Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head CPL Learning Link Paul's Twitter Link Hive Pubs by Greene King Banner
Morning Briefing Strap Line
Tue 21st Jun 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Timothy Taylor CEO ­– effects of cost-of-living crisis ‘starting to creep in’, tough year lies ahead for sector: Tim Dewey, chief executive of Keighley brewer and retailer Timothy Taylor, has told Propel the business is on course for a “strong” financial year but said the effects of the cost-of-living crisis are “starting to creep in”. Dewey believes the industry is in for a tough winter and admits his main concerns are how the 2023 financial year will shape up. “Our fixed energy price deals finish in the near future and we’re struggling to get quotes,” Dewey said. “We’re paying £250,000 a year currently and we’re looking at four times that. Then there’s big increases in the cost of barley. We’re still working off last year’s harvest for now at least. One of the big challenges is working out what costs to pass on and what we can mitigate. There’s only so much we can mitigate because we won’t compromise on quality. I think this is going to last for more than just the next few months – I believe it’s going to be a really tough next year. Customers are starting to see their pockets being hit, and we’re now starting to see the effect of that.” Dewey said the business remains keen to add to its 19-strong pub estate “but the opportunities have just not been there.” He added: “We’re very much in the market for freeholds and on an individual basis – a lot of market activity at the moment has been around group acquisitions, and that’s not what we’re looking for. The current crisis might open up more opportunities for us.” Dewey spoke to Propel as the business reported it managed to remain profitable in the year ending 30 September 2021, mainly due to a business interruption insurance pay-out of £2.5m. Turnover fell 13% to £17.1m compared with the previous year – and was 33% down on 2019 – due to pubs being closed or under restrictions for seven months of the year. Pre-tax profit stood at £3m, up from £875,000 the year before. The business also received £600,000 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – introducing Makai spiced rum from KBE Drinks: KBE Drinks, the premium world beer and cider company, has announced the arrival of its spirits portfolio and the launch of Makai spiced rum, which is inspired by the rich heritage of Polynesia. Available from July, Makai is a modern, premium rum brand with an ABV of 40% and an RRP of £30. Makai means “towards the ocean” in Polynesia, and this spiced rum is bringing “something fresh and exhilarating to the category, with a blend of pot and column-still rum that delivers flavours of rich, dark molasses elevated with a unique blend of Polynesian spices, including vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and tropical fruit”. KBE Drinks said the distinctive black bottle “offers tremendous stand out behind the bar”, with a neck label featuring the tagline “a tropical escape at the pull of a cork”. Shaun Goode, chief operating officer at KBE Drinks, said: “We’re excited to be entering the spirits category and are very confident that Makai will be extremely well received by the trade and consumers alike. We think there is a clear gap in the market for a more modern rum brand that plays into the premium cues that consumers are looking for, and Makai certainly fits the bill.” To find out, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

Host of cafe operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of cafe operators are among the 40 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 Tooting-based operators Julian Porter and Lauren Johns, who operate brunch spot Juliets Quality Food and Milk Cafe in Balham, and are set to open their third site, Juliets Cafe & Bar, this summer. Also added this month is the Coffee Cart Company, which is a Herefordshire-based business owned by James Gardner, which opened its third café in the city in May. In addition, London-based The Theatre Café, led by managing director Joey Davey, which will open a new immersive cafe concept called The Theatre Cafe Diner at 154-156 Shaftesbury Avenue, will be featured. Also included this month is Bristol-based Spicer & Cole, which is owned by Carla and Chris Swift and has sites in Clifton Village, Finales Reach, Gloucester Road and Queen Square Avenue, where the original cafe opened in 2012. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,500-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, which was sent on Friday (20 May), features 120 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. The second edition provides 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 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.

Alasdair Murdoch to speak at Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party, two free places each for operators: Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King UK, will be among the speakers at the Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party, which takes place on Wednesday, 31 August, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry, and is open for bookings. 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 a barbecue, live band and more. Murdoch will talk about the evolution of the quick service restaurant brand, its digital transformations, its work on sustainability and its approach to expansion, including its new urban-box, style format and drive-thrus, as well as its relationship with franchisees. Operators can claim up to two free places each by emailing A room can also be booked for the evening for £120.

Michelin-starred chefs launch sector’s first exclusive employee exchange programme: Michelin-starred chefs Paul Ainsworth and Tommy Banks have launched the sector’s first exclusive employee exchange programme. The initiative allows people from both teams – whether front of house, back of house, office and/or operational – to swap companies for a week, enabling them to experience first-hand the workings of another restaurant group within a very different setting. The initiative, which launched this month, has seen three exchanges take place, with a further seven scheduled for 2022. Banks and Ainsworth said they chose to work together as the businesses share the same family run feel and passion for the produce of their home counties. Modules at the Tommy Banks Group in Yorkshire include foraging and preserving, farming and growing, housekeeping, e-commerce and operations. Down in Cornwall, employees can elect for the likes of pastry at Paul Ainsworth at No6, guest relations, front of house at Caffè Rojano or social media. Those taking part can choose to rotate through the business or hone in on one particular restaurant within the organisation, and every visit includes accommodation and extensive supplier visits. Ainsworth said: “You never stop learning in hospitality, but we want to fast track this and give our team a more holistic view of the industry, which comes with experiencing other companies. I am so grateful to have worked all across the UK and I want others to be able to do the same.” Banks added: “Stage programmes are established for chefs but lacking for front of house and other roles. We want to change this.”

Majority of Generation Z guests prefer using restaurants with self-service kiosks to those without: Four-fifths of Generation Z guests prefer using restaurants with self-service kiosks to those without, according to new research from Vita Mojo, shared exclusively with Propel. Overall, 64% of those surveyed said they would order more when using kiosks, which rises to 92% for Generation Z guests and 82% for Millennials. The same number would visit restaurants with kiosks more often, rising to 90% for Generation Z and 80% for Millennials. And 61% say they would spend more at kiosks, which rises to 90% for Generation Z and 80% for Millennials. The research, which focuses on behaviours and feelings towards self-serve kiosks, also found the pandemic had an impact on their use, with 31% saying they are more wary of dealing with staff members in quick service restaurants since covid. Furthermore, some 51% of customers prefer kiosks because they feel less likely to be judged about what they order, while 56% feel more relaxed compared to ordering and paying via a member of staff. Some 63% feel kiosks make it easier to browse the menu, while 61% feel they make it easier to choose. And 58% said they feel kiosks make it easier to find new products and dishes.

Tourism and recreation businesses see highest input cost inflation of any sector for second month in row: Tourism and recreation businesses, which includes pubs and restaurants, saw the highest input cost inflation of any UK sector for the second month in a row, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Sector Tracker. The industry posted 93.3 on the tracker’s input cost index, driven by higher operating costs and recruitment challenges. Six of the 14 sectors monitored by the tracker saw overall output contract, compared with three in April. This was the largest number reporting a fall in output since February 2021. Although eight sectors still saw output growth, five showed a slower rate of month-on-month growth. The slowdown was driven by falling demand, as consumers and businesses reined in spending amid record levels of inflation. Eight of the 14 sectors monitored experienced a fall in new orders in May – the highest number since January 2021. In response to this, it is expected businesses will focus on balancing their levels of stocks and ensure they have sufficient raw materials ahead of any further price rises, but avoid having too much working capital tied up, restricting investments elsewhere. As input prices have risen, businesses have continued to hold back from fully passing on costs to customers. Moreover, the gap between the tracker’s composite input price index (85.9) and the composite prices charged index (69.2) grew month-on-month to 16.7 index points, versus 14.1 in April. A reading above 50 on the tracker indicates expansion on an index, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a leisure concept seeking an individual who will oversee all elements of finance, technology, and HR. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Initially, you will have a team of about ten – but that will grow substantially over the next few years. In an ideal world, the business is looking for someone who has dealt with yield management, limited capacity operations and dynamic pricing, seasonal businesses, systems, funding, expansions, openings, multifaceted businesses, and private equity. This role would really suit someone looking for a ten-year commitment, to get involved with something at the start of its expansion and looking at committing and making a name for themselves. Ideal location would be along the M4/Home Counties/south west area.” The salary is negotiable. For more information, email

Company News:

Jowsey – Proprium has ‘some more firepower’ if we need it, energy costs biggest concern: Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns, has said that the 1,600-strong group’s backers Proprium Capital Partners has “some more firepower if we want it” for when it comes to further acquisitions. In May, C&C Group announced the sale of its 47% stake in Admiral to Proprium, with whom it originally invested in the community pub operator in September 2017. Jowsey told Propel: “Proprium have been great backers, and it is a vote of confidence from them that they have taken in the whole business. They do also have some more firepower if we want it, and they have been very clear about that. We’re not being held back in that sense, but we’ve always been really clear it’s got to be the right acquisition. It’s not about being big, I think there are diseconomies of scale as well as economies of scale. We’ve also been very public about wanting to have maybe 1,500, maximum 2,000 sustainable pubs. Could we grow? Yes we could, but I would be very careful, given that there are probably, unfortunately, going to be quite a few opportunities and a bit of distress in the sector. I’d be very keen to make sure it’s the right opportunities if we go again.” Jowsey said that the biggest current concern for his tenants is energy. He said: “We’ve seen some of what I think is really poor behaviour in the marketplace. I think a lot of the energy providers are refusing to provide a quote, and people who come to the end of their contract are being forced onto out-of-contract rates, which are very, very punitive. It’s quite frightening when you’re suddenly forced out of contract, and we’re saying to people the situation will improve over the summer. We’re currently discussing ways we can put some energy saving equipment into cellers and behind bars, and we’re looking to roll that out over the remaining part of the year. I think the challenge is how long does it last and what do you do in the meantime? We’ve looked at it and said in a typical community pub like ours, you might have to go up 10p or 15p a pint just to cover the additional energy costs. People are almost expecting that, but it’s a challenge. The ideal is it goes up for maybe 18 months, and then it comes back down again, but there aren’t many costs that come back down in reality. I think you’ve got to plan on the basis that it’s here to stay and ideally raise your prices and pass it on to customers. I’m not sure what else you can do.”

Asian food delivery platform Fantuan makes its UK debut: Fantuan Delivery, the largest Asian food delivery service platform in North America, has announced its official entry into the UK market. The company will initially operate in London and has plans to extend its service to other major cities in the UK, including Birmingham and Liverpool. UK customers can download the Fantuan Delivery app to place food orders. Founder and chief executive of Fantuan, Randy Wu, said: “Entry into the British market is an important step as we expand globally. Fantuan will bring Asian food delivery to the next level in Britain, ensuring British consumers enjoy a convenient food delivery service with more choices at more affordable prices. Fantuan has been a quick success since it entered the Australian market in March, and this makes me strongly believe that we will see similar success and satisfaction from users in Britain.” Fantuan was founded in Vancouver in 2014 and currently operates in major cities across Canada, the US and Australia. Fantuan said it has coverage in more than 40 cities, with over 1.5 million users in the North American market and more than 10,000 delivery drivers. In 2021, Fantuan Delivery’s business increased by nearly 200%. Since entering the Australian market in March, the company said it had already signed up 1,000 restaurants. The company said: “Fantuan is committed to creating an ecosystem for overseas Chinese and lovers of Asian food to help them live a better life. After eight years of operating in North America, Fantuan has become one of the must-have apps for Chinese living in the US and Canada.”

Coco Di Mama co-founder working with Big Table Group: Daniel Land, the co-founder of Italian food-to-go brand Coco di Mama, is working with Big Table Group, the operator of Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge, on its pasta delivery options, Propel has learned. Land founded Coco Di Mama in 2011 with Jeremy Sanders. The business grew to six sites in London, before it was acquired by Azzurri Group, the Zizzi and ASK Italian owner, in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. Land left the business two years later. Coco di Mama currently operates in 145 locations nationwide, the majority out of Zizzi and ASK sites. Earlier this spring, Coco di Mama opened its first roadside services site, at Roadchef’s flagship Norton Canes service area on the M6. Alan Morgan, chief executive for Big Table Group, told Propel: “Dan has been working with us in a consultancy capacity on our pasta delivery options. Dan has a great track record in this space and our team has benefited from his expertise as we look to continue to grow and improve our offering.”

Young’s acquires Buckinghamshire pub from Wells & Co: London pub operator Young’s has made a further addition to its premium managed pub portfolio with the acquisition of Merlin’s Cave in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, in an off-market deal, Propel has learned. The company acquired the freehold pub, which is located on the village green and has been serving the residents of Chalfont St Giles for more than 100 years, from Wells & Co. Brendan Brammer, acquisition manager at Young’s, said: “A bit of a ‘blank canvass’ this one, so the pub will close immediately for an initial eight-week period while we transform the look and feel of the premises and its substantial garden, and will reopen late summer with a more premium pub retailing proposition.” Last month, Young’s added The Bedford Arms in Chenies, Buckinghamshire, and the freehold of the multiple award-winning 16th century pub, the White Horse in Hascombe, Surrey, to its portfolio. Over the past few months, Young’s has also added seven pubs from the Cotswolds-based Lucky Onion Group; The Pheasant near Hungerford from Jack Greenall, a scion of the Greenall Whitley brewing family; and The Bull in Ditchling, East Sussex, for an undisclosed sum. Talking to Propel last month, outgoing Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis said was “looking at a couple more” pubs at the moment and had exchanged on one since its year-end. Warren Drake, of Drake & Company, acted on behalf of Young’s on the Merlin’s Cave deal. David Rawlinson at Restaurant Property also acted on the deal.

Trejo’s Tacos launches crowdfunding campaign to fund flagship London site: Trejo’s Tacos, the US taco concept from actor Danny Trejo – who starred in films including Heat, Con Air, and Desperado – has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1m to fund the opening of a flagship site in central London. Propel revealed last month that the brand was working with Jerome Armit, former chief operating officer of food and beverage consultancy firm Truffle Hunting, and advisor to Shiva Hotels, Bourne Capital and InterContinental Hotels Group, on a launch in London for the California-based concept. Trejo currently operates four sites under the concept in California, plus other restaurants under his Trejo’s Cantina and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts formats. Trejos Tacos Ltd, which is led by Armit, is seeking to raise £1m in exchange for 21% equity. The fundraising, which is being carried out through Seedrs, would give the business a pre-money valuation of £3.8m. Two investors – the entrepreneur Simon Cavallier-Jones and Sat Ghuman, who was previously behind Barrio Bars – have already committed £500,000 to the fundraising, with the former committing £450,000. The company said: “This capital will help us fund a flagship in central London, and the opening of one ghost kitchen every three months. Following that, we aim to expand within London and the wider UK.” The business is understood to be working with Nick Garston, of the Found Agency, to secure its debut UK site, with 2,500 to 5,000 square-foot sites in Spitalfields, Hackney and Shoreditch thought to be under consideration. Trejos Tacos Ltd holds exclusive rights to Trejos Tacos’ IP and to operate Trejos Tacos restaurants in the UK. Under the terms of its master licensing agreement with the brand’s parent company, Larchmont Hospitality Group LLC, it must open at least two restaurants by 30 September 2023, and an additional restaurant each year thereafter. 

Team behind Peruvian restaurant Andina to launch concept in Middle East: The owners of the London-based Peruvian restaurant Andina are to launch a site in the Middle East under the concept later this year, Propel has learned. The brand, which is owned alongside sister concept Ceviche by Alex and Saiphin Moore, founders of Rosa’s Thai Café, is set to open in Dubai’s Marina Gate area in the final quarter of the year. The new venture is being funded via a combination of capital from the existing Andina Ceviche business in London plus investment from seed investors – some of whom were early investors in Rosa’s. Alex Moore told Propel: “The idea would be to expand the Andina brand across the Middle East if we can make this first site fly.” Andina relaunched in Spitalfields last year in Commercial Street, in the former Lupita premises. The Mexican restaurant brand was acquired by the Moores earlier in the same year. The company also operates Ceviche in Frith Street, Soho.

Brucan Pubs secures fourth site: Former ETM operations director James Lyon-Shaw and ex-The Ivy Collection head chef Jamie Dobbin have secured a fourth site for their Brucan Pubs venture. Propel understands that the company has taken on The Star in the village of Witley, near Guildford, for an opening this summer. Brucan opened its third site, The Greyhound in the Berkshire village of Finchampstead, last year. The business also opened Goswell & Bird’s, a traditional village store sat alongside the pub. Brucan Pubs currently operates The Greene Oak in Windsor and The Drumming Snipe in Mayford, near Woking in Surrey. Lyon-Shaw spent ten years at ETM Group, helping to launch pubs such as The Botanist, The Jugged Hare and Ealing Park Tavern. Dobbin has also worked for Hush and Soho House, and also at The Connaught, The Berkeley and The Savoy, before joining The Ivy Collection. Most recently, he was executive chef at The Groucho Club.

The Alchemist to double up in Edinburgh: Bar and restaurant group The Alchemist is to double its presence in Edinburgh, Propel has learned. The Simon Potts-led company, which made its debut in Scotland last autumn with an opening in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, is to open a further site in the Scottish capital, at 51 George Street. Propel understands that the 20-strong group’s first site in Scotland continues to trade well ahead of the company’s initial expectations. The new site is expected to open early next year and will follow the company’s second opening in Scotland, in Glasgow. The Palatine Private Equity-backed business will open a site in Glasgow’s George Square in October. The company is investing £1.6m in the new venue, which will feature 220 covers internally, a further 40 external covers and the company’s new four-pronged experiential concept. The new approach will see the site in George Square split into four separate areas, each with different concepts. At the end of March, the business reopened its original site, in Manchester’s Spinningfields, following a £600,000 refurbishment – complete with new astrology-based branding.

Brighton Pier Group expects to report revenue and adjusted Ebitda ‘in line with market expectations’: Brighton Pier Group has said it expects to report revenue and adjusted Ebitda for the year ended 26 June 2022 “in line with market expectations”. The company also said it plans to change its accounting year to 31 December “to ensure the busy summer period is incorporated within the same period rather than split over two reporting periods”. The business will, therefore, report earnings for the year ended 26 June 2022 by the end of September, and then earnings for the 78 weeks through to 31 December by the end of April next year. According to estimates by Cenkos Securities, revenue is forecast to be £38.1m, compared with £13.5m for the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda is expected to be £10.4m, compared with £5.1m the year before.

Robinson’s takes on historic Huddersfield pub: Robinson’s Brewery in Stockport has acquired the historic Woodman Inn near Huddersfield for its fourth site in Yorkshire. The Woodman will join the company’s managed estate and brings the total number of managed pubs to 25. The 18th century country inn has been restored by the Leslie family over the last ten years into a 21st-century modern pub, hotel and wedding venue, which prides itself on serving fresh local produce. It also has 19 bedrooms, including suites, and three renovated cottages. William and Oliver Robinson, joint managing directors, said: “We are proud to have acquired this much-loved landmark pub to add to our managed estate.  As we stated in January, we have a strong ambition to grow our managed estate through acquisition, transfers and investment. The Woodman is an example of this and a great addition to our family business.”

Heinz launches virtual breakfast restaurant: Heinz is making its first breakfast foray into the UK’s virtual restaurant market with the launch of “Heinz Brekkie”. The company has teamed up with operating partner Lean Kitchen Network to create and launch the virtual restaurant via UberEats in London. Heinz Brekkie aims to appeal to a younger audience, in particular the 18 to 34-year-olds who have adopted food delivery as a habit. Heinz Brekkie is initially available for delivery through two dark kitchens, in London’s Clapham and Deptford, with plans to continue expansion into underutilised kitchens across the UK, including in venues such as hotels, pubs, and supermarkets. Claire Traynor, head of foodservice for northern Europe at Kraft Heinz, said: “The virtual restaurant model has disrupted the foodservice market; rapidly accelerated during covid, it continues to thrive. We know UK consumers want a tasty, fulfilling breakfast, and with home-working continuing across the country, this is the perfect time for us to take our iconic Heinz brand into the breakfast delivery space and reach a younger audience, while also supporting those operators with underutilised kitchens.” The menu includes breakfast buns, breakfast bowls, hash brown dippers, bagels and sides.

Really Local Group hits £500,000 crowdfunding target within hours of public launch as part of wider £4m fundraise to support expansion: Cultural infrastructure developer Really Local Group has hit its £500,000 crowdfunding target within hours of its public launch. The campaign forms part of a wider fundraise, with the business aiming to raise £4m in investment to support its expansion plans. Really Local Group is committed to “putting the heart back in the high street” and has invested £10m in projects, including in Canning Town, Hayes and Sidcup, and is in the process of opening a site in Ealing. It has plans to open a total of ten sites by early 2024 and ambitions for a further 30 by 2027. So far, the crowdfunding campaign has raised £500,000 from in excess of 50 investors, with 30 days remaining. Really Local Group will open its latest project at the end of this month. Ealing’s first cinema in 14 years, The Ealing Project has seen the 15,000 square-foot former site of Karma Club transformed into the borough’s only multi-screen cinema plus spaces for live music and exhibitions following a £2m investment. Really Local Group’s first venue, Catford Mews, opened in September 2019, establishing a cultural venue for Lewisham as its only cinema, as well as a pop-up food market and full-service bar showcasing local brands. In 2021, Really Local Group launched the Reading Biscuit Factory in the Broad Street Mall in Reading. The group has previously announced a partnership with Southwark Council to restore the iconic central marketplace in Bermondsey. It has a further five sites in the pipeline.

Hickory’s appoints Ben Rushworth as operations director: American-style smokehouse and barbecue brand Hickory’s Smokehouse, which has been backed by Piper since 2014, has appointed Ben Rushworth, formerly of Bill’s, Wahaca and Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, as its new operations director, Propel has learned. Rushworth recently spent under a year at Bill’s as operations director. He joined the Richard Caring-backed group from Albert Bartlett, the Spud U Like owner, where he has spent just under a year and a half as its operations director. Before that, he was senior operations at Wahaca, head of operations at Red’s and spent almost eight years at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. Hickory’s, which earlier this year was crowned the UK’s best large employer in the “Best Large Companies To Work For 2022” awards, is gearing up to open its 15th site later this year, in Hutton, near Preston. Earlier this year, it opened its first Yorkshire site in Horbury, Wakefield. Last November, Propel revealed Hickory’s had appointed advisory firm BDO to help review its funding options for its next stage of growth.

Cinnamon Collection reports FY like-for-like sales down 62%, aims to expand again ‘at a sustainable rate’: Cinnamon Collection, which operates four restaurants in London, has reported like-for-like sales down 62% for the year ending 3 January 2021. The company, which closed its only out-of-London site during the pandemic, in Oxford, reported turnover of £4.1m for the period (2020: £11m) and made a pre-tax loss of £2.9m (2020: £2.3m). It “innovated” during lockdown with the introduction of meals kits and home delivery, and also received £1.2m in government grants. The company said: “The directors have concluded these results are in line with their expectations. The existing business and future growth are funded from free cash flow and the continued financial support of its owner, and he has committed to provide sufficient liquidity and capital expenditure when needed. Once there is clarity post-Brexit and the new openings have settled down, Cinnamon Collection will look to expand at a sustainable rate.” It went on to say the main risk to the company will come from staff and skills shortages due to Brexit, but the directors believe this will be mitigated by “the unique dining experience” of the Collection, “an active marketing presence in London” and the “significant PR created by executive chef Vivek Singh”. It also said the company’s in-house training programme “continues to train apprentices, chefs and managers for the business and create growth opportunities”, and in spite of a challenging labour market, the Collection “continues to achieve good team retention”.

Green & Fortune to open London Southbank events business: Independent restaurant and hospitality company Green & Fortune is to launch a new events business, Rose Court, on London’s South Bank. The new 25,000 square-foot venue, the group’s fourth in the capital, can host just over 700 guests across all floors and outdoor spaces, with all rooms featuring direct access to a wraparound terrace. The company said: “The service style will be polished yet discreet, while menus reflect the changing seasons and will major on small batch producers and artisans. Menus will draw on a less formal approach to hospitality, embracing world-wide food trends and ensuring a sustainable approach to food is at the forefront of menu design.” Rose Court Events will be the company’s fourth site following the opening of Kings Place Events in 2008, Sea Containers Events in 2017 and the announcement of a long-term catering partnership with Central Hall Westminster in 2020. John Nugent, chief executive at Green & Fortune, said: “The scale, quality and ambition of this project is a true indicator that live, person-to-person events are fully back. At Green & Fortune, we work in premium London locations, and Rose Court Events sits right at the core of this. As we continue to rebuild the company post-pandemic, the announcement of a fourth venue within the group is testament to the hard work of our team, and how we have tackled the challenges of the last couple of years.”

Hospitality tech start-up secures seven-figure pre-seed investment: Hospitality tech start-up GigPig has secured a seven-figure pre-seed investment, which it will use to build a sales and customer service team. Launched earlier this year, the gig booking and management platform enables hospitality venues to book musicians directly, removing third party involvement. Musicians are also able to manage their live dates through the use of integrated calendar systems, and use automatic accountancy tools to handle invoicing and payment. Founded by Michael Forster, Andrew Garner, Kit Muir-Rogers and Ed Francis, GigPig is already working with operators including Mission Mars, Arc Inspirations, Crazy Pedros, Stack, Apartment Group, NQ64 and Ramona. Forster said: “The idea of GigPig came around when one of our large multi-venue clients enquired about bringing their bookings in-house and essentially licensed our existing bespoke booking platform. We were hesitant at first, but we soon began to see an opportunity of removing a booking agent as a third party and allowing venues to directly book musicians.” Muir-Rogers added: “We’re seeing a dramatic rise in venues looking at events such as live music to increase guest footfall, encourage dwell time and heighten guest experience. We want to simplify and support the return to trade by demystifying this process for our users, by challenging the way entertainment is booked in the on-trade throughout the UK.”

Cosmo lines up Newcastle opening: Buffet brand Cosmo Authentic World Kitchen is planning to open a new site in Newcastle later this year. The 20-strong company, which will return to the expansion trail next week when it opens a new site in Bournemouth, is set to replace the ex-Lau’s 202 Buffet House site in Newcastle’s Newgate Street. Cosmo, which was founded in 2013, will open its latest site on the former Days buffet restaurant in Bournemouth’s St Peter’s Quarter on 26 June. The new restaurant will feature robot servers called Bella and Hola, which will work alongside staff at the new 344-cover restaurant. The company said that the “cute and efficient” pair will interact with guests and can even sing Happy Birthday to customers celebrating at the eatery. The business recently reopened its Oxford branch following a two-year closure due to the pandemic. The reopening of the 250 capacity, 10,200 square-foot venue created 50 additional jobs. Cosmo, which launched its 20th site, in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre, in March, is also looking to open restaurants in Cardiff, Liverpool, Northampton and Preston.

Deliveroo appoints new CFO: Deliveroo has appointed Scilla Grimble as its new chief financial officer. Grimble, who is currently chief financial officer at MoneySupermarket Group, is expected to begin her new role by no later than June 2023. She replaces Adam Miller, who will be stepping down as chief financial officer on 17 September 2022. Deliveroo has appointed David Hancock, currently vice-president investor relations, to serve as interim chief financial officer effective from 17 September 2022 and reporting directly to chief executive Will Shu, alongside continuing in his current role. Grimble has been chief financial officer of MoneySupermarket since 2019. She was previously interim chief financial officer at Marks & Spencer, where she was also director group finance, and she has held a range of senior finance and leadership roles at Tesco and UBS. Claudia Arney, chair of Deliveroo, said: “I am delighted to welcome Scilla to Deliveroo, and the board is confident her highly relevant skills and experience will help us to take advantage of the significant opportunities before us and will be invaluable as we continue to build our business. The board thanks Adam for all he has done for Deliveroo during his time here.” Scilla added: “I look forward to working with the team as it drives the business forward to profitability.”

Buzzworks introduces employee referral scheme: Scottish independent restaurant and bar operator Buzzworks Holdings has introduced a new employee bonus scheme for any staff member who refers a friend to join the company. With a focus on recruiting chefs, Buzzworks is offering a scheme that could see the referrer walk away with up to £1,500 if they recommend someone who takes up a full-time, permanent position. Buzzworks acquired Herringbone, a Scottish independent hospitality business, in April, adding two more venues to the portfolio in Edinburgh’s Goldenacre and North Berwick. With further expansion in the near future, Buzzworks is looking to boost its talent pool and grow its teams to ensure it can keep up with demand. Nicola Watt, head of people at Buzzworks, said: “With Buzzworks’ ambitious expansion plans, we are in constant need to match new recruits to our current vacancies in order for the business to really thrive. We know how powerful word of mouth can be, so we are looking to our own people and our communities to refer motivated and talented individuals, utilising an impressive bonus pot to reward and thank successful referrals.” Alongside the Herringbone acquisition, Buzzworks operates a further 14 venues.

Papa John’s franchisee opens 11th store: Papa John’s franchisee Atif Maroot Zar has opened his 11th store with the company, this time in his home town of Stourbridge, in the west Midlands. Zar, who joined Papa John’s in 2017, runs his portfolio with the help of his brothers, Umair Ramay and Amir Maroof, and more than 150 staff. Located on Hagley Road, the store will be among the first batch to feature Papa John’s new branding. Zar who previously worked at two rival pizza firms and also managed a Papa John’s before he became a franchisee, said: “Opening a Papa John’s in my hometown has been a goal for some time and is now a dream come true. It means a lot that our community, including my own family and friends, can now enjoy the treat of fresh Papa John’s pizza delivered right to their door.”

Michael Caines reopens Cornish restaurants, makes menu changes to combat staffing issues and rising costs: Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines has fully re-opened his Cornish restaurants – The Cove in Maenporth and The Harbourside Refuge in Porthleven – and introduced new menus to help combat staffing issues and rising costs. Caines opened beach-front restaurant The Cove in January 2020, and eight months later launched The Harbourside Refuge after acquiring a former Rick Stein restaurant. Caines said: “Our new menus are focused on championing the very best of Cornish and south west produce through an a la carte menu, offering two or three courses served at lunch and dinner, alongside a seven-course tasting menu. The change allows for us address the challenges currently faced across the industry with regards to staffing, rising food costs and the sourcing of quality produce, and will ensure we can continue to deliver excellent local produce with warm hospitality.” The menus have been curated by new group executive chef Stuart Shaw, who has previously worked at St Michael’s Resort, Le Manor aux quat Saison and Calcot Manor in Tetbury. He will be working with newly promoted operations manager for Cornwall, Andrew Griffiths, who was the formerly the restaurant manager at The Harbourside Refuge. Also joining the team is Kris Kirsimagi, who arrives as The Cove’s restaurant manager from Bustopher Jones in Truro, while the Harbourside Refuge has welcomed Simon Wilson as restaurant manager from Clowance Luxury Self Catering and promoted Jack Wilkinson to head chef. The group’s wider collection includes Lympstone Manor, Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant and Café Patisserie Glacerie in Devon.

Gordon Ramsay set to begin expansion of Lucky Cat concept: Chef Gordon Ramsay is set to start expansion of his Lucky Cat concept with an opening in Shoreditch. Lucky Cat, which was billed as an “authentic Asian eating house”, originally opened in Mayfair in 2019 in the former Maze premises. Now the concept is set to open in Kingsland High Road in Shoreditch, in the site where chicken and waffles concept Bird used to operate. The space is much smaller than the original and is set to be called Lucky Cat Noodle & Bar, reports Hot Dinners. Ramsay is currently expanding a number of his restaurant concepts. Street Burger is set for further growth with an opening in the ex-Byron site in Cowcross Street. Ramsay is also understood to have also applied to take the ex-By Chloe site at One Tower Bridge for the concept, and is bringing his Bread Street Kitchen & Bar concept to the Battersea Power Station development.

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
Maliburu Banner
Hit Training Banner
OakNorth Banner
Contract Furniture Group Banner
Nutritics foodprint Banner
Douwe Egberts Barista Editions Banner
Hogs Back Banner
Heinz Banner
Estrella Banner
Knorr Banner
Camile Thai Banner
St Austell Brewery Banner
Sky Banner
Hungrrr Banner
Frobishers Banner
Peroni Banner
TipJar Banner
Airship – Toggle Banner
Cynergy Bank Banner
Zonal Banner
John Gaunt Banner
Libeo Banner
COREcruitment Banner
KAM Media Banner
Access Banner
Reputation Banner
Yapster Banner
Zonal Banner
Trail Banner
The Licensees Association Banner
Tiny Cloud Kitchens Banner
Harri Banner
Propel Banner
Hogs Back Banner