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Tue 25th Jan 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pizza Punks plans to grow to 25 sites over next three years, appoints new FD: Pizza, music and cocktails concept Pizza Punks, which is part of the Hell Yeah Hospitality Group, plans to grow to 25 sites in the next three years, Propel has learned. The Brad Stevens-founded concept, which currently operates sites in Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle and Leeds, will double in size this year, with openings lined up in Leicester, Durham, Liverpool and Cardiff. Propel understands the business will open first in Leicester’s Highcross scheme. This will be followed by an opening in The Riverwalk scheme in Durham. The company has also secured a site in Liverpool close to its existing Mamasan bar and restaurant in the city’s Liverpool ONE development. It will look to make its debut in Wales, in Cardiff, in the second half of the year. With all current Pizza Punks sites profitable and turnover trebling since 2019, the company aims to add a further six outlets next year, with sites in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, the London boroughs, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dublin under consideration. Stevens told Propel the momentum and growth provided by the group’s delivery operation and move into e-commerce during the crisis had allowed it to enter the recovery phase in a good position. He said: “The overwhelming response we had to Pizza Punks Bake at Home was incredible, it showed the teams’ strength and ability to flip from a restaurant to a delivery business and trade well. It gave us confidence the brand could travel further across the UK, and also we could do it without taking on any external funding for the time being. We want to keep growing the business with the entrepreneurial spirit it was launched with, and see how far we can take it.” The business, which also operates the Veganizza brand, currently operates a further Mamasan site in Glasgow. Stevens said the focus of growth would be on Pizza Punks but it would “keep an eye on” further opportunities to expand Mamasan. The company, which is also adding a new pasta menu to the Pizza Punks offer, has also appointed Gordon Fraser as its new financial director. Fraser joins Hell Yeah Hospitality Group from Trump Turnberry, the Scottish Luxury Collection Resort, where he has held the position of director of finance since 2018.

Industry News:

Variety of expanding hotel and leisure concepts to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A variety of expanding hotel and leisure concepts are among the 87 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 (28 January), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Vur Village Hotels, which operates 32 hotels and leisure clubs across the UK; and Amsterdam-based CitizenM, which will launch its fourth site, CitizenM London Victoria, this year. Also included this month is Queensway hospitality group, which is led by Naushad Jivraj and operates seven hotels in London, and one each in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin. Meanwhile, Havana West, owned by Peter de Savary, currently has five sites in its portfolio, which includes the Cary Arms & Spa in Torquay and The Parkway Hotel and Spa in Cwmbran, Wales. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,500-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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the sixth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 4 February, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The sixth edition also includes a 23,500-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. 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 single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. 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 group editor Mark Wingett.
Restaurant Marketer & Innovator video available to buy: Readers who missed out on this year’s Restaurant Marketer & Innovator event can now catch up on all the insights and expertise that was offered – by buying the video. For £495 plus VAT, people will be given access to the recording. The event, which is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, returned for its fourth year last week. More than 60 industry and agency leaders took to the stage over two days, representing brands including The Alchemist, Coco di Mama, Vapiano, Individual Restaurant Company, Anglian Country Inns, Compass, Dishoom, BrewDog, Elior UK, Punch, Greene King, Just Eat, Fridays, Gamechangers Hospitality Investments, Lane7, Mission Mars, Wing Shack, The Cocktail Club, Incipio Group, Kerb Food, PPHE Group, Hilton, Pho, Pizza Pilgrims, Rum Kitchen, New World Trading Company and Arc Inspirations. The conference focused on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, the latest market insights, technology and digital developments, diversification of revenue streams and how brands are adapting to the new normal. It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams, as well as senior executives and investors wanting to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. Emma Banks, vice-president – food and beverage strategy and development at Hilton, said: “Anyone in hospitality wanting to stay relevant with exactly what is going on and trending this is a conference for you! Very cool and insightful.” Jack Edge, marketing manager at Mission Mars, added: “So many inspirational speakers, so much insight, so many happy faces… and so much work to do now we’re home to make dreams reality.” Alan Laughlin, chief executive of Vapiano, said: “Really enjoyed the conference and have so many connections and takeaways. Great work as always!” Readers can buy the video by emailing
Delivery and takeaway sales rocketed in December, delivery outperforming takeaway and click-and-collect: Britain’s leading restaurant and pub groups recorded a sharp increase in delivery and takeaway sales as the Omicron variant impacted consumers going out in the run-up to Christmas, the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker shows. The December edition of the Tracker reveals groups recorded a 127% increase in sales by value from the levels of December 2019. It is a sharp rise on the 2021-on-2019 comparison of 97% in November, reflecting consumers’ decisions to stay at home as the Omicron variant spread. The Tracker also showed December’s delivery sales were 266% higher than in 2019—more than five times the growth of 47% in takeaways. It continues consumers’ steady move away from picking up food to having it brought to their door, with delivery volumes now outstripping takeaway and click-and-collect orders by some distance. By contrast, the eat-in sales of restaurants and pubs were badly affected by covid concerns. The latest edition of the separate CGA Coffer Business Tracker, which has a different cohort of contributing companies, indicates an 11% drop in sales for leading managed groups compared to December 2019. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Deliveries and takeaways have been a lifeline for restaurant and pub groups throughout the pandemic, and December’s sales provided another critical boost as eat-in trade dropped away. While the rate of growth may slow as 2022 goes on and covid restrictions ease, it is clear the rapid rise of third-party ordering platforms has helped to cement deliveries in consumers’ habits. 
UKHospitality welcomes relaxing of restrictions for international visitors to the UK: UKHospitality has welcomed the easing of restrictions for international tourists and business travellers from next month. The government has announced that, from 4am on Friday, 11 February, international visitors to the UK who are vaccinated against covid-19 will no longer be required to test on arrival. The new rules will apply to all inbound visitors, including UK citizens returning from overseas travel. UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “This is a sensible and pragmatic step towards normality given the encouraging fall in cases, the general easing of restrictions and the UK’s position as a leading destination for international tourists, and as a major business and commerce hub. This is a very welcome shot in the arm for hotels and tourism-reliant businesses, as we learn to live with the virus. Our hospitality and tourism industries have endured extremely challenging times, and our hope is that this marks the start of a more benign phase for both society and business. It comes at the start of what can be a very positive year for the UK economy and for tourism particularly, which includes the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games. With the right conditions and support, this industry can help to drive the recovery and reassert the UK’s position as a leading destination. To support this year of revival, we would urge government to extend the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism.”
Staffing crisis threatens to drive existing workers away with three in ten wanting to leave sector: The staffing crisis in hospitality is threatening to drive existing workers away from the industry, according to new research from workforce management app, Deputy. In total, 29% of UK hospitality workers want to leave their jobs, with 22% hoping to switch to a new industry and 7% looking to quit, with a view to retiring or returning to education. Despite the current worker shortages across the sector, 77% of hospitality workers said they are concerned about job security, with 34% “very concerned”. These concerns stem from a combination of covid-19 and the economy, with 71% citing covid-19 as a reason for their concern and 65% the economy. The findings are revealed in Deputy’s global State of Shift Work report, which looks at workforce trends across the UK, Australia and the United States. It found 62% of the UK shift workers surveyed reported their company had difficulty hiring in the last 12 months. As a result, 46% have had to work more shifts and 45% have found it harder to take time off. David Kelly, general manager for EMEA at Deputy, said: “The hospitality industry is caught in a vicious circle. When you’re struggling to recruit, it puts more pressure on your existing staff, which in turn can lead to burn out and the decision to leave the industry altogether.”
Just Eat investigating after takeaway owners report fraudulent activity on accounts: Just Eat has said it is investigating after several takeaway owners reported fraudulent activity on their accounts. Among them is Joe Morgan, who owns Nemo's fish and chips takeaway in Finaghy on the outskirts of Belfast, who said he has lost almost £9,000. He told the BBC it appeared bank details on his account had been changed, meaning someone else was receiving money he had earned. An estimated £15,000 has been lost by businesses in total and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has started an inquiry into suspected fraud. The Northern Ireland Takeaway Association said it had been helping the takeaways that have reported losses. Morgan told BBC News Northern Ireland’s Good Morning Ulster programme he had to borrow money from the bank to keep his takeaway open. He said he was worried about the prospect of losing his business and letting his staff down, and that he was in a “waiting game” while the PSNI investigates. Just Eat said it was aware that three of its restaurant partners may have been affected by alleged fraudulent activity on their accounts. The company added: “We take the safeguarding of restaurant accounts on the Just Eat platform extremely seriously. We always advise restaurant partners to be vigilant about their online security and recommend they use unique passwords for different online platforms. We continually review our security measures.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a growing street food brand that is looking for a head of digital marketing. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Ultimately, this role will run the marketing department in ways that promote higher profitability and competitiveness. The individual can work remotely from anywhere in the UK and the role will involve crafting strategies for all marketing teams, including digital, advertising, communications and creative; preparing and managing monthly, quarterly and annual budgets for the marketing department; and setting, monitoring and reporting on team goals. The head of marketing responsibilities include developing plans to help establish the brand, allocating resources to different projects and setting short-term and long-term department goals.” The salary for the position is between £65,000 and £70,000. For more information and to apply, email

Company News:

Gilchrist – we are excited about the potential of new JV with Jurys Inn: Paul Gilchrist, chief executive of Thunderbird Fried Chicken, the wings and fried chicken concept backed by TriSpan, has said the business is excited about the potential of its new joint venture with hotel chain Jurys Inn. Propel revealed earlier this week Thunderbird had opened a delivery site in the hotel chain’s Milton Keynes property. Gilchrist told Propel: “Milton Keynes is our initial trial and test site for the Jury’s Inn joint venture, although we do have another four potentially sites lined up. We will both monitor its performance and operation, as clearly they have capacity and we are looking to move Thunderbird outside London. Our first weekend was very positive, and sales were strong, so very encouraging. Jury’s Inn has more than 50 city centre hotels, with a great visionary senior management team, and we are excited about its potential.” The new joint venture builds on the partnership the brand has with Parkdean Resorts, which is set to grow from two to five sites later this year. Last month, Propel revealed Thunderbird had secured the former Creams British Luxury site in The Broadway, Wimbledon, for an opening this March. As previously reported by Propel, the business is also set to open on the former Good Morning Vietnam site in St John’s Hill, near Clapham Junction station, a month earlier. Thunderbird currently operates restaurants at Earl’s Court, Charing Cross, Westfield Stratford and The O2.
The Real Greek to make north east debut: The Real Greek, the Fulham Shore-owned brand, is to make its debut in the north east later this spring, in Newcastle, Propel has learned. The 21-strong business is understood to have secured the ex-Prezzo in the Eldon Square scheme. The Real Greek opened its first site in the north, in Manchester’s Corn Exchange, last month. It will double its presence in Manchester in the coming months, with an opening on the ex-Cafe Rouge site in the Trafford Centre. Sister brand Franco Manca is currently on-site for new openings in Bishops Stortford (ex-Bills), Canterbury (ex-Costa) and Cheltenham (ex-Café Rouge). It is also set to open on an ex-Boots site in Peterborough, and is in talks on a site in Chichester and a second site in Edinburgh. The David Page-led Fulham Shore plans to open ten or 11 new sites in its current financial year to the end of March 2022. It has so far opened seven new restaurants. It then plans to open 17 or 18 new sites in its next financial year, the majority of which will be under the Franco Manca brand. Earlier this month, the company made its debut in Greece, when it opened a site in Athens, the first site under the franchise agreement it signed last year with James Ravano, a Greek who spent 20 years working for PizzaExpress and Zizzi. Fulham Shore currently operates 57 Franco Manca outlets and 21 Real Greeks in the UK, and said last month it had another 21 potential sites in solicitors' hands for both Franco Manca and The Real Greek. 
Boxpark breaks even despite 55% drop in revenue, reports strong rebound: Boxpark broke even in the year to April 2021, despite all three sites being closed during lockdown, and is now “trading strongly”. The group – which operates sites in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley and will open its debut Boxhall concept site in Bristol in April – was able to remain at a broadly break-even level with £0.1m pre-exceptional cash operating profits, compared with £2.5m the year before. While revenue fell by 55% from £15.2m to £6.8m, the business was only able to trade for 22 of the 52 weeks and performed strongly during August 2020, boosted by the government’s Eat Out To Help Out initiative. It said: “The results demonstrate that Boxpark adapted swiftly to the significant challenges created by covid-19 and is a testament to the group’s highly flexible business model and cost base.” Since reopening – despite costs incurred by implementing measures such as ordering via mobile and updating its black card loyalty scheme, Boxpark has “emerged from the pandemic in a stronger operational shape, with a strong rebound of trading and like-for-like sales”. In addition, the group avoided the need to take up any government-guaranteed loans, and through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, was able to retain most of its team, which it has since expanded. Boxpark also offered its tenants, who are now experiencing strong footfall recovery at all sites, rent relief and exemption from service charges. Boxpark founder Roger Wade said: “We are pleased with these results and have since made a rapid recovery, bouncing back from the crisis stronger than ever. We have survived one of the harshest economic conditions in history and have a bright future ahead, with multiple sites being secured across the UK.” Last month, Wade told Propel he plans to quadruple Boxpark’s estate in size to 12 sites over the next five years, rolling out two or three a year.
Price of a pint to go up by 50p, warns City Pub Group chairman, but January sales ‘recovering’: Clive Watson, chairman of City Pub Group, owner and operator of 46 premium pubs across southern England and Wales, has warned the price of a pint is set to soar by 50p. Watson said “pub inflation” was running at about 10% following “non-existent” sales at the start of January, at a time when beer, food, energy and staff costs have all risen. He said a major beer supplier had told the chain earlier this month that beer prices were set to go up by 7%. However, Watson also said sales are “getting to levels of a normal January”, ahead of “Plan B” restrictions coming to an end this week. He told the Today programme: “The first week [of January] was pretty brutal to be honest, and it was very, very quiet even for a normal January. Sales just almost non-existent. And suddenly, about ten days ago, it was almost like someone flicked a switch, and suddenly sales started building up and the momentum started building up, which is great, and over the last three or four days we are now getting to levels of a normal January, which is absolutely fantastic.” Watson last week told Propel the country needs to “get on with it now” and that its vital for hospitality that “people get back to their desks”. He expanded on the theme on Today, saying: “I think we’ve got to remember about people going back to the office, it’s not just to help the hospitality industry, it’s to help everyone in the office. I think you can bring in a bit of flexibility to the office-work life, but it’s very important for office workers’ mental well-being as well to be back in the office and working alongside their colleagues.”
Cake Box admits to errors in annual results: CakeBox, the London-based specialist retailer of fresh cream cakes, has acknowledged errors in its annual results and called in experts to help with an internal audit. This follows a slump in its share price on Monday (24 January), with Cake Box shares 22% lower at 255p each in London, which the company put down to online commentary on “transcription errors” between its 2021 full year results and 2021 annual report and accounts. It also noted “inconsistencies in prior period inventory reporting and comparative period disclosures relating to director interests in franchise stores” but insisted the errors should have no impact on reported profits, cash flows or balance sheet, and it had received “a clean audit opinion for the year”. The company said: “Where such discrepancies exist between the annual report and the results announcement, investors should refer to the results announcement. As previously announced, and as we continue to grow the business, a key priority for the board remains underpinning growth with the appropriate level of experience and expertise for the group's central functions, internal controls and processes.” Cake Box added trading in the second half of its current financial year remained strong has been in line with expectations. Formed in 2008, with a debut store in east London, Cake Box has since grown through a franchise-led model to 179 stores across the UK. Its latest planned roll-out, announced in November, includes more kiosks in Asda stores following a successful trial. The company reported Ebitda climbed 110% to £4.14m in the six months to 30 September 2021, while pre-tax profit surged 122% to £3.7m, up from £1.66m the previous year.
McDonald’s expands UK pilot of new rewards scheme: McDonald’s has expanded the pilot of its new rewards scheme – MyMcDonald’s Rewards – in the UK. The scheme enables customers to collect points when they make a purchase, and then redeem them against menu items or by converting them to make a charity donation. The scheme was piloted in ten restaurants in the north of England a fortnight ago. There is now a total of 58 restaurants across the north west operating the scheme, with a national rollout in the works for this year. Users have to download the MyMcDonald’s app and then sign-up and opt-in to MyMcDonald’s Rewards. When they order on the app they will earn points automatically, with £1 being the equivalent of 100 points. For those ordering via a kiosk, front-counter or drive-thru, users will need to generate a unique code, located in the “code” section of the app and give this before they order. Once a user reaches 1,500 points they can redeem their first reward. For 1,500 points, users can get a small fries, medium salad, regular McCafé, mini McFlurry or a hash brown. For 2,500 points, they can redeem a Vegetable Deluxe, Bacon Mayo Chicken, Cheesy Bacon Flatbread, medium fries or Double Cheeseburger. For 4,000 points they can have a Big Mac, Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin, Large Crispy Chicken Salad, six Chicken McNuggets or McChicken Sandwich. Meanwhile, McDonald’s has confirmed bagels and breakfast wraps have been permanently removed from its menu.
Wells & Co to give 10% rent concession this month: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co is providing a 10% rent concession to all of its leased and tenanted pubs across its 130 strong estate this month. The company said it comes after a “difficult December” following additional restrictions being put in place across the country. Retail director Shirley Couchman said: “We were essentially sent into a lockdown by proxy. The Omicron variant meant guests wished to stay at home more during, what is normally, a very busy trading period. We hope this concession will help our partners and we have had very appreciative feedback so far.” This  concession is on top of the support Wells & Co provided throughout 2021. For the last financial year, Wells supported partners by discounting eight months of rent by 66%.
Real Eating Company appoints Graham McDonnell as people director: Real Eating Company, the independent cafe and coffee concept led by Helena Hudson, has appointed Graham McDonnell, formerly of Be At One and Turtle Bay Restaurants, as its new people director. McDonnell, who last year partnered with two friends to launch a smoked barbecue concept – Wide & Narrow Smokehouse – spent more than seven years as HR director at Be At One. He also had stints as head of talent at Turtle Bay and head of people at Adventure Bar Group. He joins Real Eating Company as its gears up to open its ninth site, and third in London, in Marble Arch. The company secured the ex-Patisserie Valerie site in Cumberland Place late last year, following the opening of a site opposite Charing Cross station. The company, which was founded by Hudson in 2004, plans to open further sites “in desirable locations”, including expanding its footprint in the capital. It plans to grow to 25 sites over the next three years and recently began a search for an operations director. 
Goring Hotel owner secures £8.5m loan to help business bounce back from pandemic, full-year turnover drops to £1.3m: The owner of the Goring Hotel in London’s Belgravia has secured an £8.5m loan to help the business bounce back from the pandemic. It comes as the business reported turnover of £1.3m for the year ending 31 March 2021 versus £15.9m the previous year, with the 69-bedroom property being closed for eight of the 12 months in the period. The business posted a pre-tax loss of £4.7m versus a profit of £535,000 the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Having considered the extremely volatile trading conditions during this financial year, the directors are satisfied with the results detailed in these accounts, and the performance of the hotel's management team during one of our most challenging years in our 111-year history. It is hoped the pandemic may have peaked and restrictions on travel are now being reduced. Consequently, the directors believe that the hospitality industry will gradually return to normality, with the company returning to profitability shortly thereafter. In December 2021, the directors formalised bank finance through a loan of £8.5m and an ongoing overdraft facility of £1.75m. The overdraft facility is reviewed annually, with the next review due in March 2022, when the directors expect this to be renewed for a further year.”
Cote to open in Henley next week, including new dishes and ‘champagne garden’ concept: Cote, the French brasserie chain backed by the Partners Group, will open a new restaurant in Henley-on-Thames next Monday (31 January). Situated on the corner of Hart Street and Bell Street in the town centre with covers for 130, the restaurant promises “a diverse menu that focuses on French classics and the British seasons”. These will include more vegan dishes and lighter options than before, plus steak and cheese from Côte’s own butchery and fromagerie. Among the dishes will be steak served with a homemade truffle-infused hollandaise, and a fish stew with sea bass, mussels and prawns in a white wine and chilli sauce. Added to the high-quality range of Champagne and French wine on the drinks list is a local gin, produced by Henley Distillery. The kitchen, which will also offer weekend breakfast and brunch options, will be overseen Shaun Rowlands, former senior head chef at HIX restaurants in London. A first for group, and making its debut at the Henley site, is the Laurent-Perrier Garden, a walled garden area with an outside bar serving a selection of premium Champagnes. David Wilkins, general manager at Côte Henley, said: “We can’t wait to serve up the classic meals we’ve become well-loved for, as well as some exciting new dishes created by our executive chef. Everything has been designed with our Henley audience in mind. We wanted to provide people with an elevated restaurant experience, but also create a space where locals could come and meet friends no matter what their dining occasion, from a leisurely weekend brunch to Saturday night out.” Côte opened its first restaurant in Wimbledon in 2007, since when it has expanded to 84 restaurants nationwide. In 2020, it launched the Côte at Home delivery service.
Parkdean Resorts relaunches Kickstart scheme with 550 vacancies: Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s largest holiday park operator, has relaunched recruitment for the Kickstart scheme across the business after the success of last year’s programme. With 550 current vacancies and 375 trainees already recruited since the first launch in 2021, the government scheme will offer more young people the opportunities and skills needed to succeed in the hospitality industry and give them the chance to launch a new career at one of Parkdean’s 67 parks across the UK. The new programme will allow individuals to pursue a guest experience trainee role in an area of their choice, with roles available in accommodation, food and beverage, reception, sport and leisure and entertainment. Trainees will benefit from a package offering them a minimum of 25 hours work per week for £9 per hour, and they will also receive uniform and an Alcatel tablet to support their training. The relaunch of the scheme comes after the success of last year’s programme, which achieved a 100% employment rate since its launch. Parkdean said the programme has gone from strength to strength since its inception and 31 Kickstarters are currently working in its central contact centre, hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year’s cohort – eight of whom have now been offered full-time permanent positions.
Judy Joo plans Birmingham opening for Seoul Bird concept: Chef Judy Joo has said she plans to bring her fledgling Korean concept, Seoul Bird, to Birmingham. Appearing on the Sunday Brunch television show at the weekend, Joo revealed she had plans to open her first regional site under the currently two-strong, London-based concept. She said: “It has been a challenging time for hospitality over the pandemic, but we have decided to go for it! Now we have opened Canary Wharf we have a third site coming – in Birmingham. Can’t say where exactly – it will be disclosed shortly.” Joo, who founded the concept with former Jinjuu head chef Andrew Hales, opened a second Seoul Bird site, in Canary Wharf, last year, on the former Radio Alice site in Jubilee Place. She launched Seoul Bird in Westfield London. The concept specialises in crispy, double-fried, Korean-style chicken inspired by Joo’s Korean-American heritage. Joo left the business she founded, Jinjuu, in 2019 after launching the Korean street food concept in Kingly Street, Soho, six years previously. Jinjuu grew to three sites, including one in Mayfair, but only the original in Soho remains.
Döner Shack set to make Scottish debut: Döner Shack, the fast casual kebab concept, will open its first Scottish site, and fourth overall, in the coming months. The 3,122 square-foot site, in the Winter Garden of Glasgow’s Silverburn development, will have space for 65 covers. It will be open for all-day dining, takeaway, delivery, and click-and-collect services. It will offer classic doners and shawarma as well as halloumi, falafel, vegan schnitzel and currywurst, alongside a selection of draught beers, milkshakes, and soft drinks. Launched by the team behind the Berlin-inspired restaurant Döner Haus, Döner Shack’s Silverburn restaurant will join the brand’s locations in Leeds, Manchester, and Leicester. Sanjeev Sanghera, Döner Shack co-founder and managing director, said: “Spearheading the new generation of street food, our aim is for Döner Shack to be the number one kebab brand in the world, and opening our first store in Scotland is a real milestone.” David Pierotti, general manager at Silverburn, added: “Döner Shack is an exciting concept and a leader of the new wave of ‘better babs’, which extends Silverburn’s restaurant and entertainment roster, so we look forward to welcoming the brand to our community.” Silverburn also recently secured the signings of Stàilinn Scottish Kitchen, a new concept from Ayrshire-based restaurant group Kitchen 77, and superfood cafe and juice bar Juicy.
Travelodge launches recruitment drive for 600 jobs across UK hotels: Travelodge is beginning a recruitment drive to fill 600 jobs across its hotels in the UK. The jobs range from managerial positions to receptionists and will be located across its 582 sites, including its Oxfordshire headquarters. The company has said it expects a rise in staycations to continue in the UK, which will provide a boost for the hospitality sector, meaning more jobs can be created. Travelodge chief executive Craig Bonnars said: “The start of a new year is a great opportunity to kick-start a new career change. Working in the hotel industry is fun and exciting and it opens a door to a world of opportunities.” The jobs on offer are full and part-time, and there are flexible working arrangements available.

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