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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 25th Feb 2022 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Ukraine invasion could lead to further rises in prices and interest rates, government urged to ‘remove obstacles to growth and investment’: The invasion of Ukraine by Russia could lead to further hikes in the prices of energy and food, as well as higher interest rates for hospitality businesses, according to industry commentator Paul Chase. With the world suddenly a more uncertain place, we could also see greater caution in terms of investment in new premises and the development of existing ones, Chase fears. Writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion, he called on the government to combat these fresh concerns for the industry by removing the obstacles to growth and investment. “The most obvious effects this will have on us, and on hospitality, will be in terms of rising prices and interest rates,” he said. “Russia is a big exporter of gas, and this invasion and sanctions that western nations impose will affect us too – expect even further increases in the price of energy. Rising energy and fuel costs inevitably reduce disposable income available for discretionary spend. This will impact on footfall and spending in the various sectors that make up the hospitality industry. Ukraine is a big exporter of wheat, so the invasion will put further pressure on food prices. These sectoral price rises will feed through to the inflation rate. The financial markets will also react, and we can expect to see a rise in interest rates – which perhaps was going to happen anyway.” Chase added: “For hospitality, this change in the economic and political weather can only cause greater caution in terms of investment in new premises and the development of existing ones. We can only hope the government counters this uncertainty by reducing the size of the state, cutting taxes for our sector and thereby encouraging us to be the engine of recovery we know we can be. The road ahead is getting even more bumpy in ways which our government on its own cannot control. We need it to look closely at what it can control and remove the obstacles to growth and investment in terms of taxation and over-regulation and set us free.” Chase will share more of his thoughts in this week’s Friday Opinion, which will be published today (Friday, 25 February) at 11am.

Industry News:

Updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies released today at midday, 49 business being added: 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 today, (Friday, 25 February), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of expanding hotel companies, regional pub and restaurant operators and several brands set for UK expansion. 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 15,500-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. In this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers at 5pm today, Arturo Perez, senior vice-president, international marketing at global burger brand Carl’s Jr, discusses the three key factors shaping future success in the quick service restaurant industry.

More than 300 booked for Propel Multi Club conference, free operator places: More than 300 have booked in for the Propel Multi Club conference, which takes place on Friday, 25 March, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London. Speakers are: Graeme Smith, managing director at AlixPartners; Seton Leung, head of UK foodservice at NPD Group; Paul Campbell, sector investor and non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Blacklock, 200 Degrees and The Alchemist; Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK; Brandon Stephens, founder of Tortilla; James Shapland, co-founder of Coffee#1; Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants; Alexandra Miller, founder of high-class cafe brand EL&N; Jonny Boud, founder of Kitchen Ventures; Tom Snellock, founder of Clays and Mario Aleppo, founder of the fast-growing pizza brand Fireaway. A panel session discussing the recruitment and retention crisis will also be hosted by Mark Stretton, with James Hacon, global chief marketing officer at Mapal Group; Sol Schlagman, co-founder of Stint; Roland Horne, founder of WatchHouse; Kate Daines, chief people officer at PizzaExpress and Brian Trollop, managing director at Dishoom. Operators of multi-site hospitality companies can book two free places each. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to book.

Propel Friday Wrap video series continues with Mark Derry, chairman of Brasserie Bar Co: Propel’s Friday Wrap video series continues today (Friday, 25 February) at 3pm. The series, which is sponsored by Mr Yum, the mobile menu, ordering and payment platform used by leading hospitality and entertainment venues, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s group editor Mark Wingett discussing this week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by Mark Derry, chairman of Brasserie Bar Co, to discuss the group’s recent circa £40m deal with Alchemy Partners and the opportunities it provides, how the company is looking at the next few months, his work on the board of New World Trading Co, and how the pandemic has changed the sector.

NTIA invites prime minister to visit ‘precarious’ night-time economy businesses, urges further government support: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has invited prime minister, Boris Johnson, to visit sector businesses struggling to survive. It comes after all remaining covid restrictions in England were lifted, including the wearing of face masks. Although restrictions affecting hospitality had, in the main, already been lifted, night-time businesses have borne the brunt of covid measures more than most over the past two years. Michael Kill, NTIA chief executive, said: “Finally ‘Freedom Day’ has arrived, and we have a long road to recovery, but we are now able to confidently work towards a longer-term recovery strategy. This is a sector that has sacrificed more than just about any other part of the economy, and it seems right continued support is commensurate with the scale of hit that we took during the pandemic. It would be great to see the prime minster and cabinet ministers visit some night-time economy businesses over the coming weeks, in support of businesses who have been hardest hit during the pandemic. This would go a long way to building confidence for the sector.” He added: “It is now vital we see further economic support from government to regain consumer confidence and ensure a full recovery from the pandemic. Experts have suggested that recovery to pre-covid trading levels will take several years, but even this will require the helping hand of government in supporting the sector, beginning with the chancellor’s upcoming spring statement. Businesses will be making investment and staffing decisions based on this, and with many still in a precarious position, ensuring the right support package is in place will be critical. We are calling for the extension of VAT and business rates relief to allow businesses the financial headroom to survive.”

Government must help businesses move away from single-use plastics, warns UKHospitality: UKHospitality is urging the government to support hospitality businesses as they move away from single-use plastics, ahead of a proposed ban next year. The trade body is backing a planned April 2023 ban on single-use plastics, but wants to see government support as the sector moves to alternative, sustainable materials for items such as forks, plates and bowls. UKHospitality’s call came as it responded to a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation document on proposals to ban “some commonly littered single-use plastic items”. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re keen to take a strong stance in supporting any plan to reduce plastic. Indeed, many hospitality sector businesses have already moved away from single-use plastics or are putting in place plans to do so. But all hospitality businesses will need government support if they’re to make the transition to non-plastic items successfully and in time for April 2023 – and recognise the scale of operations required to make the shift.” UKHospitality said the government should be prepared, where necessary, to provide financial support to businesses sourcing and buying alternatives plastic to avoid them suffering “unintended consequences”. It has also suggested that to avoid confusion among customers, operational problems and added costs, there should be exemptions for all plastic bowls, plates and trays used as “eat in” and “take out” packaging. Without these exemptions, UKHospitality said businesses offering both “eat in” and “take out” services would be unfairly affected, as it would be “incredibly difficult for [them] to offer every item on the menu as ‘take out’, with the plastic packaging available; but also ‘eat in’, on a reusable plate”.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working on several senior executive roles within the hospitality tech space on behalf of some clients. A COREcruitment spokesman said, “We are ideally looking for candidates who have experience of business-to-business environments – ideally within fast growth or scaling businesses. An understanding or experience within the hospitality landscape is a big advantage for these vacancies.” The roles available are chief executive with a salary of £200,000-plus in London that is sales and relationship focused; chief operating officer with a salary of £150,000 based in London with the individual having a finance/structure/systems background; and chief operating officer with a salary of £150,000 in the north of England. For more information and to apply, email Hayley@corecruitment.com who is managing the shortlisting process.

Company News:

Handa to launch new restaurant and bar concept, The Residency: Naveen Handa, of leisure company The Cairn Group, is to launch a new restaurant and bar concept called The Residency, in London’s Notting Hill, next month, Propel has learned. Handa, who also backs East Coast Concepts and Richoux, and is a partner in the joint venture behind Vapiano UK, is understood to have secured the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Westbourne Grove for the new neighbourhood bar and eatery, The new concept, which will have a Mediterranean feel, will offer a brunch service pre-5pm and an “upbeat dinner service” from 6pm till late. It is thought Handa is looking to roll out the concept into other former restaurant sites based on high street locations. Handa recently backed the relaunch of the Richoux brand in London’s Piccadilly, under the leadership of chefs Jamie Butler and Lewis Spencer. Handa, who is part of the family that owns The Cairn Group, which has grown to a portfolio of 32 hotels and more than 30 bars and restaurants across the UK, plans to expand Richoux in the UK and internationally. Propel understands he plans to return the brand to Mayfair on a new site. 

Harvey Smyth to chair France’s leading casual dining group: Harvey Smyth, the chairman of the Azzurri Group, the operator of the Zizzi, ASK Italian and Coco Di Mama brands, is to become executive chairman of Napaqaro Group, the leading operator of casual dining restaurants in France, Propel has learned. Smyth, who was previously chief executive of Gondola Group – the one-time owner of PizzaExpress, Zizzi, ASK and Byron – is teaming up with TDR Capital, the backer of the recently formed Napaqaro. The business comprises the two largest restaurant chains in France, with the Buffalo Grill and Courtepaille brands. Buffalo Grill, which was founded in 1980, is a US-themed steakhouse chain, which TDR acquired in 2017, in a deal valued at around €400m. TDR acquired grill restaurant brand Courtepaille, which was founded in 1961, in 2020 in a deal valued at €17m. Napaqaro currently operates circa 600 restaurants – including around 190 franchised – across both long-established brands. It employs more than 11,000 people and serves circa 50 million meals per annum. At the end of last year, the company signed a master franchise agreement to launch and roll out Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service restaurant brand, in France and Monaco. It is understood that with Smyth, who will continue as chair of Azzurri Group, TDR plans to invest in and grow its two established brands and develop Popeyes into a national brand in France. TDR, which previously backed PizzaExpress, also backs Stonegate Pub Company and Leon-owner EG Group. 

Slim Chickens set to replace Shake Shack in London’s Cambridge Circus: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) plans to open a further flagship site under the Slim Chickens brand, in London’s Cambridge Circus. Propel understands BRG, which holds the master franchise for the US brand in the UK, is in talks to take over the ex-Shake Shack site at 1 Cambridge Circus, which closed last summer. It is thought the Big Easy had run the rule over the site for a new grab-and-go concept, but that now the US chicken brand is in pole position for the unit. Slim Chickens, which operates 13 sites in the UK, is currently gearing up to open on the ex-Thaikhun site in Guildford’s Friary Street, this spring. The brand is also set to double its presence in Manchester, when it opens on the ex-Bella Italia site in the city’s Arndale centre. BRG is understood to also be in talks on a site in the White Rose Shopping scheme, in Leeds, and on an opening in Plymouth. It is understood that Slim Chickens franchisee JRK Restaurants is also hoping to open its third site under the US brand along the south coast, in Brighton.

Benito’s Hat returns to expansion trail with Hinckley opening: Benito’s Hat, the Mexican restaurant brand, has returned to the expansion trail with an opening in Leicestershire. The Michael Pearson-led brand, which underwent a restructure in 2020 that saw half of the business acquired out of administration, has this week opened on the former Quartz club in Hinckley town centre. In April 2020, new company DGMP UK secured a deal for the business and four of the brand’s sites, in Covent Garden, Farringdon, Oxford Circus and Oxford Westgate. The group’s other sites in St Albans, Bromley, King’s Cross station and at the O2 were not part of the deal, and were subsequently closed. Since then, the brand’s site in Farringdon has also closed.

Sandy Hayek appointed co-chief executive of Time Out Market: Time Out Group, the global media and entertainment business, has appointed Sandy Hayek to the role of co-chief executive of its Time Out Market operation. Reporting into Time Out Group chief executive Chris Ohlund, and working alongside Time Out Market co-chief executive Didier Souillat, the company said Hayek will be instrumental in day-to-day operations at Time Out Market, with a focus on optimising operations, growing auxiliary revenue and overseeing vendor relations. Souillat will fully focus his efforts on accelerating the expansion of the Time Out Market business to South America, Africa, Europe and Asia and will be fully responsible for new locations, investment, initial curation and site development. Hayek joined Time Out Market Dubai as general manager in early 2021, playing a “critical role in its successful launch and continued business growth”. The company said she brings a wealth of experience and industry expertise to the position, with a career spanning more than 18 years in hospitality across Scandinavia and the UAE. Time Out Market locations in the pipeline include Porto, Abu Dhabi, Prague and London. Ohlund said: “Sandy’s expertise in food and beverage operations, coupled with her experience on the front line running a Time Out Market, made her the right choice for this new role overseeing operations of our seven Time Out Markets around the world. As the tourism and hospitality industries begin to benefit from an increased momentum of returning to ‘normal’, Time Out Group is focused on accelerating the global expansion of the Time Out Market business, and Didier is the person to be leading this effort.” 

The Salad Kitchen opens fourth London site: The Salad Kitchen, the London-based grab-and-go concept, has opened its fourth site in the capital, in Mayfair. The business, which was founded in 2014 by Sam Cole and Ross Cannon, has opened its latest site at Avery Row. The lunchtime-focused concept also operates sites in Barbican, Farringdon and Bank. The company said its mission is to “create salads that are more than just sideshows to the main event; dishes that are as satisfying and as indulgent as your guiltiest treats but without sacrificing nutritional values”. Davis Coffer Lyons acted on the Mayfair deal. 

Wakefield-based cafe and restaurant group opens fifth Yorkshire site: Wakefield-based The Capri Group has opened its fifth cafe and restaurant, Capri at the Containers, in Stourton, near Leeds. The business, which has been owned and run by Paymen Karimi and his family since 1996, already operates Capri at the Vine and Capri Horbury in Wakefield, Capri Mirfield in Mirfield and Capri Café Capri Woodkirk in Tingley. The new Stourton site, in Pontefract Road, features three floors with a ground floor cafe serving breakfast and lunch, a first-floor restaurant serving Italian brunch, lunch and dinner and a rooftop bar area with terrace that has live music, cocktails and is available for private hire. Karimi told the Business Desk: “There are very few great eateries in the area, so we expect lots of those working in nearby businesses to enjoy the Containers. The three floors have a very distinctive feel to them.” ¬¬There is a 60-person capacity for both the ground floor cafe and first-floor restaurant.

Glasgow-based multi-site operators to open fourth restaurant in the city: The co-owners of three Glasgow restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Cail Bruich, will open a new seafood restaurant in the city this spring. Paul and Chris Charalambous, who also operate seafood and cocktail bar Brett and French bistro Epicures, under the umbrella of Cultar Restaurant Group, have partnered with hospitality investor and Itison founder, Oli Norman, for the venture. Called Shucks, the 80-cover seafood restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace will be located in Hyndland, in Glasgow’s West End, on a site formerly occupied by Nick’s Neighbourhood Bar. Following a £250,000 refurbishment, the Shucks kitchen will be serving up the “best catches from Scottish waters”. Heading up the kitchen will be Shaun Haggarty, previously head chef at Cail Bruich, who has also worked at Stokehouse and Circa at The Prince Hotel, both in Melbourne. His team will be using in-house curing and smoking techniques to the best of Scottish seafood with Asian influences. Paul Charalambous said: “We are delighted to be opening up our fourth venue in our hometown. The menu is experimental but approachable, showcasing the simplicity of the seafood from our Scottish shores. Shucks has been a long-awaited opening for the team and we’re looking forward to opening our doors to the great people of Glasgow and beyond.” The drinks menu includes a champagne trolley, wine list and seasonal cocktails.

Foodhub sales up by a quarter in 2021, eyes further growth: Food delivery platform Foodhub has reported major growth in 2021, with sales up by a quarter. The Stoke-on-Trent-based business, which recently moved into a new headquarters in Fenton, revealed that online orders had surged from £27.5m in 2020 to £34.4m in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 25%. The firm’s number of worldwide restaurant partners increased by 53.6%, from 18,351 to 28,011, while its number of employees was up by 27.7%, from 772 to 986. Foodhub chief executive, Ardian Mula, said: “I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved in 2021, from growing in every major business category to bringing on board a number of exciting new talents from the local area. To do all this in the face of an ongoing pandemic, with additional stresses on each and every one of us, is something that I’m particularly proud of. This year, we’re looking to go even bigger and do even better.” Foodhub, which was founded in 2017, announced plans in June to expand into the US, starting with a launch in Louisiana. The company also last year unveiled plans to raise £100m in private equity funding to turbocharge its growth. 

Butchies to open Ealing Filmworks site next month: London-based chicken sandwich concept Butchies, which is chaired by Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh, will open at Ealing Filmworks next month. Taking its place in the development alongside a branch of Japanese ramen restaurant Kanada-Ya and a new Picturehouse cinema, Butchies will open its door on Saturday, 19 March. Featuring an outdoor terrace with seating for 20, the Ealing restaurant, which will have room for 45 diners inside, will be Butchies’ sixth and its biggest yet. Founder Garrett Fitzgerald said: “We’ve come so far from our pop-up days, but our mission to serve the best buttermilk fried chicken sandwich in the world is still the same as it’s always been. We cannot wait to spread the Butchies love in Ealing.” A further Butchies opening at London’s Borough Yards was announced in October for “the next couple of months” but has not yet opened its doors. Butchies also launched new sites in Earls Court, Camden and Market Halls Victoria last year, and has an opening planned for Market Halls West End. It also has sites in Clapham and Shoreditch.

Bean relocates to permanent site in Liverpool ONE development: North west-based independent coffee company Bean has opened a permanent space in Liverpool’s Manesty’s Lane, having relocated from its pop-up in South John Street. The 13-strong company, which has its headquarters and roastery in Liverpool, agreed a deal with Grosvenor Britain & Ireland for the South John Street space in September. It has now moved to an 1,800 square-foot space that offers a coffee shop with 42 covers, plus an improved retail space for customers to trial and buy coffee making equipment. The new site also houses coffee tasting sessions, a dedicated brew bar and individual barista masterclasses. Jon Whyte, managing director of Bean, said: “We are very pleased to be operating within a permanent home at Liverpool ONE, building on the success we have already experienced at the destination via our pop-up tenancy. At Bean, we love introducing people to specialty coffee, so our brew bar and coffee area are perfect for customers to explore, allowing them take top tips and equipment home with them.” Metis and CBRE acted for Liverpool ONE while Bean dealt direct.

Former The Alchemist bartender to launch seafood and cocktail pop-up bar and restaurant in Manchester next month: Pesky, a seafood and cocktails-focused small plates restaurant and bar, will open as a pop-up in Manchester’s Deansgate Square next month. Also featuring guests DJs, it will open from Wednesday (2 March) until Sunday, 27 March opposite the General Store in Owen Street, in the space formerly occupied by a Harvey Nichols Christmas pop-up. Behind the concept is food science and nutrition masters graduate and former The Alchemist bartender Zaide O’Rourke, who was inspired to create Pesky after living in Sweden, where seafood dishes are part of everyday life. “Pesky is a celebration of life, community and creative food and drink,” said O’Rourke. “I am so excited to start feeding the folk of Manchester.” Pesky will offer a menu of nibbles and small plates, ranging between £4-£10 each, with oysters a speciality, and also including vegan and vegetarian “land food” options. O’Rourke has also curated a cocktail list that includes a seaweed martini, and a whiskey sour that features lychee liqueur and black cardamom.

Just Eat partners with Order with Google: Just Eat has partnered with new Google feature, Order with Google, enabling its restaurant partners to reach new customers and grow revenue. The new feature makes food ordering available across mobile and desktop platforms through Google Search and Google Maps. Whenever consumers search for a particular restaurant in Search or Maps, they will be given the option to order food directly through Google, without having to visit the Just Eat app or website. Just Eat will then fulfil the orders based on its restaurants and menu data. Just Eat guest accounts are created for each order, and payments are taken by Just Eat but made via Google Pay. Andrew Kenny, managing director for Just Eat UK, said: “Just Eat is committed to supporting its restaurant partners, and I’m delighted Order with Google is now live and providing them with another way of getting even more customers through their doors. This partnership allows us to continue to bring the very best service and ordering opportunities to our customers and restaurant partners as demand for food delivery goes from strength to strength in the UK.”

Bibendum to celebrate 40th anniversary by giving away 40 glasses of wine to 40 customers: Drinks distributer Bibendum Wine will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year with a campaign to give 40 glasses of wine to 40 customers. Founded in 1982 by a wine loving group of friends including Michael Saunders, who remains in the business to this day, Bibendum is known for inspiring more adventurous wine drinking, with a portfolio focusing on “exciting and authentic” wine producers. Launching on Tuesday (1 March), the campaign will see the first 40 customers who order via Bibendum’s new e-commerce website, Bibendum Wine Online, receive 40 free glasses of wine (seven bottles). Customers will need to use a promotional code, which will be revealed on Bibendum’s social channels and at its 40th anniversary tasting, at St Mary’s in York Street, London, on Tuesday. Clara Shand, commercial director, said: “We are so proud to be celebrating 40 years of Bibendum this year. Bibendum is well renowned for not only its extensive and exciting portfolio, but for having great people and great customers. We thought there was no better way to celebrate than to give customers a chance to celebrate alongside us.”

The Celtic Collection to open seafood-inspired bar and restaurant at new Pembrokeshire hotel: The Celtic Collection, which operates a number of hotels including Celtic Manor, will open a seafood-inspired bar and restaurant at its new Pembrokeshire hotel, Ty Hotel Milford Waterfront, which launches in April. Named Dulse after the edible variety of seaweed that grows in abundance around the local coastline, the restaurant will be led by executive head chef Simon Crockford, inspired by the fresh seafood of his Pembrokeshire childhood. Crockford, Wales’ National Chef of the Year in 2017, will bring diners “a celebration of the best produce and flavours that west Wales has to offer”. He said: “As a proud Pembrokeshire boy, I’ve always championed the great food to be found in this part of the country. We’ve created an exciting menu, inspired by the land and the coastline of west Wales, which not only complements the picturesque views of Milford Waterfront, but also adds to the ambience at Dulse.” The hotel itself will boast 100 guest bedrooms as well as a private dining area and activity suite. The Celtic Collection – which also includes the five-star Resort Hotel, the 19th century Manor House, Coldra Court, the Newbridge on Usk and Tŷ Hotel Magor – most recently opened the Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff, in partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union. Milford Waterfront is a multimillion-pound regeneration project around the Milford Haven marina and docks, which includes floating camping cabins plus fish, beer and street food festivals.

Marriott International takes on The Westbury Mayfair for St Regis brand, plans £90m redevelopment: Marriott International has signed a management agreement with Cola Holdings and The Westbury Hotel to bring its St Regis brand to London. Marriott International currently operates 16 properties under the luxury brand across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The St Regis London is expected to welcome its first guests in 2023, offering a “highly personalised guest experience” on the corner of Bond Street and Conduit Street. George Fleck, vice-president and global brand leader for St Regis Hotels & Resorts, said: “This is a pivotal moment for us as we bring this cherished brand to the UK. We are delighted to bring the brand’s timeless legacy, cherished traditions and bespoke service to one of the finest addresses in London.” Marriott is planning a £90m redevelopment of the former Westbury Mayfair Hotel, including the addition of an eighth floor. As well as 196 rooms and suites, it will reopen with a rear extension plus a signature restaurant, speakeasy jazz bar, fitness centre and spa. The new owners will, however, retain The Polo Bar, originally designed for the Phipps family, creators of the Westbury Hotel in New York and London. Paul Thomas, vice-president of international hotel development for Marriott International, added: “London is a highly sought-after market for luxury travellers, and this landmark signing underscores our commitment to growing Marriott International’s dynamic portfolio in strategic destinations.” 

Stonehouse Restaurants joins Too Good To Go app: Mitchells & Butlers-owned Stonehouse Restaurants has joined the Too Good To Go app, cutting food waste at its 92 pizza and carvery sites. Too Good To Go lets people buy surplus food and drink from restaurants, grocery stores, pubs, cafes and producers to stop it from going to waste. Stonehouse is offering both meat and vegetarian “magic bags”, containing a variety of surplus food, for a reduced price, ranging from £2.29 to £3.20. David Hoyland, operations director for Stonehouse Restaurants, said: “We’re delighted to be helping to reduce food waste. We have always been considered as great value for money, and now guests can help us to have a positive impact on the environment too.” 

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