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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 20th Jun 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Stonegate plans to extend Peckwater partnership to another 20 sites, encouraged by early signs: Stonegate Group, the UK’s largest pub operator, is to extend its trial with Peckwater Brands, the virtual brand company, to another 20 sites next month after being “encouraged by the early signs” from the new partnership, Propel has learned. Earlier this month, the company confirmed it had taken a minority stake in and led a £15m fundraising round for Peckwater. It came on the back of a trial which has seen Peckwater’s brands – mostly Seoul Chikin and Flip the Bird – made available for delivery out of 30 of Stonegate’s managed sites. Simon Longbottom, chief executive of the circa 4,500-strong Stonegate, told Propel: “We’re excited by our partnership with Peckwater and are encouraged by the early signs. The offer is currently predominantly being produced out of our student-led format, given that they tend to be in locations with the demographic who are most using home delivery. However, we think the opportunity is significant and will use other formats as we move to scale. The menu on offer is a delivery only option; we still produce our core food offer for guests in the pub, and we’re keen not to dilute this.” It is thought a move to add the virtual brands to menus for dine-in is currently under review, and that in time, they could be introduced to the group’s tenanted estate. Ian Payne, Stonegate chairman, said: “We’ve not rolled it out into any tenancies yet. At the moment, it’s purely managed because obviously it’s much easier for us to control, but that’s something we’re looking at for the future.” Peckwater Brands’ recent series A funding will be used to develop technology, including machine learning-generated menus, and accelerate its expansion, with its UK team planning to take the company from operating in 150-plus sites to being the largest kitchen network in the UK. The company also plans to level-up its international operations, which will involve the development of its US division – launched in Miami in early 2022. The business also plans on expanding further into Europe, with confirmed sites in France and Belgium due to launch in the coming months.
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Franklin & Sons rebrands and extends soda range: Franklin & Sons, the premium mixer and soft drinks brand, has reimagined its visual identity with a “modern, clean look and feel, inspiring consumers to focus on the remarkable flavours to be discovered inside the bottle”. The new design spans across its entire product range including a refined logo, featuring bright stand-out designs that are “eye-catching for the back bar”. The new logo and labels aren’t the only change for Franklin & Sons – it will bring an array of rebranded point-of-sale, glassware and outer packaging with an eye-catching new font. Franklin & Sons is also introducing two new mixers to its range of soda with a pink grapefruit and guava and lime soda to add to the extensive product range, which “stands out with citrus notes but doesn’t overpower any spirits”. Taking feedback from the trade, the new look provides a more modern feel, “bringing the flavour of the product to the forefront with bold, statement colours”. The range continues to boast a selection of award-winning, tasty liquids. “Our new visual identity simply reaffirms our focus on delivery of great taste, simply,” said group marketing director Rebecca Allinson. To find out more, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com.

Number of hotel operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A number of hotel operators are among the 35 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (1 July), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features the Scotsman Group, which was founded by Stefan King and operates 15 restaurants, 11 bars, six hotels, five clubs, three cinemas, two apartments and several other flagship venues across Scotland. Also added this month is eight-strong Bowland Inns & Hotels, which is a Lancashire hotel, pub and restaurant operator led by managing director James Warburton. In addition, husband-and-wife team Andrew and Natalie Hennessy, who operate The East Kent in Whitstable and have taken on a second Shepherd Neame pub in Kent and transformed it into boutique hotel and bar called The White Horse, will be featured. Also included this month is Brilliant Hotels, which is led by Anoob Saban, and operates seven sites in its portfolio, including sites in Manchester, Rochdale, Cheltenham and Sheffield. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,000-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday (8 July), at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 13,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly and was sent to Premium subscribers last Friday (17 June), provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to a new database. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database 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 featured 120 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details, and almost 47,000 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Mark Wingett.

Hospitality chiefs fear they will lose £540m to rail walkout: The hospitality sector will take a half billion-pound hit next week when rail strikes shut down the country, industry chiefs have warned. The Times reports UKHospitality, the trade body, expects spending to fall by 20% in towns and city centres when 40,000 members of the RMT union walk out. Tony Sophoclides, its strategic affairs director, said the sector faced a black hole of £540m next week, which will prove devastating for an industry recovering from the pandemic. “Our most acute concerns are in the city centres,” he said. “Working from home is already affecting the recovery and making it more of an uphill battle. Rail strikes will have a massive impact.” Sophoclides said the prospect of a summer of disruption would be unnerving for a sector that was so badly hit by covid lockdowns. In a normal June week, the hospitality sector would take £2.7bn. “Getting people physically into our venues is incredibly important to drive the recovery,” he said. “In turn, the recovery is important to the nation, because we know that we can create jobs [in the same] way that we did coming out of the financial crisis in 2008.” The strikes on June 21, 23 and 25 will start at midnight and last 24 hours, but disruption will affect the following days because staff will not have begun night shifts and trains will be out of position on the network. Only 20% of train services are expected to operate on strike days, with a maximum of 60% on other days next week. Sophoclides said while the strikes would affect hospitality customers and staff, it would also have an impact on tourism. “That’s going to be massively hit because tourists really rely on public transport,” he added.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a global hospitality company with multiple brands and offers across multiple markets, seeking a global talent director based in Asia. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This business is looking for someone who can relocate/be based at its head office in Asia and lead a global team to support a global business. This role will involve substantial travel and working across time-zones. Most of the talent development and internal succession planning will be at mid-level – and you will ensure the right pathways are in place to develop talent to general manager level. Ideally, it is looking for someone who has held a similar role within a multi-site hospitality business and has a strong understanding of the sector. The salary for the position is a great package plus housing, flights and family benefits.” For more information, email Michelle@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Jowsey – managed model could eventually make up 20% of our business, community pubs remain resilient: Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns, the Proprium-backed pub business, has said the group’s managed division could eventually make up 20% of the company’s estate. The division was created last year by the circa 1,600-strong company’s £222.3m acquisition of Hawthorn. Speaking in Propel’s Friday Wrap series, Jowsey said: “We’re less than a year in since the acquisition, and the thing that’s really pleased us is the leased and tenanted business has performed as well as we’d hoped. But Proper Pubs, which is the community, wet-led operator division, has outperformed, and is actually getting stronger and stronger. We had about 35 operator-led businesses in Admiral, but that was pretty new for the business after the acquisition in 2019. We’ve now got 175, including the pubs that came in from Hawthorn, and they’re really outperforming. It’s a very interesting model. I don’t think it’ll ever be the dominant model in our business by any means. We’re very much focused on tenanted pubs and always will be, but we’re learning a lot of lessons from the way they operate. We can take some of those lessons back into tenanted as well and help our licensees. From a financial point of view, it is outperforming, and from an operational point of view, we’re getting some real benefits on that as well across the business.” In terms of how big that part of the Admiral business can get, Jowsey said: “I guess the first thing to say on that is we’ll never take a pub of a tenanted operator and put it into our operator division. We’re never going to force anybody out – it’s absolutely a golden rule for us. We’ve got 175 now out of a total of 1,600, and I could see us potentially getting to somewhere between 250 and 300 in that operator-led division, but I’m not sure I see it going beyond that. We’re very disciplined as well – we’ve been very clear about the criteria we use when we’re assessing a pub and where it should sit in the future. It might be 20% of our total pubs, but I don’t see it being more than that.” In terms of current trading, Jowsey said the business hadn’t seen a fluctuation in volume, and that community pubs remained resilient. He said: “I think the thing that pleased everybody was the way we bounced back each time something hit us, whether it’s a lockdown or something else. I think because we have an awful lot of regular clientele who just want to get back and socialise in their local pub, we’ve benefited from that. We’re probably also benefiting from the continued emphasis on working at least a few days a week from home. In the current climate, I’m not sure many people want to go into a city centre, pay for expensive taxis, pay extra for their beer and so on. They’d rather socialise locally – it’s a kind of affordable treat.”

The Chesterford Group takes on first four Pret sites: The Chesterford Group, which operates circa 40 sites under brands including Churchill’s and Bankers Fish & Chips, has acquired the first four sites from Pret A Manger under its franchise agreement with the JAB Holdings-backed business, Propel understands. The James Lipscombe-led business is now operating the Pret sites in High Street, Chelmsford; St Peter’s Street, St Albans; and in Market Street and Station Square, Cambridge. The stores are being operated under the new Chesterford Group subsidiary Joy Brands. Last month, Propel revealed that Pret had secured IceKing as a further franchisee in the UK for Kent and Sussex. Iceking, which was founded in 2000 by the Mouralidarane family and is currently a KFC franchisee, has already taken on five Pret sites in the region. K&Z Holdings, a family-run, multi-unit franchise business, also took on its first four Pret sites as part of its franchise agreement with the JAB Holdings-led brand last month. The sites in Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Guildford and Woking have now transferred across to K&Z, which is also a KFC franchisee. Last November, Pret announced four shops in Oxford would be transferred to another new franchisee in Dallas Holdings. Speaking at the time, Pret chief executive Pano Christou said: “Demand for our freshly prepared food and organic coffee is growing, with some shops busier than they’ve ever been. To meet that demand, we’re establishing new partnerships with franchisees to bring Pret to more people.”
 
Five Guys secures another London flagship site: Better burger brand Five Guys is to open another flagship restaurant in London after securing a new site in Victoria. Propel understands that the brand, which has more than 1,000 venues worldwide, with more than 140 in the UK, will open later this year on the former Balans site in Cardinal Walk. The business, which is understood to also be in talks on a site in London’s Park Royal, will open its latest two UK sites this week (20 June) on the former Pelican State site in Wigmore Street, Marylebone, and the Ventura Retail Park in Tamworth. The company, which recently opened sites in Cardiff (Newport Road) and Cheshunt, has further sites secured for openings this year in Basildon, Tunbridge Wells, Staines, Sheffield, Windsor, Preston and Richmond (Yorkshire). In 2020, Running Hare Restaurants paid a total of £150,000 to acquire five of the seven sites that were operated by London-based casual dining group Balans Soho Society out of administration. It acquired the leases of the two sites in Old Compton Street in Soho along with Kensington, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford. The Balans sites in Victoria and Ealing were closed. Richard Negus at AG&G acted on the Cardinal Walk deal.
 
The Craft Beer Co to open in Paddington: The Craft Beer Co is to open a further site in London, in Paddington. Propel understands that the company, which was founded in 2011 by Martin Hayes and Peter Slezak, has secured a new lease on the former Cork & Bottle site in Spring Street, for what will be its seventh site in the capital. The company also operates a site in Brighton. Cork & Bottle continues to operate a site in Leicester Square. David Kornbluth at CDG Leisure acted on behalf of the landlord on the Paddington deal. 
 
Neighbourhood cafe concept Beam secures fourth London site: Independent neighbourhood cafe Beam Neighbourhood is to open a fourth London site. Propel has learned that the business, which focuses on healthy breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes inspired by Mediterranean and British cuisine, will open a site later this year in Muswell Hill. The company has secured the former La’De Kitchen site on Muswell Hill Broadway. Family-run Beam made its debut in Crouch End in 2013 before opening a second site, in Highbury, five years later. The company, which is led by founders Ozgur and Sidar Akyuz, opened its latest site in 2020, in Westbourne Grove. The disposal of its only London-based site leaves Turkish concept La’De Kitchen with five sites – in Pangbourne, Woodley, Hereford, Newbury and Camberley. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Muswell Hill deal.
 
Eggs-centred concept Yolk set for fourth site: Eggs-centred concept Yolk is to launch a fourth site in London, in Canary Wharf. The Nick Philpot-led business is understood to have secured a site in Cabot Square for an opening later this summer. The business launched its first permanent site in Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, in 2017, following a string of pop-ups. It followed this with an opening in New Street Square, and earlier this year on the former EAT site in Golden Square. The concept features poached egg pots, sourdough toast and “ultimate sandwiches”.
 
Online craft beer retailer HonestBrew ceases trading, placed into administration: Online craft beer retailer HonestBrew has ceased trading after being placed into administration. HonestBrew was founded by Andrew Reeve as an online retailer in 2014 before expanding into distribution. Allister Manson and Steven Parker, of Opus Restructuring, were appointed joint administrators to the business last week. The business said: “The current trading environment has proved to be one challenge too far, and on the 14 of June, we made the difficult decision to stop taking new orders.” It said it was working with a “fellow craft beer pioneer” on a solution for customers with outstanding cash deposits. In August 2017, HonestBrew secured a £1.5m investment following a funding round led by venture capital firm Hargreave Hale and a handful of private investors.
 
Lost Boy Pizzas founder launches new concept at Camden Market: Pete Clucas, who co-founded Lost Boys Pizza with Alex Fisher, has launched a new pizza concept, True Romance, at Camden Market’s Hawley Wharf. The vampire-themed Lost Boys Pizza, inspired by the cult 1980s film The Lost Boys, first opened in London’s Archway in 2017 before adding a second site, in Camden’s Eversholt Street, the following year. Clucas has now launched another film-themed concept, True Romance, inspired by the 1993 film of the same name, features events such as ‘bottomless booze and slices’, and film screenings on the first floor. It is located in a 1,095 square-foot space over two floors within a railway arch, with 62 covers inside and 20 outside. Clucas said: “We’ve had great success since opening Lost Boys a few years ago, and my love for Camden made me jump at the opportunity to come here.” The restaurant is one of five new food and beverage concepts landlords LabTech have signed up for Hawley Wharf. Canalside all-day café and bar Americano, catering to both Hawley Wharf visitors and the connected flexible workspace building Labs, has taken a 1,110 square-foot site offering a contemporary twist on traditional Italian espresso bars. It transitions to a bar in the evening serving aperitif cocktails, wines and beers. Naked Dough, which claims to be the UK’s first cookie dough café, has taken a unit within Waterside Halls, Hawley Wharf’s independent retail and open kitchen dining hub. So too has Jollof Mama, which offers Nigerian food with a modern twist, and has several years’ experience working with street food market Kerb. Joining them all this summer will be The 3 Locks Brewing Company, which has taken a 5,300 square-foot unit within the historic railway arches. Founded by Marinos Alexandrou, co-founder of the award-winning Aegean Brewery 56 isles, 3 Locks will bring a range of new craft beers as well as collaborations from its sister brand. Alexandrou said: “We’ve been trying to locate a place for the brewery in London for a while, but when I saw this amazing space, I knew we had to do it here.” Also coming to Hawley Wharf this month is a UK debut for global amusement park operator Babylon Park, which will open a 35,000 square-foot leisure venue over three floors offering activities including a roller coaster, drop tower and bumper cars. Colliers and CBRE represent Camden Market Hawley Wharf. Camden Market was put up for sale earlier this month, with Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi hoping to attract bids in the region of £1.5bn.
 
Darts-based competitive socialising concept Oche to launch in UK next month: Oche, a Norway-headquartered, interactive, darts-based competitive socialising concept, will make its UK debut next month. The concept from The Social Gaming Group will arrive in London on Thursday, 14 July. The venue, in The Strand, will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, each built with numerous games and automatic scoring. The food menu will be inspired by modern European and Asian cooking, and there will be a diverse list of cocktails. The company, which has subsidiaries in the USA, Australia and the UK, currently has sites open in Oslo, Gothenburg, Amsterdam, Brisbane and Miami. The business, which is led by former TopGolf international president Troy Warfield, plans to open six to ten new sites across the globe over the next 12 months, and is seeking franchise partners to accelerate its expansion plans. Warfield said: “Oche combines our technologically advanced gaming experience with exceptional curated dishes from Michelin-trained chefs, inspired by cuisines around the world, perfectly paired with uniquely distinctive cocktails, craft beer and wine. It’s not about the game, it’s about the experience.” Oche launched in Norway’s capital Oslo in 2019 before expanding to Brisbane, Amsterdam in 2020 and Miami last year. The concept is often referred to as “gastro gaming” due to the “importance that the food has on the overall experience.” The Social Gaming Group is backed by Karbon Invest, which last year said it planned to invest more than $35m in the concept during the next three to five years to realise the growth potential of the brand. Karbon is majority owned by Norwegian IT-investor Jens Rugseth and his family. The Social Gaming Group also operates competitive socialising concept Shufl and business-to-business company Social Gaming Solutions.

New immersive dining and drinking experience to open in London’s Waterloo: A new immersive dining and drinking experience is opening in London’s Waterloo. Labyrinth is the brainchild of Les Enfants Terribles creative directors Oliver Lansley and James Seager, and producers Hunter Arnold and Gavin Kalin. The concept will “transport audiences to new, but well-known worlds, immersing them through in-depth storytelling, beautifully realised environments and exciting possibilities via its theatre productions, restaurants and bars”. The venue, at The Sidings at Waterloo station, will feature the Rosarium restaurant, opening in September, and the Underland bar, which will launch in November. The Rosarium will have 101 covers, offering a “gastronomic adventure” from executive chef Harvey Ayliffe, who has developed a modern British menu, using British produce with a “wonderland” twist. It will incorporate “performative and sense-heightening experiences” including an afternoon tea and cocktail menu. The restaurant will include an indoor terrace and private dining room. The Underland bar will have 220 covers and serve bespoke Alice’s Adventures Underground cocktails alongside wine, cocktails and beer. Seager said: “Labyrinth will operate a world-class permanent home to the ever-flourishing immersive genre for the existing and new generation of theatregoers and experience seekers.  Our content will place audiences at the forefront of every experience that crosses over our shows, our restaurants, and our bars.  Labyrinth Waterloo is just the beginning, and we’re excited about what the global future holds.” 

JD Wetherspoon to open £2.4m pub at Birmingham New Street station: JD Wetherspoon is to open a new pub at Birmingham New Street station. The company will start development work today (Monday, 20 June) on the London and North Western, which is set to open in November. Wetherspoon is spending £2.4m to develop the pub, which will also feature external areas. Chief executive John Hutson said: “We are looking forward to opening our new pub and believe it will be a great addition to the station.”

KFC teams up with food redistribution charity: KFC UK & Ireland is teaming up with FareShare, a food redistribution charity, to help eradicate food waste from its stores. FareShare takes good-to-eat surplus food, which is unsold or unwanted by the food industry, and redistributes it through a network of almost 10,000 local charities and community groups. In the last year, FareShare redistributed the equivalent of 2.5 million meals every week across the UK, and the equivalent of four million meals are forecast to be redistributed through the new partnership. Jenny Packwood, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer at KFC, told the Mail on Sunday: “We’ve seen more and more people in the local communities that we serve being plunged into food insecurity and, as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, it is more important than ever that we make sure any surplus food gets to the people who need it most. We want to move fast and hard on rolling out our food redistribution programme by the end of the year, and across all of our restaurants, because we cannot sit by while our communities suffer.” The rollout will see the initiative go live across the majority of its 1,000 restaurants by the end of 2022 following a successful pilot in 20 KFC restaurants in the Midlands, the north east and Essex. Last week, KFC announced that Meghan (Meg) Farren will be returning to the business in the role of general manager. Farren left her role of chief marketing officer KFC UK & Ireland in 2021 for Asda.
 
Yorkshire dessert bar to open in Beeston for eighth site: Yorkshire dessert bar operator Rassam’s Creamery is set to open its eighth site, and first outside of the county, in Beeston. The 4,200 square-foot venue, which will offer a 34-page dessert menu, will open in the autumn in the Beeston Square development. Owner Rassam Ali said: “Beeston has such a thriving and growing community, and we knew right away that the town was ideal for our next venue. With so many young people, students and families, we can offer something new and exciting that many may not have experienced before.” Among its neighbours in the multimillion-pound development, led by Broxtowe Borough Council, will be an Arc Cinema and Italian restaurant Ottimo, while The Beeston Social bar will open its doors later this month. Zulf Darr, deputy chief executive of Broxtowe Borough Council, added: “It’s fantastic that a Yorkshire-based company has chosen our great town for its next venue. It’s all about making the town attractive and increasing footfall, and Rassam’s dessert bar will be a welcome addition to the fantastic venues already open in the development.” Following Beeston, Rassam’s will returning to Yorkshire for an opening in Doncaster. The business aims to open five more branches by the end of 2022 and have 20 stores nationwide and internationally by the end of 2023. 

Where The Pancakes Are closes crowdfunding campaign with more than £600,000 raised: Where The Pancakes Are, the buttermilk pancakes and cafe concept, has closed its £550,000 crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube having overfunded by more than £50,000. It raised a total of £604,591 from 309 investors, offering 17.18% equity and giving the company a pre-money valuation of £2.914m. Propel reported last week that the business had hit its £550,000 target as it aims to open 16 restaurants by 2026. Founded by Patricia Trijbits in 2015, inspired by the pancake restaurants in her native Holland and across the USA, Where The Pancakes Are began life as a series of pop-ups and cooking classes. This was followed by the opening of restaurants in Flat Iron Square in 2016 and Fitzrovia in 2021, with a third, in Battersea Power Station, set to open this autumn. As well as launching her second site during the pandemic, Trijbits also introduced an online shop selling her signature pancake mix, brunch boxes and gift boxes. The company said it serves 10,000 customers a month and has served some 300,000 since launching, with a 62% return rate within three months.

NQ64 to make north east debut in August with Newcastle launch: NQ64, the immersive retro arcade bar concept backed by Imbiba, will make its north east debut in August, in Newcastle. The concept, which was founded by Matt Robson and Andy Haygarth, will open in the former Intermezzo site in Pilgrim Street. The 3,500 square-foot, 200 capacity bar will be the business’ ninth site. The venue will offer retro arcade game machines, operated using tokens that are purchased at the bar, as well as a bunch of classic consoles. There will also be game-themed cocktails alongside a selection of beer, wine, soda and spirits. NQ64 operates venues across London’s Soho, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow, having launched in 2019. Robson said: “Being a born and bred Geordie, opening in Newcastle is particularly special for me, and my mum! I hope NQ64 will bring a different offering to the city.” Last November, Haygarth told Propel the business was planning to open four to five new sites a year, as it targets growing to 20 to 25 sites in its latest stage of growth.

Swingers opens second US site with New York launch: Swingers, the crazy golf brand owned by London-based Institute of Competitive Socialising, has opened its second US site, in New York. Located in the heart of Manhattan, beneath the Virgin Hotel at 29th and Broadway, Swingers NoMad spans 23,000 square feet. The £9.5m fit-out includes three nine-hole crazy-golf courses, four gourmet street food brands, six cocktail bars and a host of private rooms for hire. An opulent clubhouse is the centrepiece of the venue. At Swingers NoMad, the food vendors are Sauce Pizzeria, Miznon, Fonda, and Mah Ze Dahr Bakery. Swingers, which also operates two sites in London, made its US debut in June last year, in Washington DC. In April, Swingers outlined its expansion plans for the next three years as it forecast global revenue of £35m for 2022. Swingers plans to open three locations in 2023, including its second Washington DC venue. Swingers Navy Yard, a 24,000 square-foot location, will open in February 2023. The business, founded by in 2014 by Jeremy Simmonds and Matt Grech-Smith, plans five locations in 2024 and 2025, taking the company to 17 sites by the end of 2025. Revenue at the end of 2025 is expected to exceed £170m, and the business is expected to be valued in excess of £550m.

Team behind Chester wine bar to open rooftop site in Manchester this autumn: The team behind Chester independent wine bar Covino is to open a second site, in Manchester. The bar, which will be based on the roof of Bruntwood Work’s Blackfriars House, will be called Climat and open in the autumn. Climat will offer a seasonally inspired, daily changing food menu of “food you want to eat”. Climat will also have an expertly curated collection of approximately 250 different wines, with a focus on the Burgundy region, while offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city centre. Covino head chef Luke Richardson will move to the role of executive chef, operating across both sites. Christopher Laidler, owner of Covino and Climat restaurants, said: “It’s great to get our foot in the door in Manchester. It represents a big step up for us. The site has so much to offer and we’re going to add something special to a great city.” Charlotte Wild, head of retail and leisure at Bruntwood Works, added: “As we are seeing a big return to the city centre post-covid, it felt it was the right time to launch this extraordinary new dining and drinking space in Manchester. Founded in 2016, Covino offers seasonally inspired small plates alongside an extensive menu of wine from all over the world. It moved to a larger premises in Northgate Street two years ago after outgrowing its original site, and also earned a place in this year’s Michelin Guide.

Wendy’s to open Camden restaurant this month: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, will open its fifth London site, in Camden, this month. The company is opening the restaurant in the former Royal Bank of Scotland site in Camden High Street on Tuesday, 28 June. Wendy’s plans to open at least ten UK restaurants this year – with sites in Guildford, Maidstone, Kingston, Colchester, Peterborough and Uxbridge being lined up – as well as up to 50 dark kitchens. Last month, Gunther Plosch, chief financial officer at Wendy’s, said several franchises had been signed up for the UK market, and there had been “huge interest” by franchisees in its European expansion plans.

Tomahawk Steakhouse to open Saltburn restaurant this week: North east-based multi-site operator Howard Eggleston will open a restaurant under his Tomahawk Steakhouse brand on Friday (24 June), in Saltburn. Eggleston has converted the former Vista Mar restaurant premises in Saltburn Bank. The site, which has views of the Teesside coast, will feature DJs playing Ibiza classics as well as a summer twist on its steak-inspired menu, including surf and turf offerings. Last month, Eggleston said he would close the London site of Tomahawk Steakhouse, in Hoxton, to focus on its northern expansion. Eggleston has also added further to the brand’s pipeline after agreeing a deal for a site in Nottingham. Eggleston also operates the Rio Brazilian Steakhouse brand and chicken-based takeaway concept Pollo. Eggleston currently operates 17 sites over the three concepts, and earlier this year told Propel he was in funding talks to expand his estate to more than 50 sites. Eggleston plans on opening a further seven sites before July, including restaurants in Morpeth, Harrogate, Didsbury, Sunderland and Durham, with the latter two being under the Rio Brazilian Steakhouse brand.

Loungers reignites plans for venue in Llandudno, submits plans for Southport site: Cafe bar brand Loungers has reignited plans to open a site in Llandudno. The company had previously hoped to open in the former Marks and Spencer satellite store In Mostyn Street. After initially being rejected by Conwy County Borough Council in 2019, an amended plan was given the go-ahead, but Loungers withdrew its plan in 2021 due to the pandemic. Now Loungers has lodged an application for a site in Gloddaeth Street, which is currently occupied by retailer M&Co, reports the Daily Post. M&Co is vacating the property and looking at alternative sites in the town. Loungers said the proposal would “enhance the provision of eating and drinking establishments in Llandudno town centre”. Meanwhile, Loungers has also submitted plans for a site in Southport. The business has applied to Sefton Council to convert the ground, first and second floors of the Waterstones bookshop on the corner of Lord Street and Nevill Street in a £1m investment, reports the Liverpool Echo. Waterstones would move to another site in the Merseyside town. Earlier this month, Loungers opened a site in Newport on the Isle of Wight. It marked 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.

Tim Hortons to expand Northern Ireland presence this month with Portadown launch: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons is to expand its presence in Northern Ireland with an opening in Portadown this month. SK Group, which is leading the rollout of the brand in the UK, is launching the site at the Meadows Retail Park, in Meadow Lane, on Thursday, 30 June. The drive-thru will include a cafe that can seat up to 100 people. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “Portadown is a major town with great transport links and has a wonderful community, so we look forward to opening here at the end of June.” There are currently nine Tim Hortons restaurants in Northern Ireland, and the brand operates 53 sites in the UK, with its latest openings today (Monday, 20 June) – at the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley and in Stockton, Teesside. Last month, Hydes told Propel that by the end of this year, the brand “should be able to say that it has got nationwide coverage in the UK”. Tim Hortons, which will make its London debut in July, has plans to add another circa 30 locations by the end of 2022.

Stroud restaurant operators open second site: Stroud restaurant operators Matteo Conte and Clara Cardillo have opened a second site in the Gloucestershire town. The couple have launched Terra within the Sandersons Boutique department store at the Five Valleys shopping centre following a £250,000 investment. Terra, which means earth, is said to reference the simple, fresh ingredients they are used to build its authentic menu. Conte and Cardillo moved to the Cotswolds from Rome eight years ago and quickly got to work building a business doing what they loved – cooking and serving Italian food using recipes and ingredients from their homeland. Conte told Punchline Gloucester: “Many of the dishes available at Terra are typical of our region, but we’ve also included favourites from other parts of Italy, such as slow roasted venison with pappardelle, to ensure we’re offering a full and exciting menu for our diners.” The drinks list includes Italian wine, cocktails and coffee. Conte and Cardillo also own, and continue to run, the Non-Solo Pasta unit within the Five Valleys indoor market, where they have served their arancini for the past two years.

Norfolk brewery ends fundraise after overfunding by almost £100,000: Norfolk’s Duration Brewing has ended its £350,000 fundraise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after overfunding by almost £100,000. The company, which will use the funds to add a “bespoke taproom” to its rural brewery in West Acre, near Swaffham, passed its initial target at the start of June. It finished with £440,000 from more than 600 investors, who were offered 6.89% equity, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £5.9m. The overfunding will be spent on sustainability projects like adding a fourth brew vessel and water recapture to improve efficiency, and planting a fruit orchard to encourage biodiversity and produce fruits for wild ale. Founded in 2017 by Miranda Hudson and Derek Bates, Duration says it has grown sales year on year to £773,000, with an Ebitda of -£68,000 in the year ending April 2022. It has space to triple its capacity, with an aim to “maximise high-margin on-site sales”. The company said opening the taproom would “help capitalise on our 200% annual growth in brewery managed retail to £157k (FY to April 2022)”. Before co-founding Duration, Bates helped MEATliquor develop into an international chain, and BrewDog further develop its bar chain, before working as head brewer at the Brew By Numbers in Bermondsey. “It’s something we always envisioned when we were renovating our site and setting up as a brewery,” said Hudson of the taproom. “We’re planning to have it ready to launch late spring/early summer.” During the winter, bar snacks like sausage rolls and pretzels will be available, while in the summer, various guest street vendors including the Wood Fired Food Co, FannyAdams Catering and Pressed Toasties will be in residence.

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