, which collected payments from more than 1,200 properties, has seen 66% of tenants pay their rents on the first day of the new quarter. Some 25% of gyms and fitness occupiers paid their rents on 29 September, the highest first day figure since the pandemic began. Over the last 18 months the sector has paid below 10% on each quarter day. Meanwhile, 38% of cafes paid their rents on the latest quarter day, an increase from 15% in June. A total of 47% of restaurant tenants paid their rents this quarter day, up from 25% in June and 40% higher than 12 months ago. Mark Jarrett, head of property management at Colliers, said: “The significant rise in payments for restaurants, coffee shops and gyms highlights that when a sector is able to be fully operational then tenants will meet their rental obligations. It signifies consumer habits are starting to return, although we’re not all fully back to our normal routines the outlook is positive, and should increase more now we’re through the summer holiday period.” Ross Kirton, head of leisure agency, added: “We are all conscious the optimism of last summer was quickly dashed as infection rates rose when autumn set in, so the industry is carefully monitoring the infection and hospitalisation rates. However, there are other challenges facing occupiers now from staffing and supply chain shortages that could also scupper what should be the most important quarter of the year.”
Third edition of The New Openings Database to show details of 346 new sites:
The third edition of The New Openings Database
, which is produced in association with StarStock, will show the details of 346 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Wednesday (6 October), at midday. The database shows 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 will also be a website link to the business so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, The Propel Multi-Site Database
, which is produced in association with Virgate, was published on Friday (1 October) for Premium subscribers. 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 have access to another database called Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal. 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. To subscribe, email email@example.com
Second face-to-face Propel Multi-Club Conference of year takes place tomorrow: The second face-to-face Propel Multi-Club Conference of the year will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, 6 October). The event, which takes place at One Moorgate Place in London, will featuring an all-female line-up of leaders and entrepreneurs on how they are thriving in the new world of hospitality and leisure. Speakers are Sarah Willingham, founder of Nightcap, acquirer of drinks-led businesses including London Cocktail Club and Adventure Bar; Dorothy Purdew, who is behind the Champneys brand and at the forefront of change in the spa industry; Zuleika Fennell, managing director of Corbin & King; Anna Garood, who grew PoNaNa into an international brand and is currently co-owner of The Coconut Tree; Carol Welch, managing director UK and Ireland and commercial officer Odeon Cinema Group (Europe) and non-executive director of Hammerson; Resh Sonchhatla and Heena Varambhia, founders of Chapati Club in Acton; Regina Borda, managing director at Pizza Hut Europe, UK and Canada; and Dulcie Swanston, business coach and mentor, and author of It’s Not Bloody Rocket Science, and founder of Tea Break Training and Mum’s Taxis. Meanwhile, Ann Elliott talks to Laura Morris, co-founder of Yard & Coop; Bharti Radix, founder of BloomsYard; and Judy Joo, Korean-American executive chef, restaurateur, TV chef, and founder of Seoul Bird, about how to start a business from scratch. Elliott will also talk to chef Chantelle Nicholson; Grace Regan, founder of SpiceBox; and Louise Palmer-Masterton, founder of Stem & Glory; about keeping optimistic over the pandemic and building back business. There will also be a panel discussion where Romy Miller, marketing and commercial director at Gail’s Bakery; Shereen Ritchie, chief operating officer of Irish healthy fast-casual brand Sprout and formerly managing director of Leon UK; Claire Morris, global marketing head at Sodexo; and Celia Pronto, managing director of Love Home Swap; talk about developing and harnessing talent.
UKHospitality demands post-pandemic package of support in government’s Budget: Business rates reform, with a lower rate for hospitality, and a permanent VAT reduction at 12.5% for the industry are among measures UKHospitality has called for in the forthcoming Downing Street Budget. The industry body also wants to see the introduction of a rent arrears code of practice, a lower excise duty for alcohol served in licensed venues and an increase to the primary threshold for national insurance contributions. In its Budget submission to the treasury, UKHospitality warned business rates, rent demands and an increase in VAT will only pile on the pain the hospitality sector has endured over the past 18 months. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector has proved before it can lead the way out of an economic crisis, and since our businesses were permitted to reopen in April, we have seen strong employment growth. Given the right conditions we can continue to create jobs, rejuvenate high streets, generate billions in tax and contribute to growth. Of all the measures the government could take to help the hospitality sector secure a more rapid recovery, the most effective would be to address the unfair business rates system that requires the sector to overpay by 300% relative to its turnover; the £2.5bn in rent debt accrued during the pandemic that currently weighs on the sector’s shoulders; and to retain the 12.5% VAT rate for hospitality and tourism to ensure the UK remains competitive in a global tourism market.” The submission also calls for a sustainable approach to setting future wage rates and lays out a strong case for a comprehensive spending review to boost spending on tourism attraction, skills and apprenticeship funding, as well as an extension to the Kickstart scheme and high street regeneration funds.
HGEM – majority of workplaces still unsure about booking Christmas parties: Less than a quarter of workplaces are planning a Christmas party, according to a survey by guest experience management team HGEM. While this is up on the 4% who planned a festive bash last year, more than half of those asked (55%) remain unsure and could adopt a “wait and see” approach depending on any new restrictions. In terms of personal safety, 89% of consumers surveyed are ready to party this Christmas, which is a 17% increase on last year, while confidence is up in terms of going out in larger groups, with 39% of respondents wanting no group size limit. However, 17% would prefer group sizes of up to 30 people, while more than a quarter (28%) would prefer to limit the party to 20 people, and 18% would still like to keep numbers below ten. Most customers (82%) would expect table service for their Christmas party, the survey revealed, but it’s least critical for the 18 to 25 age group (62%) and most important to consumers aged 46 to 55 (89%). In addition, 67% of respondents would prefer to pre-order food and drinks, and of those who’d want to order on the night, 21% would like to order from a waiter and 12% would expect to be able to do so through an app. HGEM’s covid safety tracker, meanwhile, indicated consumer confidence is recovering well, indicating an average score of 7.9 out of ten – the highest it’s been since tracking began in October 2020.
Backman – shopping centres may not be the option for growth they used to be: Foodservice analyst Peter Backman has argued shopping centres may not be the option for growth they used to be. Backman made the point after a visit to Bluewater, which employed more than 7,000 people, attracted 28 million shoppers every year and had 55 cafes and bars pre-pandemic. He said: “In some ways, then, Bluewater is a microcosm of what makes the UK shopping economy tick. And what I saw there made me think. KFC had run out of straws and salt; staff were calling in at McDonald’s for replacements. Conclusion: shortages are disrupting normal patterns of business. More than 30 shops were boarded up. Conclusion: massive changes to shopping habits are being disrupted by online shopping with a consequent huge impact on retailer sustainability. In the ‘old days’, everything stayed open until 9pm. On my visit, some restaurants like YO! had closed early. Conclusion: labour shortages, plus reduced customer spend, disrupt trading patterns and prevent restaurants from providing normal service. In the food hall a constant stream of riders from Deliveroo and Just Eat were making their collections. Conclusion: delivery continues to disrupt patterns of sales (and disrupt many consumers’ enjoyment of their shopping space). The crucial thing is: what happens now – to shopping centres, their tenants, and their customers? Bluewater hosts many major restaurant brands – Wagamama, ASK, Byron, Tortilla, Friday’s and many more. These companies have grown over the last ten years partly through colonising shopping centres. If these centres are going to be a shadow of their former selves, how will brands like these continue their rollout strategies? They have options: move back into city centres where rents may now be lower than before; move to towns and cities where those working from home are going to spend more of their time and money; do (even more) delivery. It seems to me shopping centres will not be the option for growth they used to be.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a food and beverage brand that is looking to bring on board a brand and marketing manager. The role is based in London and is paying up to £55,000. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The role will focus heavily on introducing, and then retaining, consumers through the brand’s key channels and it is looking for a dynamic and multi-talented candidate with a strong competency in digital and a solid background in through the line marketing – a strategic thinker, a natural creative flair and a strong propensity to execute. The business has nine new store openings planned for the next 18 months, an expanding ecosystem and ambitions to define a world-leading digital experience. The ideal incoming candidate will have six-plus years’ experience – ideally at least two years within food and beverage/hospitality – and experience with ‘accessible luxury’ brands. Both agency and brand side candidates will be considered, although they must have a minimum of two years’ brand side experience, and a mixture of experience is preferred.” Anyone interested can email Gemma@corecruitment.com
Lluch appointed new Le Pain Quotidien UK managing director: Fred Lluch, formerly of Wasabi, Café Rouge and Obica, has been appointed as the new UK managing director of Le Pain Quotidien, the Belgian restaurant and boulangerie brand, Propel has learned. Lluch stepped down as managing director of Wasabi in July 2019. He joined the sushi and bento chain in March 2016 as operations director and was promoted to managing director in June 2017 where he led the business alongside the company’s founder Dong Hyung Kim. He has worked for the likes of Ibis and Novotel as well as being the regional operations director at Café Rouge and the managing director of Obica. He replaces Steven Whibley in leading the 15-strong Le Pain Quotidien brand in the UK. New vehicle BrunchCo paid £500,000 to acquire 16 (15 in London and one in Oxford) of Le Pain Quotidien’s 26 UK sites through a pre-pack administration in June last year, with the deal seeing Whibley, who was managing director of the brand at the turn of the decade, returning to the role. Last October, the business reopened its UK estate, upgraded its delivery offer, developed a new autumn menu and launched a click-and-collect option. In April, the business said it was taking steps to become a more sustainable business through a new all-day dining menu and a series of initiatives, including becoming a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good programme.
Parkdean Resorts set to be put up for sale: The Canadian owner of holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts is preparing to put it up for sale in the latest attempt to cash in on Britain's booming staycations market. Onex Corporation, which bought Parkdean in late 2016, is talking to investment banks about an auction of the business, reports Sky News. Parkdean owns more than 65 holiday parks across the UK. The timing and valuation of a sale were unclear on Monday (4 October), although insiders said the business may fetch more than the £1.3bn that Onex paid for it almost five years ago. It is the latest in a number of similar companies to be put on the market in recent months. Sky News recently revealed Britain's biggest pension fund – the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – was among the bidders for Park Holidays. USS is bidding against PAI and others in a sale process that is expected to be valued at about £850m. Other recent deals in the sector have included CVC Capital Partners buying Away Resorts and subsequently combining it with Aria, another operator. Bourne Leisure, the owner of Butlin's and Haven, was sold in February to Blackstone, another major buyout firm. Parkdean declined to comment.
McDonald’s sets net-zero emissions target for UK business by 2040: McDonald’s will open its first “net-zero” store in the UK next month, as it revealed plans to slash emissions across Britain by 2040. The company said it will reach net zero – meaning it emits no more greenhouse gases than it absorbs through its business – across the world by the middle of the century. In the UK and Ireland its net-zero target has been set a decade earlier. In November, the company plans to open a new burger restaurant in Shropshire that will be built to a “UK industry net-zero emissions standard”. The site will be a blueprint for other new-build McDonald’s in the future, the company said. From 2023 all new furniture in McDonald’s sites will be made with recycled or certified materials, and will be designed to be recycled or reused when no longer needed. Packaging will also be made with materials that are renewable, recycled or from certified sources by 2024. The goals are in line with the Science Based Targets initiative. McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “McDonald’s has a long history of taking action where it really matters to the communities we serve. But we are at a moment now where we need to accelerate our ambition and work even harder to look after each other and the planet. This new plan for change is not just our sustainability strategy, it’s our business priority. That means it isn’t a plan for one change, but for many – changes that together, with 1,400 restaurants, more than 130,000 people, 23,000 British and Irish farmers and four million customers visiting every day, really will add up.” Globally, McDonald’s said it has already cut back on emissions at its restaurants and offices by 8.9% and in its supply chain by 5.9% since 2018.
Snowfox Group plans another 100 Panku sites: Snowfox Group, which owns YO! and is believed to be gearing up for an initial public offering, is to open a further 100 kiosk sites under its pan-Asian street food concept Panku with retailer Asda. The Richard Hodgson-led global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group launched a trial of the concept in 20 of Asda’s larger stores last March. The concept had been developed by Andy Upton and Neil Nugent through YO!’s Taiko Foods arm. Propel understands last week marked the start of a 100-kiosk rollout programme of the brand across Asda stores UK-wide, which will take the company’s Panku from 42 sites to 142 in the space of less than ten months. The first three of these new sites opened last week, in the Asda stores in Glasshoughton, Queensferry and Crewe. The company also operates circa 60 YO! kiosks in Tesco stores. YO! Food to Go pre-packaged sushi is also available in 600 Sainsbury’s stores, 160 Co-op stores, 100 David Lloyd Leisure Centres and circa ten WHSmith stores.
Hagen secures Marylebone site for fifth venue: Danish espresso bar concept Hagen is to open its fifth site in London, in Marylebone. Born out of Copenhagen and founded in London, Hagen focuses on creating hygge spaces and serving premium speciality coffee in London’s affluent locations. Hagen has agreed to take the lease on a 1,500 square foot of space at 82 Marylebone High Street for an opening before the end of the year. Last month, the company opened its latest site in the capital, in Pimlico Road. Hagen also operates sites in Chelsea, Mayfair and South Kensington.
Cake Box almost doubles sales as delivery swells demand: Cake Box, the specialist retailer of fresh cream cakes, said its sales for the past six months have almost doubled amid a strong recovery in customer demand. The company said it was buoyed by its continued expansion, opening 20 new franchise sites over the six months to September, to bring it to a total of 174 stores. Cake Box also said it is in a “robust” position despite industry concerns over supply chain pressures. Chief executive Sukh Chamdal said it has “several months of ingredients and the right measures in place to ensure no event goes uncelebrated and no slice of cake goes unbaked, undelivered or uneaten”. It came as the retail business said trade has been “strong” across both its store estate and online operation. Cake Box said total revenues for the half-year were up 91% to £16.4m against the same period last year. It added franchisee online sales increased by 68% to £6.7m, as it saw higher sales through delivery platforms. Cake Box added it has a strong pipeline of new potential franchisees, with 62 deposits held for potential new openings at the end of the period. Chamdal said: “Our performance during the last six months demonstrates the ongoing appeal of our offering. With strong sales growth accompanied by record expansion of our store estate, the board is confident of making further progress in the second half and meeting full-year expectations. In short, more customers are enjoying our delicious egg-free cakes, and more of our fantastic franchisees are selling it to them.”
Bao team confirms permanent closure of Xu, site to stay within JKS family: London-based operator Bao, which was founded by Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, has confirmed the permanent closure of its Xu restaurant in Soho. Posting on Instagram, the group announced a “farewell party” will take place at nearby Quo Vadis on Wednesday, 10 November. Xu Teahouse & Restaurant, which launched in Rupert Street in 2017, drew inspiration from the social dining clubs of 1930s Taipei. The site has not reopened since last year’s lockdown but was being used as a production kitchen for Bao’s meal-kits service. Xu was the third restaurant from the team, which is backed by JKS Restaurants. The 72-cover Xu restaurant was designed as a more grown-up sister site to Bao, and named after Chang's late grandfather. In July, Bao launched a noodle shop in Shoreditch for what was its sixth site. But the site will stay within “the JKS family”. In a post on Instagram, JKS Restaurants said: “We’re joining the Bao London team in saying a fond farewell to Xu, as it announces the restaurant will not be reopening. We are pleased to say the site will stay within the JKS family – stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.”
K&G Hospitality to open new London live music venue: K&G Hospitality will open a new live music venue in the 12th century grade-II listed St Thomas’ Church in London Bridge later this month. Called Amazing Grace, the 3,510 square foot venue, located next to The Shard, will open on Friday, 15 October and play host to a whole host of UK and international talent. A 3D-mapped wall set behind the stage will allow artists to personalise their live experience for their audience, while the venue will also feature an outside seating area beneath a pergola and a mezzanine, which will be available for private hire. K&G’s catering partner for the venue will be Peckham’s Mr Bao, which will offer dishes including pork belly bao, dandan noodles and grilled Romanesco. Amazing Grace co-founder Vineet Kalra said: “We’re thrilled to be the new custodians of this iconic London space. As a team of live music fans, we’re making it our mission to bring the best talent, both local and global, to our stage in the coming months.” K&G was founded by Karla and long-time friend and associate Ricardo Guimaraes last year after 15 years of working in the hospitality industry. The pair began with two bars in Pop Brixton – Freight Line and Brixton & Friends, followed by their third venture – the Hangar Bar in the Hackney Bridge complex – where K&G also operated a DJ-led pop-up this summer. Taiwanese concept Mr Bao was opened by Frank Yeung, co-founder of burrito brand Poncho8, in Peckham in 2015, followed by sister site Daddy Bao in Tooting three years later.
The Ivy Collection submits plans for Ivy Asia in Leeds: The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant business, has submitted plans to open an Ivy Asia in Leeds. The business is believed to have applied to open an Ivy Asia on the former French Connection store in the city, which will be an extension to its existing The Ivy Victoria Quarter Leeds site. Last month, the company submitted a licensing application for an Ivy Asia site in Cardiff, close to its existing The Ivy site in the city. The Ivy Collection has also been linked with opening Ivy Asia sites in Guildford and Glasgow and is set to open a site under the format in Mayfair’s North Audley Street. Restaurant Property acted on the Mayfair deal.
Starbucks launches on Deliveroo at more than 400 stores nationwide: Starbucks has announced a partnership with Deliveroo that will see an initial 400 stores go live with the food delivery company. Starbucks has more than 1,000 stores across the UK and more of these will be added on Deliveroo throughout October – with London, Birmingham and Manchester identified as key cities for the roll-out. The partnership will allow Deliveroo customers to order any food or drink offerings from the Starbucks menu, while Deliveroo Plus subscribers will not have to pay a delivery charge. Alex Rayner, general manager at Starbucks UK, said: “We are always looking at ways to meet the needs of those who are unable to visit us in-store, and by expanding our Starbucks Delivers service by partnering with Deliveroo, we can ensure many more customers can connect with us in ways that best suit their needs and lifestyles.”
Second opening for tech-led Chinese restaurant, in London’s Chinatown: Tech-led Chinese restaurant ShaXian Delicacies has launched its second-ever site, in Chinatown London. Located at 7 Gerrard Street, the 2,850-square-foot restaurant features noodles prepared freshly by an automated robot in the restaurant window. Large LED screens are also used to place your orders, while videos showcasing Fujian street-food and culture are projected around the restaurant. The menu focuses on the Shaxian District in south east China and includes salted duck gizzard and pork stomach in chilli oil. ShaXian Delicacies owner Deqin Zheng said: “ShaXian Delicacies marries tradition and innovation with an extensive menu, and the exciting tech elements are key to our overall offer. Our debut site has been exceptionally popular, and we are so pleased to be expanding further in the capital.” Julia Wilkinson, restaurant director at landlords Shaftesbury, added: “We actively seek refreshing and distinctive brands that can showcase the culture of the far east at Chinatown London. ShaXian Delicacies is the perfect mix of traditional and contemporary, combining time-honoured dishes with crowd-drawing tech.” Last month, Shaftesbury reported that weekly West End footfall had recovered to 50-60% of pre-pandemic levels as Londoners, domestic day trippers and staycation visitors returned in growing numbers
Third site for Kibou Restaurants opens in Bristol: Kibou Restaurants, the Japanese concept led by Regent Inns founder David Franks, has opened its third venue, in Bristol’s Clifton Village. The 80-cover two-storey bar and restaurant includes dining areas, a spacious lounge, a stand-alone bar and an additional covered terrace with the potential for up to 20 covers. Founded in August 2019 by Franks, who was more recently chairman of Redcomb Pubs and was instrumental in the sale of its 15-strong pub estate to Young’s in 2019, Kibou’s first site opened in Battersea in July 2020. This was followed by a Cheltenham restaurant in September 2020, while the location for the Bristol venue, a former Scarlett Pubs site called Nettle & Rye which closed in June, was secured the following month. At the time Franks announced plans to add two or three sites to the Kibou portfolio every year, and to explore options for future funding once his estate grew to eight to ten sites. Dishes on offer include the 20-piece Jo Moriawase mixed sushi and sashimi selection, while the bar serves a selection of Japanese whisky, sake and beer and Japanese-inspired cocktails. Ruth Player, general manager at Kibou Clifton, said: “Since we started getting the restaurant ready, we’ve been bowled over by the enthusiastic support we’ve received, and it has been amazing to see peoples’ responses when they see the restaurant for the first time. We definitely think we are offering something a little different to the area and are looking forward to bringing our vibrant and contemporary slice of Japan to Clifton Village.”
Two-week Boxpark Croydon residency for Naughty Boy pop-up: DJ and pop producer Naughty Boy will be bringing his Pakistani twist on British cuisine to Boxpark Croydon for a fortnight, starting on Friday (8 October). Naughty Boy, whose real name is Shahid Khan, will be serving up his signature dishes fresh from his appearances on ITV’s Cooking with the Stars this autumn. Customers will be able to enjoy a selection of dishes including Keema Shepherds Pie, which naughty Boy cooked on the Lorraine Show in 2019, and he will be donating a percentage from each dish to Dementia UK. In 2018, Naughty Boy partnered with Shake Shack to create The Naughty One, a burger that was available to purchase in one of its London sites. He said: “I’m so excited to be bringing my dishes to Boxpark Croydon, the energy of the venue is a perfect place for Naughty Boy Kitchen to start its journey. Cooking is another way for me to channel my creativity, and I love more people will be able to try my dishes. Dementia UK has been a huge support for my mum over the years, and I’m excited through my dishes I will be able to contribute to helping others.”
Fred Sirieix launches second prison restaurant, at Wormwood Scrubs: First Dates maître d’ Fred Sirieix has transformed the prison staff canteen at Wormwood Scrubs into a high street-style training restaurant. The transformation was funded by £108,000 from the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Capital Fund, which provides funding to help Londoners from all backgrounds develop the skills they need to find employment. Prisoners will now be able to spend time cooking and learning the art of service in the industry-standard restaurant, called “Escape”, which includes a coffee shop. They will have the opportunity to gain the qualifications and work experience needed to help find employment on release from prison. The restaurant is the second opening from The Right Course, a charity programme founded by Sirieix, which transforms restaurants in prisons to replicate high street businesses. Sirieix said: “The Right Course’s aim is to reduce both reoffending and the staff shortage in hospitality. Our learners can help plug this gap if they are given the chance. Our learners play their part by using their sentencing to re-skill, but we need to give them the right support and opportunities so they can make the right steps upon release. Right now is the perfect time to start a career in the hospitality industry.” The Right Course programme is delivered by Novus tutors as part of the company’s education provision at the prison.