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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 19th Oct 2021 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Morris – our site pipeline is stronger than ever, rents down by up to 30%: Richard Morris, chief executive of the recently listed Tortilla, has said the company’s pipeline of sites “is looking stronger than it has ever done” and the success of delivery is allowing it to look at secondary locations that “we wouldn’t have done before”. The company currently operates 62 sites, including 50 in the UK, and plans to add 45 sites over the next five years. Morris said: “We are able to look at bricks and mortar sites in our typical high footfall locations and rents have typically dropped by 20% to 30%. We want to make the most of that because we believe high streets will come back. Because of our success on delivery it allows us to look at secondary locations that we wouldn’t have done before. It means lower rents and because we know through our delivery platform we can generate really good sales, that has opened up other sites. Deloitte did a white space report saying we could go into 121 additional sites but frankly that is looking very conservative, because of these extra opportunities we are going to find. Next year’s pipeline is virtually complete, and we are already looking at 2023’s pipeline.” Morris gave three examples of advantageous property opportunities, including recent openings in Edinburgh and Exeter, plus an upcoming site in Bath. In Exeter, the group had secured a 20% rent reduction and a 50% capex contribution from the landlord, which meant its pre-covid sales hurdle had dropped from £18,000 a week to £12,000 a week. Morris said: “These are three locations we would have done anyway, but their return on capital would have been much higher, our sales hurdles would have been higher. They were numbers we would have been comfortable with but since covid we have been able to renegotiate at least 20% off rents on all of these and we’ve managed to secure phenomenal landlord contributions. It has brought down the sales hurdle on all of these sites by about £5,000 to £6,000 a week. We don’t envisage the landlord contributions continuing and we are already starting to see the market change a little bit. But rents are still 20% down and will probably stay that way until the government decides to end the rent moratorium, then there may be more sites that come available. I have been running restaurants for 30 years and I have never seen a property market in the favour of this sector ever. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we are delighted to have got the initial public offering away and been given the opportunity to make the most of it.”
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Food Alert strengthens services with NT Assure acquisition: Food Alert is further strengthening its food hygiene and health and safety compliance services following the acquisition of NT Assure by parent company, The Citation Group. Established in 2002 by directors Tim Betts and Nita Patel, NT Assure specialises in regulatory compliance and global supply chain management solutions. These include software and labelling to enable compliance with “Natasha’s Law” as well as enabling hospitality operators to provide nutritional information to their customers. In addition, NT Assure’s specialists support clients with menu legality checks, technical consultancy and strategic advice. Clients include Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King, Azzurri Group, Starbucks, Marston’s, Holland & Barrett and Parkdean Resorts. Food Alert managing director David Bashford said: “The introduction of NT Assure’s services and team into Food Alert will further reinforce our ability to provide a complete compliance solution to manufacturers, distributors and hospitality operators. With the support of The Citation Group we will continue to focus on our strategic objective to support clients throughout the food sector with further acquisitions as well as grow organically.” Betts added: “The team at NT Assure is delighted to be integrating with Food Alert to provide industry-leading products and services across the sector.” If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com
 
Host of hotel companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of hotel companies are among the 60 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 29 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Z Hotels, one of the largest hotel operators in central London, which opened its 14th site earlier this month in The Strand; and the 19-strong Nine Group, which has recently partnered with Pizza Hut Delivery to now branch out into the quick service restaurant industry as a franchisee. Also added this month is AGO Hotels, which has expanded its portfolio to a total of 12 sites following two new acquisitions in south Wales. In addition, the Iconic Luxury Hotels group has been added, which currently has five sites in the UK and has two more openings planned for overseas this year. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. The database features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fourth edition of the New Openings Database, which Is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 3 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fourth edition will include a 10,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, 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 plus 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com
 
Naylor – having the headroom to offset commission costs is going to define restaurant businesses that do well: Andy Naylor, chief financial officer at Tortilla, has said having the headroom to offset delivery commission costs is going to define restaurant businesses that do well over the next five to ten years. Speaking as part of an investor presentation for the recently listed business, Naylor also said the group’s delivery sales had remained strong even after more competitors had reopened over the summer. He said: “Our customers stuck with us and our sales have gone through some phenomenal growth over the summer, well above pre-pandemic levels. Everyone was a little bit surprised that when dining in was allowed again, delivery sales didn’t drop away that much. I think everyone in the industry was expecting delivery customers to switch back, and that has happened a little bit, but that channel does look like it is permanently higher now. Before we were predominantly a lunchtime business but what delivery has done is rather than cannibalise our key daypart like it may have done for casual dining businesses, it has helped grow a daypart that was a bit quieter. Secondly, and more importantly certainly from a financial point of view, is that we deliver a similar level of profit on our delivered transactions, because our price point is so keen in-store we have that headroom to offset the commission costs. I think that is going to define restaurant businesses that do well over the next five to ten years because you need to be making the same amount of money on these different channels so you have got the ability to push them all with equal prominence.” The business reported like-for-like sales growth for the year to date of 22.4% versus the same period in 2019, with like-for-like sales in August up by 34%. Propel understands Tortilla launched a trial site with Middlesex University last month, which may lead to further campus-based openings. Meanwhile, Tortilla said it was looking to grow its partnership with SSP further, after reporting that trading was going well at its sites in Euston station, Gatwick and Leeds Skelton Lakes services. Naylor said: “SSP is looking to rationalise the brands it works with and we have outperformed its expectations in the sites that we have opened. Its Mi Casa at Euston was doing about £8,000 a week before we took it over and we are now doing £22,000 to £23,000 a week there.”

Food prices up by 1.2%, inflation rate ‘likely to increase sharply’ in the short term: Food prices were pushed up by 1.2% in August due to supply problems and increased demand from the hospitality sector, the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals. The report highlights the damaging impacts of labour shortages as UK job vacancies hit a record high in the third quarter of 2021. Foodservice has been the hardest hit sector, with nearly six vacancies for every 100 employees. This has led to insufficient manufactured stocks, compounded by post-Brexit import difficulties, while shortages of packaging materials and harvest issues in some parts of the world have also contributed to supply chain problems. August also brought the first full month of restriction-free trading for UK hospitality businesses since March 2020, which increased demand and further fuelled price inflation. As staff, logistics and import costs continue to rise, the Index predicts continued inflation over the remainder of 2021 and well into 2022, with the rate of rises likely to increase sharply in the short term. Andy Hodgson, client manager at CGA, said: “Hospitality is making a robust recovery from the covid crisis, but these inflation figures threaten to stall the momentum that businesses have achieved. While consumer demand remains strong, the likelihood of steeper inflation puts already vulnerable businesses under renewed pressure and reinforces the case for sustained support from government on tax, labour, supply chain and many more issues.”
 
Hospitality outperforms rest of UK economy in September, warnings for the weeks and months ahead: Hospitality businesses outpaced the rest of the UK economy for the first time in more than nine years during September, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker. Tourism and recreation – which includes pubs, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities – was the fastest growing UK sector monitored by the Tracker for the first time since January 2012. However, the rate of input cost inflation during September was the second highest in the Tracker’s history, as energy prices spiked and demand for labour intensified. This led all 14 UK sectors monitored by the Tracker to raise their prices, with food and drink among those recording the sharpest month-on-month increases. Jeavon Lolay, Lloyds’ head of economics and market insight, said: “While the number of sectors in growth mode increased last month, we are now firmly in an economic phase of recovery where big leaps in activity won’t happen every month. Tourism and recreation outpaced other sectors in September because it continues to benefit from relaxations in covid-19 restrictions and resurgent consumer demand. As the UK economy continues to inch towards its pre-pandemic peak, logistical challenges, higher energy prices and uncertainty relating to the path of the virus as we head into winter are key risks. Policymakers will need to tread carefully to safeguard the recovery, with important fiscal and monetary policy decisions due in the coming weeks and months.”
 
BBPA meets with Treasury to demand lower beer duty, extended business rates relief and permanently lower VAT in Budget: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has met with Treasury officials to make three key demands ahead of the Budget on October 27. Representing the pub and beer sector, the BPPA underlined the importance of the government co-investing in the sector in the form of a fairer tax burden and a more level playing field with other European nations post-Brexit. It made the case for cutting beer duty overall, extending business rates relief and permanently lowering VAT for all food and drink sold in pubs. The BBPA also highlighted the role pubs and brewing play in supporting more than 900,000 jobs across the UK and contributing £26 billion to the UK economy. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Investing in our brewers and pubs is investing in our communities and society to build back better. In return we will create jobs, boost the local economy and help our communities reconnect and unite again. If the government is serious about levelling up, it must get serious about reducing the tax burdens on our sector.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking for a general manager for a premium dining concept that is due to open in January. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The restaurant is set to have counter seating and sharing tables spread across two floors serving Michelin star food. This role will be based in London paying circa £50,000 base salary and the hiring team is looking for a strong general manager who thrives in a fresh food, independent restaurant environment. This role would suit an individual who is on the ball and committed to giving the guest a fantastic experience. They will be fully accountable for the restaurant and will need to have a commitment to mentoring and developing the team. The restaurant will be based in an area of London with loads of competition, so the restaurant is looking for a commercially minded manager who makes sure repeat business comes through the door.” Anyone interested can email kate@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Famously Proper appoints Nicolas Barnoin as COO, to expand Mother Clucker nationally as delivery brand: Famously Proper, the Calveton-backed parent company of the Byron and Mother Clucker brands, has appointed Nicolas Barnoin, formerly of Itsu, as its new chief operating officer. Barnoin, who joined Famously Proper last week, spent 20 years with Itsu. Working alongside founder Julian Metcalfe from the beginning, Famously Proper said he was “instrumental in growing Itsu to the successful brand it is today”. He progressed through various roles within the company, including people director and operations director, to his most recent as development director. Famously Proper said among his many achievements were the digitisation of Itsu across multiple platforms, the launch of the brand’s delivery proposition and creation of its contemporary store design. In his new role at Famously Proper, Barnoin will lead operations, menu and in-store experience and development across both brands and all platforms, working closely with chief executive Gavin Cox on the strategic growth of the business. Chairman Sandeep Vyas said: “I am delighted to welcome Nicolas on board, as we look forward to an exciting phase of development and expansion across the company. Nicolas is an astute operator and has hands-on experience of building a significant high street brand. His knowledge and energy will be much appreciated by the Famously Proper family.” The company appointed Cox as its new chief executive earlier this summer. He took over from Simon Wilkinson, who joined Byron in 2018 and was central in helping successfully navigate the business when it was acquired by Famously Proper in 2020. Last year, Byron was sold via pre-pack administration to investment vehicle Calveton UK under the newly formed company Famously Proper for £4m. Famously Proper acquired Mother Clucker, which was founded in 2012 by Ross Curnow and Brittney Bean, in May this year. It has now announced from next week the brand will be available through 18 of its Byron kitchens across the UK, via Deliveroo. Byron currently operates 21 restaurants across the UK and from nine delivery kitchens. 
 
Creams signs first international agreement with Egypt deal, plans 22 stores over next five years: Dessert parlour operator Creams has signed its first international franchise partner with Cairo-based Mori International, to open 22 stores over the next five years in Egypt. Creating about 500 jobs for the country, the openings will include full-size stores and kiosk formats. Mori International, an established multi-brand hospitality business, will open the first Creams in December in Cairo’s Garden 8 shopping mall, located in the Fifth Settlement district. The restaurant will span 3,000 square foot, accommodating 120 covers. The menu will offer all of Creams’ signature serves, from sundaes and waffles to cookie dough desserts and milkshakes, while incorporating local flavours and toppings. Creams founder and chief executive Adam Mani said: “I’m proud to announce the first stage of our plans to expand Creams internationally. We are delighted to have found a like-minded, seasoned multi-site operator such as Mori International, to grow the brand in Egypt.” Hossam Fahmy, founder and chief executive of Mori International, added: “This partnership extends the diversity of Mori International’s brand offering as well as fortifying our position as the leading casual dining group in Egypt.” Creams’ expansion into Egypt is the first of several international agreements in the pipeline, with plans to take the brand, which has 100 sites in the UK, around the globe.
 
Former Loungers operations director Alexander named Tiny Rebel bars MD: South Wales-based brewer Tiny Rebel has appointed Paul Alexander, formerly of Loungers, as managing director of its bars business, Propel has learned. Earlier this year, Alexander left Loungers after more than 11 years with the listed-owner of the Lounge and Cosy Club brands. Alexander spent the past four years as operations director of Cosy Club. He joins the Brad Cummings-founded Tiny Rebel as it looks to add to its bar estate. It opened its first bar in Cardiff in 2013, and has since added two bars in Newport, including one at its brewery. Cummings said: “Paul brings stand-out experience in driving growth through building an impressive portfolio of bars in his previous role as operations director at Loungers. In this role Paul’s primary focus will be growing our UK bar division. When others are doubting the resilience of the hospitality sector, we’re going to do what we do best…rebel and disrupt.”
 
ETM Group and Maven Leisure appoint property director: ETM Group, which operates 13 premium bars, pubs and restaurants in central London, and Maven Leisure, the new venture from ETM Group’s co-founder Ed Martin, chief financial officer Landen Prescott Brann and non-executive chairman Graham Turner, have appointed George Copeman as property director. Copeman has taken on the newly created role for both ventures following the successful £4.3m fundraise by Maven Leisure as it looks to open at least seven premium bars in central London. Copeman, who founded leisure property consultancy GC2 Property in 2010, has acted for ETM since 2015 acquiring sites including premium sports lounges Broadleaf, in the City of London, and Redwood at London Bridge station. Maven Leisure has secured its anchor site, a landmark rooftop location in King William Street in the City of London, on the former House of Fraser department store, which will open in the spring. It will feature an all-day, premium indoor bar and restaurant space, with heated terraces for year-round use with 360-degree views of the London skyline. The venture has further sites in the pipeline and is actively searching for venues for its premium sports bars and premium bars and restaurants divisions. Propel revealed earlier this month Maven Leisure has secured the former Drake & Morgan site, The Allegory in Principal Place, which it will reopen as the Beechwood Sports Pub & Kitchen in November. Copeman said: “This is an exciting time for hospitality, and we are ideally positioned to build on the opportunities this creates.” Martin added: “George knows our business well and has great experience in building and delivering a pipeline of new venues. We have a superb team, funding, and broad range of proven concepts with which to rapidly build the Maven Leisure business in these unprecedented times.”
ETM Group features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. ETM Group has turned over an average of £23m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 427 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Itsu secures Guildford site: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Julian Metcalfe, is to further add to its regional presence with an opening in Guildford, Surrey. Propel understands the Bridgepoint-backed business has secured the former French Connection site in the town’s High Street, and will start fitting it out soon. Last week, the business opened its latest company-owned site, in Bath, which followed an opening in St Albans. In September, the brand opened its first restaurant in the Midlands when it launched at Leicester’s Fosse Park Shopping Centre with its second franchisee, Savvi Dining Group. Further openings are expected this year, with work under way at sites in Bromley and Edinburgh, as Itsu pushes to open a further 100 UK restaurants by 2026.
 
New World Trading Company plans Worcester opening for The Botanist: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company (NWTC) is looking to open a site under its core The Botanist brand, in Worcester. Propel understands the Jesper Friis-led business is in advanced talks to take the former Q Panda site in the city’s Cathedral Square. Propel revealed last month NWTC was hoping to open a first site in Scotland, under The Botanist in the proposed St Andrew’s Hall conversion, next to the Edinburgh St James scheme. The company is also set to open its second site in Cardiff. NWTC, which already operates a site under The Botanist in the Welsh capital’s Church Street, is to open a site under its the Club House concept in the city’s Mermaid Quay scheme. In July, Propel revealed NWTC had secured a site in Exeter for The Botanist. It secured the former The Stable site in Queen Street Dining, which is part of the Guildhall Shopping Centre in the Devon city. The company plans to open in Exeter next month. Once open, The Botanist Exeter will be the brand’s 23rd location. NWTC is also set to bring its The Botanist to Ipswich, in the Old Post Office building in Cornhill. 
 
Stem & Glory secures third site, plans expansion across the UK and abroad: Vegan restaurant Stem & Glory has secured its third site, at London’s Broadgate, with a view to opening next April. It will be a second site in the capital for the plant-based business following the opening of its Barts Square restaurant in 2019, made possible by a £600,000 crowdfunding. Stem & Glory originally launched in its home town of Cambridge in 2016 after raising £100,000 online, and a further fundraising scheme last year secured a move to a larger Cambridge premises. The brand, which has a zero-carbon philosophy, now has plans to expand into other major cities into the UK and beyond. Stem & Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton said, “Our third site at London’s Broadgate has been on the cards since before the pandemic, and we are delighted to see it finally come to fruition. We are grateful to British Land and Davis Coffer Lyons for keeping the conversations going throughout the last 18 months and bringing us to this very exciting site. Stem & Glory Broadgate will be our biggest restaurant to date, and we have pulled out all the stops. At the new site we will be working with the best of the best in the sustainable plant-based space and have an ambitious carbon negative target.”
 
High-class cafe brand EL&N to open at Heathrow: High-class cafe brand EL&N, which earlier this summer made its international debut in the Middle East, is set to open its first airport-based site, at Heathrow, later this month, Propel has learned. The company, which earlier this summer opened its ninth site in London, will open a site in the airport’s Terminal 3. Last month, it opened its first site in France, in the upmarket French department store chain Galeries Lafayette’s flagship store in Boulevard Haussman, Paris. Earlier this summer, the business appointed Michael Logos as its new group managing director. Logos is formerly chief executive of Presman & Colard, the UK and UAE-based franchise and licensing consultancy. His appointment came as the business plans to expand across the Middle East. The company opened its first international site in the Galleria Mall, in Qatar, earlier this summer. The business recently launched a site in The Avenues Mall, Kuwait, and has an opening lined up in Dubai’s DIFC. meanwhile, Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew is set to open a site under her fledgling modern Shanghainese-inspired concept Shan Shui in Heathrow’s Terminal 2. Chew launched the concept in Bicester Village in 2018, and is set to open a further Shan Shui site in London’s Victoria. 
 
Pesto appoints new finance director: Italian restaurant business Pesto has appointed Jeremy Booth as its new finance director. Booth joins the ten-strong business, led by Neil and Sara Gatt, from financial services company Capify. He also previously worked for Abbey Logistics Group and Mazars UK. In July, Pesto appointed Menesh Modhwadia as its managing director. Modhwadia joined the business from Mission Mars, the north west bar and restaurant operator led by Roy Ellis, where he has been director of operations since 2017. Modhwadia will oversee an “aggressive growth strategy that we have planned for the business”, said Gatt. Nine of Pesto’s sites are converted pubs across the Midlands and the north west of England. Gatt added: “Our growth strategy is largely based around doing more of what we do well and that is taking on failed pub sites and turning them into thriving businesses. However, we are also researching other potential areas for growth because we feel our versatile branded offering could flourish in a number of different environments.”
 
Joe & The Juice to open second non-London UK site, restaurant debut for split menu concept by Amit Joshi: Juice bar chain Joe & The Juice is opening only its second UK site outside London, in Oxford’s Westgate Social Street Food. The sandwiches, salads and smoothies brand, founded in Copenhagen in 2002 by Kaspar Basse, has more than 300 locations worldwide. About 50 of these are in the UK, including recent additions at the former Caffe Nero site in Soho’s Denmark Street and in Kingston’s Bentall Centre. Opening at Westgate alongside Joe & The Juice is a first restaurant for independent split menu concept Plants & Grills, which includes Curious Restaurants co-founder Amit Joshi as part of the team. Catering for vegans and meat-lovers alike, the restaurant divides its menu into two columns so customers can easily find their preference, and has space for 100 guests. “We are excited to be making our debut in a location that encourages independent restaurants, and it’s the perfect starting point to begin our bricks-and-mortar journey as a brand,” said Joshi. CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield acted on behalf of landlords Landsec, while Prime Retail represented Joe & The Juice.
 
German Doner Kebab to open 23 sites before end of year including debut Saudi Arabia restaurant: German Doner Kebab (GDK), the Hero Brands-backed business, will open 23 sites before the end of the year, including its debut restaurant in Saudi Arabia. The company’s next opening will be in Middlesbrough this month while 12 more UK outlets are planned in November, including Basingstoke, Hull and Newcastle. GDK will also open its first Saudi Arabia restaurant in November, in Riyadh. As previously reported, The Ajlan Bin Ajlan Group has been signed-up as the master franchisee in Saudi Arabia, with a development agreement of 100 restaurants over the next five years. Meanwhile, GDK will continue its UK expansion in December with another nine openings lined up. These include Burton, Sunderland and Tunbridge Wells. Chief executive Imran Sayeed said: “We have been extremely agile during the pandemic and have invested heavily in our infrastructure and product innovation to ensure we are geared for future growth. 2021 is now proving to be a landmark year in our story as we expand our footprint and bring the GDK experience to more consumers in the UK and across defined international growth regions.” GDK is also set for further international growth in the US and Canada after making its debut this year. Ten restaurants are planned across New York, New Jersey and Houston in 2022 while 100 new sites are due to open in Canada over the next ten years. Based in Glasgow, the brand has grown at great pace and has more than 80 restaurants worldwide.
 
North west-based operators target five-strong estate after taking on second Star Pubs & Bars site: North west-based operators Jamie Whittaker and Kelly Vickers have taken on their second Star Pubs & Bars site and plan to establish a portfolio of five “top quality family-friendly pubs” in the region in the next three years. Whittaker and Vickers have acquired the lease of The White Bear in Knutsford, Cheshire, and intend to add a third site with Star Pubs & Bars this year. The couple are undertaking a joint £200,000 investment with Star Pubs & Bars at The White Bear, which will include the introduction of food. An alfresco eating and drinking area is being created with capacity for 60 people while inside seating is being increased to accommodate 86. The couple’s first Star Pubs & Bars site was the Pig on the Wall in Droylsden. Vickers said: “Knutsford is a beautiful town but was missing a good quality offer for families. We could immediately see the potential of The White Bear. It’s like a country pub transplanted into the town. Our aim is to create the most family-friendly upmarket pub in town and to build a portfolio of five top quality family-friendly pubs in Cheshire and the north west in the next three years.” Star Pubs & Bars business development manager Andrew North added: “Jamie and Kelly have done a great job turning around The Pig on the Wall outside Manchester. l look forward to helping them build their family-friendly estate in the coming years.”

The Neighbourhood Kitchen hits £140,000 crowdfunding target to support short-term expansion, identifies more than 400 potential future sites outside London: The Neighbourhood Kitchen, which operates delivery-only kitchens and brands, has hit its £140,000 fund-raising target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs within hours of the campaign launch as it looks to open more sites. Launched in 2020 by Adam Bridle and Penny Capper, The Neighbourhood Kitchen said it transforms defunct commercial kitchens into “highly profitable, delivery-focused restaurants giving the UK local takeaway choices that they want”. The business has identified more than 400 sites outside London that it believes could be potential sites in the future. The Neighbourhood Kitchen rents local kitchens and reconfigures them to serve neighbourhoods with up to 20 new takeaway brands – including Laguna Poké, Island Fried Chicken and The Thai Guys. The Neighbourhood Kitchen is offering 8.76% equity for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £1.5m. It has its first site up and running with more in the pipeline. The pitch states: “In our six-month trial in our test kitchen, we served more than 25,000 dishes. After this successful trial period we have now opened our first permanent operation in Bracknell, and have placed an offer on another site, which we plan to open in late autumn. We have a further two or three sites in our short-term pipeline, and have identified 400 sites outside of London which we believe could be future The Neighbourhood Kitchen sites. Funds raised in this round will go towards launching more kitchens, as well as developing our technology and brands.” Bridle previously worked for Itsu and Kitopi, one of the world’s biggest delivery-only kitchen operators. Earlier this year The Neighbourhood Kitchen secured new funding from investment firm Jenson Funding Partners.

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