Story of the Day:
More than half of consumers’ say calorie labelling laws will influence choice of food and restaurant: More than half of consumers have said their eating habits and choice of restaurant will be influenced by new calorie labelling laws, according to new research. The new legislation, which comes into force tomorrow (Wednesday, 6 April), requires all cafes, restaurants and takeaways run by companies with more than 250 employees to include calorie labelling and counts on their menus. New research by Vita Mojo and KAM reveals 57% of those surveyed will be influenced by the new laws when choosing what to eat while 43% said they would be more likely to select a restaurant with calorie labelling on the menu. Consumers in urban areas are more likely to be influenced by calories (55%), let it influence what they eat (66%) and what restaurant they choose (48%). This compares favourably with suburban areas (37%, 54% and 39%), and rural areas (35%, 52% and 37%). Some 48% said they keep track or are aware of the calories they consume (15% to a great extent, 33% to some extent and 24% only a little), while Generation Z are more focused on calorie tracking, with 32% saying they do so to a great extent, compared with just 23% of millennials. Furthermore, 68% feel the new legislation is a good move, but only 21% think it will have a positive effect on the nation’s obesity levels. And while both men and women track calories, 30% of men said they don’t in any way, compared with 25% of women. Vita Mojo co-founder, Stefan Catiou, said: “Our research shows consumers want to know more about what they eat, both in terms of how it impacts and supports their health goals, as well as where the food comes from. This requirement is only going to increase, with younger generations taking even more interest in what they eat and how it is sourced.” Katy Moses, founder and managing director of KAM, added: “We know consumers are increasingly asking questions about the food and drink they consume. The research highlighted that for restaurants in urban areas, home to high populations of Generation Z, it’s particularly important to make this information available.”
Sponsored message – under pressure hospitality workers want more flexibility and appreciation:
A new collaboration between employee experience platform Harri and insight consultancy CGA offers in-depth insight into hospitality workers’ views of the sector. Front-line teams are feeling increased pressure, with staff shortages a major contributor. Workers are less satisfied with their jobs with almost half (45%) saying their employment is less appealing. The survey showed teams would welcome better technology, with digital clocking-in and out and shift management highlighted as areas that technology could improve their experience. Unsociable hours (cited by 54%), increased workload (49%) and low pay (47%) are the top reasons given by employees to explain staff shortages. When considering a job, pay (63%) and flexibility (49%) were the main deciding factors. “Now’s the time to repay employees – the biggest priorities are to improve their experience,” said Harri commercial director Pete Willis. “Give them the right technology and help them achieve the work-life balance they need.” Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, added: “This research provides fascinating intelligence about the attitudes of staff, and highlights the crucial role of technology by keeping staff engaged.” Download the report here
or for more information, email Pete@harri.com. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email email@example.com
Cluster of London pub openings to feature in next edition of The New Openings Database, 19,100-word report included:
A cluster of London pub openings will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database
, which is produced in association with StarStock. The database will show the details of 386 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (8 April) at midday. The database, which is published monthly, 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. The next edition features The Greyhound
, which opened in south London in March, and is one of two planned openings this year for south London-based pub group The Queen’s House, which will also open The Royal Oak
, in Barking. Also included is The Talbot
in Brockley, Lewisham, which is being reopened by south east-based the Little & Large Pub Company for its third site this spring. In addition, chef Rob Tecwyn and Adam Symonds who are reuniting to open a new neighbourhood pub, The Baring
, in London’s Islington, in May, will be featured. 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 last 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 almost 25,000 words of content. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Less than half of £635m Omicron support cash paid out to pubs and restaurants: Less than half of a £635m government support scheme has been paid out to pubs and restaurants. Data suggested that, by late February, hospitality bosses had received only £305m of the cash promised by the Treasury to help them get through Omicron restrictions, reports the Telegraph. The one-off grants were announced in December as a lifeline for businesses as the new covid variant swept across the country. Local authorities were tasked with distributing the grants, which were for as much as £6,000 per business. Some 200,000 hospitality and leisure businesses were expected to benefit from the grants to compensate for an average 40% fall in revenue. However, figures compiled by Altus Group suggest as many as 29 councils had distributed no grant funding at all by late February. The scheme closed in the middle of March and had to make all payments by last Thursday (31 March). Robert Hayton, UK president of Altus Group, said: “These types of businesses saw one of their most valuable trading periods wiped out and simply didn’t get the support they needed quickly enough.”
Leaders’ confidence rises but cost pressures threaten recovery, menu prices up 8% on average: Sector leaders are increasingly optimistic about prospects for 2022 but cost pressures threaten the industry’s recovery and menu prices have risen 8% on average, the latest CGA and Fourth’s Business Leaders’ Survey has revealed. The poll of multi-site business leaders showed 65% are confident about the next 12 months for the market – an increase of six percentage points since the last survey in December 2021. The number of leaders feeling confident about their own business’ prospects has nudged up by two percentage points to 68%. The survey also indicates improved profitability in the hospitality sector. More than four in five (84%) leaders said their business is currently operating at a profit – four percentage points higher than in the December survey. Only 5% of leaders said they are making a loss. However, hospitality’s recovery from the pandemic is being threatened by mounting costs for both businesses and consumers. More than four in five (93%) leaders said they are concerned about inflation in food and drink prices, and almost as many (79%) are worried about the public cost-of-living crisis. Almost two thirds (63%) are concerned about VAT and the end to relief for the hospitality sector, and there is widespread anxiety about rising costs in energy, labour and other key inputs. Nine in ten (90%) leaders said they have been impacted by higher costs across the supply chain. The large majority have passed, or are planning to pass, some of the costs on to consumers via higher food prices (87%). Operators also face ongoing problems in the supply chain. Four in five (82%) have seen products not turning up and large numbers have faced reduced product lines (77%) and delayed deliveries (64%).
UKHospitality backs government biodiversity plans and calls for simpler process: UKHospitality has backed the government’s biodiversity and carbon net zero ambitions and called for a more streamlined implementation processes. The trade body was responding to a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation on biodiversity net gain regulations and implementation. It cautioned against placing burdensome regulations on businesses already struggling post-covid, urging the government to strike a balance between protecting the environment and creating red tape. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The government must consider the scale of operations and resources required for businesses to comply with the proposed regulations, and should therefore provide significant support to businesses where necessary. This could include financial help, particularly for smaller businesses set to incur significant implementation costs. The planning processes are already too cumbersome, stifling investment. It should be simplified to minimise costly and time-consuming administrative burdens.” UKHospitality also wants to see extensions to hospitality venues exempted as they would have minimal impacts on the environment. Nicholls added: “Hospitality is supportive of the government’s environmental goals and its ambition to become carbon net zero by 2050. Indeed, the sector remains committed to prioritising sustainable practices and has set its own targets. The industry is fully aware it has an important role to play in promoting sustainability and biodiversity, and many hospitality businesses are progressing their efforts to reduce emissions and meet the government’s environmental goals.”
Almost 170 operators join initiative to provide employment for Ukrainian refugees: Hospitality operators including The Ivy Collection, Soho House, Megan’s, D&D London and Caffe Nero are among those to join a sector-wide effort to help Ukrainian refugees seek work as they arrive in the UK. The employment consortium Hospitalityforall.co.uk, which has been spearheaded by Burger & Lobster, has welcomed 168 sign-ups from the industry. Other businesses to get involved include Drake & Morgan, Gordon Ramsay Group, Incipio Group, Pizza Pilgrims, Cote, Franco Manca and YO! Hospitalityforall.co.uk will feature a member login area where partners can manage the jobs available and a respondent database for accessible communication and organising interviews. It also includes language toggling to aid applicants in their search, allowing for full-site translation into the most spoken languages in Ukraine. Liaison with government bodies and cross-industry associations has begun to aid the launch of Hospitalityforall.co.uk in terms of directing those in need of employment support towards the platform. The initiative will launch mid-April and take the form of an applicant-first hospitality-focused recruitment website where brands can post available jobs for refugees.
Job of the day:
Award-winning hospitality, leisure and events group Boxpark has two job opportunities within its marketing department. The business is seeking an experienced head of marketing with an events and music background who can deliver strategic and impactful marketing campaigns from conception to completion. Responsibilities will include planning and delivering monthly and seasonal campaigns, managing and developing Boxpark’s Black Card digital loyalty programme, developing a CRM strategy and overseeing all digital, social, and PR campaigns. In addition, Boxpark is looking for a digital marketing manager with a hospitality, entertainment or sports background who can manage all digital channels and data analytics, drive email marketing campaigns, and develop SEO and pay-per-click strategies. This is a specialist role, and the ideal candidate will have experience using marketing automation tools, CRM software and CMS platforms. Boxpark is a fast-growing, ambitious company and candidates must be able to work flexibly in a dynamic, start-up style environment. For further information, and to apply, click here
Be At One to return to the expansion trail: Be At One, the Stonegate Group-owned cocktail bar brand, is to return to the expansion trail with two new openings, including its first in the north east. The company is understood to have applied to open a Be At One in Westgate Road, in Newcastle. Meanwhile, Stonegate plans to open a Be At One on the former Curiosity Shop site in Lincoln’s High Street. Stonegate acquired the then 33-strong Be At One in the summer of 2018 in a deal thought to be valued at around £50m. Last month, Stonegate reported strong trading across the company since January with the business in “great shape” and a robust liquidity position.
JD Wetherspoon paying equal wage to men and women: JD Wetherspoon’s gender pay report has revealed it pays its male and female employers an equal wage. A company spokesman said: “There were only 168 employees deemed to be in relevant employment on the snapshot date of 5 April 2021, when the company’s pubs were closed and the country was in lockdown, most based at head office. An additional 36,009 employees had been placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and were on furlough on the snapshot date. They have not, therefore, been included in the calculations. In order to provide a comparison with previous years, the same calculations were made based on the 36,177 employees who, before the covid-19 related lockdown on 3 January 2021, were working in our pubs, hotels and head office within Great Britain and Northern Ireland (employees in the Republic of Ireland were not included). These calculations showed the company’s median gender pay gap is zero, which means on average, women earned the same as men at Wetherspoon.”
Popeyes to open debut UK standalone restaurant with Chelmsford launch, Stratford site ranked in top ten globally for sales: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service restaurant brand, is to open its first UK standalone restaurant, in Chelmsford. The business, which is led by Tom Crowley in the UK, launched its debut site in Britain in November at Westfield Stratford, which is ranked in the top ten globally for sales out of 3,600 Popeyes restaurants. As flagged up by Propel Premium last week, the company has confirmed it will open a site in Chelmsford’s High Street. The new site, which will seat 46 guests, will offer Popeyes traditional menu including its Chicken Sandwich, and original Southern biscuits and gravy. Crowley said: “We’ve been blown away by the UK’s response to Popeyes, with guests queuing for hours to try it. Our legendary menu and Southern spirit have captured the capital already, and we look forward to building on that with the launch of Chelmsford. It was the perfect place for our first sit-down restaurant; it’s close to London but sits at the very heart of Essex, which is such a vibrant part of the UK with a close-knit community.” Peter Genna, director of global culinary innovation and product development for Popeyes, added: “Popeyes UK has ambitious plans to rapidly become a British staple and to never compromise on the quality that Popeyes is famous for.” Popeyes UK, the master franchisee for the UK, is aiming to open hundreds of sites across the next decade, and has also launched additional delivery kitchens with Deliveroo Editions in Battersea and Whitechapel. The brand has also been linked to further openings in Croydon, the MetroCentre in Gateshead, and Oxford’s Queen Street. The UK represents the 11th new market for Popeyes across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where the company has already opened hundreds of new sites as part of its global expansion.
Manorview reports ‘positive outlook’ and strong bookings pipeline but warns of ‘uncertain’ winter, introduces employee profit share scheme: Scottish independent hotel group Manorview, whose portfolio includes eight luxury hotels, has reported “a very positive outlook with a strong positive bookings pipeline” but warned of an uncertain winter ahead. The company’s accounts for the year ending 31 March 2021 showed a pre-tax loss of £2.3m versus a profit of £788,000 in 2020, with turnover down from £14.8m to £2.4m. It also received £3.8m in government grants. A report accompanying the accounts said: “The board is content with the company’s performance against unprecedented pressures. The immediate future still has a degree of some uncertainty…the company believes there could still be a risk of trading restrictions in the winter of 2022-23. The company also has risks related to the cost of goods and materials; especially food, drink and utilities, additional cost of living increases, interest rate rises and VAT/rates support ceasing will squeeze profit potential. The team have been working hard to mitigate the cost increases through menu and product engineering, procurement and pricing strategies.” The period also saw the refurbishment of The Redhurst Hotel, the development of seven luxury lodges at Cornhill Castle, restaurant works at the Lynnhurst Hotel and upgrades to the health club at Bowfield. Planning applications have been submitted for further accommodation at Bowfield and Cornhill Castle, and a new honeymoon suite at The Redhurst. Having last year signed up to pay every worker a “real living wage” as minimum, Manorview has also scrapped individual financial incentive schemes and replaced them with an annual profit share scheme payment. This distributes 10% of net profits to all employees after 12 months of service and is paid out every January. “Our belief is one common reward will enhance our culture and teamwork ethos,” the company said.
Pophams opens third London site: London-based Pophams Bakery, the artisanal bakery and restaurant concept, has opened a third site in the capital, in Victoria Park Village. The concept, founded by Ollie Gold, was launched in Islington, in 2017, followed by a second site, in Hackney, in 2019 where it launched its pasta restaurant. The Victoria Park Village site at 110a Lauriston Road offers its large range of pastries, coffee and toasties. On further expansion, Gold told Propel: “No plans to grow, we just want to concentrate on these three sites and really nail the operation. We’re just so excited to be part of the village and trying to embed ourselves in what seems like such a beautiful community of people, restaurants and shops.” Etai Page, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Victoria Park deal.
Happy Face Pizza to open third site this month, two more planned this year: Happy Face Pizza, the Neapolitan pizza concept from the founders of Canteen and Spiritland, will open its third restaurant this month, with two more planned this year. The concept, which was launched in King’s Cross at the end of 2018 by Patrick Clayton-Malone and Dominic Lake, founders of comfort food concept Canteen, and music consultant Paul Noble, will open in Brent Cross, in Claremont Way. Opening from mid-April, the Brent Cross site will be spread over 1,200 square foot with 46 covers and will trade daily for eat-in, takeaway and delivery. Interiors will follow the style of sister sites in Kings Cross and Victoria with an industrial design, high-top tables, globe lighting and striking artwork. The Brent Cross restaurant will offer Happy Face’s signature Neapolitan pizza, “created using a 72-hour fermented dough for a lighter and easier to digest crust”. The bar will serve a carefully chosen list of Italian wine, beer and cocktails. Lake said: “Following the success of our flagship in Kings Cross and recent opening in Victoria, we are delighted to be bringing our pizzas to this exciting new regeneration project at Brent Cross. It’s the area’s biggest growth programme with new housing and workplaces and we look forward to establishing our new restaurant within the local community.” Earlier this year, Lake told Propel that Happy Face Pizza planned to build an estate of ten sites over the next three years, with a focus on neighbourhood locations in the capital.
Lawson – we’re focusing on a people experience that then drives a customer experience: Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Channel Islands and West Country-based brewer and retailer Liberation Group, has told Propel the company is “focusing on a people experience that then drives a customer experience”, as cost pressures intensify for consumers. Speaking in Propel’s “Plotting a Path Forward” video series in conjunction with workforce management tech firm Harri, Lawson said: “Because I think we're all aware that if we all stand still at the moment, then on a value for money basis the equation is going to get worse for our customers, because value for money is satisfaction minus price. We've all had cost pressures. We've all had to, in some way, shape or form, put price through to the customer. We've worked really hard to offset that, to mitigate different buying local sourcing all of that, but that's the honest case. So really, the people are going to be key to delivering that difference. And that differentiation of experience that says to a customer, who has got less money, who is under pressure around cost of living, to think yeah, actually, this is still really worth me coming out. And even how we deliver to our free trade customers, how we serve these free trade customers, how we look after our national accounts, people in that relationship are also going to be key to all of that. So, yes we've got an aggressive investment programme this year through our core estate and, yes, we'll still look to acquire as and when we can, but, fundamentally I think people are the key thing we're focusing upon.”
Karali Group lines up fourth site for Sticky Sisters concept: Burger King UK franchisee Karali Group has lined up a fourth site, and its first in the Midlands, for its chicken wings concept Sticky Sisters. The company, which operates circa 80 Burger King sites across the country, is set to take on a site in The Crescent, in Hinckley. Launched in May 2017, Sticky Sisters currently operates sites in Harlow, Leeds and Farnborough. Sticky Sisters specialises in chicken served with sauces ranging from mild to “ferocious”. There is also a gameshow-style wheel customers can spin if they can’t decide which sauce to choose. The concept also offers dipping chicken wings or tenders, platters of chicken and chips, and items in a bun including beef brisket, fish fingers, chickpea and spinach, and spicy bean. There are also rustic-style wraps, salads, sides and desserts alongside beer, wine, soft drinks and milkshakes. Karali Group, which is led by Salim Janmohamed, also operates sister concepts El Taco Loco, Dirty Dog Shack, Roosters, Telepizza and Caffe Italiano.
Wagamama reopens all UK airport restaurants: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand has reopened all its UK airport sites. The airport outlets are the last of the brand’s sites to reopen after the pandemic closed all restaurants following the national lockdown two years ago. This final phase of reopening has been triggered by the huge demand for foreign travel and forthcoming summer holidays, Wagamama said. Gatwick’s south terminal venue reopened last Wednesday (30 March) while the new Manchester Terminal 2 restaurant opened for the first time on Friday (1 April). They join the already reopened outlets at Gatwick’s north terminal and Heathrow terminals 3 and 5. Wagamama said the Heathrow restaurants have enjoyed increased demand with the lifting of restrictions and passengers travelling once again.
German Doner Kebab appoints new franchise director for USA and Canada: German Doner Kebab (GDK), owned by Hero Brands, has appointed Mark Treptow as its new franchise director for the USA and Canada as the brand builds on its ambitious international growth plans. Treptow is the former senior director of development for restaurant franchise development company, Fransmart, where he was responsible for the expansion of brands such as Five Guys, Qdoba, The Halal Guys, and Freshii. He has more than 25 years of sales experience in franchise development and financial services and has been instrumental in the management and development of various high street brands and start-up companies. Treptow will work alongside global chief development officer, Jon Cullen, and Nigel Belton, managing director for GDK USA, as he develops the brand across the USA and Canada. GDK opened its first US location at the American Dream Mall in New Jersey in August last year. Its North American 2022 development pipeline includes key locations in the USA spanning Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Houston and Dallas, along with Canada. GDK has announced plans to open 100 new restaurants in Canada over the next ten years following openings in Surrey, Ottawa and Toronto. Belton said: “We have big plans for the USA and Canada, and we are excited about embarking on the next phase of growth in 2022. I fully expect Mark to be influential in helping us develop the GDK brand.”
Greene King launches disability awareness group: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched a new inclusion group to support team members with disabilities. Ability, is designed to attract more disabled workers to join the 40,000-strong Greene King workforce, raising awareness of different disabilities, both visible and non-visible. Greene King is also offering additional guidance to hiring managers to make the interview process more accessible, and has signed up to Disability Confident, a government scheme that helps with the recruitment, retention and development of disabled people. Matt Starbuck, managing director of brewing and brands and executive sponsor of Ability, said: “Ability will champion awareness and help us in extending our welcome to colleagues and customers with additional needs, and give us something we can all be really proud of.” This follows Greene King’s Supported Internships programme, which provides 16 to 24-year-olds with special educational needs and an education health care plan the opportunity to develop life skills. Working in partnership with Landmarks Specialist College, the aim is to offer participants a job at the end of the nine-month work experience.
Bill’s to launch first new menu in five years, more than a third now plant-based: Bill’s, the Richard Caring-backed group, is launching its first new menu in five years, with more than a third of it now comprised of plant-based alternatives. Among the new dishes arriving from next Monday (11 April) will be the Black Gold Burger (£15.95), which includes black truffle fondue and 24 carat gold flakes, while brunch options are being extended until 5pm, including Bill’s Big Brunch and Bill’s Plant Plate (both £12.95). Among the sharing starters is the Cheese and Truffle Fondue with sourdough bread (£8.95), and among the dessert options is the Tirami-Sub-Zero (£6.75), with coffee, amaretti and a tiramisu sundae. Peter Harbrecht-Parker, head of food development at Bill’s, said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes trialling the dishes over the last few months. The whole menu is designed to be more experiential, we want our guests to be surprised and to bring a smile to their faces when the food arrives at their table. It’s the Bill’s you know and love, but this time we’ve added a spin.”
Owner of Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier ‘well placed for the future’ and seeking new investment opportunities: AGM Holdings, the owner of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, has said it is “well placed for the future and seeking new investment opportunities. The group’s accounts for the year ending 28 March 2021 revealed a pre-tax profit of £98,482, down from £1.2m in 2020, and turnover of £3.2m, down from £5.8m in 2020. It also received £79,000 in government grants. The company said: “The board continuously monitor and support Weston initiatives with the aim of increasing overall attraction of the area as a resort. The board are confident the facilities offered will remain popular…the group is always looking for new investment opportunities and feel well placed for the future.” The group also warned turnover would be affected by whether the staycation trend continues, as well as oversea visitor numbers – plus weather conditions and the structural integrity of the pier, which is subject to a “continuous repair and maintenance programme”. In February 2021, AGM acquired a former seafront aquarium to develop as a new coffee shop and restaurant concept.
Haven opens Papa John’s sites at two more holiday parks: UK holiday park operator Haven, owned by Bourne Leisure, has opened two new Papa John’s sites. The openings at Berwick Holiday Park, near Berwick-Upon-Tweed, and Wild Duck, near Great Yarmouth, takes the number of Papa John’s outlets at Haven venues to 28. Amit Pancholi, business development director, Papa John’s UK, said: “Our goal is to open in new locations so our customers can enjoy Papa John’s where and when suits them. We continue to expand and grow our presence on the high street but also in ‘non-traditional’ locations such as holiday parks, sports stadiums and other leisure venues. It’s about being where our customers are for their maximum convenience and to add to the fun of any occasion.” Papa John’s has more than 500 sites in the UK and has begun rolling out its new branding, starting at a refurbished store in Potters Bar.
Travelodge to give hotels ‘radical’ design overhaul: Travelodge is set to give its hotels a “radical” design overhaul. The new look has been created on the success of the group’s budget chic hotel format, TravelodgePlus, with feedback from the company’s largest consumer study, which surveyed around 5,000 UK business and leisure travellers. In response, Travelodge has remodelled its core product with a new budget-luxe design. The group intends to roll out the design across its UK estate and is kick-starting the programme with a multimillion-pound investment to upgrade 60 hotels this year in popular business and staycation destinations across the UK. Craig Bonnar, Travelodge chief executive, said: “Travelodge has been a trailblazer within the UK hotel sector since it opened the UK’s first budget hotel in 1985. We are once again evolving by launching a new budget-luxe premium look and feel hotel design while maintaining our great value price proposition. This is our most radical transformation to date and has been created in response to ever increasing expectations from customers. Britain is now a nation of budget travellers, with more of us choosing to stay in budget hotels than any other hotel type and thoughtful, stylish design and homely touches really matter in today’s world when staying away for business or leisure.”
Brighton’s oldest fine dining seafood restaurant goes on market for in excess of £1.75m: The freehold of English’s, which is the oldest fine dining seafood restaurant in Brighton and believed to be one of the oldest in the country, is being sold as a going concern, for offers in excess of £1.75m. The restaurant in East Street spans what were originally three fisherman’s cottages dating more than 400 years. Seafood has been served on the site for more than 150 years. English’s has been owned by the Leigh-Jones family since 1945. The space covers 2,921 feet and has a premises licence. The ground floor has a bar and customer dining area with a second dining area on the first floor with the inside having a total of 75 covers. The kitchen is on the lower ground floor while externally there is a customer patio for about 40 to 45 covers. The property is being marketed by Carr & Priddle.
Itsu opens Woking site: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain founded by Julian Metcalfe, has opened its Woking site. The company, which is focusing on further regional store expansion, has officially launched in the town’s Victoria Place development, co-owned by Woking Borough Council and Moyallen Group. The site offers Itsu’s signature sushi, rice and noodle bowls, gyoza, bao buns, soup, Asian salads and snacks from a 3,300 square-foot unit at 1 Mercia Walk. Vishal Talreja, Itsu property director said: “Itsu is for everyone, everywhere, and we’re excited to be opening many more stores across the UK and beyond. The opening of our new store at Victoria Place, at such a great regenerated destination in the south east, is the next stop on this exciting journey.” Artisanal bakery Gail’s also recently opened in a 4,129 square-foot space at the development, at 1 Commerical Way, offering freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes throughout the day as well as house blended coffee. Peter Robinson, chief executive at Moyallen, said: “The arrival of brands such as Itsu and Gail’s adds further diversification to our growing food and beverage line-up. They are a perfect fit for Victoria Place, and we look forward to seeing them, alongside many others, become new staple brands for Woking.” JLL and Nash Bond acted for Victoria Place while PF Retail represented Itsu.