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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 15th Feb 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Managed groups’ sales up 3% in January on pre-covid levels, restaurants strongest performing segment: Rising consumer confidence about safety and the easing of covid-19 restrictions helped Britain’s managed pub, bar, and restaurant groups to a modest increase in sales in January, the Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The latest edition of the Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, shows groups’ total sales in the first month of 2022 were 3% higher than in January 2019. It represents a solid recovery from December, when heavy covid-19 measures were in place and sales fell 11% below the levels of 2019. Restaurants were the strongest performing segment of the market in January, recording 4% growth on January 2019, while pubs were up 2%. However, bars saw sales slip 3%, as the requirement for vaccination passes and lingering concerns about crowded venues dented late-night visits. Continuing the pattern of recent months, trading was significantly weaker in London than elsewhere in Britain. Sales beyond the M25 were up by 6% on January 2019, but they dipped 8% within it, with office workers and tourists slow to return to the capital. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “After a bleak December for managed groups, January brought a reasonable revival. Growth for restaurants was particularly encouraging, and the challenging London and late-night markets should hopefully pick up as people return to offices and covid-19 restrictions wind down. However, it’s important to note that sales growth remains below inflation. With some businesses vulnerable after a tough end to 2021, and consumers facing mounting costs of living, hospitality’s road to recovery still has a long way to run.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “As working habits return closer to normal, we expect to see eating and drinking out to rebound steadily. London and other city centres are seeing very good numbers. There is cautious optimism for the sector.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Notes Coffee rewards early app-adopters with Valentine’s special: Notes Coffee launched its new app two weeks ago, with digital partner and hospitality-tech specialists Pepper. As a reward to the many customers who have already downloaded, Notes is offering all users two-for-one on its Valentine's cocktails, until Sunday (20 February). The app is available across Notes’ 12 London locations, for order ahead and loyalty stamps. Customers enjoying a Valentine's cocktail with a partner or friend just need to show the app to staff to redeem. Robert Robinson, Notes’ co-founder and director, said: “Pepper expertly guided us through the app-build process and I am delighted with the result.” Every customer who downloads the app also receives a free coffee, and the Notes team hopes the Valentine's treat will be a welcome reward to those already embracing digital ordering and loyalty. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Only 14 of 536 companies in next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book generating pre-tax profit of more than £10m: Only 14 of the 536 companies featured in the next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book are generating pre-tax profit of more than £10m. Meanwhile, 91 companies are managing to generate pre-tax profit in excess of £1m. Companies that have a takeaway offering have performed well with Starbucks’ first UK franchisee, 23.5 Degrees, generating a pre-tax profit of £10m, putting it 14th on the list, and KFC reporting pre-tax profit of £51.6m, placing the company at number four. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (18 February). The Blue Book has begun to reflect the economic damage of the pandemic with 196 companies reporting a profit and 340 reporting losses. The 536 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a total turnover of £26.7bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive two other databases – the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. Propel Premium subscribers will also be given access to the entire recording of The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit Conference this week. Subscribers will be sent 31 separate video presentations, featuring 67 speakers, at 9am on Thursday (17 February). 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.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working alongside an AIM-listed business based in London to bring in a non-executive director. The company is looking at the next stage of its development in terms of offer, approach to digital and expansion plans. The current board has been in place for some time and will look at “swapping in” two new members in the next 12 months as some of the existing members time amicably finishes. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “You should be able to act in an advisory capacity and look to steer and question the management team on its direction. COREcruitment is very happy to talk to candidates from the traditional chief executive/non-executive director/finance background but also interested in left-field candidates who can add something different. The time commitment for this role is one day per month with an annual fee of £50,000.” For more information and to arrange a chat, email hollie@corecruitment.com

Company News: 

Snowfox Group restructures management team, Christian Haas made YO! MD: Snowfox Group, which owns the YO!, Taiko and Bento brands, has restructured its management team, which has included the appointment of Christian Haas, to the newly formed role of managing director of YO! UK & Ireland, Propel has learned. Haas joined the Richard Hodgson-led business last February as group development director, after a stint at PizzaExpress in the newly created role of retail and product director. Previous to that he spent 14 years at Waitrose. Under his new role, it is understood he will oversee the YO! brand’s supermarket partnerships and restaurant estate. Current YO! Restaurants managing director Emma Deabill is understood to be moving to the group’s US business in a senior leadership position. She will report in to Stacy Kwon, who becomes president and chief executive of the company’s US division. She is currently president and chief executive of Snowfox US. The US is the company’s fastest growing market and constitutes more than 50% of all group sales. Meanwhile, Glenn Brown, currently president and chief executive of Bento Sushi, is to become president and chief executive of the group’s Canadian division. Finally, Propel understands David Hampton is moving from managing director of YO! Retail, to become group commercial director. Hampton has been with the group for 13 years. It is understood the changes are in line with how the company reports the performance of the business – by channel and geography, instead of by brand. Last November, it was reported Snowfox had begun talks with prospective buyers following a string of takeover approaches. It came as Mayfair Equity Partners, the company’s majority shareholder, was understood to be exploring the possibility of an initial public offering for Snowfox that would take place this year. Any deal is expected to value the company at approximately £750m.

Alchemy hails deal to sell Inn Collection Group as textbook: Private equity firm Alchemy has described its deal to sell The Inn Collection Group as a text book example of its investment strategy. The Inn Collection Group, which is led by Sean Donkin and owns 31 freehold pubs with inns, has been sold to a new company owned by the Harris family and private equity firm Kings Park Capital. Alchemy partner Thomas Boszko said: “Our investment into The Inn Collection Group is a text book example of the kind of deal we target: backing an outstanding management team to aggregate and dramatically enhance multiple underinvested owner-operated sites. Sean and the team have built the gold standard in modern inn groups and I have no doubt the new owners will be as delighted with the performance and the team as we have been.” The Harris family was one of the founding families of Bourne Leisure, which it held for more than 45 years before selling a majority stake in 2021. Paul Harris said: “We are excited at the prospect of backing Sean and his team to continue their ambitious strategy and to support further growth of their high quality portfolio of well-located inns with great potential.” Donkin added: “I would like to thank the team at Alchemy for being such a great partner in enabling us to exceed our growth ambitions over the last few years. I am absolutely thrilled that Paul Harris and The Harris Family Trusts believe in our product and have decided to invest in our future. I look forward to a long relationship, continuing to invest in our people and further developing the brand and its success alongside Kings Park Capital, which worked with management when The Inn Collection Group was initially established in 2013 before selling it to Alchemy in 2018.”

Urban – we're certainly now back on the front foot: Phil Urban, chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has told Propel the business is now “back on the front foot” and resurrected a lot of the work and reinvestment in its estate, which the crisis had brought to a halt. Speaking on Propel’s Friday Wrap series, Urban said: “I think the last two years has been hugely frustrating for any operator in the sector. We were frustrated because we were burning through cash. We'd love to have been brave enough to do some stuff. But we had to first and foremost protect the balance sheet, so of course you stopped doing things and you sort of really want to get on with them again. And I think the same probably applied last year. We went into lockdown post-Christmas and it felt like, here we go again, no one really knew how long it would last. So, you end up holding everything back again. This time around. It feels like we're generally coming out and I think if you’re sitting there waiting for some sort of light bulb moment, like everything's fine before you do anything, I think you’ll be sort of hugely disappointed. I think now's the time to get on and do what you're able to do within the context of your own affordability of your own business. But we're certainly now back on the front foot. We've resurrected a lot of the things we were doing with reinvesting in sites again, so it sort of feels like we're on the way up.” Urban said since restrictions had been lifted, the business “definitely saw another kick on in the numbers, and momentum is definitely building again”. Urban also suggested the business would look at smaller start-ups to partner, such as its existing joint venture with the James Horler-led Ego. He said: “With Ego we're lucky that in James Horler we are working with a top operator, and his team is doing a fantastic job. It’s a model we would certainly be interested in for the right businesses.”

Big Mamma Group plans ‘liquidity event’ this summer, to launch in Germany: Big Mamma Group, the operator behind London-based restaurants Gloria, Ave Mario and Circolo Popolare, is planning a “liquidity event” this summer, as it plans further growth across Europe, including its first opening in Germany. Speaking last month at the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, Jack de Wet, chief development officer at Big Mamma Group, said the company was set to go through a “a restructuring cycle in the summer/liquidity event” and the business is looking to grow by ten restaurants a year over the next five years. The business currently operates 18 restaurants across London, France and Madrid, and is set to make its debut later this year in Germany, with a site believed to be opening in Munich. On the group’s structure, de Wet said: “Up to nearly 20% of our company have shares. We are going to go through a restructuring cycle in the summer/liquidity event, and one of our founder’s goals is that every one of our staff will own a percentage of the business – the pot washer, the junior runner. The primary driver for that is to get everyone on board with what the business is looking to achieve.” Last summer, the company opened its third London site, Ave Mario. Based in two buildings in Maiden Lane, and with an entrance in Henrietta Street, the 7,000 square foot space has seating for almost 300, two terraces, a bar featuring a 3,500-bottle wall and an inner courtyard.

Flat Iron appoints Romy Clay as its new property director: Flat Iron, the Piper-backed affordable steak concept, has appointed Romy Clay, formerly of Aldi and Wagamama, as its new property director, Propel has learned. Clay joins the nine-strong, Tom Byng-led Flat Iron after spending almost two years as property director – south London at Aldi. Previous to that she spent more than three years as a senior acquisition manager at Wagamama, and almost three and a half years in the property department of Sainsbury’s. Clay replaces Peter Gibson, who recently left Flat Iron to become property director at Chik’n. Clay joins Flat Iron as it gears up to open its tenth site this spring. Situated opposite The Young Vic in The Cut in Waterloo, the new opening will mark ten years since the original Flat Iron launched as a pop-up above a pub in Shoreditch. The restaurant, set over three shop fronts, will also include a large terrace for alfresco dining at the front. Flat Iron opened its ninth restaurant, a 90-cover venue at the former Gourmet Burger site in Clink Street, near Borough Market, last September.

Chestnut Group adds Holt site to portfolio, reports year-on-year revenue growth of 150%, strengthens management team: East Anglian-based pub and restaurant company The Chestnut Group has added The Lawns in Holt as its latest addition to its growing portfolio. The new acquisition is part of an ambitious three-year plan, with the first year alone bringing four new inns to the collection, the addition of more than 80 new team members and year-on-year revenue growth of 150%. The new sites include The Feathers and The Maltings in north Norfolk, The Carpenters Arms near Cambridge and The Lawns – its latest acquisition in Holt. “We are delighted to welcome The Lawns in Holt to our collection, a destination that’s a key part of the tourism scene in Norfolk,” said founder and chief executive Philip Turner. “Following on from the recent acquisition of The Feathers, this new pub will add extra rooms to our portfolio in the town. We have plans to renovate both pubs in the coming months and look forward to playing our part in the continued success and growth of staycations in north Norfolk.” To support the ambitious growth plans, Chestnut has been investing in its people and has appointed two new senior managers from the wider hospitality sector. Charley O’Toole has joined the team as head of people, bringing with her 15 years’ experience in developing and leading people in a range of leisure businesses, including the last four years as head of people at Bill’s. Meanwhile, Tom Salt has joined the team as head of food. He has spent the past 20 years working in London most recently at the Manicomio Group, and having worked in chef positions at both The River Café and Zafferano. The Chestnut Group is also currently refurbishing The Globe in Wells, which is undergoing a complete transformation of the pub and 19 bedrooms, ahead of reopening in March.

Famously Proper set to open first permanent Mother Clucker site: Famously Proper, the Calveton-backed parent company of the Byron and Mother Clucker brands, is to open its first bricks and mortar site under the fried chicken concept in London’s Islington, in April. The company acquired Mother Clucker, which was founded in 2012 by Ross Curnow and Brittney Bean, in May last year. In autumn last year, the brand, which began as a one-man food truck concept based in London's Truman Brewery, was made available through 18 of the company’s Byron kitchens across the UK, via Deliveroo. Propel understands Famously Proper has secured a former Starbucks site in Upper Street for the new Mother Clucker opening. Famously Proper said it is confident the restaurant industry will recover from the pandemic, boosted by the easing of “Plan B”, believing that now is the time to move forward with investment in bricks and mortar openings. Gavin Cox, chief executive of Famously Proper, said: “We are excited to be taking this cult favourite, street food chicken brand from its origins of one food truck to new bricks and mortar sites (the first for the brand), alongside our delivery business across 18 sites nationwide via Deliveroo. We have very ambitious expansion plans for Mother Clucker and there's no doubt that consumer demand is back. In late 2021, we undertook one of the biggest rollouts of a brand within one day and we look forward to keeping up the pace, expanding rapidly in the coming months, as the hospitality industry recovers.” 

Busaba launches immersive bar concept at Oxford site: Busaba, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau, has launched a new immersive bar concept, described as a “naughty little sister” to the brand, at its latest site in Oxford. The Terry Harrison-led, Tnui Capital-backed, business has opened Ajia – translated as Asia in Japanese – in the downstairs part of the venue in George Street. The only Busaba site to offer anything of this kind, the bar concept is the “naughty little sister” to the Busaba brand, taking “inspiration from the dens of the izakaya bars of Japan where late-night drinks, snacks and revelries offer an escape and sanctuary from the chaos of everyday life”. The cocktail offering includes an eclectic mix of 16 cocktails inspired by the flavours of Japan, Korea and Thailand. Small plates and nibbles include Taiwanese bao buns and Korean fried chicken burgers. “Oxford has an amazing food and drink scene and when we saw the space we knew that it was an opportunity to push the boundaries and do something super creative,” said Busaba marketing director Neve Rabbou. “Ajia was born from our love of all things Asia and we wanted to create a fun, but classy concept that was similar to izakaya’s and the various adaptations of them.” Busaba operates 11 sites – nine in London as one each in Cardiff and Oxford.

Maray to make Manchester debut this summer: Liverpool-based Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar concept Maray will make its Manchester debut this summer. The company, founded in 2014 by James Bates, Tom White and Dom Jones, will open the venue at Bruntwood Works’ Union building in Brazennose Street. It will Maray’s fourth and largest site to date, adding to the three in Liverpool. The concept was originally inspired by the owners' experiences in the Le Marais district of Paris – a vibrant arrondissement famed as a culinary melting pot of Middle Eastern flavours and stand out cocktail bars. Dishes on the Liverpool menus include Disco Cauliflower, served whole and doused in chermoula, harissa, tahini, and yoghurt, and sprinkled with pomegranate, almonds and fresh herbs. There is also buttermilk fried chicken with harissa and pickles and a selection of mezze and small plates. Bates said: “Opening a restaurant in Manchester has long been an ambition of ours and we have combed the four corners of the city to find somewhere we felt was just right. We’re excited to get going at Union, we love the area and feel like we’re going to be right in the middle of it all, in a city with a huge reputation for loving restaurants, nights out and a good drink!”

Former Alchemilla chef to take hash brown inspired street food pop-up to Boxpark Croydon: Hash brown inspired street food pop-up, Hash Hut, is setting up home at Boxpark Croydon for the next three months. The concept, which is the brainchild of chef James Sharp, formerly of Michelin-starred Alchemilla in Nottingham, will arrive at Boxpark Croydon’s pop-up kitchen next Monday (21 February). On the menu will be dishes including The Hash Hut Chip that can be dipped in roast garlic mayo, parmesan or fresh truffle. Another signature dish is The Hatsu, a twist on the Katsu curry with classic hash browns topped with panko-coated chicken thighs, marinated in garlic and fried. In addition, there will be a revolving menu with special appearances from the hash brown family, focused on fresh and seasonal produce. This will include Bangers and Hash, Raclette Hash and Smoked Ancho Chilli Ragu. Sharp came up with the concept while working at Alchemilla. He would take any leftover hash browns and combine with toppings such as black garlic caramel, fresh truffle, and smoked cuttlefish. After a number of pop ups and festival appearances across the UK, Hash Hut is now searching for a permanent location to call home.

Yum! Brands reports opening a restaurant every two hours in 2021: KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands has reported opening a restaurant every two hours in 2021. “In 2021, we opened 3,057 net new units, driven by 4,180 gross unit openings with meaningful contributions from each of our brands, marking the strongest growth year in our history and setting an industry record for unit development,” said David Gibbs, Yum! Brand’s chief executive, on the earnings call. “To put that into context, as the world’s largest restaurant company, we opened a new restaurant, on average, every two hours.” KFC added 2,471 locations, the most of the company’s brands. Yum reported a fourth-quarter profit miss, but revenue that beat Wall Street expectations. “The operating backdrop is still experiencing pockets of pressure, while tailwinds are increasingly blowing across global markets,” wrote MKM Partners’ Brett Levy in a post-earnings note. “The resurgence of its global development plans across its multiple brands continues to highlight our optimism, while the ongoing investments in technology and innovation are supporting their cause.”
 
McDonald’s withdraws Big Mac chicken after selling out: The McDonald's Big Mac chicken has sold out in the UK – leading the company to pull it from the menu temporarily. Big Mac Chicken was launched just nine days ago, and fans have declared themselves “devastated” and “heartbroken” that it has already been taken out of the country's 1,300 restaurants. The limited-edition burger, which is 50p more expensive than the regular Big Mac and has a beef patty instead of chicken, was meant to have a six-week run. On its Twitter account, McDonald's UK tweeted: “Well, that escalated quickly. Your love for the limited-edition Chicken Big Mac knew no bounds and it's sold out almost everywhere.” Meanwhile, delivery firm DoorDash will raise its fees on McDonald’s restaurants in the US that are slow to prepare orders, in an effort by the delivery company to improve efficiency and cut losses. In documents seen by The Wall Street Journal, the company will charge higher commissions to McDonald’s restaurants starting next year for orders that keep a delivery driver waiting. DoorDash also negotiated for each McDonald’s store to cover the cost of refunds caused by restaurant mistakes, one of the documents shows, such as when the kitchen packs the wrong burger or forgets the French fries, after guest complaints reach a certain threshold. Some McDonald’s franchisees have raised concerns about the penalties tied to performance as they struggle with staffing shortages that can slow things down. It comes as the documents show that DoorDash has agreed to lower its base commission rate for delivery with McDonald’s to 11.6% versus a prior rate of 15.5%. Industry executives said McDonald’s stands to gain from DoorDash’s reduced commission rates while DoorDash can protect its margins on orders the restaurant delays or makes an error on while preparing.

John Gaunt adds new partner as it prepares to open London office: Licensing solicitor John Gaunt & Partners has appointed Luke Elford to the team as a new partner. Previously employed as an associate at Woods Whur, Elford joins John Gaunt & Partners as it prepares to open an office in London. Elford began his career at Tower Hamlets Council in east London, before joining Jeffery Green Russell and then moving to TLT, where he was promoted from solicitor to associate. He then joined Woods Whur in 2019. Jon Wallsgrove, partner at John Gaunt & Partners, who became a part owner in June 2020, said: “Few, if any, know London better than Luke and combining his expertise and client base with our already exceptional roster of London clients will, we believe, see John Gaunt & Partners become the go-to licensing firm in London for all in hospitality, leisure or retail.” Elford added: “The plan is to continue to grow London as an offering and to act as a link from the team in Sheffield and Jon Wallsgrove and his team on the south coast. London will be a central hub for the firm to continue to expand at the impressive rate it is.” 

French pastry chef Cedric Grolet opens debut UK patisserie: French pastry chef Cedric Grolet has opened his debut UK patisserie. Grolet has launched the venue – his first outside France – at The Berkeley hotel in London’s Knightsbridge. Cedric Grolet at The Berkeley is on the Knightsbridge side of the hotel – where the entrance to Koffmann's used to be. The hotel described the patisserie as a kind of “pastry theatre where Grolet’s team create his masterpieces for all to see”. The patisserie has eight seats overlooking the kitchen. Grolet said: “[London] is such a special city and its energy completely inspires me.”

Wells & Co moves Balsall Common pub to managed division: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co has moved The White Horse in Balsall Common, Solihull, to its managed division. A two-month refurbishment is scheduled to start in April. Danielle Coates, marketing manager for Wells & Co, said: "We’re thrilled to be welcoming The White Horse into our managed house estate. We’ll be reopening the pub just a couple of weeks after initial closure to find our feet.”

Ivy Asia to launch in Leeds this summer: Serial sector investor Richard Caring will open a site under his Ivy Asia brand in Leeds this summer. As previously revealed by Propel, the company will launch the new restaurant on the former French Connection site in the city’s Vicar Lane, close to its existing The Ivy Victoria Quarter venue. Hoardings went up on the site over the weekend. Caring has also lined up openings in Guildford, Brighton, Cardiff and Mayfair for his Ivy Asia concept this year. The brand, which will open in Guildford in March, will open in Brighton’s Ship Street, next door to the existing Ivy in the Lanes site, this summer. It will also open a site in Cardiff, close to its existing The Ivy site in the city at the St Davids scheme. It plans to open an Ivy Asia site on the former Princess Garden site in London’s Mayfair. It is also exploring an opening in Glasgow. 

Mia Group launches Greek-inspired venue for ninth Edinburgh restaurant: Mia Group, who operates eight restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh, has opened a Greek-inspired venue in the city. The company has launched Fava in Morrison Street. Most of the food and ingredients are imported straight from Greece. Area manager Roberto Silvagni told Edinburgh Live: “I think a Greek restaurant is missing from this area. Our La Casa restaurant is a mixture of both Spanish and Greek. Here, it's a little more Greek, with salads, gyros and other vegetarian options. I think it will be very popular because Edinburgh business is very good, the ambient is very nice and casual. There aren't many Greek restaurants in Edinburgh at the moment.” Asked about a possible expansion outside Edinburgh, Silvagni said his focus is purely on the capital for the time being.

Rotherham-based meat restaurant The Big Smoke to double up with Doncaster launch: Rotherham-based meat restaurant The Big Smoke is to double up, with an opening in Doncaster. The company revealed on its Facebook page it is launching in the former NYC Bar and Grill premises on the corner of Wood Street and Cleveland Street. The Big Smoke describes itself as a “restaurant dedicated to the majesty of meats” adding, “the very best prime cuts prepared well and piled high, that’s our philosophy”. Its menu includes steak, burgers, ribs and chicken wings. The NYC Bar and Grill site in Doncaster closed in 2017, just two years after opening.

Team behind Wirral-based burger restaurant concept to launch Detroit-style pizza venture: The team behind Wirral-based restaurant concept, Burger Joe, is to launch a Detroit-style pizza venture. Three Dollar Bill will open later this year. The restaurant will serve square pan pizza with a “crispy base, chewy cheesy crust and the sauce over the top of the cheese”, which is traditional in Detroit in the US. The team is transforming its Burger Joe site in Market Street in Hoylake, which in April last year was the third venue to open under the concept. Three Dollar Bill gets its name from the “Detroit Cheers”, a community currency recognised by the Bank of America, which was only available in three dollar bill denominations. A spokesman for Three Dollar Bill told the Liverpool Echo: “The new restaurant will take over the Burger Joe site in Hoylake and Burger Joe will relocate. We want to create a warm, modern family pizza restaurant. We've had massive success with Burger Joe, which has become a household name on this side of the water, we can’t wait to introduce the Wirral to Detroit style pizza.”

Glasgow-based dessert concept eyes former Denny’s premises for second site: Glasgow-based dessert concept, Big Licks, is looking to open its second site in the city. The company, which operates from premises in Finnieston Street, is aiming to take on the former Denny's restaurant near Braehead Shopping Centre. It was the US franchise’s first Scottish restaurant when it opened in December 2018. However, “to let” signs were spotted outside the building in April last year. Big Licks have put forward its plans for outdoor signs to Renfrewshire Council, reports the Glasgow Evening Times. 

Bourne Leisure looking to recruit more than 300 hospitality staff ahead of £40m revamp of Oxford hotel: A landmark Oxford hotel is looking to recruit more than 300 hospitality staff as it gears up for a £40m refurbishment. The Heythrop Park resort was purchased by Bourne Leisure in 2018, with the site now set to become the latest hotel for the Warner Leisure Hotels family. It will be the 15th venue in the Warner portfolio, with the multimillion-pound investment set to create 337 bedrooms, chic lounges, bars and outdoor terraces and a ballroom theatre. Live music and dining will also be provided across three restaurants. The 300 new roles will be across the hospitality spectrum but with particular focus on chefs and waiting staff. Dean Saunders, general manager at Heythrop Park, told Insider Media: “It’s going to be a fantastic journey launching the new Heythrop Park to the public this summer. We know many people will continue to staycation this year, so it’s set to be a busy and rewarding time for us all.” Bourne Leisure also operates the Butlin’s and Haven Holidays portfolios.

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