Exclusive – Deliveroo to open high street restaurant for staff training: Listed delivery firm Deliveroo is to launch its first high street restaurant, which it states will be used to train staff and help it “find better ways to serve our partners”, Propel has learned. The Will Shu-led company is understood to have lined up a site in New College Parade, near Swiss Cottage tube station, north west London, for a launch early next year, under the name Pizza Paradiso. A Deliveroo spokesman told Propel: “Deliveroo will manage a high street restaurant to deepen staff expertise and understanding of restaurant management so we can find new and better ways to serve our partners. Staff will learn about how to manage restaurant dine-in and delivery services. We want to understand restaurants’ pain points with the aim of solving them, and to do this by having a deep understanding of restaurant owners’ mindset. Deliveroo was born from a love of restaurants and we are always looking for new ways to support them and to help them grow their businesses.” It is understood that as part of the initiative, staff will learn, for example, how to optimise delivery alongside dine-in and the challenges this brings, about the finances of managing a restaurant, the operational impacts of peak times and how to keep high customer satisfaction ratings. It is thought Deliveroo wants staff to adopt the “mindset of the restaurant owner and develop great new ideas” to support its partners. Propel understands there are no plans to scale this beyond the single site that we will be operating. In a licensing application document on behalf of applicant Deliveroo SP, seen by Propel, it states: “Deliveroo is an established food delivery service that places customers and their needs at the centre of everything the company does. This property is the first restaurant business that will be operated by the applicant, and the rigorous standards and procedures that the applicant is known for in its Deliveroo ‘Editions’ business will be applied to this business”. The proposed layout for the circa 704-square foot site, which will trade from 11am to 11.30pm daily, shows it will have around 15 covers internally, plus another eight externally. A few years ago, Deliveroo denied it planned to replace restaurants partners, after a leaked business plan called The Future of Food, appeared to show a long-term ambition to move into food production. It included what Deliveroo called Wave VI – own content – which would comprise “hyper-personalised food produced by Deliveroo”. Operators have previously expressed their wariness over the way Deliveroo could use their data as a potential competitor later down the line. Over the past few years, the company has worked with its restaurant partners to develop virtual brands, and it has also developed its own to be used across its growing dark kitchen network – “Editions”. In October 2019, Propel revealed Deliveroo had trademarked its first virtual brand, Chicken On The Green, after developing it in partnership with Casual Dining Group. Shares in the delivery app company fell 26% on their debut in what was described as “one of the worst flotations in the history of the London Stock Exchange”, earlier this spring. In October, Deliveroo reported “strong” performance in the third quarter of 2021 and increased its full-year guidance for gross transaction value (GTV) growth. The company said GTV growth was up 58% year-on-year in the quarter in constant currency. It said orders were “resilient” despite the full reopening of bars and restaurants, with a modest reduction in average order value. In the UK and Ireland, GTV was £852m in the third quarter, down from £921m in the second quarter, “reflecting typical seasonality”.
Hard Rock Cafe UK secures extended financial support from parent company: Hard Rock Cafe UK has secured extended financial support from its parent company as coronavirus restrictions continue to impact trading. Accounts for the UK arm of the business – which has sites in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh – said it had received confirmation of continued financial support from its US parent to allow it to keep operating for at least the next 12 months. The group said it was difficult to predict the impact of coronavirus on its brands and future prospects as it had “never previously experienced such a prolonged disruption of its operations”. Hard Rock Cafe UK provided the update as it reported turnover fell to £8.3m for the year ending 31 December 2020, compared with £30.8m the year before. Transactions at its restaurants decline 67%, to 209,477, while retail transactions were down 81%, to 80,294. The company reported a pre-tax loss of £10.4m, compared with a loss of £1.2m the previous year. The business said it aims to grow its revenues to pre-pandemic levels within the next two years. The world's first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London’s Old Park Lane in 1971.
Yattendon Estates acquires West Berkshire Brewery: Yattendon Estates, one of the privately held group of companies owned by the Iliffe family, has acquired West Berkshire Brewery. It was reported at the end of last month the Yattendon-based brewery was in talks with a number of “interested third parties” about a potential sale in a bid to avoid entering administration. Edward Iliffe, entrepreneur and group chief executive of Yattendon Group, told Newbury Today: “We were excited to be more involved in the West Berkshire Brewery, which produces a great product based at the Renegade Brewery in the heart of the village of Yattendon. We saw the acquisition as an opportunity to add to the range of quality products owned and produced on the estate. The craft brewery sector has been growing strongly, with drinkers looking for a closer to home brew and provenance. The brewery enhanced its offer this year with Solo, a low alcohol beer – another area that has seen growth and interest. The estate, while not a large producer of barley, does sell to Crisp Maltings, which has been providing malt to the brewery. The taproom and kitchen provide an excellent opportunity to taste their brews as well as offering brewery tours and sales of bottles and cans for takeaway. We are open for business and looking forward to an excellent Christmas and new year period. We will be recruiting a new managing director and are looking forward to the business growing and going from strength to strength.” The Times reported at the end of November that West Berkshire Brewery, which had been at the centre of allegations of bullying and sexual harassment, was understood to be on the brink of falling into administration. The business was believed to have appointed Grant Thornton to find a buyer and had put the firm on standby to step in as administrators. Propel revealed in October that Tom Lucas was removed from his post as managing director in September, four weeks after a report in The Times highlighted an open letter from a group of current and former employees making a number of allegations of improper behaviour. Although the letter did not identify the perpetrators, it claimed a survey had elicited allegations of “multiple accounts of bullying, racism, homophobia, sexism, sexual harassment [and] a disregard for staff’s physical and mental well-being”. West Berkshire Brewery was founded in 1995, has been chaired for the past eight years by David Bruce, who founded the Firkin brew-pubs chain and co-founded the City Pub Company and Capital Pub Company. Bruce raised more than £17m to expand the business from more than 800 small shareholders, and had talked about the possibility of a flotation. It is thought the deal doesn’t include the three pubs operated by Maverick Pubs, the joint venture between West Berkshire Brewery and Downing Pubs – The Depot in Holloway, The Grapes in Oxford, and The Oxford Tavern in Kentish Town.