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Wed 5th Jan 2022 - Sessions Markets raises $10m expansion fund
Sessions Markets raises $10m expansion fund: Sessions Market, the food hall concept backed by Imbiba and led by former Deliveroo managing director Dan Warne, has raised $10m (£7.4m) to fuel its expansion plans. The company, which operates a successful chef-led food hall on Brighton’s seafront, has secured the Series-A funding from a syndicate of investors led by Guinness Asset Management. The company said that the investment will allow it to continue “helping aspiring food founders scale their businesses”, with an aim of partnering with 15 more chefs and opening 500 more kitchens within the next 12 months. The business said it wants to help “foodie entrepreneurs realise their business potential and thrive in the post-covid marketplace”. The funds secured will also be used to expand its team to be able to deliver said growth. Alongside former Soho House chief financial officer Ian Banks, Warne set up Sessions in 2019, opening its Brighton venue later that year. The business, which is chaired by ex-Tragus chief executive Graham Turner, works with more than 13 brands, such as Lost Boys Chicken, SoBe Burger and Ox Block. Sessions also works with over 50 kitchens nationwide, where customers can order from the range of food brands that the business has partnered with. The funding will enable Sessions’ plans to open two more food halls in 2022 as well as launching the Sessions Studio scheme, which is designed to pair “aspiring founders with world-class culinary support”. The company said it “gives a voice to independent food talent and enables them to accelerate the growth of their brands through their readymade, cross-channel platform, encompassing both virtual and retail spaces”. Warne said: “Our purpose is to be a voice for the independents, championing change and empowerment, and it’s great to see our new partners entirely bought into that mission.” Alongside Guinness Asset Management, the financing also saw participation from Jon Moulton’s private investment vehicle, to which Perscitus LLP act as consultant. Ashley Abrahams, an executive at Guinness Asset Management, said: “True disruptors in the hospitality sector, the hybrid physical and digital model of Sessions is of intense interest to us, and we’re looking forward to watching the partnership between Sessions and Guinness grow.” Propel understands that Imbiba, which has backed the business since its launch, remains a core shareholder. Last year, the business launched a new initiative – New Venture Kitchen – as a platform to “nurture exciting new talent in the food industry”. Located in Shelter Hall, the group’s first food hall site in Brighton, the company said the new initiative would give each concept “a four-month residency in a full-spec professional kitchen, access to Shelter Hall’s customer base and operational support to grow rapidly”. It also secured further investment and strengthened its head office team, including the appointment of Sourced Market founder Ben O’Brien as chief operating officer.

Full speaker schedule for Restaurant Marketer and Innovator this month unveiled: The full speaker schedule has been unveiled for the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator event held later this month. Click here to view the full schedule. Operators taking part include: The Alchemist, Coco di Mama, Vapiano, Individual Restaurant Company, Anglian Country inns, Compass, Dishoom, BrewDog, Elior UK, Punch, Greene King, Just Eat, TGI Fridays, Big Mamma Group, Gamechangers Hospitality Investments, Lane7, Mission Mars, Wing Shack, London Cocktail Club, Incipio Group, Kerb Food, PPHE Group, Hilton, Pho, Ennismore, Eataly, Pizza Pilgrims, Le Pain Quotidien, Bone Daddies Group, YO!, Rum Kitchen, New World Trading Company and Arc InspirationsOne day operator price is £345 plus VAT, two-day operator price is £575 plus VAT. One day supplier rate is £445 plus VAT, two-day supplier rate is £795 plus VAT. Email to book.

Hydes reports £3.8m loss in pandemic year: Hydes, which operates 31 managed and 16 tenanted pubs in the north west, has reported turnover decreased 71% to £8.5m in the year to 28 March 2021. It produced an operating loss of £4m and saw a reduction in Ebitda from £3.7m to minus £1.9m. It lost £3,831,441 pre-tax compared to a pre-tax profit of £821,132 the year before. The company stated: “The decline in performance was, of course, due to restrictions in place whilst we were able to trade and the significant periods that our pubs were forced to close altogether. The restrictions and forced closures meant we lost turnover of approximately £21m. In addition to this lost revenue, we made an exceptional provision in relation to irrecoverable debtors and onerous leases of £284,000. Other income of £5.1m arises from the government’s various closure and restart grants and furlough payments.” The company reported its directors took a 20% pay cut and forfeited holidays during this period. The company sold four tenanted pubs during the year with sale proceeds of £1.3m and a profit on disposal of £1.1m. Its own brewed cask ale volumes reduced by 75.7%.

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