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Wed 26th Jan 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Andrew Fishwick to launch new hospitality company Adamo: Andrew Fishwick, executive chair of sector consultancy firm Salt, is teaming up with Tristram Hillier, former managing director of Corney & Barrow Wine Bars, to launch a new hospitality company called Adamo, Propel has learned. The new venture will own and operate restaurant, bar and event ventures in partnership with “acclaimed award-winning chefs, international brands, and some of the UK’s most progressive developers”. The business is closing a first round raise of £1.5m to “develop new partnerships and brands and to bring sites to market”. Fishwick, who was previously at The Pepper Collective and will chair the new venture, said: “Adamo has been forged in the toughest of markets. But it has also been unleashed with an unwavering belief that a team committed to creating a powerful culture of empowerment, support and development is what is needed most. Adamo will create success in a challenging market that also presents unprecedented opportunity.” Hillier, chief executive of Adamo, said: “We have a broad range of talent and a network of people to give us strength and depth. Our collective expertise from decades of operating within the fast-moving hospitality world gives us a deep understanding of what it takes to create thriving hospitality businesses.” The business has appointed Romain Pottier, formerly of Sushi Samba, Rhubarb Hospitality Collection and, more recently, the multifaceted KOKO theatre, as its chief operations operator. Adamo said it will announce its first sites later this year and is looking at acquisition opportunities. Fishwick remains chief executive of Epicurean Endeavours, the hospitality and leisure investment vehicle which plans to list on the London Stock Exchange in 2022. As revealed by Propel last summer, Epicurean is being backed and advised by former Sainsbury ’s chief executive Justin King.

Industry News:

Host of regional restaurant operators to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of regional restaurant operators 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 Ayrshire-based Kitchen 77, which is a six-strong independent restaurant group owned by Chris Steele. Also included this month is Nottingham-based operator Alex Fuge, who has added a sixth venue to his portfolio following the opening of Strezza, a new wood-fired pizza and tapas restaurant. Meanwhile, TJK Hospitality, owned by renowned DJ’s Tom Zanetti and Kane Towning, which is opening a second site in Leeds following its debut in 2019, will be featured. In addition, Glasgow-based burger restaurant concept El Perro Negro, which was founded by Nick Watkins, Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein and currently operates two sites, has been included. 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 25,000-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. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com 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.

Scotland to ease work-from-home guidance and reduce indoor social distancing to one metre: The Scottish government will relax its guidance to work from home from Monday (31 January), but with first minister Nicola Sturgeon encouraging a form of “hybrid working” rather than a rush back to the office. And from Friday (28 January), the requirement for two-metre distancing in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants, will revert to one metre. “Instead of recommending home working whenever practical, the new guidance will pave the way for a phased return to the office,” Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood. “We would not expect to see a wholesale return to the office next week – a mass return at this stage is likely to set progress back. But we know there are many benefits to both employees and employers, and to the economy as a whole, in at least a partial return to the office.” In addition, from Friday, 11 February, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a test after they arrive in Scotland. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to take a pre-departure test no more than two days before they board their plane, and a PCR test on, or before, day two of their arrival. Sturgeon added: “While these changes will be very welcome to travellers and the travel industry, it is important to point out that no government can completely rule out having to tighten travel requirements again if certain circumstances, most obviously another new variant, were to arise.” Sturgeon went on to say that financial support payments for businesses affected by closure and staff shortages, including those in hospitality, are already being made in every local authority in the country. Meanwhile, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Brewers Support Fund, which will see one-off grants of up to £29,500 made via local authorities to brewers in Scotland impacted by covid measures over the festive period.

Job of the day: COREcruitment has partnered with a global food brand concept, which is looking for a head of customer insight. The position is based in London and is paying between £80,000 and £100,000. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The business is looking for a talented expert to create an industry-leading insight function that delivers exceptional commercials for the whole business. This covers all elements of insight, data, research, and analytics. As well as a critical leadership role in the marketing team, this role will be a key source of insight for the wider executive team.” For more information and to apply, email Gemma@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Burger King lines up Norwich opening for smaller format: Burger King UK, the Bridgepoint-backed chain, has lined up a site in Norwich for the trial of a new smaller “urban box-style” format, Propel has learned. It is understood that the Alasdair Murdoch-led business will open the new format site on the city’s Brigg Street, in March, featuring less than 10 covers. Propel revealed last summer that the brand was looking to open 800 to 1,200 square-foot sites under the new format, which will have a rent of sub-£50,000 and provide a strong delivery sales mix. It is thought it will focus on secondary high street locations as it looks to fill in geographical gaps in its current nationwide estate. At the start of 2017, fast food rival KFC began rolling out its own “urban box” format after a successful trial through sites in Newcastle’s Northumberland Street and London’s Mile End. It said it was moving away from building big footprint assets in high streets as the economic model didn’t stack up because the rents and rates were too prohibitive. Last year, Burger King made its dark kitchen debut with the opening of three delivery kitchen trial sites in Kentish Town, Wandsworth and Cambridge, and last month, it agreed a deal to acquire 12 new restaurants from its franchise partners, Kaykem Fast Foods and Saxby. The group now directly owns almost a third of the brand’s circa 530 UK restaurants, with the vast still majority-owned by franchisees. Sky News reported last year that Bridgepoint was exploring its options for the business, which it has backed since 2017, and has held early-stage talks with possible advisers. It is also understood to be in talks regarding a possible initial public offering. The company has reportedly hired Bank of America and Investec to spearhead the initial public offering during the first half of 2022.

Marston’s seeing sales improve week-on-week, should avoid price rises if VAT rate remains at 12.5%: Marston’s chief executive Andrew Andrea has told Propel the business is seeing sales improve week-on-week as consumer confidence starts to rebuild. Speaking following the company’s trading update, Andrea said trade on Thursday and Friday last week saw “double-digit growth” against the previous week. And with “Plan B” restrictions lifting along with “pay day” arriving for many consumers, Andrea is hopeful of a strong weekend ahead. He said: “We’re still down when compared with a couple of years below, but it’s getting better. We’re seeing more people getting out and about, and I’m optimistic for the weekend ahead. We know the demand is there for people wanting to go to the pub. On Christmas Day, our pre-booked sales were actually up on 2019. What we missed out on was those drop-in drink sales. We’re also looking forward to being able to trade on Mother’s Day for the first time in three years – that’s a very important trading day for us. I think one of the challenges for us, and the industry, is attracting back those people that have got used to drinking at home. The only way we can do that is by providing a great experience, and that is what we intend to make sure we are doing.” Andrea said because the vast majority of its costs were fixed, the business should be able to avoid putting up its prices – but only if the rate of VAT remains at 12.5% – at least until October. The rate is currently due to return to 20% in April. Andrea said the areas of the business performing most strongly were the premium food-led venues and its wet-led community pubs, which he said showed there was still “plenty of demand” for pubs that offered value for money, despite the growing trend towards premiumisation. “That’s why, although we are repositioning our food-led pubs, the value-for-money segment will still be an important part of our business,” Andrea said. “Another trend I think will continue is people wanting to eat outdoors, and with that in mind, we are looking at where we can enhance our outdoor spaces.”  Looking ahead, Andrea said it was important the government now sets out its plan of “learning to live with the virus”. He added: “I think those pubs that produce an above-average experience will be left standing, and those that don’t will be in trouble. We intend to make sure we are above average at the very least.”

BrewDog boss James Watt apologises but hits back at BBC documentary claims: James Watt, co-founder of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has apologised to anyone who has felt uncomfortable because of his behaviour but hit out at “false rumours and misinformation”. It follows a BBC Disclosure documentary in which Watt was accused of inappropriate behaviour and abuse of power in the workplace. On an online investors' forum, Watt said “false claims” in the programme were upsetting and damaging and has threatened to sue the BBC. He also said he “truly apologised” to anyone he made feel uncomfortable. The BBC Scotland Disclosure team started investigating the company after almost 300 former and current BrewDog employees signed a letter last year accusing Watt of presiding over a toxic culture of fear. The programme contained allegations from former BrewDog USA workers who said Watt's behaviour meant female bartenders were advised how to avoid unwelcome attention from him, saying his conduct made them feel “uncomfortable” and “powerless”. Watt wrote to investors to explain he sometimes “dates” when he is in America. He said that he had taken friends, relatives and dates on tours of the brewery in Canal Winchester, Ohio, and said he did not consider this inappropriate. He added: “Secondly, and more importantly, I hugely regret anyone feeling in any way uncomfortable around me, as the programme set out. This is absolutely the last thing I want and something I will learn from immediately. I truly apologise to anyone who felt that way. This was never my intention. However, I would argue that people feeling uncomfortable around me based on false rumours and misinformation does not represent inappropriate behaviour on my behalf.” Chairman Allan Leighton said: “Any allegations of impropriety are taken extremely seriously. James has provided full assurance the BBC’s claims are not accurate and are based on rumour and misinformation. Where a complaint was raised in the US, these were fully investigated by an external third party and found to be without substance. James has committed to making improvements to his management style and he will continue that development under my mentorship.”

Stem & Glory crowdfunds again, aims to raise £500,000 to support opening of third site: Vegan restaurant Stem & Glory has returned to crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it aims to raise £500,000 to support the opening of its third site and develop its supermarket ready meal range, Propel has learned. Stem & Glory is offering 7.69% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £6m. The crowdfunding campaign is currently only available to selected investors and will be launched to the public at 10am on Monday (31 January). The business, founded by Louise Palmer-Masterton, is set to launch its third site – and second in London – in Broadgate in April. This will add to its sites in Cambridge and London’s Barts Square, which are both profitable. Palmer-Masterton told Propel the business was looking to add one site per year to the portfolio but “could possibly step that up”. She said trade had been “better than anticipated” in December and added: “The way we saw things come back last year when we reopened leaves me with no doubt we will see the same again now restrictions are lifting.” Sales between July and November were up 88% on 2019 levels, with the London and Cambridge sites having a combined Ebitda for the same period of £122,000. Since relocating its Cambridge site in July last year following a £250,000 fundraise on Seedrs & SeedLegals, the venue has seen 122% net sales growth versus its previous home and was profitable in the first full month of trading. Stem & Glory is also growing with direct-to-consumer products such as ready meals and retail merchandise, which it successfully piloted during the lockdowns. In 2018, Stem & Glory reached its £350,000 target on Crowdcube within five hours of its public launch to support its growth plans.

Fourth site for Kibou Restaurants set to open in Solihull, further acquisitions planned: Kibou Restaurants, the Japanese concept led by Regent Inns founder David Franks, will open its fourth venue, in Solihull, this spring. It will join the casual dining operator’s other sites in Bristol, which opened last October, and in Cheltenham and London’s Battersea. The 70-cover restaurant and bar will be located in the former Cafe Rouge premises at 134 High Street, which will undergo a full refurbishment ahead of an anticipated early April opening. It will feature a range of dining areas plus a standalone bar and open sushi kitchen with high top seating, plus a 25-cover Japanese-inspired terrace outside. The menu will centre on the group’s signature sushi rolls alongside hand-pressed nigiri and gyoza, fresh sashimi, ramen and bao buns. There will also be an extended vegan offering, a range of “moriawase” sharing platters and Japanese-inspired desserts. The bar will serve signature Japanese-inspired cocktails, Japanese beers and a selection of Japanese whisky, sake and umeshu, plus no-and-low options. Sam Horswill, operations director at Kibou Restaurants, said: “We’re delighted to continue our journey of expansion. These are exciting times for the brand, with further acquisitions earmarked for the next 12 months, and a sustained period of growth planned over the next five years. We’re very much looking forward to bringing our vibrant and contemporary slice of Japan to the West Midlands.” Franks, who founded Kibou in 2019, was that same year instrumental in the sale of Redcomb Pubs’ 15-strong pub estate to Young’s.

Prezzo appoints former Pret US vice-president as chief culinary officer: Prezzo, the Cain International-backed restaurant chain, has appointed Olly Smith as chief culinary officer. Smith will be responsible for overseeing menu development, food and drink standards and kitchen skills. He recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in the US, having moved to New York in 2013 to act as vice president of Pret A Manger’s US estate, where he was accountable for food, coffee and brand development. In 2018, following Bridgepoint’s sale of Pret, Smith left to launch Westerlind Pantry, an upscale grocery store in upstate New York. Most recently, he was head of food for Nando’s UK, and also held product development roles with Pret a Manger UK and Daylesford Organic. He said: “A son of hoteliers, restaurant life is a place of comfort and Italian food is my playlist of choice. I am very excited to be joining Prezzo’s executive team, confident that putting food at the heart of the conversation will ensure we secure our position as our customers’ favourite Italian.” Karen Jones, Prezzo’s executive chair, added: “I am delighted that Olly has joined the Prezzo team. His curiosity about food is irrepressible, and I have no doubt that he will inspire our teams with the delight he takes in quality, interesting ingredients cooked well. He will without question make Prezzo a more delicious place to eat.”

More than quarter of M&B shareholders vote against re-election of chairman: More than a quarter of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) shareholders have voted against the reappointment of its chairman. Investors in the company also voted in numbers against the reappointment of a number of other directors and rejected its pay plan for bosses. At its annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday (25 January), the company said it passed all its resolutions. However, it witnessed a significant vote against the reappointment of non-executive chairman Bob Ivell, despite the move ultimately being approved. M&B confirmed 27.7% of votes were made against keeping Ivell, who has been on the company board for the past decade, in the role. Almost a quarter of shareholders – 24.6% – also voted against the reappointment of non-executive director Josh Levy, who was appointed to the board in 2015. A similar proportion of shareholders voted against Levy’s reappointment at the past previous two AGMs. More than 20% of shareholders also raised objection to Eddie Irwin’s reappointment as another non-executive. Meanwhile, 21.5% of shareholder votes were cast against the firm’s overall pay policy. M&B added it “notes the level of votes” against the remuneration report and resolutions regarding the reappointment of a number of directors.

Red & Blue Restaurants expands to Cheshire as it acquires fifth site: Liverpool-based Red & Blue Restaurants has expanded to Cheshire. The company, owned by Jonathan Poole and Paddy Smith, has acquired Libby’s Bread & Wine in Marple Bridge. It marks the fifth site for the group, which is now in its third decade of trading. Smith said: “We’re really pleased to add Libby’s as a going concern to the group. It’s near to where I live, so I know it well and have always loved going there. We’re looking forward to building on the strong reputation Libby’s has enjoyed down the years.” In adding Libby’s to its portfolio, which includes Salt House Tapas, Hanover Street Social, Bacaro and Bouchon in Liverpool, group turnover is now forecast to be in excess of £8.5m in 2022. Poole said: “It has obviously been a difficult time, and inflationary pressures look set to continue for a while yet. Fortunately, demand remains strong and we’re profitable, so adding Libby’s to the business is exciting.”

Mildreds to open in Covent Garden next month, new menu and branding set to be rolled out: Plant-based restaurant group Mildreds will open is sixth site, in Covent Garden’s St Martin’s Lane, next month. Propel revealed in October that the Sam Anstey-led business had secured a former Steak & Co site to add to its existing ones in Soho, Dalston, Camden and King’s Cross, plus a Mallow restaurant, which opened in Borough Market the following month. The group has now announced 21 February as the opening date for a venue that will be split across two floors, serving 120 covers, along with a private dining room for up to eight guests. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the new site will launch with Mildreds’ new seasonal menu, offering a range of vegan dishes. Anstey said: “With a rising demand for plant-based food across the capital, it was time to bring our food to the world-famous theatre district of London. The new site will showcase the first iteration of Mildreds' refreshed new branding. Since joining Mildreds in 2020, I have been looking to update the brand’s look and feel, taking on board customer feedback and staying true to the brand’s history since we first opened in 1988.” The new branding will be rolled out across all other Mildreds sites throughout 2022.

Carluccio’s launches partnership with Sainsbury’s to sell its dishes in 300 UK stores: Carluccio’s has struck a deal with Sainsbury to sell 16 meals inspired by its menus in 300 of the retailer’s UK stores. Among them are six ready meal options, including beef and chianti lasagne, roasted mushroom tagliatelle and an array of 12-inch pizzas. In collaboration with Italian pasta brand Bertangi, the range also includes three fresh pasta variations – ravioli, mezzelune and girasoli – and two stir-in sauces. Phil Neale, marketing and communications director at Boparan Restaurant Group, said: “From listening to customers, we know people would like to access our brands more regularly as part of their eating-at-home occasions, and this brand new fresh range from Carluccio’s allows us to bring them high quality dishes inspired by our restaurants into their own home kitchens.” India Moore, meal solutions buyer at Sainsbury’s, added: “We know our customers are looking for inspirational, fresh and convenient meals to brighten up their meal times. This brand partnership is the perfect way to deliver that point of difference.” The Carluccio’s brand was founded in 1999 by the late Antonio Carluccio and acquired by Boparan Restaurant Group in May 2020. It currently has 29 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, as well as a franchise in the Middle East.

Andi Oliver restaurant admits delay in handing tips to staff: Chef Andi Oliver’s east London restaurant business has admitted taking weeks to hand over at least £6,000 in tips after staff say they downed tools in a dispute over pay. Up to 20 staff at Wadadli Kitchen and Wadadli Roadside in Hackney, both of which are currently closed, said they had received only a portion of the payment owed after writing to Oliver’s business partner, Garfield Hackett, in November, saying they were going on strike. They estimate they were owed up to £9,000. The restaurant, co-founded by Oliver, who is the host on the BBC’s Great British Menu, charged customers for service on top of their bill, and customers were also able to add tips. Wadadli Kitchen admitted it had been slow to pay the service charge. It said the restaurant had closed after the end of the season and because of government measures rather than any strike. It said £6,000 was owed and half of this had been paid in October, followed by the other half in January. It said staff had been contacted with an explanation in December. Hackett told The Guardian payment had been delayed by waiting for government covid support grants, and the company had been forced to secure a short-term loan to ensure it could make the payments this month. Hackett added: “We are embarrassed we were not able to pay the entirety of the service charge shares immediately at the end of the pop-up run, as we are aware our staff rely on these payments. We know this has been a really tough time for everyone and we are deeply saddened by letting our staff down.”

Former BrewDog director joins Sessions to lead roll-out of host kitchen model, 500 openings planned: Hospitality start-up Sessions, who recently raised $10m in a Series A funding round, has appointed Jack Anderson as commercial director. Founded in 2020 by former Deliveroo managing director Dan Warne, Sessions looks to accelerate the growth of brands through its network of food halls and host kitchens. Anderson will be leading the roll-out of Sessions’ model across the country, pairing brands in its portfolio with host kitchens which have excess capacity or are looking to offer an elevated food offering. Over the next 12 months, Sessions is aiming to open 500 host kitchens across the UK. Anderson joins from BrewDog, where he was the global retail growth director, responsible for rapidly scaling the business both here and abroad through securing iconic sites as well as growing the licensing proposition with multiple large deals. He has also spent time as head of development at Yum!Brands, overseeing the opening of more than 80 sites per year.

Six F&B brands join Seven Dials line-up: Six food and beverage brands have signed or have joined the community in London’s Seven Dials. Edition Capital-backed coffee concept WatchHouse, ice cream parlour Anita’s debut UK site and a first London flagship restaurant from Aspirational Brands are taking space in St Martin’s Lane. As previously revealed by Propel, Aspirational Brands is set to open its as yet unnamed British-themed concept in March. The restaurant will span three floors, totalling just over 5,000 square feet. Anita will launch its 1,000 square-foot premises in April, serving more than 150 different flavours of refreshing ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yoghurt. WatchHouse has already opened its two-floor, 1,900 square-foot premises, which mark its ninth site in the capital. Meanwhile, Indian-inspired Chai Guys, British barbecue and smoked meat operator From The Ashes BBQ and gourmet finger doughnut concept Longboys have joined the line-up at street food operator Kerb’s Seven Dials Market. The lettings by landlord Shaftesbury total more than 8,000 square feet. Julia Wilkinson, restaurant director at Shaftesbury, said: “We are proud to be working with all these established and independent brands, helping them become a part of the Seven Dials community while giving them exposure to the area’s engaged visitors.” Hanover Green Retail and Shelley Sandzer represented Seven Dials. Restaurant Property acted on behalf of Aspirational Brands on its deal.
 
Deliverect raises more than $150m: Deliverect, the Belgian startup streamlining the restaurant industry with its online food delivery management software, has secured more than $150m (£111.4m) in Series D funding. The funding, which is led by Coatue and Alkeon Capital as well as existing investors Omers Ventures, DST Global, Redpoint Ventures, Newion and Smartfin, brings Deliverect to $240m (£178.2m) raised to date. This round marks the company’s valuation at more than $1.4bn (£1bn). With this latest round of funding, Deliverect is investing in engineering and technology advancements, expanding its product portfolio and scaling to serve hundreds of thousands of venues, which now includes convenience and grocery stores in addition to restaurants. Founded in 2018, Deliverect has received 100 million orders to date and processed one and a half million orders per week in 2021 alone, a 300% increase in less than a year. The company’s UK customers including Pret A Manger, chicken concept Absurd Bird and crepe concept Crêpeaffaire.

New premium golf simulation concept opens debut site, in Liverpool: New premium golf simulation concept On the Green has launched its debut site, in Liverpool. The brand has opened in a 4,700 square foot site on The Terrace at Liverpool One, using four Trackman simulators to give a “high-definition experience like no other”. The technology recreates 150 of the leading courses in the world, including 35 tour courses, down to the finest details. The venue also has its own terrace clubhouse bar overlooking Liverpool One’s Chavasse Park, serving beers, spirits and cocktails with a golf theme, including one named after Tiger Woods. On The Green director, Matt Hatchard, said: “We are extremely excited to have launched at Liverpool One, the obvious location in the city due to its stunning terrace and growing cluster of leisure concepts. Its appeal is reflected in its performance, and we are confident it going to be a great launch site for On The Green.” Metis and Savills acted for Liverpool One, while On The Green dealt directly.

Three new F&B outlets for Leeds’ Arena Quarter: Leeds’ Arena Quarter is getting three new food and beverage outlets, including a latest site for fried and smoke grilled chicken concept Saucy Chicks. The grill and bar franchise group, which according to its website has 11 sites with seven more “coming soon”, will also offer music, drink and live sport when it opens next month on Merrion Way. The following month will see Korean family-run restaurant Hama, which has operated sister venue Yokohama Korean Restaurant on Roundhay Road for more than four years, launch a 100-seater restaurant on Woodhouse Lane. It will serve traditional Korean food, with a barbecue buffet and more than 40 dishes on offer. Already open in the Merrion Centre’s internal mall is newcomer Eatime, a casual start-up offering fresh Chinese cuisine, with a master chef who worked in some of the top hotels in southern China. Charles Newman, associate director, estates at Town Centre Securities, owners of The Merrion Centre, said: “Following recent news of luxury à la carte Chinese restaurant Blue Pavilion set to open this year, we’re delighted to announce a further three exciting eateries to the mix which we’re confident will ensure all tastes and budgets are covered. Our location is proving popular for new occupiers looking to capitalise on the Leeds Arena quarter, where the city’s retail, entertainment, universities, civic and office areas meet, and we look forward to making even more announcements in due course.”

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