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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 23rd Feb 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Fridays appoints Chris Liddell to head up QSR format and Julie McEwan as new chief operating officer: Fridays, the Robert B Cook-led brand, has appointed Chris Liddell, formerly of Costa Coffee and PizzaExpress, to head up its soon-to-launch quick service restaurant (QSR) format, “Fridays and Go”, Propel has learned. Liddell, who was most recently at Costa, has joined the business as a regional director, alongside heading up “Fridays and Go”, which will launch next month, in Dundee. Last month, Hostmore, the parent company of Fridays and the 63rd+1st concept in the UK, said it aimed to open potentially up to 30 additional QSR sites across the UK in the next three years, subject to the brand’s success. As previously revealed by Propel, the company confirmed it will open the first “Fridays and Go” site, which will span circa 2,600 square feet, on the former Fatburger unit in Dundee’s Reform Street. Meanwhile, Fridays has appointed Julie McEwan, formerly of Whitbread, Spirit Group and Casual Dining Group, as its new chief operating officer. McEwan started her career at Whitbread, spending several years as operations manager for Premier Inn, before joining Spirit Pub Company. At Spirit, she held several senior roles, including leading the Flaming Grill brand and managing its conversion programme, which saw the estate grow from 84 to 146 sites in 18 months. In 2016, She joined Casual Dining Group (now Big Table Group) as operations director of Las Iguanas and was promoted to brand director in 2019. She was named as one of the top 100 Women to Watch in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure in 2020. In her new role, Fridays said McEwan will oversee operations for all its UK sites, ensuring that “quality, simplicity and relevance is at the forefront of everything it delivers as it embarks on its ambitious growth plans”. She will join the company in early March and replaces Suzanne Peacock, who has left the business. As part of its growth plans, Fridays recently announced a new flagship store opening in Chelmsford this spring, as well as the upcoming launch of “Fridays And Go”. Cook said: “Julie brings a wealth of experience and unrivalled expertise that will be instrumental to our growth plans, as we bring the Fridays feeling to even more people right across the country.” McEwan added: “I am looking forward to being part of its next growth chapter, working alongside exceptionally talented people.”
 

Industry News:

49 multi-site companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A total of 49 new multi-site companies, operating 227 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (25 February), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature a number of brewery concepts, including Meanwood Brewery, which opened its debut site in Leeds in 2017, and is hoping to open its second and third taprooms later this year. Also added this month is Noel and Maria James, who are the owners of New Bristol Brewery, and are planning to open a new bar, cafe and restaurant in the newly redeveloped Carriageworks development in Bristol. In addition, Nottingham-based Magpie Brewery, which is owned by Nick Sewter, Robert Douglas and Ken Morrison, and operates a taproom and bottle shop at its brewery headquarters – along with two micropubs – will also be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,750-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 seventh edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 4 March, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The seventh edition also includes a 13,500-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 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.

Scottish hospitality businesses frustrated some covid restrictions will remain in place for another month: While welcoming the removal of covid passports, Scottish hospitality businesses have expressed disappointment some covid restrictions will remain in place for a further month. Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced on Tuesday (22 February) the country’s vaccine passport scheme will come to an end next Monday (28 February). However, further measures, including the wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces and collecting of customer details, will not be phased out until Monday, 21 March. UKHospitality Scotland executive director, Leon Thompson, said: “The removal of compulsory vaccine certification to enter late-night venues from next week is extremely welcome. However, it is disappointing the compulsory use of face coverings and test-and-protect in hospitality venues will remain in place until 21 March. Again, it would be better to let businesses and customers decide on the best way to manage risk sooner.” Thompson also renewed calls for the UK government to keep VAT at 12.5% beyond April, and the Scottish government to extend business rate relief of 50% by “at least a further three months”. Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “We welcome the decision to downgrade the remaining blanket restrictions to guidance in the coming weeks, and this is a significant step in the right direction. We would have liked to see a clearer and faster transition to the end of restrictions and mandatory use of masks, as keeping these for a further month does nothing for rebuilding consumer confidence.” A spokesman for the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SPBA) called the announcement “an important milestone in the road to recovery for pubs”, adding: “Removing the remaining mitigations will give a real boost to the sector, but it is disappointing it will be another month before we see the total removal of all these legal restrictions. As we move to living with covid as an endemic virus, it is important the pub and brewing sector receives the necessary support and guidance to ensure a strong and sustainable recovery.” With a “perfect storm” of rising inflation, increased costs, supply chain difficulties and labour shortages ahead, the SBPA also called for Holyrood and Westminster to support hospitality’s recovery “by continuing to reduce the punitive tax burden on our sector”.
  
Government ‘must act’ to address unfair property tax burden on sector: UKHospitality has called for a hospitality tax rate after the sector overpaid by £2.4bn relative to its turnover pre-pandemic. The demand comes as the industry body this week responded to the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group Inquiry on Pubs’ Business Rates and the Government’s Business Rates Review. Among the measures it’s proposing is the introduction of a hospitality (or high-street) multiplier for 2023 and an online sales tax to make up the loss of revenue from such a multiplier. It has also called for an investigation into whether the current pub valuation methodology is fit for purpose, plus better resourced pub valuations that consider over-trading, location and historical changes. Furthermore, it is urging a halt to reforms to the appeals system and a reduction in the administrative burden the government intends to place on business. UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “We need a new business tax rate for high street businesses that recognise the extra cost that hospitality businesses face. The current government proposals around business rate reforms put an ever-higher burden on businesses and will prevent hospitality operators from investing in their businesses. Property taxes in the UK are already nearly double the EU average, and as a proportion of turnover, hospitality pays four times more than the average sector. This is clearly an unfair burden to place on an industry that has been hit hardest by the pandemic.” The British Institution of Innkeepers (BII) also provided evidence to the inquiry and renewed its own calls for business rates reform. Steven Alton chief executive of the BII, said: “After two years of closure and significant trading restrictions, the need for rapid reform is key as part of a package of support to help support pubs on their road to recovery is clear.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking for an international head of food and beverage for a hospitality concept. This position will look after all food and beverage operations across the business – a large remit covering multiple countries. An operations/concept/development background would be really useful in the role. The individual will also look after offer, outsourcing, quality and standards. The role will involve looking at a lot of data, analysing trends and making recommendations to the business. Purchasing and commercial is a large part of this role so proven experience in this would be advantageous. This is a London-based position with a salary of £120,000. For more information and to arrange a confidential chat, email Marlene@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Marugame Udon secures first UK shopping centre site: International udon noodles and tempura restaurant brand Marugame Udon is to open its first UK shopping centre site in London’s Brent Cross. Propel has learned the brand, which currently operates three sites in the capital, has secured the former Burger King in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, for an opening later this year. The brand, which is led by Keith Bird and backed by Capdesia in the UK, opened its first site in Britain near Liverpool Street in the City of London last July and has since opened three more at the O2, Canary Wharf and St Christopher’s Place. It has also secured the former Frankie & Benny’s site in Argyll Street, near Oxford Circus, for an opening later this year, and is understood to be opening in Waterloo station. The Times reported earlier this week the brand plans to have at least 100 outlets within five years in the UK and on the continent. It will open another eight to ten company-owned outlets this year at a cost of £600,000 to £700,000 per site, with 40 to 50 employees for each of them. Bird hopes to then start upping the ante by taking on franchise partners. The business is working with Richard Brown, of RAB Retail, on its expansion plans.
 
PizzaExpress launches new rewards scheme as part of branding overhaul: PizzaExpress has launched a new rewards scheme and menu item to go along with new logo and branding. The app-based rewards scheme, PizzaExpress Club, will rewards customers every time they dine, which members retain for a year. It will be promoted via a TV and social campaign, the first major audio-visual campaign from PizzaExpress in more than a decade. The new menu item is pizza wraps, which launched this week for takeaway and collection, and will be available in all PizzaExpress restaurants from Tuesday, 1 March. They come in a variety of flavours including American hot, sloppy vegan and barbecue burnt ends. Also launching is the company’s new “Expressly for Everyone” brand positioning, which includes a new logo, typography, brand colours and illustrations, which will be seen across its restaurant menus, pizza boxes and social media channels. Shadi Halliwell, chief customer officer at PizzaExpress, said: “Our new brand positioning of ‘Expressly for Everyone’ simply means we want to celebrate and elevate the many ways people enjoy our food. That’s why we’re always expanding our offering, so no matter who you are, we’ll always have something for you at PizzaExpress.” Earlier this month, PizzaExpress struck a deal with student work platform Stint, which will see students using the app work in a third of its restaurants across the UK.
 
Franco Manca secures second Edinburgh site: Fulham Shore is to open a second site in Edinburgh under its fast-growing Franco Manca concept. Propel understands Franco Manca, which already operates a site in the city’s St Andrew Street, has secured a new lease of the Stockbridge-based PizzaExpress site that is due to close next week. It comes as the brand gears up to open in Cheltenham, Canterbury and Bishop’s Stortford. The Cheltenham site, which will be its debut in Gloucestershire, will open in the ex-Cafe Rouge site in the Promenade on Friday, 25 March. Earlier this month, Propel revealed Fulham Shore has applied for planning to convert five ex-retail sites across the country to Franco Manca restaurants. The David Page-chaired business is believed to be planning to open sites in Esher, Chichester, Salisbury, Liverpool and Lewes. Fulham Shore currently operates 57 Franco Manca outlets and 21 Real Greeks in the UK, and said in December it had another 21 potential sites in solicitors’ hands for both concepts. It has recently re-applied for a license for the ex- Cornish Bakehouse site in Cardiff’s Church Street, which would mark Franco Manca’s debut in Wales. Meanwhile, The Real Greek will open its second northern site in three months in Manchester’s Trafford Centre, at the start of next month. The new 182-cover restaurant follows on from the brand’s opening in the city’s Corn Exchange in December last year. This will be The Real Greek’s 23rd site; its tenth outlet outside of the capital and its first new restaurant to open in 2022. Nabil Mankarious, managing director at The Real Greek, said: “We look forward to seeing the potential of this venue, particularly as tourism begins to open up again in Manchester. Newcastle, Eldon Square is our next destination, continuing our expansion in the north.”
 
The Gladwin brothers plan Wimbledon opening: The Gladwin brothers – Richard, Oliver and Gregory – are planning to open a sixth site in the capital later this spring, in Wimbledon, Propel has learned. The brothers, which opened their latest venture The Fat Badger in Richmond last autumn, are understood to have secured a site in Wimbledon village, on the high street. The new restaurant and bar will again be an extension of the company’s “Local & Wild” concept with “a distinct countryside-luxe style serving modern farm-to-fork food in an atmospheric, sprawling space just by the common”. The brothers also operate the Notting Hill-based The Shed, Nutborne in Battersea, Rabbit in Chelsea and Sussex in Soho. Last November, the business opened The Fat Badger, its latest lounge bar and dining venture, just off Richmond High Street on the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Hill Rise.
 
Famously Proper appoints ex-Pod MD as new commercial director: Famously Proper, the Calveton-backed parent company of the Byron and Mother Clucker brands, has appointed Alex Young, formerly of Pod, Princi and the Azzurri Group, as its new commercial director, Propel has learned. Young, formerly commercial director at Itsu, was chief executive of Pod from April 2017 to its acquisition by the Azzurri Group in 2019. He then became managing director of the Pod Food business. In 2020, he joined boutique bakery and cafe concept Princi, as its new commercial director. He also previously had stints at Pret A Manger and Frankie & Benny’s. Famously Proper is gearing up to open its first bricks and mortar site under the fried chicken Mother Clucker 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. 
 
KFC UK & Ireland appoints former Tesco Clubcard chief as marketing director: Richard Hall – who most recently helped launch Tesco’s Aldi price match and Clubcard prices, resulting in more than a million new Clubcard members – has been appointed KFC UK & Ireland marketing director. Hall’s role of head of value, membership and loyalty also saw him relaunch Tesco’s own brand offer and lead the retailer’s plant-based strategy. He will take up the role with KFC next month, following the promotion of Jack Hinchliffe to chief marketing officer in September last year. Hall said: “There is something special is going on at KFC, and testament to that is the team winning Marketing Week’s brand of the year. For me, food is one of life’s great pleasures, so this is an exciting opportunity.” Hinchliffe added: “Richard’s approach to people and leadership makes him such a natural fit for KFC. I know he will build and contribute to our unique culture, which makes the marketing we do some of the most distinctive around. I have no doubt Richard will soon become an integral part of the team.” KFC has 1,000 restaurants across the UK and Ireland.

The Ivy Collection appoints Glen Sutton as operations director: The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant group, has appointed Glen Sutton, formerly of Eventist Group and Rhubarb Food, as its new operations director, Propel has learned. Sutton joins the 40-strong business, which also includes the Ivy Asia concept, after two and a half years as group managing director of the event catering business, the Eventist Group. Previous to that he was a director at the Berlin-based Kofler & Kompanie. He also spent three years as a director at Rhubarb Food. Sutton joins the Ivy Collection as its gears up to open The Ivy Brasserie in Chichester’s East Street later this spring. The company has also lined up an opening in Windsor for this summer, on the former Tower Brasserie tearooms site, in the town’s High Street. The group also wants to open a restaurant at units 3 and 4 of 56 Cleaver House – the site previously occupied by Burger King, in Belfast.
 
Hickory’s crowned UK’s best large employer, secures 15th site: American-style smokehouse and barbecue brand Hickory’s Smokehouse, which has been backed by Piper since 2014, has been crowned the UK’s best large employer in the “Best Large Companies To Work For 2022” awards. It comes as the business, which achieved 11th position in the 2021 awards list, prepares to open its 14th site in Wakefield and announces a further site to follow in Hutton, near Preston. In March, the company will open its first Yorkshire site in Horbury, Wakefield. It recently signed the lease on its 15th restaurant in Hutton and said it was “actively looking at other sites as expansion plans continue apace”. The Hutton site will feature “all the special Hickory’s touches – including a southern style veranda, firepit table and sheltered garden space”. Located in the former Anchor Inn, it is the company’s first lease with Greene King. Hickory’s managing director John Welsh said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been awarded the number one position. Last year we said it was our proudest day to be at number 11, so to have reached the top spot is beyond what we imagined. There are lots of restaurants serving great food, but it’s thanks to the passion, creativity, personality and the hard work of our teams that have helped us get where we are today. It's been a busy period since reopening last year, our teams have worked unbelievably hard welcoming our guests and delivering an incredible experience. We have an exciting time ahead with our next restaurant due to open next month in Horbury and our 15th confirmed for Hutton.” Last November, Propel revealed Hickory’s had appointed advisory firm BDO to help review its funding options for its next stage of growth.

Inamo to launch new concept at two London locations next month: London-based futuristic restaurant brand Inamo will launch its new concept at two locations in the capital next month. The West End operator has developed a sushi and fusion street food sub-brand, Inamo Sukoshi (meaning little Imano), for use in food courts. The first site will open in Market Halls Oxford Street on Thursday, 10 March, and the second in late March at the new 20,000 square-foot Market Halls Canary Wharf, both with mid-term contracts. It will serve Inamo’s signature dragon rolls, seared salmon maki, bang bang cauliflower and Korean BBQ ribs. Chief executive, Lee Skinner, said: “The team have worked incredibly hard to develop this new concept for our portfolio and introduce some of our award-winning menu to a new audience and style of venue. We are delighted to be joining Market Halls as a valued trading partner for the long-term, and it’s a fantastic feeling to be opening new sites again.” Inamo currently operates restaurants in Covent Garden and Soho, but its Camden site has closed permanently. Market Halls announced the launch of its new Canary Wharf site and the reopening of its refurbished Oxford Street one earlier this week, along with plans for up to four new venues.

Wild West Group appoints new director as it looks to expand across the south: West country-based Wild West Group has appointed a new director as it looks to expand across the south of England. Angus Winchester, who has managed London cocktail venues Trailer Happiness and Salvatore at Fifty, has returned to the UK to join as director of drinks and people. There, he joins brother Alex, who has been managing director since January 2021. Wild West Group was founded by in 2015 by Louis Lewis-Smith, former brand ambassador at whisky distillers William Grant & Sons, with the opening of cocktail bar The Dark Horse in Bath. This was followed in 2018 by a second cocktail venue, Crying Wolf, in Bristol. Lewis-Smith said: “I’ve known Angus for over 20 years, and I’m thrilled to have him on board. His appointment comes at an exciting time as we switch gears from surviving the pandemic to expansion. We are looking at new sites across the south, including a broadening of the portfolio to include food-led operations, and a distillery is on the horizon. Angus, alongside his immensely talented brother Alex, will be key in seeing these ambitious plans to fruition.” Winchester, who has spent the last two decades based in the US while working as global ambassador for Tanqueray and vice president of training for Barmetrix, will start his new role by acting as general manager at The Dark Horse to gain insight into the business. “It’s been well over 15 years since I last worked in the UK, but when Louis reached out I jumped at the chance,” said Winchester, who was most recently executive director for Tokyo-based Ginposium. “It’s not just the stellar reputation his bars have and the chance to work with Louis that attracted me, but also the burgeoning food and drink scene in the west country.”
 
Former Gordon Ramsay Group bars manager to launch cocktail bar concept in Manchester: Dan Berger, former head of bars at Soho House Group’s The Ned in London and bars manager at Gordon Ramsay Group, is to open a cocktail bar in Manchester. Berger will launch Blinker in Spring Gardens in May. Blinker will have a focus on classic cocktails, with an additional menu of reimagining classics based around four flavours each month, determined by seasonal British produce. The concept and name “Blinker” is inspired by a forgotten classic cocktail where the recipe calls for rye, grapefruit and raspberry in perfect harmony. The fit out of the bar will mirror the menu, using a combination of upcycled furniture and sustainable materials, with inspiration being taken from some of the best bars across the globe.
 
Browns founder Jeremy Mogford to overhaul Oxford restaurant and bar in £1m-plus revamp: Hospitality entrepreneur Jeremy Mogford, who founded the Browns brasserie and bar chain, is set to give his Gees Restaurant & Bar site in Oxford an overhaul of more than £1m. Gees Restaurant & Bar is an independently-owned venue set within north Oxford's famous grade II-listed Victorian conservatory, once home to the Gee family's greengrocers and floristry, in Banbury Road. It has operated since 1989, serving a Mediterranean-inspired menu. The eatery has temporarily closed for eight weeks for a complete revamp. It will also be combined with the property next door, which has been remodelled over the last six months to create Gees Gallery and Secret Garden. Mogford said: “We are investing well over £1m in creating a very special and unique destination within Oxford. We are bringing Gees cooking facilities into the 21st century with the latest equipment, along with much improved working conditions for our chefs. I would also like to say that we are making a huge, post-covid declaration of faith in the wonderful potential of our city.” Gees will more than double in capacity with the addition of Gees Gallery – an adjacent private dining space for up to 50 guests – and Secret Garden; a heated private terrace for up to 60 diners. Upon reopening, Gees Restaurant, Bar, Gallery and Secret Garden will accommodate more than 220 guests in total. Gees Gallery will also operate as a multifunctional space, including an art gallery and shop, and function room.
 
Northumberland-based The Doxford Group strengthens senior team to support planned growth: Northumberland-based family-run hospitality company The Doxford Group has appointed a new group finance director and group general manager to enhance the team running its wedding and events venues. Mark Gubbins will join as group finance director having previously worked as finance director at north-eased based The Apartment Group. He has more than 12 years' experience overseeing a number of acquisitions and redevelopments within his career. Gubbins’ main focus will be driving efficiencies within the existing business at its venues – Charlton Hall and Doxford Barns – as well as raising external finance to allow the group to expand. Kevin Shanahan, joining as group general manager, has more than 20 years' experience working in venues such as The Ritz Hotel and The Royal Academy of Arts in London. His most recent roles include senior management positions within north east-based hospitality groups. Shanahan will oversee the day-to-day running of Charlton Hall and Doxford Barns working alongside the operational team, building on customer experience, training the team and playing a vital part in upcoming new projects. The Doxford Group director Richard Shell said: “As a family-run business, it's vital we recruit the right people into these senior roles, and I have every confidence that both Mark and Kevin will assist us to lead and drive our properties to achieve great things.”
 
Cheshire-based health club chain achieves best ever January performance and eyes future growth: A Cheshire-based health club chain is planning its next stage of growth after shrugging off a pandemic-related drop in turnover to achieve its best ever January. Total Fitness Health Clubs, based in Wilmslow, operates a chain of 15 health clubs in the UK, known as Total Fitness. For the 18-month period to 30 June 2021, the business reported turnover of £26.6m, a decrease from £37.3m in the 12 months ended 31 December 2019. It also posted a pre-tax loss of £8.5m compared with a loss of £1m in the prior period. Total Fitness chief financial officer, Jasvir Sanghera, said its performance had been impacted by enforced closures, but he was “happy” with the current performance of the business. He said: “It’s important to remember what we achieved in the 18 months prior to covid-19 – we had reached a total of 97,000 members, with a growth of almost 15%. In the first three months of Total Fitness reopening its doors, we saw a 300% increase in net member growth compared with the same period in 2019, while we found the pandemic itself motivated 45% of our new members to join. We are delighted to say 2022 has been our best January performance to date. This January has surpassed our previous record by 35%, and we’re confident this signals a positive year to come.” The business is currently working on bringing to life a new conceptual model that is set to be the basis of its future clubs. Sanghera added: “We look forward to the future growth of Total Fitness as we demonstrate our purpose, intent and fitness philosophy throughout 2022. We are also continuing to improve our facilities and fitness offering to ensure we can provide the best experience to our members.”
 
Ex-Dabbous chef to open The Baring in Islington: Chef Rob Tecwyn and general manager Adam Symonds are reuniting to open a new neighbourhood pub, The Baring, in London’s Islington, in May. The new venture comes ten years after they first met at the renowned Bull and Last in Highgate. Since then, Tecwyn has worked as head chef at Dabbous and The Henrietta Hotel, as well as Moro, Morito, and, most recently, senior sous chef at Kerridge’s Bar and Grill. Symonds, meanwhile, spent five years at the helm at the Bull and Last, before moving on to the celebrated Notting Hill restaurants Orasay and Six Portland Road. Opening on a residential street just off Regent's Canal, The Baring will offer an à la carte menu as well as bar snacks and sharing dishes. It will also serve a traditional Sunday roast and a lunch special of a weekly changing dish and glass of wine for £15. Tecwyn said: “Opening large, lively restaurants such as Kerridge’s reignited a desire to bring such conviviality back to a more local setting. Adam, I knew, shared the same vision: to bring simple, ingredient-led food, cooked well, to the table and to create a space where people can come to eat and drink that is spacious, minimal, yet warm and welcoming, and where they will leave satisfied.”
 
Supper adds new range of premium restaurant partners: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has added a new range of restaurant partners from across the capital. These include burgers and ribs joint Sunday in Brooklyn, Mexican restaurant Madera at London Treehouse, Japanese restaurants Titu and Bisushuma, wine bars Aspen & Meursault and Coravin and French bakery chain Polaine. Also joining are Indian restaurants Mathura and Chourangi, Greek restaurants PittaBun and Ino Gastrobar, Taiwanese fruit tea concept Yi Fang, La Goccia by Petersham Nurseries and Le Petit Beef Bar. Founded in 2015, Supper uses a fleet of custom-made bikes, specially trained drivers and food-based technology to ensure food arrives in the best possible condition. Founder Peter Georgiou said: “We’re thrilled to add these additional new partners to our platform, giving our customers even more choice of fine dining at home. It is an incredibly exciting time for us, establishing ourselves as the premier luxury lifestyle and food concierge service.” In October, Supper closed a £2.4m equity and debt fundraise with private equity investment firm Growthdeck, to build on its accelerated growth during the pandemic. The company reported a revenue growth of 700% between February 2020 and September 2021, and also doubled its customer base during that time. It also last year opened a new logistics and training centre in Battersea and is planning overseas expansion.
 
Freehold of Manchester’s Brooklyn Hotel changes hands in £24.1m deal: The freehold of Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester, which is operated by Bespoke Hotels, has been acquired in a £24.1m deal. The four-star hotel in Portland Street opened in 2020 and offers a total of 189 rooms. The property has two restaurants, three meeting rooms, as well as a casino with a restaurant and bar. CDL HREIT Investments (II), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CDL Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, has completed the indirect acquisition. The property is presently held by Roundapple Hotel Partners III, which holds a long leasehold interest in Hotel Brooklyn with 196 years unexpired. The acquisition will be carried out by way of acquiring the share capital of Roundapple Hotel Partners III from RAHoldingsUK. Upon completion, Roundapple Hotel Partners III will continue to hold the property. The property is leased to HLD (Manchester), which is part of a group under Marshall Holdings whose principal activities are in commercial development and construction, with notable hotel projects that include the Hotel Brooklyn, Hotel Gotham Manchester, De Vere Glasgow, De Vere Edinburgh and Ramada Encore Gateshead. The occupational lease is for a 60-year term expiring on 6 May 2081. The basement of the hotel is sub-let to Napoleans Casino and Restaurant.
 
Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini’s debut London restaurant opens its doors: Restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini has opened Itaku, his first London restaurant, at 110 Great Portland Street. Featuring a menu of Italian cuisine utilising Japanese flavours and techniques from head chef Ivan Simeoli, the 55-cover venue also offers a set lunch with a compact selection of signature dishes, with a choice of two or three courses at £25-£29. The cocktail menu has been curated by Nicholas Medicamento, previously bartender at The Savoy London: American Bar, which will also feature no-and-low alcohol options. Simeoli, who has previously worked at Massimo Bottura’s three Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Italy, opened Raw less than a year ago as a second branch of his Brick Lane-based seafood bar and fishmonger concept, previously called Crudo. Fernandez-Versini is also behind Cannes Film Festival pop-up restaurant Cosy Box, which is now in its 15th year, and has contributed to the restaurants at The Royal Academy of Arts and The Wallace Collection.

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