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Wed 8th Jun 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Fresho secures £8m funding round to make food supply chains more sustainable: Fresho, a company that aims to make food supply chains more sustainable between restaurants and their suppliers, has raised £8m. Launched in the UK in 2021, the platform allows buyers to see live prices and specials, allowing for informed product choices and assistance in food cost management. The real time sales data enables suppliers to manage purchasing more efficiently and eliminates wastage before it becomes an issue. This funding round adds a number of new investors – including venture-capital firm Capital Zed; Andrew Sypkes, who was an early-stage investor in Canva, Aconex and Redbubble; and Second Quarter Ventures, which is Australia’s leading secondaries fund – to an existing base that includes London firm Primorus Investments. Fresho co-founder and managing director, James Andronis, a former wholesale seafood senior executive from Australia, said: “This capital raise will enable us to accelerate our growth in the UK and a strong launch into the United States. Business-to-business food supply chains are changing at a rapid rate around the world with an increased focus on efficiency and lowering waste. We understand the industry and our tech solves key pain points for these businesses.” Fresho’s other co-founder and managing director, Huw Birrell, a former investment banker, added: “We intend to use this intelligence to help drive improved sustainability in the sector and ensure increased prosperity for all participants in it. The power of this data is extraordinary and has the ability to change growing decisions in the future.” More than 38,000 foodservice venues across the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States have now used the solution, including Michelin-starred Wild Honey and the Bingham Riverhouse in London, with more than £700m processed through the platform annually. 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – 75% of hospitality leaders plan to enhance their learning and development initiatives within the next 12 months: A survey conducted by Mapal Group, the company behind Flow Learning, found three-quarters of those surveyed planned on investing in further learning and development, with more than half (51%) saying they planned to launch new coaching and mentoring programmes. Flow Learning by Mapal has been the sector’s leading learning management solution for more than a decade. As a continuously evolving platform, Flow hosts an extensive hospitality resource library, covering food safety, compliance, service, management and technical skills, built for restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, coffee shops and other hospitality outlets. To find out more about Flow, and request a demo, click 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 feature 589 companies. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday, 17 June at midday. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.9bn being reported by 348 companies. However, a further 241 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1.1bn. Total turnover of the 589 companies is £28.6bn. 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. 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 are also to be given exclusive access to seven videos where sector leaders and entrepreneurs offer their insights as they develop their businesses in a post-covid world. The videos, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (10 June) at 9am, will include Paul Campbell, sector investor and non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Blacklock, Tortilla and The Alchemist; Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK; James Shapland, co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, and new venture Coffi Lab; Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants; Jonny Boud, founder of Kitchen Ventures and Tom Snellock, founder of Clays. The videos will also include a panel session on solving the staffing, recruitment and retention crisis hosted by Mark Stretton with James Hacon, global chief marketing officer at Mapal Group; Sol Schlagman, co-founder of Stint; Roland Horne, founder of WatchHouse; Kate Daines, chief people officer at PizzaExpress; and Brian Trollop, managing director at Dishoom. 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.
Surging inflation leads to sharp slowdown in UK service sector: The UK service sector suffered its worst performance for more than a year last month as rocketing inflation dragged on consumer demand. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK services PMI survey scored 53.4 in May, tumbling from a 58.9 reading in April. Any score above 50 shows growth in the sector. However, this represented the weakest figure since February 2021, as companies highlighted “subdued business and consumer confidence” due to concerns over the economic outlook. Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global Market, said: “The latest round of input cost inflation was the steepest since this index began in July 1996, while the monthly loss of momentum for business activity expansion was a survey record outside of lockdown periods.” Surveyed service firms witnessed “escalating energy, fuel and raw material costs”, while wages were also pushed higher. Around 70% of companies reported a rise in their average costs since the previous month. The data for May also highlighted there was a survey-record increase in prices charged by service providers to customers, which they said affected demand. In addition, the report signalled a slowdown in new order growth across the sector, with the rate of new business expansion dropping to its weakest since December last year. Nevertheless, companies also reported another robust improvement in staffing numbers for the month. Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “Recessionary fears are growing bigger and stronger amid the realisation that 2022 as the year of stable recovery has not materialised yet.”
Hospitality Rising appoints David Campbell as interim chairman: Hospitality Rising, the movement created to combat the current recruitment crisis within hospitality, has appointed David Campbell, former chief executive of PizzaExpress and Wagamama, as its interim chairman. Following on from a successful restructure of PizzaExpress, Campbell joins Hospitality Rising, created as the first official response to the hospitality recruitment crisis, to help bolster the industry’s talent pool and showcase the industry as an exciting and viable career option. Founder of Hospitality Rising, Mark McCulloch, said: “It is a proud moment for me personally to have such an exciting talent, not only within the hospitality industry, but in the wider business world, in David joining Hospitality Rising. David’s experience will be invaluable in helping lead Hospitality Rising’s threefold strategy of fundraising, creativity and recruitment. With David's skill set and enviable industry network he is the right person to help guide both myself and James Nye as we work hard to make Hospitality Rising a real success, ensuring we change the negative stereotypes of working within hospitality to becoming one of the most admired jobs or careers in the UK.” Campbell said: “No one is more important than the brilliant people who work in all our businesses. While we all know hospitality is a great career, right now, it’s never been tougher to attract and retain talent. The Hospitality Rising team, and its supporters, have done fantastic work to create an industry-wide campaign to help stem this crisis, which I hope everyone will get fully behind.” Research has shown staff shortages are currently costing British hospitality businesses £22bn per year, with every operator fighting hard to keep the talent they have. In order to tackle this, leaders behind Hospitality Rising are asking every hospitality business and supplier in the UK to consider investing £10 per employee to reach a £5m investment target. The funds – which will be held by UKHospitality – will then be ploughed into an industry advertising campaign led by the country’s top marketing experts who have all donated their time for free to get the initiative off the ground. 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a specialty coffee brand that is looking for a managing director. The business is taking London by storm and has a steady growth plan over the next two years and is looking for someone to execute this at board level. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This is a founder-led business embarking on the next stage of its journey. With eight vibrant and individual coffee houses, the business would like to prepare the team and brand for future growth. To enable this, the founder would like to bring in a passionate and entrepreneurial managing director who has strong quick service restaurant, casual dining or bar operations experience but also a strong commercial know-how, innovative flair and financial acumen.” The salary is up to £140,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Lawson – Liberation entered 2022 a ‘fitter and stronger business’, considering tenanted acquisitions: Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Channel Islands and West Country-based brewer and retailer Liberation Group, has said the company entered this year a “fitter and stronger business that is closer and more relevant to its customers”. Speaking after the group reported its year-end figures for the 52 weeks to 29 January 2022, Lawson said: “Every part of the business has made progress on its strategic plan and has traded strongly whenever conditions have allowed. We have therefore entered 2022 a fitter and stronger business that is closer and more relevant to its customers and able to look forward and invest into the next few years despite the obvious headwinds on costs.” Lawson said the business would look to add to its managed estate “should further quality opportunities arise”. On the 21 pubs the business acquired from Wadworth in December 2020, Lawson said: “Despite starting 2021 in lockdown in the UK, we commenced our planned investments into these pubs and during the year have managed to invest in ten of the pubs, with a further five planned developments this coming year. The response to these developments, our offer and our amazing teams has been really positive both in terms of customer feedback and performance. No less encouraging has been the performance of the acquired pubs that have had no investment, with some delivering record performances and causing us to reset our ambitions following planned developments.” Lawson said the implementation of the company’s estate plan has seen it reduce the total number of pubs within the tenanted division, in part through divestment and in part due to transfer to the managed estate. He said: “But this estate of pubs is of a high quality and is now responding well to investment with our focus on delivering a high Ebitda per pub via improved drink sales, benefiting the tenanted partner, the tenanted division and both the Liberation and Butcombe breweries. Investments into pubs such as The Victoria Tavern in St Helier have proved to be incredibly successful, and we are actively targeting further opportunities to invest within our estate and will consider tenanted acquisitions.”

Gin & Juice founder eyes expansion to 15 sites and sees same growth potential for new Parisian bistro concept: Co-founder Stephen Barker has set his sights on taking his Gin & Juice concept to 15 sites over the next three years – and has similar aspirations for his new Parisian bistro concept Maison Entrecote. Barker, who runs parent company Vintage Tea & Coffee Co with wife Charlotte and sons Kurtis and Kane, launched Gin & Juice in Cardiff in 2017, which was followed by further sites in Cheltenham, Bristol, and Swansea. Barker is aiming for up to three more openings this year but has scrapped plans to expand to Oxford after deciding the site offered wouldn’t be profitable. “We’re in negotiations in Bath and Exeter, and potentially Leeds and Manchester, on new sites for this year. Some may not happen but we’re trying for three more this year. I’d like, in the next two to three years, to get to 15 and then take a breath. I think that’s achievable.” Maison Entrecote will make its debut in September, in the same Castle Arcade destination where Gin & Juice began, having taken inspiration from Marylebone bistro Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote but altering the concept for a more “romantic” setting. “It has a wonderful concept, but it needs to lend itself to a romantic supper or special occasion destination,” Barker said. “We are having meetings with some investors who specialise in hospitality to accelerate expansion, but that’s at very early stages. They’ve been watching us grow Gin & Juice, so if they’re not interested in Maison Entrecote or don’t see any value in it, we’ll carve that off separate. I think it’ll be one to roll out outside shopping malls and near cinemas – filling demand left by the likes of Jamie’s Italian/Carluccio’s, premium accessible mid-market. While we’re very much still south west, if the feel is right and the location is right, I’m up for it and we’ll 100% go national with it.” Elsewhere in the Vintage Tea & Coffee Co portfolio, which is 50% part-owned by Lucky Onion owner and Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton, are Coffee Barker and Barker Tea Rooms, both also based in the Castle Quarter of Cardiff. The tearoom will next year be transformed into a premium cocktail bar when a new development opposite is completed, and while the coffee bar will stay as it is, Barker said he won’t be doing any more as “Gin & Juice is more profitable and easier to operate and incredibly popular”. He also operates the Rum & Fizz bar concept, designed to sit alongside Gin & Juice locations where there is room for both, as “they complement each other with the same premium clientele”. It’s not a concept Barker will run by itself yet, but added: If there is the opportunity, we’ll put them together as we grow.”
Joël Robuchon International plans second London site for deli concept: Joël Robuchon International is planning to launch a second site under its deli concept in London, Propel has learned. The original Le Deli Robuchon opened in Piccadilly in December 2019. Propel understands the business, which also operates Le Comptoir Robuchon at the Clarges Street development in Mayfair, is planning to open a second Le Deli Robuchon in Chelsea, at 279 King’s Road. Le Deli offers a “casual yet sophisticated” all-day dining space with eat-in and takeaway options plus a patisserie. There is also a selection of products available to buy, while the off-site boulangerie offers fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads, afternoon tea, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Robuchon, who died in August 2018, was the most decorated chef in the history of the Michelin Guide, at one time holding 32 stars. The openings heralded a return of the Robuchon name to London after L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon closed in 2019. 
Bao plans Battersea opening: London operator Bao, which was founded by Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, and is backed by JKS Restaurants, is planning to increase its presence in the capital, with an opening in Battersea, Propel understands. Bao, which currently operates five sites in the capital, is understood to be set to join the food and beverage line-up at the Battersea Power Station development. Earlier this year, Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants, which also backs the likes of Hoppers and Berenjak, told Propel that Bao was seen as one of the group’s growth brands. He said: “Each brand has got a different strategy. We have Hoppers, which for us is a growth brand. We’ve got three Hoppers now, and there’ll hopefully be a fourth later this year or very early next year. We have five Baos now across London and will hopefully open a sixth later this year. Berenjak is another one we’re looking to grow. Where we see a scale opportunity, we will scale the brand, but at the same time, we’re not afraid just to do a standalone restaurant which will just exist and be the best at what it does in its category.”
Morty & Bob’s plans Kensal Rise opening: Cafe and bar concept Morty & Bob’s, which is backed by Edition Capital, is set to open a second restaurant in London, Propel understands. The concept, which is the brainchild of Charlie Phillips and Jesse Bliss, is planning to open a circa 65-cover site in Kensal Rise later this summer. The business opened a restaurant and bar site at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross in 2018 having closed its original site in Hackney. It followed this in 2019 with the opening of a hot sandwich bar in the newly refurbished food court opposite the Apple store in Westfield White City. It is thought the Kensal Rise opening is part of plans to add four new restaurants within the next two years. In 2019, the business secured a £650,000 investment from Edition. 
Homeslice to open fully plant-based restaurant: London better pizza brand Homeslice, founded by Alan and Mark Wogan, is opening its first fully plant-based site. The 135-cover restaurant in Shoreditch’s Old Street will open on Monday (13 June). The menu, fully powered by chef Neil Rankin’s Symplicity Foods, will offer six pizzas alongside sauces, drinks and desserts. The launch comes following a record-breaking period for Homeslice’s plant-based options. Sales have risen by 25% since launching in 2019, with almost 1,500 more plant-based pizzas ordered by customers in 2020 than 2019. Symplicity, the plant-based company spearheaded by Rankin and founded alongside the Wogan brothers, is the “driving force in the UK behind flavourful and natural plant-based alternatives”. The company sells direct to consumers and through some of the UK’s best restaurants, with sales having increased 400% in the past 18 months. Mark Wogan said: “Having access to Symplicity’s full product range really inspired us to create a menu of pizzas that will excite any palate. We’re proud and excited by what we’ve created together and we can’t wait for the Homeslice brand to broaden its customer and fanbase even further through the concept.” Homeslice operates sites in Neal’s Yard, Marylebone, Shoreditch and the City.
Vinoteca closes Marylebone site as it looks at larger venue opportunities: Wine bar, shop and restaurant concept Vinoteca has announced plans to close its site in Marylebone, as it looks to open more larger venues. The Gresham House Ventures-backed business had operated the site in Seymour Place, which will close on Friday (10 June), for the past 12 years. The announcement comes on the heels of recent openings in Borough Yards, London, and ahead of the company’s first launch outside the capital in Birmingham’s Paradise development. Charlie Young, Vinoteca’s co-founder, said: “We’ve had a fantastic 12 years in Marylebone. The locals welcomed us with open arms in 2010 when it was only our second site, and we’ve had a great time serving the area. Marylebone has also seen some incredible team members pass through the doors, many of whom have gone on to lead teams at new sites and become an integral part of Vinoteca as a group. As we’ve looked to grow, the model of the business has moved towards larger venues where we’ve had the chance to showcase what we do in an all-day setting. Great wine paired with delicious food has always been in our DNA, and the new-style Vinoteca openings means we can bring that to more people.” Central to the plans for the closure is looking after the Vinoteca staff, all of whom are being offered a place in one of the group’s six other sites. Co-founder Brett Woonton said: “In February we opened Borough Yards, London, our fifth London site, and this July we open our first out-of-London location in Birmingham. This means there’s plenty of opportunity to retain staff, keep training them up in wine and hospitality, and look for chances to promote.” 
Nicci Clarke leaves Punch to join Sodexo’s UK hospitality arm as marketing director: Nicci Clarke has left her role as head of marketing at Punch Pubs to become marketing director for the UK and Ireland at Sodexo Live!, the sports, events and hospitality arm of catering company Sodexo. Clarke had been with Punch for two years where she led a marketing strategy for an estate of more than 1,300 pubs. She previously worked for gift company Emma Bridgewater, the Central England Co-operative and Fruit of the Loom. Clarke has been joined at Sodexo Live by Rebecca Kane Burton, who has been appointed UK and Ireland chief executive. She has extensive experience in the live entertainment industry, having most recently worked as AEG’s vice-president for The O2 and as chief executive for Lloyd Webber Theatres. Nathalie Bellon-Szabo, chief executive worldwide of Sodexo Live!, said: “The UK is a key part of the global growth strategy of Sodexo Live! The business is recovering well from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and is starting to show signs of strong growth.”
Bun House to open second site, in Camden Market this week: Alex Peffly and Z He will open a second site for their Cantonese steam bun concept, Bun House, on Friday (10 June), at Camden Market’s Hawley Wharf. The site will pay homage to Cantonese Dai Pai Dong food stalls by serving some of Bun House’s favourite dishes alongside new menu additions. Larger dishes will include a traditional Shanghai-style cold noodle dish with sesame chilli sauce and slow-cooked satay beef stew served with fluffy rice or glass noodles. The drinks list will feature Hong Kong iced milk tea alongside a rotating selection of Asian beer. He said: “I’ve had so much fun playing around with this new menu, which puts a playful Cantonese spin on some of my favourite ‘guilty pleasures’ and comfort food in the UK” Peffly and He also operate Bun House in Chinatown, Wun’s in Soho and the Pleasant Lady Jian Bing trading stall. 
Salon team announce venue’s closure with trading conditions ‘more difficult than ever’: The team behind Salon in London’s Brixton have announced the closure of the venue, their first restaurant together, after a decade. Chefs and restaurateurs Nicholas Balfe, Matthew Bushnell and Mark Gurney made the decision “with a deep reluctance and heavy heart”, according to a statement. “The market has provided us with a brilliant home, a space to develop our menus and host a whole range of diners — from locals to those further afield,” the team added. “Industry trading conditions continue to be more challenging than ever, unfortunately meaning we have had to make this difficult decision. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over the years.” Balfe opened Salon in 2012, focusing on low intervention wine and inspired by the informal neo-bistros of Paris. Balfe had been working with chefs Isaac McHale and James Lowe, then the Young Turks at the Ten Bells in Shoreditch, before each went on to open the Clove Club and Lyle’s, respectively. Balfe and his team also operate small plates restaurant and wine bar Levan and casual bistro-diner Larry’s, both in London’s Peckham, as well as Holm in South Petherton, Somerset.
Doncaster restaurateur to open fifth site: Doncaster restaurateur Masud Rana is set to open his fifth restaurant, a new Brazilian bar and grill. Rancheros Bar and Grill will serve a Brazilian-inspired menu including many cuts of meats on skewers cooked above hot coals and carved tableside. The menu will include hot and cold buffet items, as well as vegetarian and vegan meals. The 130-seater restaurant, located in the East Laith Gate area of Doncaster, will create 30 jobs. Rana said: “I am looking forward to opening Rancheros in Doncaster, adding to my three other restaurants in the city and my fourth, a similar concept, in Rotherham. I opened Rancheros in Rotherham last year and it has proven to be a really popular restaurant with customers loving the Brazilian style of dining.” Rana, who began his restaurant career in London almost two decades ago, owns three eateries in Doncaster – La Rustica Italian Restaurant, La Fiesta Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant and La Boca – an Argentinian-inspired steakhouse.
Tokyo Industries acquires third Palm Springs hotel: Tokyo Industries, the bar and nightclub operator led by Aaron Mellor, has acquired its third hotel in Palm Springs in the US. The company has completed on the Orbit In, which is a nine-bedroom hotel in the centre of the city. Mellor said: “It’s another Herbert Burns modernist classic, built in 1957 as an ‘ultra-modern motor court inn’ with its boomerang bar, fire pits and hot tub and its nightly ‘orbitini’ martini happy hour.” Tokyo industries also owns the Desert Hills and Mahala hotels in Palm Springs.
Gleneagles opens first venture outside Perthshire with Edinburgh launch: Gleneagles has opened the first venture outside of Perthshire in the hotel's almost 100-year history. Gleneagles Townhouse is a 33-bedroom hotel, members’ club and all-day restaurant, based at 39 St Andrew Square in Edinburgh. The Townhouse and its all-day restaurant, The Spence, is now open exclusively to members and hotel guests with the wider public invited to experience the venue from Monday, 27 June. Marking a new chapter in the listed building’s history, the Townhouse was originally home to the British Linen Company before later becoming the Bank of Scotland. The kitchen at The Spence is led by head chef Jonny Wright, who returns to his native Scotland with more than 16 years’ experience. Signature dishes, which Wright describes as “rooted in classics with a modern twist” include wild mushroom tart with goats curd and hazelnuts; and whole roasted turbot with fennel and chilli. Within The Spence, a central bar offers cocktails, whisky, beer, spirits, and wine. Down in the bank’s former vault, there is a dedicated training, treatments and therapies space – The Strong Rooms – that will open later in June. The roof terrace bar, Lamplighters, will be open exclusively to members. 
Former Sky marketing director lands O2 role: Former Sky marketing director Robbie Balfour has been appointed brand and marketing director at The O2. He will lead the marketing strategy across the whole destination, including the arena itself and The Entertainment District, which hosts more than 30 bars and restaurants. Steve Sayer, vice-president and general manager at The O2, said: “As we continue to rebuild following the challenges of the past few years, our focus is very much on looking ahead at how we can continue to wow our customers – from gig-goers to diners and shoppers – and marketing plays a crucial role in this. It’s a big year for The O2 as we celebrate 15 years of the venue, and we’re thrilled to welcome Robbie to the team to help drive our iconic brand forward into the next phase.” Balfour, who has also worked for sportswear brand Puma, added: “The opportunity to extend The O2 arena’s world-class reputation and build on the work the team has already done in positioning it as a must-visit destination, with outlet shopping and the wider entertainment and food and beverage offerings, is huge, and something I’m excited to help shape.”
Nuno Mendes ends F&B partnership with Lisbon hotel: Chef Nuno Mendes has ended his food and beverage partnership at the Bairro Alto Hotel in Lisbon. Mendes, who has been leading the offer as creative director since 2018, has announced he will not be renewing his contract with the project and handing over leadership of the kitchen and creative direction to executive chef Bruno Rocha. Mendes said: “It has been wonderful to take the first step in my return to Lisbon with the team at Bairro Alto Hotel. Our partnership has come to its natural end, and Bruno and the rest of the kitchen team are more than ready to continue to grow the concept we have developed together over these years.” Mendes continues to split his time between Portugal and London. Earlier this year, he launched Lisboeta in Fitzrovia in partnership with MJMK.
Manchester takeaway boss receives seven-year director ban after wrongly claiming more than £50,000 from covid support schemes: A Manchester takeaway boss has been disqualified as a director for seven years after wrongly claiming £30,000 through Eat Out To Help Out and more than £20,000 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Ifraz Nabi, 41, was the sole director of New York Krispy Fried Chicken, a chicken takeaway shop in Stockport Road, Levenshulme. The company went into liquidation in November 2020, triggering an investigation by the Insolvency Service. It said investigators discovered Nabi failed in his obligations as director to maintain adequate accounts and financial records. As a result, the claims he made through the government support schemes could not be supported, as there was insufficient information relating to sales and no explanation of how such sales could have been achieved while staff were on furlough. The shop was not eligible to claim funding through the Eat Out To Help Out scheme as it was only for restaurants with indoor seating. Although New York Krispy Fried Chicken had some seating, it received the majority of its orders through apps, which were also excluded under the scheme, the Insolvency Service added. Nabi had also failed to register the company for tax and when the business went into liquidation due to the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, the liquidators were unable to assess how much the company owed in unpaid tax. The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy accepted a disqualification undertaking from Nabi, after he admitted failing to maintain, preserve or deliver up adequate accounting records, as well as failing to register and account for VAT as required.
Cumbrian barbecue restaurant group opens Kendal taco bar: Cumbrian barbecue restaurant group Pappy’s Texas Barbeque has opened a taco bar in Kendal. Propel reported in March that Pappy’s – founded by US-born third-generation Texan pitmaster Robin Perris – would be expanding the company he launched in 2013 after settling in Cumbria. Pappy’s Taco Bar has now opened at The Old Smokehouse in Yard 2 of Stricklandgate, Kendal. Offering the flavours of both traditional barbecue cooking and Mexican cuisine, the menu includes Texas barbecued meat in tortillas served with sipping tequilas, Mexican beer and soda, margaritas and cocktails. Perris said: “Tex-Mex food can often be perceived as low-quality fast food. We want to try and redefine that perception by using high-quality, authentic ingredients and bringing the best elements of both cuisines together.” Having started out in a trailer, the company grew to operate Pappy’s Texas Bar & Grill outdoor courtyard, Pappy’s Takeout and Pappy’s at Home. “Opening Pappy’s Taco Bar is the natural next step for us and a very exciting chapter for the Pappy’s family,” Perris added. “It has always been my dream to have my own permanent restaurant serving my beloved Texas barbecue.”
York operator shuts Hull restaurant due to ‘rocketing costs’: York operator Mark Hill is shutting his bar and restaurant in Hull as “rocketing costs” take their toll. Punk-themed Asian kitchen The Social Distortion, in Princes Avenue, will close at the end of August. Posting on its Instagram feed, the business said the soaring costs of bills and inflation meant running the place “just isn't do-able any more”. It added: “Our entire ethos is around good, fresh produce, making everything in house, treating staff well and kicking out a great product, and we don't want to sacrifice any of that. Hopefully this isn't the end, we'll keep you all posted on future plans.” Hill who also runs Street Cleaver and Born to Lose in York. The Social Distortion opened in 2020 in the space that was previously Tropicana.
Company behind Yorkshire theme park Flamingo Land submits new plans for £40m ‘tourist resort’ in Loch Lomond: The company behind Yorkshire theme park Flamingo Land has submitted new plans for a £40m tourist resort at Loch Lomond. The business has started a leaflet campaign to persuade residents of the value of the “tourist resort”. It has published its proposal after making “fundamental changes” to its original plans that it withdrew in 2019 after more than 50,000 objections. The site is set to include up to 60 apartments, a budget hotel with up to 32 bedrooms, 127 self-catering holiday lodges, and the restoration and redevelopment of Woodbank House as 21 self-catering holiday apartments on Lomond Banks. The site, in Pier Road, would have a leisure pool, waterpark, spa, restaurants, hot food cafe, retail areas, a pub, visitor reception, play areas, picnic setting, monorail and associated access and parking. The application in principle to West Dunbartonshire Council means the company is looking for an agreement the proposed development is acceptable – but there are already several objections from concerned residents the development would take away from the natural habitat, destroy the homes of wildlife and biodiversity, reports STV.

Team behind Barcelona’s Martinez and Bar Canete lines up Chelsea opening: Jose Parrado, who owns paella restaurant Martinez and tapas bar Canete in Barcelona, is lining up an opening at Chelsea Barracks in London this autumn. The Campaner will take the space, at 1 Garrison Close, which has already hosted two Ollie Dabbous pop-ups – The Chelsea Barracks Kitchen and Hideaway – reports Hot Dinners.
Devon operator pays back CBILS, retains cash reserves for ‘possible future periods of closure’: Braddicks Leisure, operator of several bars and restaurants and a holiday park in Devon, has said it has paid back the £950,000 it borrowed through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) in full but has put all major capital projects on hold. This is in order to “retain higher than usual cash reserves” to cover for possible future enforced periods of closure. It is also keeping some money aside for possible future repair works to the cliffs at its Westward Ho! holiday park, which suffered a partial collapse in 2020, leading to five months of repair works last year. In its accounts for the year ending 31 December 2021, Braddicks reported turnover of £5.9m (2020: £4m) and a pre-tax profit of £1.5m (2020: £490,000). Income from government grants was £409,000 (2020: £652,000). The CBILS was fully repaid in July 2021, “following a very strong June trading period”, while a temporary owners’ loan was repaid in September 2021, “due to the strong financial performance”. Braddicks’ portfolio includes the Fairway Buoy, Pierhouse Steak and Grill and Waterfront Inn. There are plans to install beach huts to seat 40 more customers at the Waterfront Inn, while a two-bedroom holiday apartment has been installed above HoBarts! Amusements. Crabby Dicks and the Blacksmith Arms, both in Bideford, have been closed for two years, but while the Blacksmith is due to reopen this month, Crabby Dicks will remain closed until September. Owner Rob Braddick told Devon Live: “At the moment, we are concentrating on Westward Ho! and getting ready for the summer season. We are almost fully booked and have tons of bookings coming in every day. We’ve been trying to sell the Blacksmith's Arms for 12 months, but we haven’t had any luck.”

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