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Mon 6th Jun 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Raw poultry prices climb almost 30% so far this year, beef and turkey up about 20%: Raw poultry prices have climbed 28.2% so far this year while beef is currently up about 20%, analysis by catering butcher Birtwistles has shown. In its latest market report, Birtwistles also said the price of turkey rose 19.2% in the first five months of the year, pork is up 15.1% and bacon 12.2%. Lamb is currently up by a smaller 2.9%, but is the most expensive protein on the market and “way above” the five-year average. Birtwistles stated: “Please bear in mind these figures are purely for the raw material based on the top 50 lines and include no added percentage for labour, packaging or transport. We can promise also we have not passed on anywhere near the percentage required.” In the week ending 21 May, the average deadweight prime cattle price was 438.7p per kilogramme, steady on the previous week. With regards to lamb, Birtwistles stated: “Although volumes/kill numbers will start to increase from July to November when the UK processors start to ramp up production, will the price come back sufficiently enough for it to become an option again for many end users who have simply taken it away from any menu development?” In terms of poultry, “demand is still outstripping supply in terms of certain items”. The report said: “Wings and thigh meat both from the UK and EU is a particular concern around volume and price. We have the ongoing issues in France around the Avian bird flu outbreak, which has affected supply in particular of duck legs, breasts, corn fed supremes and whole corn fed birds. Confit duck legs are simply not available due to the demand for leg meat.” Meanwhile, the latest Germany African swine fever outbreak has taken a 500km step in a westerly direction and has almost reached the French border. Birtwistles warned: “This is being met with alarm at a time when government in its wisdom has delayed inspections of animals and meat entering our shores and with large volumes of imported pig meat already hitting the UK market, African swine fever in the UK could sadly become a reality.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – recruitment and retention ranked as top challenge in hospitality sector: A survey conducted by Mapal Group, the company behind Flow Learning, found 79% of businesses saw issues around recruitment and retention as their biggest business challenge. Mapal Group will be hosting a webinar on effective hospitality recruitment on Wednesday (8 June), featuring guest speakers from COREcruitment and Stint, to explore the current hospitality hiring landscape. Anna Moras, general manager of Theatre Royal Bar, completes the panel to share her perspective from hiring managers on the front line. From sourcing kitchen porters to appointing operational managers, the panel of experts will delve into recruitment techniques, candidate expectations, talent retention and company culture. To sign up, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party opens for bookings, two free places each for operators: Propel will host its Multi-Club Conference and summer party on Wednesday, 31 August, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry. The all-day conference will focus on “prospering in a post-pandemic world” and will be followed in the evening by the summer party, with barbecue, live band and more. Operators can claim up to two free places each by emailing jo.charity@propelinfo.com. A room can also be booked for the evening for £120. Speakers at the conference will include Jonny Jones, CGA managing director UK and Ireland, who will talk about the key trends that have emerged from the pandemic and that will shape the sector over the coming years. Zonal head of brand Jocelyn De Goey talks through the latest research on how the past two years, and squeeze on spending, has impacted the consumer journey. Garrett FitzGerald, founder of Butchies, talks about the journey from street food and music festival pop-ups to the roll out of the buttermilk fried chicken concept, and how it plans to standout in a highly-competitive category. Steve Magnall, co-founder of Two Magpies Bakery, talks about developing and growing the cafe and bakery concept, and what comes next for the business dubbed “the Gail’s Bakery of East Anglia”. Johnnie Tate, founder of Yard Sale Pizza, discusses growing a contemporary pizza business in London “villages”, operating its own delivery model, and getting ready to grow out of its comfort zone. Ben Hedley, co-founder of Neyba, the “multi-cuisine kitchen and grocer”, discusses the thinking behind the concept, its £15m fundraising, and its expansion plans across London. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King UK, talks about the evolution of the brand, its digital transformation, its work on sustainability, and its approach to expansion, including its new urban-box, style format and drive-thrus, and its relationship with franchisees. Will Beckett, co-founder of Hawksmoor, talks to Propel group editor Mark Wingett about how the steakhouse concept became a better business over the course of the past two years, what it learnt about itself, how it now looks after its people, its growth plans, and becoming a success in the US. Richard Colclough, managing director of Parogon Group, talks about the Staffordshire pub group’s plans to grow out of its heartland, its finder’s fee initiative, and the ethos behind the group. Ed Devenport, co-founder of Incipio Group, discusses the concept’s USPs, how it goes about transforming different and under-utilised spaces and how it picks and continually evolves its food and drink offer. David McDowall, president and chief operating officer at BrewDog, talks about how the company’s new blueprint, including its profit-share scheme with bar staff, has been received and its impact on recruitment, the group’s expansion plans and remaining a force for good. Andrew Andrea, chief executive of Marston’s, talks to Mark Wingett about the challenges and opportunities of navigating the business through the crisis, where the business goes from here and his views on how the pub sector should evolve. There will also be a panel session on the future of delivery hosted by Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton, featuring Just Eat, Rosa’s Thai chief executive Gavin Adair, Mario Aleppo, founder of Fireaway Pizza, and Nathan Wall, chief operating officer at Tiny Cloud Kitchens.

Latest edition of The New Openings Database sent to Premium subscribers: The latest edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (3 June). It shows the details of 257 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It has details on what type of site it is and its location. There is also a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. Premium subscribers also received a 11,989-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, contained 42 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,481. The 140 sites run by those 42 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 65,402 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 3,212-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. There is also 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 also have exclusive 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 second edition features 120 companies and almost 47,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost, business background, contacts and other key details. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and 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.

Kate Nicholls – more than 10,000 pubs and restaurants at risk of closure: More than 10,000 pubs and restaurants could face closure thanks to a “perfect storm” of inflation, soaring energy costs and rising rents, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has warned. She said the sector is facing “as big a crisis, if not bigger” than during the pandemic. “We’re already seeing a lot of independent operators handing in the keys and walking away,” she told the Mail on Sunday. She estimated 20,000 of UKHospitality members’ businesses are still operating below break-even and 30,000 have no cash reserves. She added: “I’ve never seen such a toxic cocktail of costs. It is a perfect storm.” Inflation in the restaurant trade is running at 13% to 17% because of supply-chain disruption due to covid and the war in Ukraine, and higher wages due to staff shortages. Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Cost inflation means we have to trade 20% up just to stand still. We know keys are being handed in at some tenancies.”

Price of a pint exceeds £8 for first time: The price of a pint has passed £8 in London for the first time as pubs are hit by spiralling inflation. Drinkers paid £2.30 on average for a pint in 2008, but soaring ingredient costs pushed that to £3.95 this year. This represents a 72% increase since the financial crash, according to CGA. The highest price it found was £8.06 in London, while the cheapest cost £1.79 in Lancashire, reports the Telegraph. CGA did not name the venues but this is the first time that its regular analysis of prices from random samples of the UK’s 90,000 bars and pubs has seen the price of a pint pass £8. The industry fears customers will stop going to pubs if costs become too high. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a global supplier of wheat, has caused the cost of grain to rise, forcing pub companies to threaten further increases. Barley, one of the main ingredients of beer, has been badly affected. Clive Watson, executive chairman of City Pub Group, said ingredient costs had risen by 10%, wage inflation is probably 7% and electricity inflation is 100%, so that blended cost price “probably puts the price of a pint of beer up 12% to 13%”. Watson said his company would hold its prices this year, adding: “We just want people to go back to the pub.” Greene King said last month it was rising prices by 4.7p per pint on average while Marston’s put up prices by around 8% in March.

CMA to investigate proposed joint venture between BT Sport and Warner Bros Discovery: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the proposed joint venture between BT Sport and Warner Bros Discovery to create a new premium sport offering for the UK and Ireland. The deal will see the operating businesses of BT Sport transfer to Warner Bros Discovery. However, the CMA has now intervened and said it will announce whether to refer the merger for a phase two investigation by Thursday, 28 July. To assist with its decision, the CMA is inviting interested parties to comment by Friday, 17 June. An announcement about the joint venture last month stated: “By bringing together the sports content offering of both BT Sport and Eurosport UK, the joint venture will have one of the most extensive portfolios of premium sports rights including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis grand slams featuring the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling grand tours including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and the winter sports World Cup season. Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands and product propositions in the market before being brought together under a single brand in the future. BT will receive £93m from Warner Bros Discovery and up to approximately £540m by way of an earn-out from the joint venture, subject to certain conditions being met. BT will retain a 50% interest in the joint venture, and Warner Bros Discovery will be granted a call option over BT’s interest in the joint venture, exercisable at specified points in the first four years of the joint venture.”

McDonald's has 15-year option to buy its Russian restaurants back, new owner plans to reopen all outlets within two months and eyes expansion: McDonald's will have an option to buy its restaurants in Russia back within 15 years, Russia's anti-monopoly service has said. It comes as the service approved a deal in which McDonald’s sold the 850 restaurants to one of its local licensees, Alexander Govor, who will rebrand them, ending more than three decades of the “Golden Arches” in the country. Govor aims to reopen all the restaurants by the start of August, and to expand to 1,000 locations in the next few years. “We have a challenging and ambitious plan,” said Govor, who initially owned 25 McDonald's restaurants in Siberia as a franchisee, in an interview with Forbes Russia magazine. McDonald's temporarily closed its restaurants in Russia in March after Russia sent troops to Ukraine. In May, McDonald’s initiated a process to sell the Russian business. Govor said the process to choose a new brand name was ongoing. He declined to say how much he paid but said there were other bidders.
 
UKHospitality announces Summer Conference keynote speaker: Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will be the keynote speaker at tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 7 June) UKHospitality Summer Conference. Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, is chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the body tasked with driving economic growth in the region. He is also vice-chairman of Performances Birmingham and was a member of prime minister Boris Johnson’s business advisory group. Taking place at Hilton London Bankside and beginning at noon, the event will also feature hospitality industry leaders and experts exploring the challenges, opportunities and plans for the sector’s recovery and growth, as it emerges from the ravages of the pandemic. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re very much looking forward to the Summer Conference, at which we’ll examine hospitality’s important role at the heart of communities across the nation, and how it’s uniquely equipped to drive economic recovery, employment and – in turn – levelling up. We’re delighted Andy Street, a popular and inspirational figure in business and in politics, is able to join more than 300 business leaders from across the hospitality sector, alongside policy influencers and wider stakeholders. Together, we’ll discuss opportunities, reflect on the current outlook, and explore the potential for collaboration with government.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an up-and-coming London artisan bakery that is looking for a director of food. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The business requires a strategic and creative thinker who will help take the businesses to the next level. They must have experience as a leader in food and with artisan bakeries, including both bread and pastries; experience with food operations and high street restaurants; experience in nutrition and well-being; and well-versed in trends and the food-to-go market. They need to have a culinary/nutritional/foodservice management degree, proven record of accomplishment in overseeing and strategising the production of high-quality work, and thorough knowledge of food production and processing, food safety standards, products, recipes and procedures writing, food costing and kitchen and commercial food preparation equipment. The individual must also have strong planning and organising skills, be numerate and IT literate (Microsoft Office/recipe systems etc) and have excellent communication skills.” The salary is around £80,000. For more information, email stuartc@corecruitment.com

Company News:

Planet Organic eyes further expansion as it prepares to open two more London sites: Health-focused retailer Planet Organic is eyeing further expansion as it prepares to open two further outlets in London, Propel has learned. Planet Organic is understood to be working with Orme Property and is seeking further sites in affluent London villages and further afield in commuter belt towns. Planet Organic has recently opened sites in Broadway Market, Hampstead and Queen’s Park while the business is set to open outlets in Northcote Road and London Bridge. Plant Organic launched in 1995 and currently operates 13 sites.

Boparan Restaurant Group partners with Bourne Leisure to roll-out Slim Chickens to holiday parks: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has partnered with Bourne Leisure to roll out its Slim Chickens brand in UK holiday parks, Propel has learned. The first opening under the new deal – at the Haven holiday park in Hafan Y Mor, Wales – is Slim Chickens’ 20th UK site in all. BRG marketing director Phil Neale told Propel: “Slims is in high demand and rapidly becoming the better-chicken brand of choice for customers. Haven Hafan Y Mor is our first partnership with Bourne Leisure, and we look forward to introducing more sites across the country. Slim Chickens has always been a place for families and friends to come together and share a meal, so to be part of the holiday experience at Haven is a really natural fit for the brand.” Propel reported last month BRG had secured a second Bristol site for Slim Chickens, and it was also planning a site in the Liverpool ONE scheme. The US brand, which BRG started rolling out in the UK in 2018, opened a new flagship London store in March and also has openings in Brighton, Leicester and Milton Keynes lined up. Slim Chickens is included in Propel’s UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK. The second edition, featuring 120 companies and almost 47,000 words of content – providing insight on the offer, locations, cost, business background, contacts and other key details – was sent out to Premium subscribers last month. It will be updated and sent out again every two months. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

North Brewing Co secures Birmingham site: Leeds brewer and retailer North Brewing Co is to open a site in Birmingham as it expands outside its West Yorkshire heartland, Propel has learned. The business has secured a site at One Snowhill in Queensway. Co-founder John Gyngell told Propel: “North is excited to have found a brilliant site in Birmingham, and is planning on opening a taproom pouring beer from North Brewing Co and friends in 2022. Birmingham is a vibrant, bustling city and we cannot wait to play a part in its thriving hospitality scene. Expect to find brewery fresh beer, fantastic street food and a small but perfectly curated selection of wine and spirits. The modern, inclusive taproom will be open from early till late with coffee, food and plenty of non-alcoholic, gluten-free and vegan options sitting alongside an incredible tap line-up.” The company currently operates sites in Leeds, Harrogate and Otley.

Costa customers furious after second price rise in six months: Costa Coffee customers have reacted furiously to a second price rise in just six months. They used social media to complain that, among other rises, a flat white had increased from £2.95 to £3.30, reports the Mail. Others said their medium skinny lattes had gone up from £3.10 to £3.35 and small cappuccinos from £3.15 to £3.50. Complaining to Costa on Twitter, one customer said: “Another sneaky price rise of 30p on my large latte. Would be good if you had notified us on social media.” Another tweeted: “Yesterday I was charged £2.40 for my normal drink, large skinny cappuccino. Today I was charged £2.70, an increase of 30p overnight!! Any reasons for this ridiculous price increase??!” Costa confirmed it put prices up last week and said the increase varied depending on the drink. Prices also varied between branches around the country. It added the average increase in the price of a drink was 14p. It had already put up prices at the end of last year. Costa said the price rises were down to “unprecedented inflationary pressures resulting in increased costs”. 

Camden Market owner sets out stall for £1.5bn sale: Camden Market has been put up for sale, with Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi hoping to attract bids in the region of £1.5bn. Financial adviser Rothschild & Co has been appointed by Sagi and a discreet sales process has kicked off, with a handful of prospective bidders contacted in the past week, reports the Financial Times. The 16-acre estate includes a trio of markets – Stables Market, Camden Lock Market and Buck Street Market – as well as new housing and co-working offices. Sagi, the founder of gambling software company Playtech, first bought into Camden, which attracts almost 30 million visitors a year, in 2014. He acquired Stables Market, which features a variety of food, fashion and craft stalls, from a consortium of property developer Chelsfield and restaurateur Richard Caring for £400m in 2014. He then purchased Camden Lock Market, which specialises in arts, crafts and handmade items, from private equity firm Brockton Capital for between £70m and £90m. The estate, which is held by one of Sagi’s portfolio companies LabTech, was previously put up for sale in the summer of 2019. That process almost resulted in a sale and bidding went up to about £1bn, but was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. A new indoor leisure centre called Babylon Park, spanning three subterranean floors with a rollercoaster and dodgems, is the latest addition to the estate.

Grubhub founder mulled bid to buy company back: The founder of Grubhub teamed up with US private equity company General Atlantic in an audacious attempt to buy back the company he sold to Just Eat Takeaway for $7.3bn last year. Matt Maloney, who co-founded Grubhub in Chicago in 2004, is understood to have been working with General Athletic earlier this year on taking back control, reports the Sunday Times. Sources said they ultimately decided against making a bid. However, Just Eat Takeaway shares have plunged since then, raising the prospect of a return. Just Eat Takeaway, formed in 2020 through the merger of the UK’s Just Eat and Dutch rival Takeaway.com, completed the all-share deal to buy Grubhub in June last year. But after pressure from investors to offload it and simplify the company – and after receiving unsolicited takeover approaches – Just Eat Takeaway said in April it was “actively exploring the introduction of a strategic partner and/or a partial or full sale of Grubhub”.

Westbourne Leisure reports Ebitda increase of 39%, eyes more sites after returning to expansion trail: West Midlands-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Westbourne Leisure has reported a 39% increase in Ebitda in its accounts for the year ending 30 September 2021. Turnover was down from £13.1m in 2020 to £11.6m, while pre-tax profits were down from £8.5m in 2020 to £2.9m. It also received £1.5m in government grants (2020: £802,000), including £623,000 in furlough payments and £891,000 in business rates relief. The company’s 2020 pre-tax profits were boosted by the sale of three sites for a total of £6.8m, and since the 2021 year-end, it has acquired The Regency Hotel in Solihull from Corus Hotels. The company said: “During the year, the company continued its successful expansion into the hotel sector and is looking to expand its presence in this market still further over the coming years.”

Pret sales surge at UK airports as travel rebounds: Pret A Manger sales at its UK airport sites have surged in recent weeks, more than doubling since the start of this year as travel rebounds, according to Bloomberg’s latest Pret Index. Sales at the brand’s cafes in Heathrow, Gatwick, City and Luton airports have been growing for six consecutive weeks and are now about a third higher than they were before the pandemic. Pret chief executive Pano Christou said the company’s performance in airports has been the most positive surprise to date of the UK’s reopening. Pret has also moved past pre-pandemic levels in clusters such as London’s suburbs and the West End, which is compensating for lower sales in the City and Canary Wharf financial districts. Sales in London train stations have also risen to a pandemic high. Pret has recently prioritised growth in suburban and regional areas of London, according to Christou, who anticipates most employers will permanently offer hybrid home-and-office working arrangements.

Laros returns to Liverpool for third site: Greek street food restaurant Laros will this summer return to Liverpool for its third site. Having made its debut in the city’s Bold Street in May 2021, Laros expanded into Manchester five months later with the opening of a dark kitchen. It will now be opening in Mossley Hill, south Liverpool, serving pastries and coffee from 10am, and then an authentic Greek menu including gyros, souvlaki and fresh salads until 10pm. Offering dine-in and takeaway, the restaurant will also offer Talagani cheese fries, a “no carb box” and vegan pitta wraps. Desserts will include loukoumades, sweet donut balls served traditionally with honey syrup and chopped walnuts but with Laros’ own twist, which owner Nikolaos Fylladitakis said he is introducing to Liverpool for the first time. He said: “Laros has become incredibly popular in the city centre and surrounding areas for both dining in and takeaway. We’ve had many customers visiting and ordering from south Liverpool, and Mossley Hill is the perfect location to showcase our authentic Greek street food to the local area. We’re excited to open this summer and to meet people from all over south Liverpool.”

Tokyo Industries closes south Manchester nightclub with space set to be redeveloped: Tokyo Industries, led by entrepreneur Aaron Mellor, has closed its south Manchester nightclub, South, with the landlord wanting to redevelop the space. The venue in South King Street was opened in 1995 by Haçienda promotions manager Paul Cons. For the last 12 years, it has been operated by Tokyo Industries but the lease has come to an end. Mellor said: “During the last few years, more and more residential apartments have surrounded us, which led to noise abatement notices and adaptation after adaptation to try and box out the sound issue. Unfortunately, the demolition and redevelopment of the former PizzaExpress building into a hotel has recently closed off our adjacent street, moving our smoking area back on to South King Street, returning more noise issues from the residents overlooking that street. As a result, we’ve become landlocked by residential development. All good things must come to an end – we’ve had some amazing times in this building, but it feels like the right time to close the chapter on this story. All staff, club nights and promoters will be moved to our Deaf Institute, Gorilla and Factory venues.”

Loungers opens site on Isle of Wight: Loungers, the cafe bar operator, has opened a site on the Isle of Wight. The company has launched Correo Lounge in Newport after converting the former Prezzo restaurant in High Street. It marks the 167th Lounge and 198 site overall for the group, which also operates the Cosy Club brand. The company has further Lounge openings lined up in Egham, Wembley and Fleet, and recently secured a third site in Plymouth. Loungers is also opening a Cosy Club in Milton Keynes and is also believed to be lining up sites for the brand in Canterbury and Harrogate.

Leicester aparthotel owners secure £13.8m funding to refinance facilities: Developer Aimrok Holdings, the owners of The Gresham in Leicester, has secured £13.8m of new funding from Cynergy Bank to refinance its facilities following the completed development of the aparthotel. The Gresham, a grade II-listed Victorian building formerly owned by retailer Fenwick, opened in November following a £17m refurbishment by Aimrok. The 121-bed aparthotel, based in Market Street, also includes a ground floor restaurant and bar, a gym and 12,000 square feet of conference facilities and co-working spaces. The restaurant at the hotel is a second site in the city for Leicester operator Kiran Parmar’s Black Iron concept. 

The Celtic Collection adds Milford Haven floating cabins to portfolio: The Celtic Collection, which operates a number of hotels including Celtic Manor, has added four luxury “floatel” floating cabins on the Milford Haven waterfront to its portfolio. It will manage the properties, which are moored at Milford Marina, as part of a partnership with the Port of Milford Haven. Each cabins sleeps two people and features a private balcony and en-suite shower room, and they are dog-friendly. Part of the Collection’s Ty Milford Waterfront scheme, guests can dine at the hotel’s Dulse restaurant, led by executive head chef and former Wales National Chef of the Year, Simon Crockford. Celtic Collection chief executive Ian Edwards said: “After a successful launch for the new Tŷ Hotel at Milford Waterfront, we’re excited to be adding the floatel cabins to the Celtic Collection, in partnership with the Port of Milford Haven. Milford Haven is world-renowned thanks to its unique coastline and history, and we’re delighted to be expanding our footprint in the popular destination of Pembrokeshire.”

Norfolk brewery hits initial £350,000 fundraising target to expand production and open immersive taproom: Duration Brewing, based in Norfolk, has hit its initial £350,000 fundraising target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand production and open an immersive taproom. The site in West Acre, King’s Lynn, has already been converted from a barn into a state-of-the-art brewery. Soon it will also house a taproom that gives visitors a view of the brewhouse on one side, and the ruins of a tenth century priory on the other. Planning permission is already granted, and the construction of the taproom will realise the vision of founders Miranda Hudson and Derek Bates of having a destination farmhouse brewery that celebrates the relationship between brewing and agriculture. The business, started three years ago, is embarking on the fundraise following a 280% increase in sales. So far, almost 450 people have invested £372,000 and the campaign is “overfunding” with 11 days remaining. The money raised will fund the taproom, improve the water treatment plant and continue the brewery’s annual cellar expansion that will see Duration reach an annual capacity up to 5,000 hectolitres by 2025. Reaching a stretch goal of £1m will mean the brewery can also add a laboratory, a new event and workspace, a fourth brewing vessel, upgrade its canning line and enhance its sustainability drive with a rainwater recapture system and a fruit orchard. Duration is offering 15.21% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £5.9m.

Leicester bar and restaurant brought to market as owners look to focus on gin brand: The North Bar and Kitchen in Leicester has been brought to market by Christie & Co after the owners took the decision to focus on their gin brand. Based in Hinckley Road, the restaurant offers “a modern British dining experience with a French twist” and “seasonal menus that hero fresh local produce and ingredients”. The venue is also renowned for its collection of 42 premium gins, including its own brand, North42 Gin. Co-owners Sally Davis and Joanna Betts opened the restaurant in 2015 but made the decision to sell due to relocating and developing North42 Gin. They said: “Within our time at North, we have steadily grown our business and reputation for quality food, cocktails and service. We are very proud of what we have achieved and feel honoured our hard work has been recognised through several awards. The decision to sell is not an easy one, but our North42 Gin brand is growing and requires our full attention, so we look forward to finding new owners to take the business forward.” 

Gladwin brothers open in Wimbledon for sixth site: The Gladwin brothers – Richard, Oliver and Gregory – have opened their sixth site, in Wimbledon. Propel revealed in February the siblings would launch The Black Sheep, in Wimbledon village, in the former White Onion restaurant in High Street. The bistro-style restaurant focuses on locally-sourced, wild and seasonal British produce, spearheaded by chef patron Oliver Gladwin. A regularly changing menu includes Wye Valley grilled asparagus, pan-fried scallop, confit chicken wing and foraged wild garlic in its spring edition, while among the puddings is summer berry jelly with elderflower cream and salted caramel Viennetta parfait. A plant-led set menu, also changing with the seasons, is available during the week, with dishes such as grilled purple sprouting broccoli with goat’s curd, and Jersey royals served with garden peas, mint gel, whey cheese and Nutbourne tomato. Among the drinks offering is sparkling and still wine from the Gladwin family’s Nutbourne Vineyards in West Sussex. The brothers have also partnered with The Wimbledon Wine School to offering courses and tasting in the private dining room.

Staycity set to open sixth aparthotel in France, plans Charles de Gaulle airport site: Dublin aparthotel operator Staycity Group is set to open its sixth aparthotel property in France, in the Parisian region of La Défense. Opening on Monday, 13 June, it will offer 215 studio and one-bedroom apartments, sleeping up to four people, with fully equipped kitchenettes and dining spaces. It will also have on-site parking, a guest laundry, gym and 24-hour reception, as well as a Staycafé selling breakfast, hot and cold snacks and drinks. Staycity’s director of brand, product and marketing, Jason Delany, said: “France is a key destination for Staycity, and La Défense joins our existing Parisian properties in Gare de L’est and Marne la Vallée, and outside the capital in Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon. Next year, we will open at Charles de Gaulle airport, giving our guests a fantastic choice of Staycity destinations across France.” Staycity has also opened new properties in Manchester, Frankfurt and Dublin in 2022, with two further Dublin properties in Dublin due to open in 2022. In 2023, new locations will open in London and Paris, with additional sites in Germany, Portugal, the UK and Jersey currently under development. By the end of the year, the company will operate more than 5,500 apartments.

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