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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 7th Oct 2021 - Revolution reports sales 17% ahead of two years ago
Revolution reports sales 17% ahead of two years ago: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of 67 bars, trading mainly under the Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba brands, has reported sales up 17% between 19 July and 2 October compared to two years ago. The company stated: “Covid restrictions were fully relaxed in England from 19 July 2021, which was two weeks into our financial year ending 2 July 2022, with restrictions having been gradually reduced though not fully removed since then in the remaining Home Nations. In the period from 19 July 2021 to 2 October 2021 our sites have experienced strong demand delivering same site sales growth of 17% when compared to the same period two years ago, when the business traded normally pre-covid. Our 56 English sites, which had no restrictions over this period, traded at 21% higher when compared to two years ago. In line with the previously communicated plans we have re-commenced our refurbishment programme. This strong trading performance was well ahead of the company’s expectations for this period, and costs have continued to be well controlled resulting in good profit generation from these sales. This robust performance reflects the strength and relevance of our customer offering. Whilst confident in the outlook for the business in the current trading environment, the board remains cautious of the potential impact of an escalation of covid-19 and any associated restrictions on the business in the upcoming key trading months, including Corporate Christmas parties. The group’s balance sheet remains strong, with net cash of £3.7m and £36.5m facility headroom as at 6 October 2021.” Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group said: “We spent the lockdown periods working extremely hard to refine and enhance our brand propositions with a key focus on heightening guest experience. As a result, it is extremely encouraging to see we have capitalised on the pent up demand we predicted, which has been reflected in excellent trading so far this year. We are therefore confident in the group’s outlook assuming that there are no further restrictions on our ability to trade. I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of our colleagues for their hard work during what has been a hugely challenging period.”

Third edition of The New Openings Database now available to Premium subscribers: The third edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, has been sent to Propel Premium subscribers. It shows the details of 345 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It has 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. The third edition of the database features regional brands in growth, niche cuisine, new and expanding experiential leisure concepts and a number of international growth brands making their UK debut. 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 (1 October). The database contained 70 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,086. The 398 sites run by those 70 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 60,531 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 6,100-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. 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

Team behind Record Bars to open Soho venue: The team behind Record Bars – which runs vinyl-themed venues in London’s Northcote, Eastcheap and Venn Street – will this Friday (8 October) open a new bar in Soho. Louche Soho, which will be based on the site of the 68 & Boston cocktail bar in Greek Street, will be inspired by the Soho of the 1920s and beyond. There will be two bars, with room for 260 people, as well as two stages for live music, while the Lady Stanley cocktail, which includes vanilla vodka mixed with chambord, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime, pays tribute to Maude Stanley, who founded the Soho Club for Girls in 1880. Louche founder Howard Taylor said: “Every detail of Louche Soho takes inspiration from the notorious characters and attitudes of old Soho, from the low-lit interior styling to the diverse entertainment schedule, all to create an inclusive atmosphere. We’re excited to continue to build on our reputation for bringing great entertainment, delicious cocktails and outright fun to the London bar scene.”

North Wales-based pub group Fat Boar acquires third site, eyes further expansion: North Wales-based pub group Fat Boar has acquired its third site – and is eyeing further expansion. The company has taken on the former On the Hill restaurant premises in Ruthin, which shut over the covid crisis, with the owners setting up an outside catering and home delivery service. Now the restaurant will reopen under the Fat Boar brand following a refurbishment. Fat Boar owner Rich Watkin said he thought Ruthin was a good fit with the brand and said he was ambitious about expanding further. But he added: “We won’t jump into taking a site. With this we will have opened three places in seven years so we don’t rush into anything. There isn’t a target to open sites but if a site is right, like this one, then we’ll look at it.” Fat Boar currently operates sites in Mold and Wrexham.

Former Marco Pierre-White chefs pair up for debut French restaurant in Crouch End: Robert Reid and Jean-Christophe Slowik, who met while working at Marco Pierre White’s three Michelin-starred The Oak Room in 1998, have opened their first restaurant together. Les 2 Garcons has opened at the former Nickel site in Crouch Hill, the cocktail bar having moved to a bigger premises across the road. Reid has also worked as head chef at Home House and executive chef at Balthazar London, while Slowik, who was also part of Pierre-White’s team at Harvey’s, has been running L’absinthe restaurant in Primrose Hill for the past 11 years. The pair’s dream was made possible after they raised £20,125 from 77 backers through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, to help with building work, licensing and planning application expenses. “A few years ago, we both moved to Crouch End, and after much discussion, mainly around a few bottles, we decided Crouch End was in need of a proper French ‘restaurant de quartier’,” the pair said on their Kickstarter page. “We are both extremely passionate about fresh, seasonal and locally source food. We want to create an authentic, relaxed and fun French restaurant de quartier, where customers will feel welcome and at home.” Among the dishes on offer will be scallops with smoked bacon and herb butter and roast guilt head sea-bream in cooking juices, while desserts will include pear tart tatin and rum baba with Chantilly cream, reports Hot Dinners.

Debut site for new brand Blk Sheep Baa & Grill is revealed: Operator One Hundred Knights has confirmed its first Blk Sheep Baa & Grill restaurant will open at the Plassey Holiday Park near Wrexham. Following the success of the Three Eagles Bar & Grill in Llangollen, the new brand will be the second restaurant venture in its portfolio of leisure and hospitality venues. It will be based at the former old dairy “Shippon” site and is set to open on Monday, 25 October. One Hundred Knights director of restaurants and bars Adam Gaunt-Evans said: “The Blk Sheep Baa & Grill brand represents a new generation of British casual dining, where our focus is on serving high-quality delicious food and drinks and creating an enjoyable wholesome experience for all who visit. We want to inspire a new generation of chefs with our food and showcase how great British food can be. From British classics to modern dishes and a big focus on steaks, we will be championing local produce from suppliers and artisans right on our doorstep.”

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