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Mon 9th May 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Watt – if we show our profit-share scheme can work, maybe we can get other businesses to do the same: James Watt, co-founder and chief executive of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has told Propel that if the business can show its recently launched profit-share scheme for its bar staff can work, it may get other companies to do the same and lead to a raising of standards across the sector. Last week, Watt announced he was to donate a fifth of his personal stake in the business, worth £100m, to staff to mark the firm’s 15th anniversary, and the launch of a profit-sharing scheme, allowing its 1,500 hourly-paid bar staff to share half of the earnings from each bar. Speaking as part of Propel’s Friday Wrap video series, Watt said: “It's my firm conviction that over the medium and long term, what we have done, and this may seem counterintuitive, will help us build a more profitable business overall. So, we've already got amazing people who look after our customers fantastically well but I think this is going to mean we're going to look after customers even better in our bars. We're also going to be able to attract and retain the very best people. I think our team is going to be even more motivated to look after elements of cost and efficiency in the units. And I also believe this is something that's going to resonate with consumers and hopefully if we tell the story well enough, there's some customers that are going to want to visit our unit specifically because they want to spend their money somewhere where 50% of those profits is shared with the team that works there. And if we show this can work, maybe we can get other businesses to do the same. And for me, that is the ultimate success of the scheme if it works within our business, other businesses do the same, which I think is going to lead to a raising of standards even higher for teams across the sector.” In terms of a much-mooted initial public offering (IPO), Watt said: “So we've always felt the long-term destiny of this business is an IPO. I think the appointment of a non-executive chairman (Allan Leighton) and some of the other things we're doing, including appointing independent IPO advisors, can help us down that path. At the same time, we have to do it when things are right for the business and market conditions are right. So, it's definitely not a 2022 thing, but 2023-2024 would be very much in our thinking.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Signature Group signs up to Hospitality Rising, invest today: Signature Group is supporting Hospitality Rising. The initiative aims to unite the industry by asking it to invest in and back its plan to change the perception of hospitality for the better, in the biggest sector recruitment advertising campaign the UK has seen. Nic Wood, owner of Signature Group and member of the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “Hospitality Rising is providing a vocal and visual platform to champion modern hospitality and to better the image of our beleaguered sector. This campaign has garnered pledges from the four corners of the country but with our pledge, we appeal to the Scottish government to endorse this campaign. For better or worse, the strategy adopted to suppress the virus in Scotland affected the image of hospitality for both consumers and staff. We need to change this narrative before the collapse of more businesses or the requirement of reduced trading hours due to the lack of staff. I started as a barman in the Grassmarket in 1992 and fell in love with this trade. This led to a 30-year career building a business that now employs 600 fabulous people. We are nothing without our people and recruitment is vital to the ongoing recovery of the sector.” Invest in Hospitality Rising now from just £10 per employee here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email 

Next edition of Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature almost 600 companies: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers, will see 24 companies added, taking the total number to 583. Among the companies being added are Bowland Inns & Hotels and Kingston Restaurants. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (13 May) at midday. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.9bn being reported by 352 companies. However, a further 231 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. Premium subscribers also now have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. The first edition features 100 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. The first edition provides 27,000 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 to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and 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.

Sector sales up 3.7% in April on 2019 levels, London sees growth: Sector sales during April increased by 3.7% on 2019 levels, according to data from S4labour, the people, productivity and payroll system. Dry-led sales experienced the most growth with a 7% rise on 2019 levels while wet-led sales also grew, but by a smaller 1%. Sites outside of London were up 3.7% in sales last month, while London sites’ sales increased by 3.5%. Richard Hartley, S4labour chief innovation officer, said: “The overall increase in April's sales will have been a small positive for some food focused businesses. However, the ongoing difficulties surrounding recruitment is proving to be extremely challenging for the sector, and potentially stinting sales growth for some businesses.”

Continental cafe culture here to stay as alfresco licences to be made permanent: Britain is to go permanently continental, with alfresco dining to be made law in the Queen's Speech. Prime minister Boris Johnson will this week announce new laws to allow councils to grant “pavement licences” for outdoor dining and drinking on a permanent basis. Meanwhile, high street landlords who allow shops to lie empty for more than a year will be forced to rent them out under government plans to revive town centres. The licences were introduced as a temporary measure during the covid pandemic to enable restaurants, cafes and bars to stay open safely and boost the hospitality industry. The regime – introduced through the Business and Planning Act 2020 – was based on fast-track applications and reduced fees of £100 for the licences to support hospitality businesses hit by the crisis. Some 10,000 pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars closed during the pandemic, with the loss of more than 350,000 jobs and sales of £87bn. The temporary pavement licences for alfresco dining had already been extended until September, but will be made permanent under the legislation in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday (11 May). Pubs are also expected to be granted an extension to off-licences that allow them to sell takeaway pints and meals. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It's a huge step forward to give businesses the confirmation they can continue to trade outdoors at a time when they are still struggling. This helps cement cafe culture in our high streets and towns and brings life back to them. It is something that customers have really liked.” It is thought about a third of pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars have outside space to take advantage of the new alfresco dining laws. The industry estimated every outdoor seat was worth up to £6,000 a year to businesses in extra revenue.

Sector employees working around six hours a week longer than before pandemic during recruitment crisis: Hospitality employees are working around six hours a week longer than before the pandemic, new figures from workforce management company Bizimply have revealed. Taking March 2020 as the baseline, the data showed employees are now working an average of around 25 hours a week, compared with a pre-pandemic average of 19 hours a week. In food-led businesses, employees are working an average 28 hour week, compared with around 23 hours in wet-led businesses. Fine dining restaurants, which are among the worst affected by recruitment issues, are typically asking their staff to work 40-plus hours a week. Cafes and hotels are also seeing staff notch up longer than average weekly hours at work. Bizimply warned employers who are currently banking on the goodwill of their staff to keep their doors open to customers need to be ready to pay back that commitment in terms of improved pay and conditions, and a better work-life balance.
Average price of fish and chips set to exceed £10 by end of year: The average price of fish and chips is set to exceed £10 by the end of the year as the industry battles against soaring costs. There are fears as many as one in three fish and chip shops could be out of business within the next six months if rising food costs do not level off soon. John Molnar, owner of the Cod’s Scallops, told the Telegraph: “There’s a stigma that comes with fish and chips, it’s been seen as a cheap meal. Fish and chip shops have to charge what the ingredients are costing them, otherwise we just won’t be in business.” Jack Stein, chef director of Rick Stein Restaurants, which runs a fish and chip shop in Padstow, said “the chippies that are in towns and cities where people visit them maybe once, twice a week, might find it really difficult to pass the higher costs on”. This, he said, could result in closures. Almost everything fish and chip businesses source has become more expensive as inflation wreaks havoc across the food sector – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Businesses are expecting the price of flour, a key ingredient for batter, to rise further, as countries that source grains and cereals from Ukraine are forced to turn elsewhere. Potato growers, meanwhile, are facing spiralling production costs as the price of fuel and fertiliser soars. Peas, meanwhile, are costing more to produce, and there are fears a drier spring could have knock-on effects. Higher fuel prices and a mismatch between supply and demand means the cost of white fish has risen from £14.76 a kilogramme in 2020 to £16.46 this March, according to Office for National Statistics figures. Molnar said: “I think a weekly takeaway is probably now fortnightly,” he said. “I could see that becoming monthly towards the end of the year.”

Operators urged to take part in haysmacintyre's 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. The company 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 about two more 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 an award-winning wholesale business that is seeking a managing director. The company operates in multiple categories across various channels both in the UK and abroad and is set to embark on an expansion phase. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The managing director will work closely alongside a creative and passionate founder to develop the business, implement new ideas and ensure the business continues its successful incline. A big part of this role will be driving forward a new e-commerce channel of the business, so it is looking for candidates that have experience either directly managing an e-commerce business or managing e-commerce as an omnichannel within the business. This company offers huge growth potential, and they are looking for exceptional candidates to grow with them.” The salary is £150,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Bodean’s founder launches fundraise to back roll out of new subs concept: André Blais, founder of American barbecue diner-deli brand Bodean’s, which operates five sites across London, is planning to roll out another concept, Gerry’s Hot Subs. Propel understands Blais has begun fundraising for the concept, after a successful test pilot period in the Foodstars kitchen in Battersea over the course of 2021. The dark kitchen unit was launched with a £35,000 seed investment and over its six-month run sold circa 7,000 hot subs. The fledgling business is now looking to raise £200,000, which will see it offer up 16.67% of its equity. The plan for the concept, which offers six and eight-inch subs, is to secure a bricks and mortar site in Soho’s “high-footfall pedestrian area, next to commuter stations”. Longer-term, the business hopes to open 11 sites over the next five years. Blais said: “What makes a hot sub at Gerry’s unique and authentic? Premium quality ingredients, no processed core ingredients and all is made in-house to classic recipes. After a successful test pilot period in Battersea’s Foodstars kitchens in 2021, Gerry’s Hot Subs is ready to hit the high street!”

You Me Sushi appoints Paul Turner as new managing director: You Me Sushi, the London-based restaurant and takeaway concept, has appointed Paul Turner, formerly of Costa Coffee, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Turner joins the 12-strong You Me Sushi after more than six years at Costa Coffee, most recently as regional operations director for London, East Anglia and the south east. He has also had stints at The Entertainer and Marks & Spencer. You Me Sushi has been searching for a new managing director since Peter Cossar stepped down at the start of the year to join motorway services operator Roadchef, as its new operations director. During Cossar’s time at You Me Sushi, he grew the business, which was founded in 2008, from seven sites to 12, including the launch last year of its first franchise store, in Stratford. He told Propel last year: “We are looking to build on the success we have seen over the past couple of years and grow the brand to about 30 stores in the next 18 months. We have more than ten franchise stores signed up under development agreements and will open a further three or four ourselves.”

Nightcap appoints Rebecca Rose as group people director, lines up Leeds site: Nightcap, the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars, has appointed Rebecca Rose as its new group people director, Propel has learned. Rose joins the listed bar group after more than four and a half years as people director at Various Eateries, the Coppa Club and Noci operator. She was also previously head of learning development at The Breakfast Club and head of academy at Itsu. Meanwhile, Propel understands Nightcap has lined up its first opening in Leeds. The company has applied to open a The Cocktail Club site in the ex-Stockdales of Yorkshire premises in the city’s South Parade. Last week, Nightcap said it continued its growth trajectory during the third quarter of its 2022 financial year, which included strong growth in the Barrio Familia business that it acquired last November. It reiterated it currently has a further 23 sites in legal negotiations or under offer across all of its brands, including its most recently acquired Barrio brand. The company said it expects for several new site leases to be entered into before the end of June. 

Eggleston – we’ve found the right price point with Tomahawk: Howard Eggleston believes he has found the right price point with his Tomahawk Steakhouse concept – “a little bit above Miller & Carter”. Eggleston told Propel in February he was in funding talks to expand his estate – which currently consists of 17 sites over the Tomahawk Steakhouse, Rio Brazilian Steakhouse and Pollo by Tomahawk concepts – to more than 50 sites. He added earlier this month that he was focusing expansion on his two steakhouse brands rather than Pollo, which is a chicken-based takeaway concept. “We ran Tomahawk across quite a few north east sites, we were picking up pre-covid, and it just seemed to hit the right price point – a little bit above Miller & Carter,” Eggleston told the recent Propel Multi-Club Conference. “Tomahawk is sit down with a knife and fork, and that works better for us in the more upmarket towns, while Rio is more buffet-led, which works better in more working-class towns. We’re looking at each destination for the brand to slot into, and we’ve managed to put both together over two floors in Newcastle, which has worked fantastic. I think we’re pitched just a little bit above Miller & Carter in the marketplace – we’re not Hawksmoor and don’t intend to be, and I think we do a pretty good job of that. We do have a bit of a tug-of-war with them in Newcastle, and the staff are very competitive. It’s opening a huge site in York right next to our unit, so that should be entertaining.” Eggleston believes the group’s strategy of taking on fitted units rather than shells contributes massively to a quick return on investment – which in some cases is as little as four months. “We’re sticking with the same strategy, which is not to take shells but 60%-70% fitted units that have failed,” he said. “We’re pretty good at going in and giving them our look, and the return on them is quick because we don’t fit from shell. Average spend is about £80,000 and return is about 16 weeks, which is unique in the market if it all goes to plan. There is less stock now as the market has come alive and people are taking the things we were looking at, but we’ve still got a fair bit of opportunity in that marketplace. Whereas before the agent was firing me emails daily, now it’s weekly – it’s just about looking harder. We’re going to keep expanding with our own money – we don’t borrow money or have any debt as such – so as long as the tills keep clicking, we’ll keep opening sites.”

Popeyes eyes Reading opening: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service restaurant brand, is planning to open a site in Reading. Propel understands Popeyes, which is led by Tom Crowley in the UK, has applied to open on the former Gap unit in the city’s Broad Street. Last month, Popeyes confirmed it will open a site in Chelmsford’s High Street. Popeyes UK, the master franchisee for the UK, launched its debut site in Britain in November at Westfield Stratford, which is already ranked in the top ten globally for sales out of 3,600 Popeyes restaurants. It is aiming to open hundreds of sites across the next decade in the UK. The brand has also launched additional delivery kitchens with Deliveroo Editions in Battersea, Whitechapel and most recently in Maida Vale. It has also been linked to further openings in the Metrocentre in Gateshead, Oxford’s Queen Street, and Romford’s South Street.

Fatto a Mano to open first permanent London site in King’s Cross: Brighton and Hove-based pizzeria Fatto a Mano is to open its first permanent restaurant in London, in King’s Cross next month. The company currently operates two pizzerias in Brighton, in North Laine and London Road, and one in Church Road, Hove, plus units in Boxpark Croydon and Shoreditch. It will launch Fatto Pizza & Beer in Pancras Square, serving up Neapolitan pizza alongside craft beer from “some of the best small independent breweries in the UK and Italy”. The company said: “Having established ourselves in much-loved local spots in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove, as well as becoming a firm favourite at Boxpark Croydon and Boxpark Shoreditch, Fatto a Mano is now laying permanent foundations in the capital. With an unpretentious focus on simple, quality produce and fast, friendly service, the King’s Cross pizzeria will offer a menu of pizzas, six beers on tap and more in the fridge.” Founder Rupert Davidson said: “Fatto Pizza & Beer matches the best of pizza and independent craft beer, keeping it simple with a short menu. Pizzerias in Naples have served pizza and beer as the perfect combination for more than half a century – we can’t wait to bring our take on this to King’s Cross.” Will Biggart, of Torridon, acted for Fatto a Mano, while Laurie Stokes, of Nash Bond, acted for landlord Argent on the King’s Cross deal. 

Taster makes Manchester move after securing first franchise partner: Delivery-only kitchen concept Taster, which was founded by early Deliveroo executive Anton Soulier, has moved into Manchester after securing its first franchise partner in the city. Manchester customers can now enjoy A Burgers’ range of vegan burgers. The food will be prepared and dispatched for home delivery from a kitchen in Ardwick, run by vegan brand Panc Foods, and ordered by customers on Deliveroo and UberEats. Taster is targeting initially eight to ten franchise partners across the region as part of expansion plans. Soulier said: "Manchester is a really exciting and dynamic foodie hub for both restaurant owners and consumers. Our launch partner is already seeing the potential of what is in store and we’ve had positive conversations with passionate restaurant owners across the city, who grasp the opportunity of food that is designed for delivery.” Ariane Cardoso, co-founder of Panc Foods, added: “We're excited to be launching A Burgers alongside our existing Panc brand, bringing another delicious vegan option for foodies in the city.” Taster has 180 digital restaurants worldwide and last year raised $37m (£26.5m) of new funding toward further expansion targeted through licensing.

Mambow set to make return with Peckham launch: Bowls concept Mambow is set to make its return – in the Market Peckham complex in south east London. Michelin-trained head chef and founder Abby Lee launched the concept, in Shoreditch’s Commercial Street, in 2020, which has since closed with Lee switching to offering Malaysian-style build-your-own meal boxes to cook at home during the pandemic. She will now bring her modern take on Malaysian cuisine to the Market Peckham concept, a new co-working space over seven floors with several food and beverage outlets. Opening in June, Mambow will be taking its place there alongside rooftop bar Forza Wine and ramen restaurant Tonkotsu, and will share a space with new rotisserie chicken, beer and cocktails concept Rotorious. The Mambow menu will include deep-fried chicken wing tossed in an anchovy sambal and served with lime – a recipe inspired by the flavours of Nasi Lemak, Malaysia’s national dish. It will also feature deep-fried five spice pork and prawn rolls in a bean curd skin, which proved popular in Lee’s lockdown meal kits. There will also be an all-natural wine list curated by Les Caves de Pyrene, alongside Chang beer and soft drinks. The 1,750 square-foot space has covers for 60, and while Mambow and Rotorious will each have their own space for seating, there will also be a communal dining area. Rotorious, founded by brothers Adam and Sam Reid, will be putting a Caribbean twist on their rotisserie chicken.

Mr Yum acquires Sprout to help accelerate company’s tech-led dining mission: Mobile ordering and payments platform Mr Yum has acquired hospitality customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing company Sprout – creating a global team of more than 260 employees. Kim Teo, chief executive and co-founder of Mr Yum, which sponsors Propel’s Friday Wrap series, said the acquisition will accelerate the company’s mission of connecting venues with their guests in meaningful and valuable ways. “This deal is an evolution of a successful partnership between our two companies, with Sprout integrated with Mr Yum in many shared locations over the past year, including Boxpark and Swingers crazy golf venues,” she said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Sprout into the Mr Yum family. Together, we’ll build things that have never been done in hospitality before. Our venue customers are screaming out for innovative ways to create ongoing meaningful relationships with their guests – like being able to offer unique discounts or to let them know their favourite item is back on the menu. We’re going to make a real difference in the way people experience dining.” Mr Yum, which also has offices in the US and Australia, launched in the UK last year and raised £58m in capital in 2021 through post-seed and Series A funding rounds. Sprout co-founder, Andy Marcus, added: “Integrating our powerful and intuitive CRM into Mr Yum’s industry-leading platform will help create elegant, data-driven one-to-one conversations between venues and their guests for the first time.”

Irish hospitality group Press Up acquires Birmingham landmark for hotel, rooftop restaurant and event space project: Irish hospitality group Press Up has acquired the Central Methodist Hall in Birmingham. Together with its sister property development company, Oakmount, Press Up has applied to the city council to transform the grade II*-listed building that has had many guises over the years. It was originally run by The Methodist Church until 1991 and more recently as a major live music destination as Que Club, which attracted major musicians such as David Bowie, Daft Punk and Blur. The building has been vacant since 2017. Plans for the scheme, which will be operated by Press Up, include The Dean Birmingham, a 150-bedroom hotel with rooftop restaurant, gym and events space, as well as the restoration of the central hall into a 1,500 seat event space, and a number of retail and hospitality units on the ground floor. Oakmount and Press Up both form part of the parent company McKillen Corporation, which encompasses a number of high-end leisure and hospitality businesses across Ireland, the UK and internationally. The Dean is a hotel brand operated by Press Up with locations in Dublin, Cork and Galway. A spokesman for Press Up said: “The Central Methodist Hall is a landmark in the heart of Birmingham that deserves a new lease of life. Through careful and sympathetic restoration, we hope to celebrate the history of this building and create a destination encompassing a number of hospitality offerings.”

200 Degrees to open third Nottingham site today: Nottingham-based coffee roaster, 200 Degrees, will open its third site in its home city today (Monday, 9 May). The company is opening its 17th shop ten years after setting up its roastery, which is at Heston House. The new 60-seat venue is near the Victoria Centre in Milton Street. Co-founder Rob Darby said: “I am constantly blown away by the support we’ve had from the people of Nottingham. Having studied in Nottingham, going on to build a life and start a family here, the city has so many memories. It’s a privilege to build a thriving business and work with countless incredible people in a place that means so much to me. There seems no better way to celebrate ten years of 200 Degrees than to open a third shop in the city where it all began.” Darby and his business partner, Tom Vincent, founded the company in 2012 and have expanded the 200 Degrees footprint across the north. In March, Darby said 200 Degrees is aiming to add roughly five stores a year to its estate.

Back to the future for Mowgli founder Nisha Katona with HQ relocation: Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli, is going back to the future by creating a new headquarters for her Indian street food business in the same Liverpool space where she began her legal career. Mowgli, which operates a growing portfolio of 13 restaurants around the UK, will now be based at Bruntwood Works’ 18 Queen Avenue. The 3,405 square-foot space was previously the home of Chavasse Court Chambers, where Katona spent more than 20 years working as a child protection barrister, and which has now relocated to nearby 24 Queen Avenue. The new Mowgli headquarters will underpin the company’s continued expansion, with five new UK outlets planned to open in the next year, and will also feature space for new recipe development, online retail and the work of the Mowgli Trust charitable foundation. Katona, who founded Mowgli in Liverpool in 2014, said: “An incredibly loyal customer base and excellent Mowgli team have allowed the business to thrive, and that success meant we needed a new base of operations that would give us a platform for future growth. Everything has come full circle, and it feels tremendously exciting and also slightly surreal to be returning to my old chambers with our thriving street food business.”

Chotto Matte confirms May opening for Marylebone restaurant: Chotto Matte, founded by Kurt Zdesar, has confirmed its new Marylebone restaurant will open on Friday, 20 May – offering exclusive dishes and the brand’s new cocktail menu. It will be the Nikkei cuisine concept’s second London site, after its Soho flagship, and fourth altogether, with others oversea in Miami and Toronto. Further openings in Doha, Riyadh and San Francisco are slated for later this year, followed by Nashville and Los Angeles next year, as the brand looks to expand to 20 sites in the next five years. It is also eyeing further expansion in Mexico, Panama, Italy and various US cities, and last month signed for a rooftop site in Manchester’s St Michael’s development. Zdesar said: “We are delighted to continue our expansion plans for Chotto Matte. We cannot wait for the new phase of growth to allow more people to experience the very best of authentic innovative Nikkei cuisine. We are proud to expand our brand in such an elegant neighbourhood and bring the spirit of Chotto Matte to the Marylebone locals. We are confident the community will appreciate the brand and its values.” Group executive chef Jordan Sclare has designed a menu with new dishes exclusively available in Marylebone – including fatty tuna and robatayaki salmon with smoked jalapeño chilli, persimmon and truffle – while Begonya Sanchez will be head chef. Global bar manager Gabor Fodor has also been working on the brand’s “Tokyo to Lima” menu of ten new cocktails, which include signature ingredients from the kitchen such as coriander, teriyaki, miso and black pepper.

Humble Grape scoops double award win: Humble Grape, the five-strong London wine bar and shop concept founded by James Dawson, has scooped two awards. The company won the hospitality and leisure company of the year at the British HR Awards and best regional wine bar in London at the SME UK Enterprise Awards. It was praised for its fresh approach and innovative use of the government’s Kickstarter scheme following the covid-19 pandemic. Humble Grape has employed more than 15 Kickstarter employees since the scheme was launched across a number of front and back of house roles. At the SME UK Enterprise Awards, the company was recognised for its dedication and innovation by adapting to and weathering the covid-19 storm to ensure the survival of their businesses. Dawson said: “It’s certainly been an incredibly tough couple of years for us and the rest of the industry, so I’m proud of the team for these two brilliant award wins. It has not only been resilient, but gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service for our customers. We look forward to an exciting 2022 for the business.”

Hollywood-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant opens at Mondrian Shoreditch: Laurel’s On The Roof, a Hollywood-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant, has opened at the Mondrian Shoreditch hotel in east London. The all day-dining and drinking hotspot has live DJ sets every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Dishes include sea bream tacos, malibu shrimp cocktail and Jersey oysters, while the drinks list features nostalgic 1970s-style cocktails. Formerly called The Curtain, the five-star hotel was transformed into a Mondrian by the brand’s operator Accor, in partnership with owners Rueben Brothers, in 2020. The following year, Spanish chef Dani Carcia made the UK debut of his Bibo restaurant format on the lower ground floor. The hotel also features all-day dining and drinking concept Christina’s on its ground floor.

Gousto to open new £40m fulfilment centre in Burton as it embarks on next stage of growth: Recipe box subscription service Gousto has agreed a deal for a 295,000 square-foot fulfilment centre at St Modwen Park in Burton. The £40m project, which will increase Gousto's operational capacity by 40%, will be home to an automated, chilled fulfilment centre, where Gousto recipe boxes are picked and packed before being delivered. Timo Boldt, chief executive and founder of Gousto, said: “The future is incredibly exciting for Gousto, as we capitalise on the accelerating trends of convenience, health and sustainability that are driving change within the grocery market. We look forward to embarking on our next stage of growth, as we get closer to achieving our vision of becoming the UK's most-loved way to eat dinner.” St Modwen Logistics has appointed Readie Construction to complete the fulfilment centre, with SBH Property Consultants acting on behalf of Gousto. 

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