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Mon 4th Apr 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Parogon Pub Group aims to double portfolio over next three years with £15m investment, launches £5,000 ‘finder’s fee’ incentive: Staffordshire-based Parogon Group, which operates nine pubs in the region, plans to double its portfolio over the next three years. In a £15m investment, it is aiming to add ten new sites by 2025 and has launched a £5,000 reward to help find new sites to acquire. The group admits it is struggling to finds suitable venues in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, the East Midlands, South Manchester and North Birmingham regions and has turned to agents and the general public for help. Phil Sharp, property director at Parogon Group, said: “We’re keen to bring our award-winning recipe to other areas but there seems to be a shortage of sites that work for us. We know there’s no one better to show us those hidden gems than those who live in the local communities, so we’re asking people to get in touch if they know a suitable venue, with a £5,000 reward if it comes off.” The group is seeking large destination drive-to pub venues close to main roads, with large garden spaces and space for a minimum of 100 covers, with freeholds preferred. Retail or edge-of-town locations with high footfall and a minimum of 80 covers, which can be leaseholds or freeholds, will also be considered. Parogon opened a new all-day dining Mediterranean concept called Willow at its Trentham Garden venue in May 2021, followed by The Broughton, in Crewe, five months later. Both new venues contributed significantly towards increased revenues across the group, according to a post-period end statement in its accounts for the year ending 30 June 2021. A pre-tax loss of £405,000 in 2020 was turned into a £783,000 profit, despite a reduction in turnover from £17.5m to £10.3m, with government grants of £2.1m claimed. The company said. “The board of directors are confident the group will report a year of record profitability in the next period and continue to look to expand the business. A minimum of two new sites per year is the target for growth. Central costs at the existing level will allow for at least two more sites without significant additional expenditure, which will facilitate sustained group Ebitda growth over the next two years.” The company also said investment in new sites had been made possible by an “immediate return to pre-pandemic turnover levels”, adding: “It is very pleasing to report a profit, especially given the enforced closures over the period, and is testament to the resilience of the brand’s locations and presentation and delivery of the offer.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – S4labour celebrates the success of its customers in Publican Awards: Management company S4labour is celebrating after more than half of the winners in the 2022 Publican Awards use its labour system. These include Liberation Group, Chestnut Group, Oakman Group, Provenance Inns and Hotels, Baron Pub Group and Albion & East. A spokesman for S4labour said: “While there is no award for the best people or payroll supplier at the awards, we are indulging in a quiet pride knowing that more than half of the winners at this year’s awards are S4labour customers. For the last few years, the best operators in the sector have been moving over to S4labour – the proportion of our customers nominated and winning Publican Awards this year shows this beautifully. We are so proud of the winners and thrilled to be working with them every day in their successful journeys.” If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email
A total of 386 new openings detailed in next edition of The New Openings Database, 19,100-word report included: A total of 386 openings will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock. The database will be published on Friday (8 April) at midday. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There will also be a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. The eighth edition of the database features The Thin White Duke, a cocktail bar inspired by legendary musician David Bowie, which has opened in London’s Soho. In addition, Komo, the Surrey-based independent cocktail bar company, which has announced it is opening a second site this month, in Woking’s Victoria Place, will be featured. Also included is Blinker, which is owned by Dan Berger and is opening in Manchester’s Spring Gardens next month. Meanwhile, bar entrepreneur Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, has opened a new cocktail bar called Seed Library, at the Lore Group’s One Hundred Shoreditch hotel. Premium subscribers will also receive a 19,100-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (1 April). The database contained 69 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,407. The 496 sites run by those 69 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 64,884 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 5,000-word report on the new businesses added. The go-to database 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. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Premium subscribers also receive the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to a new database this month. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database will be an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and be updated every two months. The first edition will feature more than 100 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. The first edition provides 27,000 words of content. 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. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.
Chancellor urged to ‘go back to drawing board’ with spring statement: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to “go back to the drawing board” on his spring statement – just as he did at the start of the pandemic. Sunak disappointed many in the industry when he failed to freeze VAT at 12.5% for hospitality. With the rate returning to 20% on Friday (1 April) – plus rising energy prices kicking in on the same day, alongside cost pressures already facing many in the industry – NTIA believes it’s time for Sunak to think again. NTIA chief executive, Michael Kill, said: “The industry has lost more than a third of nightclubs across the UK in the last two years, and with the withdrawal of financial reliefs including VAT – and growing concern over cost inflation as new contracts are being signed – we are set for many more businesses to be lost with jobs to follow over the next 12 months. Once again, our industry is facing a very bleak period. The feedback from members and wider industry is this is not sustainable and will lead to unprecedented price increases, in an environment where customers have less disposable income. I would urge the chancellor to revisit the spring budget, as autumn will be too late for many.”
Haysmacintyre invites operators to take part in first snapshot survey of sector of 2022: Hospitality specialist Haysmacintyre is inviting operators to take part in a snapshot survey of the sector as it continues to monitor the industry’s recovery from the pandemic. Haysmacintyre launched a series of snapshot surveys in 2021 to track developments in sector sentiment. The business is now conducting the first snapshot survey of 2022, with a second survey to be released later in the year. The survey will deliver an update from operators on future prospects for the sector, as well as the challengers operators currently face, and may face in the future. The survey consists of six key questions covering future prospects, the outlook for the industry, challenges facing operators, strategic priorities and staff costs. The survey will remain open for a couple of weeks and operators can choose whether to remain anonymous or submit their details. Results will be shared with participants alongside expert commentary from haysmacintyre’s specialist team. To complete the survey, click here.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a foodservice business that is looking to hire a food production specialist. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This position requires a candidate who has experience of running central processing units/production kitchens. The role would suit a strong operator that doesn’t come from a regimented background and who can bring innovation to the role. You will demonstrate a hands-on approach as you will be leading the team from the front, to achieve the best possible results. You must have experience developing and delivering a strategy for food production.” The role is national with a salary of between £70,000 and £100,000. For more information and to apply, email

Company News:

South London-based pub group looking to expand to 20-plus sites within M25 and open own brewery: South London-based pub group, The Queen’s House, plans to expand within the M25 by acquiring 20-plus sites and open its own brewery. Founded in 2019 by Alan Grant – who is behind the Notting Hill Arts Club, Cherry Jam and Neighbourhood and was part of the opening team at The Standard Hotel – The Queen’s House opened The Paxton, in Gipsy Hill, in 2020, followed by The Greyhound, in Peckham, last month. A third site and its biggest yet, The Royal Oak, will open in Barking in May, with a capacity of 140 inside and 200 outside. Grant told Propel: “The next phase of growth for us would be to acquire a medium size pub group, say 20-plus sites, and convert them into The Queen’s House venue brand. We see this as a natural next step, having proven our concept across three very different sites in London, largely in the eye of the storm of a global pandemic. I would not rule out acquiring sites outside of London, but our focus is very much on London and the M25. We are also at the early stages of acquiring our own brewery operation.” Grant said launching during the pandemic allowed the company to “negotiate terms that reflected the real possibility of a full lockdown”, and while it didn’t access any government loans, he said the support of landlords was “critical” and “allowed us to manage and survive”. The company also launched lockdown takeaway and delivery brands, including Vegan Chef and Queen’s House Pizza, which have now become an integral part of the business. Looking ahead, not only will The Royal Oak be the company’s biggest site yet but will also feature a croquet lawn and family picnic area. Its food offering will focus on global street food, and like its other sites, a programme of live music and events is planned. The drink offering will focus on a rotating range of independent craft beer. Grant added: “You will not see any of the mainstream beer brands in our pubs except for Guinness. We aim to give independent craft beer breweries and brewers a route to the largely closed pub market. We believe craft beer is the future.”
Wahaca seeks new London sites as it targets ‘measured’ capital expansion, launches carbon menu ratings: Mexican restaurant group Wahaca is looking to secure a series of sites across London as it begins a measured expansion programme in the capital. Wahaca plans to open new restaurants in key locations such as King’s Cross, Victoria and strong London suburbs – specifically targeting locations and landlords who prioritise sustainability. The company is working with P-Three on its plans. It comes as Wahaca this week adds carbon ratings to its menus, measuring the climate impact of each of its dishes. To calculate the carbon footprint of each dish, Wahaca partnered with food and climate specialists Klimato to give a low, medium or high rating. Wahaca co-founder, Mark Selby, said: “As well as continuing to innovate with initiatives such as the carbon food ratings and being the UK’s first carbon neutral restaurant business, we are putting sustainability at the centre of our expansion strategy. We want to work with landlords to open restaurants in places that share not only our ethos but are as committed as we are to taking positive, affirmative action on the environment. It has also been well-received by the landlords we have spoken to, all of whom are seeking more sustainable partners.” Last month, Selby said the company is looking at new sites for both its eponymous brand and DF Tacos concept. Launched initially as DF/Mexico at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, DF Tacos now also operates in Tottenham Court Road, Brixton, and Market Halls Victoria.

Whitbread begins search for new CEO to replace Alison Brittain: Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, is preparing for its chief executive to step down after seven years, with the finance director of advertising giant WPP among early contenders to replace her. The Sunday Times reports that Whitbread has begun working with headhunters at Spencer Stuart on succession planning for Alison Brittain. Brittain has reshaped the leisure group since joining in 2015, selling the Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola and taking Premier Inn into Germany. She has steered Whitbread through covid lockdowns, which saw its hotels and bars forced to close for swathes of 2020 and 2021, and in January was able to report that sales in the quarter to 25 November were 5.5% ahead of 2019 levels. The search for a new chief executive follows the appointment of former Asda and Greene King executive Hemant Patel as Whitbread’s finance director, after predecessor Nicholas Cadbury left for British Airways owner IAG. John Rogers, finance director of WPP, whose agencies include GroupM and Ogilvy, is understood to be among early candidates interested in succeeding Brittain. Rogers has long been seen as a future chief executive. He joined WPP in 2020 from Sainsbury’s, where he helped oversee the supermarket’s takeover of catalogue retailer Argos, which he then ran for three years. Alongside his role at WPP, Rogers sits on the board of Grab, the Singaporean ride-hailing app whose shares have crashed since it went public in the US via a special-purpose acquisition company last year. Rogers was paid a total of £4.8m by WPP last year – more than its chief executive, Mark Read. Whitbread employs 30,000 people and has 870 hotels in Britain, Germany and the Middle East. Its main brand is Premier Inn. It also owns 400 Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table pub restaurants. Its shares have fallen by about a quarter in Brittain’s tenure, while the FTSE 100 has risen by about the same degree. Brittain is one of only nine women running FTSE 100 companies. In a 2012 interview, she said she was “ambivalent” about the use of diversity quotas. She said an “obsession” with appointing women as non-executive directors was “sucking out executives” from the talent pipeline.
Atul Kochhar plans roll out of Riwaz concept: Two Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is planning a roll out of his fledgling Indian restaurant concept Riwaz, Propel understands. The chef launched the concept last year on former Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi premises in Aylesbury End, Beaconsfield. Propel understands that Kochhar has lined up a further two sites for Riwaz in Tunbridge Wells and Windsor. The Tunbridge Wells site will open in the former Woods Restaurant site near the town’s The Bandstand. At the same time, the chef has applied to open a Riwaz in Peascod Street in Windsor. The menu pays homage to Kochhar’s Indian upbringing, offering “sensational Indian cuisine inspired by the history, cultural practices and rustic charm of the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengali and Orissa among others.” Kochhar’s collection of restaurants includes Kanishka Mayfair; Indian Essence at Petts Wood; Kanishka Kitchen in Heathrow’s Terminal 5; Kanishka Hawkyns in Amersham; and Sindhu and Vassu – both in Marlow. 
Global bakery brand Paris Baguette plans London rollout: South Korean-born bakery brand Paris Baguette, which operates just under 4,000 sites worldwide, is planning to roll out in London after lining up a second site in the capital. Propel understands that the brand, which is owned by the SPC Group, has lined up an opening at 129 Kensington High Street. The company has already lined up an opening in the Battersea Power Station development. SPC Group currently operates around 3,500 Paris Baguette stores in South Korea and 450 international locations across China, the US, Canada, France, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Last year, it embarked on a programme of international expansion, entering the Canadian, Indonesian and Cambodian markets and announcing its intention to operate 100 US stores by the end of 2021, as part of a wider goal to reach 1,000 locations in the US by 2030. Propel previously revealed that SPC has appointed Nicolas Gaillot, formerly of Le Pain Quotidien, the all-day bakery and cafe concept, and the Imbiba-backed wine bar business Vagabond Wines, as chief operating officer of Paris Baguette UK.
City Pub Group names new all-day dining concept Damson & Wilde: City Pub Group, which owns and operates 46 premium pubs across Southern England and Wales and a further four development sites, is to name its new all-day dining concept Damson & Wilde, Propel has learned. Last month, Propel revealed that City Pub Group planned to roll out a new all-day dining concept, beginning with an opening on the former Café Rouge site in Bury St Edmunds, which it acquired last year, later this spring. The company, which is also thought to have considered the name Astor & Wilde, has appointed property firm Colliers to aid it on expansion opportunities for the concept, with sites of between 3,000-8,000 square feet at ground floor in market towns, London suburbs and city centres being sought. In a planning application for the Bury St Edmunds site, the offer proposed by City Pub Group is a new casual-dining, all-day trading concept “based on a brasserie, entirely seated and table service only, where guests are greeted by a host on the entrance”. 
Smith & Western founders to launch new coffee concept: The founders of Smith & Western, the south east-based US-style restaurant chain, are to launch a new coffee concept. Propel understands that the Sandford family will launch the first Amici Coffee Co site in East Street, Horsham, later this month. The new concept will be adjacent to the company’s Smith & Western site, which opened last year, after the business relocated its site in Horsham to a more central location in the West Sussex town. The group, which is owned by the Sandford family, opened its latest site in early 2019 at the Addlestone One regeneration scheme in Addlestone, Surrey, and also operates restaurants in Boxhill, Crawley, Chichester, Lingfield and Tunbridge Wells. 
Ex-Le Pain Quotidien CEO joins Neat Burger to spearhead US market entry ahead of further international expansion: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger has made a series of key appointments as it prepares for international expansion, starting in the key US market. Following Neat’s recent announcement that it will launch its new product range into American supermarkets later this year, leading the US expansion will be Vincent Herbert, former chief executive of Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ), who joins as chief executive of Neat Burger USA. Herbert’s tenure at LPQ saw the roll out from five to 330 stores in 22 territories around the world, and he will oversee all aspects of Neat Burger’s rapid site expansion strategy in the US, including product development and retail consumer distribution. The company has also added Jeffrey S Fried and Henrik Fjordbak to its advisory board. Fried is a former chairman of Sweetgreen, the US fast food salad chain, who specialises in investing in entrepreneurial companies that are innovative and disruptive within emerging industries. Fjordbak, an expert in equity funds specialising in food and beverage and lifestyle companies, was previously chief operating officer at Joe & The Juice, where he grew the brand from three sites to 300. Their appointments follow that of James Skidmore, former chief executive at Hain Daniels, who joined earlier this month. Zack Bishti, co-founder and chief executive of Neat Burger, said: “These senior hires are a key part of our execution to become global leaders in the alternative-proteins arena. Between Jeff and Henrik’s expertise in nurturing industry-leading brands, along with Vincent’s prowess in delivering global expansion alongside a fine-tuned operations setup, we have a powerhouse team primed for Neat’s explosive entry into new markets.”
Food delivery start-up Growth Kitchen raises £3m to support growth: Growth Kitchen, the food tech start-up building smart satellite kitchen networks, has raised £3m in seed funding from a group of strategic investors led by PactVC. These includes the co-founders of on-demand grocery delivery company Gorillas — Ronny Shibley, Jörg Kattner and Felix Chrobog, who was also general manger for Deliveroo. The round also featured TwinklHive chief executive Jonathan Seaton and Robert Laurence, chief executive of Resolution Property. Both Shibley and Seaton were additionally appointed to the board of directors. The investment is helping Growth Kitchen continue to grow its delivery kitchen model, where restaurants can “scale like a SaaS company while remaining the exclusive owner of their business”.  Growth Kitchen co-founder, Máté Kun, said: “Building on the success of food delivery apps, we are introducing a step change in how we eat. We transform high-order-volume restaurants into delivery powerhouses by making it very easy for them to scale through our satellite kitchen network. We are thrilled to receive support from pioneers in the food delivery industry such as Ronny, creators of future-proof real estate like Robert, and those leaders disrupting the way we use technology such as Jonathan. With this backing, we have been able to build a team and establish ourselves as the preferred partner of the best delivery restaurants.” Growth Kitchen has already partnered with restaurant brands including Tortilla, Tai Kitchen and The Athenian, in London, across two hubs that support 20-plus restaurants. The company is on track to open 40 new hubs within the next two years across the UK and key European markets. Shibley said: “Where Gorillas can deliver groceries to your door in ten minutes, the logical next step would be to go into restaurant food. Growth Kitchen has the technology to find and operate across strategic locations and a steady flow of drivers coming in and out, while attracting top food brands who don’t churn and want to keep scaling with them.”
Doughnut pop-up and retail brand looking to set up several bricks-and-mortar sites: Midlands-based doughnut pop-up and retail brand Project D is looking at branching out into bricks-and-mortar sites and aiming to open several locations. Started by three friends in 2018 and initially selling at markets and pop-up venues, the team expanded into home delivery during the pandemic. In 2020, it opened its own bakery in Spondon, launched an online shop and signed a lease on a unit in Leeds, enabling them to box and deliver doughnuts around the clock. It has now partnered with property consultants, Box Property, to acquire retail outlets in major city locations for its expansion plans. Project D co-owner, Max Poynton, said: “We’ve seen some phenomenal growth over the last few years, and as part of our future plans, we feel like now is the right time to start rolling out stores nationwide, giving us a permanent shopfront in city high streets up and down the country.” Frankie Labbate, co-founder of Box Property, added: “Project D has evolved from selling at local markets and pop-up shops to build a strong, recognisable brand with significant online sales and huge potential for future growth. It is now looking for physical retail space to set up a permanent presence in several high footfall locations, and we’re already in discussions about a number of potential units up to 750 square feet.”
Venue Group set to launch new sustainable all-day cafe bar in south London: The Venue Group (TVG) Hospitality, which is headed by Ben Lovett of folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, will later this month launch an all-day cafe bar focused on organic and sustainably sourced produce in south London. Situated on a pedestrian square in Flat Iron Square, Union Street, Audrey’s will offer informal drinking and dining throughout the day and into the evenings, with an open kitchen and additional outside seating. The 1,300 square-foot site will have an all-day and takeaway menu, alongside a cocktail menu and modern wine from independent, biodynamic and organic producers. General manager, Kyle Shannon Lindsay, said: “With a location that’s hard to beat, a short hop from Borough Market and with a wealth of Bankside cultural activities on our doorstep, we are eager to flip the open sign on this new addition to the capital’s dining scene.” Founded in 2015, TVG launched its debut live music venue, Omeara, in Southwark in 2016 and took over the running of the wider development of Flat Iron Square in 2017, before launching music, drinks and street food concept Goods Way in King’s Cross in 2020. In February, it announced it had raised $50m to help fund plans to expand in the US, with several venues already under development there. The first, due to open in May, is the Orion Amphitheatre in Huntsville, Alabama, which is set to be followed by projects in Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles.
Elle R Leisure reports ‘very strong’ trading since restrictions lift, full-year turnover falls 70% due to pandemic: Manchester-based hospitality company Elle R Leisure has reported “very strong” trading since the lifting of restrictions. The independent company, which operates four Albert’s restaurants, three hotels and a large city centre bar, also said it has strong booking levels for the remainder of 2022 across all its venues. It comes as the business reported turnover for the year ending 31 March 2021 fell 70% to £5.4m from £18.9m the previous year due to the impact of the various lockdowns. It saw a pre-tax loss of £420,000 versus a profit of £1.1m the year before. The group received £3.1m in support from the various government schemes.
Pasta Evangelists set to launch Pasta Academy in London: Pasta delivery start-up Pasta Evangelists will this month launch a standalone Pasta Academy in London’s Barbican. Offering a regular schedule of pasta classes, priced at £45 per person, the Academy will be based at 62-63 Long Lane. Founded by Alessandro Savelli six years ago, Pasta Evangelists was bought by the Barilla Group, a 134-year-old pasta and bakery enterprise, in a £40m deal in January 2021, and four months later opened its first restaurant, in the Harrods Dining Hall. It now has 21 Deliveroo kitchens and delivers more than 50,000 pasta boxes each month, with online menus changing weekly.
Greene King launches seventh Hive pub: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched the seventh site for its new pub franchise concept, Hive. The Orb & Sceptre in South Wootton, Kings Lynn, has been transformed into a Hive pub following a £400,000 investment and will be run by new franchisees Alan and Sam Brookes. The branded community pub model is run by Greene King through its tenanted and leased arm, Pub Partners. The Orb & Sceptre, previously known as The Deer’s Leap, has been transformed including a significant upgrade of the outside with “beach huts”. The pub offers an extensive range of food and drink, including a menu of pub classics curated by the food team at Greene King. Aimed at those with experience of running a pub, the Hive franchise agreement gives licensees “a ready to trade pub within a proven branded concept” for £5,000 ingoing cost, and a minimum guaranteed income of £20,000 plus additional income based on performance such as share of turnover. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “The Orb & Sceptre is one of our biggest Hive pub transformations to date. We look forward to continuing the rollout of our Hive franchise concept with more openings in the pipeline.” As previously reported, Greene King plans to grow its franchised estate from its current 19 sites to around 170 in the next five years.
CQK Group reports high occupancy rates since reopening, remains profitable from rental income: CQK Group, which operates a portfolio of three hotels in Surrey and Kent under its Manor Collection brand, has reported high occupancy rates since being allowed to reopen. It also remained profitable thanks to rental income from its investment property business, which helps “provide a positive cash flow”. Its accounts for the year ending 31 March 2021 showed pre-tax profits down from £717,000 in 2020 to £46,000, with turnover down from £6m to £962,000 in the same period. It also received furlough payments from the government. The company said: “At the date of the approval of the accounts, all three hotels are fully open and occupancy rates are high. Since opening, there has been a high demand for weddings and other events. The group has also managed to maintain rental income level with the prior year, and the directors are confident the group is well positioned to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

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