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Wed 22nd Jun 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

HOP appoints Richard Franks as MD, plans 20 new sites in London: London-based Vietnamese street food concept HOP has appointed Richard Franks, formerly of Chilango, as its new managing director to aid plans to open up to 20 new locations in the capital over the next five years, Propel has learned. Franks joins the business, which currently operates two sites in the City after undergoing a restructure last February, after leading Mexican brand Chilango for two and a half years and overseeing its recent acquisition by Tortilla. Franks will lead the business alongside founder Paul Hopper, devising its operational strategy as well as driving its plans for growth. Franks said: “I’m thrilled to be joining HOP to help deliver its ambitious growth plans. The past couple of years have shown that the fast casual dining sector is incredibly robust, with consumers showing a real appetite to begin once again eating out. I have long-admired HOP for its fantastic food, colourful attitude and cutting-edge approach to the digital guest experience. It could not be a better time for HOP to bring its incredible, fresh flavours to more and more hungry guests, and I’m incredibly excited to be working with Paul and the team to build a brand with a huge future.” His appointment follows the announcement of a successful £2.25m capital raise, which the company will use to grow its estate outside the City in central London. HOP also recently appointed Nick Ayerst – formerly managing director of TRG Concessions and Leon – as a strategic advisor to explore franchising as a growth route for the brand. Ayerst said: “I am delighted to be working with Paul and the HOP team to grow this fabulous brand in the franchise sector. Vietnamese food is naturally fast and fresh, perfect for travel hubs, and the brand is a great opportunity for experienced franchisees in the fast casual market to grow their brand portfolio” At the same time, HOP also announced the appointment of Jemma Morgan – formerly of The Big Easy, MOD Pizza and Whistle Punks – who has joined as a brand and marketing consultant. Morgan said: “HOP is an incredibly unique brand brought to life by an exceptionally passionate and creative team which I am proud to be a part of. This is a very special time for the brand, and I am truly looking forward to further supporting Paul, the team and the brand through this exciting period of growth.” Hopper added: “I’m incredibly excited to be joined by Richard, Jemma and Nick as HOP enters the next phase of its exciting journey. Each of them brings a wealth of experience and fresh thinking to the table, which will help HOP stay ahead in the years to come. It’s always been my dream to one day make HOP a household name, and I’m convinced we now have the team to make that a reality.”
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Sixty Eight People launches new industry training division: Hospitality recruitment company Sixty Eight People has launched a new industry training division, Class of 68. The initiative has been set up in response to the challenges operators face when sourcing high impact, cost effective and relevant training. Class of 68 spans all things hospitality training – from management workshops, developing training pathways, leadership programmes, insights discovery and content development for company conferences. Cally Bannon Smith heads up the division and joined Sixty Eight three months ago, following 12 years with Living Ventures. She played a key role in the development of training material at all levels for brands such as Australasia, The Alchemist and The New World Trading Company. Bannon Smith said: “We surveyed 200 managers when I started, and shockingly, 38% confirmed they had received either no, or very poor training. A total of 80% said they would stay longer if they had better training. Class of 68 is exactly what the industry needs right now.” She will join Charlotte Kemp, former people director of Mission Mars, and founder Abi Dunn in their mission to “revolutionise the industry through people”. 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.

Variety of experiential concepts set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A variety of experiential concepts are among the 43 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 Font, a climbing gym concept co-founded by Joey Powis and Richard Allinson, which operates a site in Wandsworth and is opening a second site, on London’s Southbank. Also added this month is Hologate VR, the Munich-based virtual reality and immersive media company founded by Michael Harrison, which currently has sites at Skegness Pier, Milton Keynes Xscape and MSC Virtuosa in Southampton, and is set to make its London debut at Gravity Southside. In addition, Ambassador Theatre Group, the world’s largest commercial theatre company, which is led by Mark Cornell and currently runs more than 50 venues in Britain, the US and Germany, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,700-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 14,000-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. 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 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.

Will Beckett to speak at Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party, two free places each for operators: Will Beckett, co-founder of Hawksmoor, 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. Beckett talks to Propel group editor Mark Wingett about how the steakhouse concept became a better business over the course of the past two years, what it learnt about itself, how it now looks after its people, its growth plans and becoming a success in the US. Operators can claim up to two free places each by emailing jo.charity@propelinfo.com. A room can also be booked for the evening for £120.

Clive Watson – ‘it’s barely worth opening pubs near stations during train strikes’: Clive Watson, executive chairman of City Pub Group, said he is facing as much as a 25% plunge in sales during this week’s rail strikes. Watson said it is “barely worth opening” some sites near train stations due to the impact of Tuesday’s industrial action, which will be followed by further walk-outs on Thursday (June 23) and Saturday (June 25). Mr Watson, founder of the 42-strong group, told the PA news agency that city centre locations have been hit hard by cancellations. “We have seen events cancelled in droves and really weak bookings in a lot of places,” he said. “In London, it is obviously bad, but we’ve also seen it in Bristol, Norwich, Exeter, Reading. In general, a large proportion of bookings are being cancelled, without plans for them to be rearranged too. It’s early days, but I think we are expecting trade to be 20% to 25% down this week.” Watson added that staffing many pubs on the strike days has also been “incredibly challenging”. He added: “Certainly, we have staffing problems with some London pubs where people are coming into the centre. It’s difficult to get people to these pubs, and their trade is so far down you wonder if it is barely worth opening them up. We just want all the parties to sit around a table and find any resolution.” Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, warned that trade will also be effected on non-strike days. “Obviously there will be a heavy impact on strike days, but one particular issue is that the impact will bleed throughout the week,” she said. “Plans for Wednesday and Friday are being heavily affected by the disruption, so it is a big hit for operators.”
 
Businesses fear ministers could abandon online sales tax and rates reform: Some of Britain’s most senior executives will hold talks with a Treasury minister this week amid industry concerns that the government’s appetite to introduce an online sales tax and reform the decades-old system of business rates is fading. Sky News reports that bosses from companies including Amazon, Asda, ASOS, Currys and JustEat Takeaway will meet Lucy Frazer, the financial secretary to the Treasury, to reiterate calls for a fundamental overhaul of the rates regime. A consultation on the launch of a tax on digital sales closed last week, and the divergence of opinions within the retail sector has fuelled concerns among its advocates that the government will use that disagreement as an excuse to abandon the plan. Industry figures believe there is broad agreement across both online and predominantly physical store owners that business rates need urgent and radical reform, with the Retail Jobs Alliance (RJA) – a new grouping whose members include Greggs and Tesco – understood to be behind research showing that a reduction in rates for all retailers would result in a tax cut for 197,000 shops across the country. The RJA, which launched last month, wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak to “make the case for an overall cut in business rates for all retail premises, [which] we are open to funding… through the introduction of a new online sales tax”.
 
Nutritics launches automated system for estimating carbon emissions: Foodservice technology company Nutritics has launched Foodprint – a patent pending carbon footprint analysis, management and reporting solution. The technology provides businesses with a solution to understand, manage and report on the carbon footprint of their food purchases, how it is trending over time and how changes are affecting the environment. The system fully supports and automates their non-financial scope 3 environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) reporting requirements. Alongside this, foodservice businesses can use Foodprint technology to add a carbon footprint score to packaging, dishes and promotional materials and communicate this with customers and clients. Stephen Nolan, Nutritics managing director, said: “The software is an exciting breakthrough for the foodservice sector, particularly at a time when the demands of stakeholders for ESG action and transparency are ever increasing.” At the back-of-house, Foodprint’s carbon footprint visibility allows businesses to gain clarity and control over the carbon footprint of their supply chains. It allows users to understand the environmental impact of purchasing, to automate non-financial ESG scope 3 reporting and substantiate an organisation’s sustainability goals and corporate values. Front-of-house, Foodprint’s carbon display allows food businesses to add a carbon footprint score to packaging, dishes, screens and promotional materials.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an international property consultancy that specialises in the purchase and sale of hospitality property and businesses. A key growth market is the pub sector, and the company is looking to recruit a number of consultants to join its UK business. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “These roles will really require individuals who know, understand, and love the pub sector. On a daily basis, you will be working with your client to sell their units/businesses, valuing businesses and companies/networking for new opportunities, and looking and bidding for potential new business. These roles require real drive and motivation.” Salaries for these positions start from £35,000, with up to £110,000 on offer for the most experienced. For more information, email sheila@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Caffe Nero opens new Stansted store to record sales, airport sites trading above pre-pandemic levels: Caffe Nero has reported a record opening week of sales in its new Stansted airport store. The new store, located in the international departure lounge, had the highest level of sales in its first week of any other Caffe Nero store in its history. The store, which opened in May, is a bespoke designed store with a £750,000 investment. The group said the store continues to trade “extremely well” and is currently trading “well ahead of expectations”. Currently, trading at 300% higher in volume than the average Caffe Nero airport site, the Stansted store is already Caffè Nero’s second highest airport sales store, only beaten by a Heathrow airport site. In its first weeks of trading, it has recorded 31,000 transactions and sold 35,000 cups of coffee. The store is also selling, on average, 1,800 paninis per day. The performance of the Stansted store underpins a strong performance by Caffe Nero’s UK airport sites, which are currently trading at 113% like-for-like for the past eight weeks versus pre-pandemic numbers. Glyn House, managing director at Caffè Nero UK, said: “I’m delighted with the performance of the Stansted store since it has opened. It’s an exciting design, but still retains that inviting, comfortable home-away-from-home feel, which is integral to the design of all our stores, and exactly what you look for in an airport. Customers have really embraced it. The performance of this store supports the sales growth we are seeing across the business. We are trading ahead of pre-pandemic levels now, and as we continue to open new stores; I expect that growth to only continue further.”

The Salad Project to double up with City opening: The Salad Project, the all-day dining concept which launched in London last year, is set to open its second site in the capital, in the City, Propel has learned. The business, which was founded by friends Florian de Chezelles and James Dare (formerly of LVMH and Firmdale respectively), has secured the former Hawes & Curtis site at 1 Old Broad Street for an opening at the end of the summer. The Salad Project is described as an all-day-dining eatery that features a central salad bar featuring more than 50 ingredients. De Chezelles told Propel: “We aim to become the go-to-place for a healthy meal in London. We want a Salad Project on all major London high streets.” The company made its debut last year with an opening in The Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields. Chef and nutritionist Clementine Haxby designs the menu, which offers a range of customisable salad options as well as soups and rice bowls.

Burger King enters partnership with Motor Fuel Group: Burger King UK, the Bridgepoint-backed chain, has entered a new franchise agreement with Motor Fuel Group (MFG), the largest forecourt operator in the UK with more than 900 sites nationwide, Propel understands. The first site under the new agreement launched at the BP-branded petrol station in New Wolfe, on the Chester Road in Manchester, last week. The site features the new Burger King petrol station format. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King UK, said: “They (MFG) are great operators. This is the first one we have opened, hopefully we will do another one with them later this year and we will see how the trial goes; as I know both of us would be keen to roll out further if expectations are met and beaten!” Burger King, which is eyeing an additional 200 restaurants in the UK over the next four years, launched the trial of a new smaller “urban box-style” format in Norwich in April. Last year, Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed chain, announced it was to open new shops in petrol stations owned by MFG. Through the partnership, Pret has initially trialled one shop in the MFG-owned and BP-branded station in Southgate, north London – its first foray into forecourts globally – with a view to opening a second shop by the end of this year.

Gravity to invest £10m in Westfield Stratford venue: Experiential leisure operator Gravity will invest £10m in a large multi-entertainment venue at Westfield Stratford City, complete with new karting concept. The new 60,000 square-foot venue, created in partnership with URW, will feature a brand-new karting concept not seen anywhere in the world, with a system of two tracks that can be operated separately or combined into a super track. The company said: “This is on a trajectory of over 1,000 linear feet so up to 18 drivers can enjoy it, resulting in a unique physical experience that no other attraction can offer.” The site, which is expected to come online early next year, will also have its own urban golf, AR darts, a high rope course and an arcade on offer, as well as three bars, street food and karaoke. It will also host other providers of leisure experiences such as Electric Gamebox and Hologate, the immersive VR experience which are both in Gravity’s current Wandsworth venue. This is Gravity’s third large opening, adding to its growing portfolio of ‘big-box’ spaces in retail locations, with Southside Wandsworth already open and Liverpool One set to open in Q4 2022. Alongside this, Gravity also continues to grow its core offering of trampoline parks, with Birmingham Star City, which opened last week through a franchise partner, and others on the horizon. It has 18 sites in total and more than 600 employees. Harvey Jenkinson, co-founder and chief executive at Gravity, said: “We are really excited to be opening Gravity at such an iconic location in London, and with the first ever super track of e-karting. There is no doubt that consumer demands have changed, and in order to stay relevant, shopping centres and the high street have to diversify and offer a top-quality leisure experience. Westfield Stratford City, with its rich leisure and experience offer, is the perfect location, and we are delighted at the interest we have secured as we sign with a third landlord, and look forward to growing further over the year.”

Pret’s sales in London’s financial districts at 88% of pre-covid levels: The return of London’s bankers to offices last week following school holidays and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday pushed sales at Pret A Manger in the capital’s financial districts close to a pandemic high. But that progress is set to be tested this week by a raft of strikes affecting rail lines and London’s Underground network, that are likely to keep workers away from their desks. Sales in the City and Canary Wharf were 88% of pre-covid-19 levels through last Thursday (16 June), according to the latest figures tracked by Bloomberg’s Pret Index. Sales are back above pre-pandemic levels in the West End after falling slightly in the two weeks prior due to the holiday period. Pret’s business in London’s airport terminals remains about a third higher than it was before the crisis, despite recent flight cancellations and delays. Pret’s sales in London train stations are already back to normal as residents return to offices and the city to shop and dine.

Ex-Bel & The Dragon COO acquires third site for hotel venture: The Signet Collection has added its third hotel after securing a £3.8m loan to acquire and refurbish Barnsdale Lodge Hotel in Oakham, Rutland. Formed by Hector Ross, former chief operating officer of gastropub operator Bel & the Dragon, The Signet Collection also operates The Mitre in Hampton Court, south west London, and The Retreat at Elcot Park, West Berkshire. Barnsdale Lodge Hotel has been in Thomas Noel’s family since 1760 and formed part of the adjoining Exton Park, seat of the Earls of Gainsborough. Formerly a farmhouse and hunting lodge, it was converted by Noel in 1983. The hotel currently consists of 46 en-suite bedrooms, 17 luxury self-catering cottages, three private dining and events rooms that can accommodate up to 50 guests, a larger function space that can accommodate up to 120 guests, a hair salon and a 130-cover restaurant. Signet’s plan is to refurbish the rooms, convert the existing events space into a spa and a new events space with capacity for 150 guests, and develop new retail units. Ross said: “Signet is all about taking assets in the UK countryside that have fallen out of love, favour or investment, and breathing new life into them.” As with the other two hotels, Signet’s latest venture was funded by OakNorth Bank.

Sustainability-focused restaurant group launches £250,000 fundraise to open fifth site and explore sustainable event catering: Canteen Collective, a four-strong restaurant group heavily focused on sustainability, has launched a £250,000 fundraise on Crowdcube to help fund a fifth site and explore sustainable event catering. The company, founded in 2019 by former British Army operational commander Tom Grant, currently had three London sites – in Ealing, Putney and Notting Hill – and one in Sevenoaks, Kent. It aims to “combine environmental responsibility and great food with provenance and personalised customer service” and make “all day-dining sustainable by putting hospitality at the forefront of the battle against climate change”. The company said: “We aim to teach customers and the hospitality market how to protect the planet via everyday actions. We strive for an environmentally responsible supply chain, using compostable packaging and local suppliers wherever possible, and our clear strategy is to measure, reduce and offset carbon as we pursue neutral goals.” The campaign has so far raised more than £227,000 from 38 investors, offered equity of 7.81%. Of this, almost £200,000 was raised pre-launch, and the company has indicated around half of it could be spent while the pitch, which has three weeks to run, is live. The company has a pre-money valuation of £2.95m and reported £1.5m in revenue for the year ending March 2022 (Ebitda -£199,000). This represents 60% compound annual growth rate since 2020, despite the effects of lockdowns.

Lecturers’ pension scheme USS in talks about £300m Butlin’s deal: Britain’s biggest private pension fund is in advanced talks to buy into the real estate assets of Butlin’s, the holiday camp operator, in a deal worth more than £300m. Sky News reports that the investment arm of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is closing in on an agreement that will effectively see it becoming the famous resort chain’s landlord. If completed, it would be among the most prominent deals struck for years by USS Investment Management. Bourne Leisure Group, Butlin’s owner, is in separate discussions, with one potential buyer of the three-site chain’s operating business, according to insiders. In recent weeks, bidders including Queensgate Investments, TDR Capital and Terra Firma Capital Partners have dropped out of the auction process. It was unclear on Tuesday whether Bain Capital or Epiris, which have also expressed interest in a deal, were still in discussions. It was also not clear whether USS was in formal exclusivity about the property deal. Uncertainty about the sale of Butlin’s has intensified since the owner of Parkdean Resorts recently aborted the auction of the UK’s biggest chain of holiday parks, citing the volatile economic outlook. Butlin’s, which was established by its eponymous founder, Billy Butlin, in 1936, was put up for sale earlier this year with price expectations of about £600m. Butlin’s sites are at Skegness, Minehead and Bognor Regis.

Tomahawk Steakhouse secures Morpeth site: North east-based multi-site operator Howard Eggleston has secured a site in Morpeth, Northumberland, for an opening under his Tomahawk Steakhouse brand. The company is understood to have secured the former Café Society site in the town’s Market Place. Eggleston will open the latest site under the Tomahawk Steakhouse brand later this week (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 will be opening Rio Durham on 15 July. He is also set to change his Tomahawk site in Ponteland, Northumberland, to a Rio. Further openings are lined up in Sunderland (for both Tomahawk and Rio), Chester and Nottingham.

Chopstix franchisee opens ‘first of many’ sites with Newcastle-under-Lyme launch: Fast-growing quick service restaurant brand Chopstix has opened its 71st UK store, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Chopstix has moved into the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop in High Street. The store has been developed alongside franchisee group Sparta Foods, which has previously opened and operated Chopstix’s first dark kitchen trial site, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. The store is the “first of many” to be opened alongside Sparta Foods over the next few years. Rob Burns, marketing director for Chopstix, said: “We have such a loyal set of customers, and we’re thrilled to be able to open in Newcastle-under-Lyme. We're here to mix things up in a faster, fresher, tastier way.” Chopstix plans to open at least 12 new stores this year through a mix of directly owned and operated stores and franchise sites.

Halo Burger aims to raise £300,000 after hitting initial crowdfunding target: Plant-based burger concept Halo Burger is now aiming to raise £300,000 to open a flagship site after hitting its initial £250,000 crowdfunding target. The company, which currently operates three sites, was looking to raise £250,000 through Seedrs, offering 5.86% of equity, giving a pre-money valuation of £4m. That target was hit on the first day of the campaign’s public launch, with investment from 125 people having so far raised in excess of £255,000. The business, which said it is the first UK plant-based restaurant to serve Beyond Meat and Impossible Food, generated revenue of £1.5m in 2020-21 and saw 70% year-on-year growth in sales between 2019-20 and 2020-21. Halo Burger launched its first bricks and mortar site, in Shoreditch, east London, in 2020 – at the former Selekt Chicken site in Great Eastern Street. It also operates out of Pop Brixton and the Fountain Head pub in Brighton’s North Road. Founder Ross Forder said: “Now we are going to aim for £300,000 so we can make our next sites even better and deploy further marketing initiatives to boost exposure/drive sales. Exciting times ahead.” Earlier this year, the company appointed Nicola Pegues, formerly of Bababoom, Fridays and Nando’s, as its operations director. Marcel Khan, formerly of Five Guys, Nando’s and Thunderbird Fried Chicken, is a strategic adviser to Halo Burger.

CMA concludes investigation into Admiral Tavern’s £222.3m acquisition of Hawthorn as pub sales complete: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded its investigation into the acquisition of community pub business Hawthorn by Admiral Taverns. Last year, Admiral agreed to buy Hawthorn in a £222.3m deal from NewRiver. The deal, which has since completed, involved 674 leased and tenanted and managed community pubs spread across England, Scotland and Wales. After opening an investigation into the deal last October, the CMA subsequently accepted undertakings offered by Admiral to assuage its competition concerns. The sale of seven pubs, which were the subject of undertakings in lieu of reference to a phase two investigation, has now completed.

Greggs saves more than 6,000 tonnes of unsold food as Too Good To Go partnership sees one million ‘magic bags’ sold: Food-to-go operator Greggs has saved more than 6,000 tonnes of its food going to waste through its partnership with Too Good To Go. Greggs linked up with Too Good To Go, which works with restaurants and retailers to prevent food waste by allowing customers to purchase surplus food, in early 2021. Users download the free app and search for nearby businesses that offer unsold food, where they can then purchase a ‘magic bag’ filled with discounted food before collecting it at an allotted time. More than 1,200 Greggs sites across the UK are now available to rescue surplus food from, and in excess of a million bags have been purchased. “We’re thrilled to be partners with a British staple like Greggs and to have reached such an incredible milestone so quickly,” said Sophie Trueman, managing director for Too Good To Go in the UK & Ireland. “I’m incredibly excited to see our partnership continue to flourish and rescue even more Greggs favourites from going to waste.” Gillian Long, Greggs retail operations director, added: “While we do everything that we can to redistribute surplus food to those in need, our partnership with Too Good To Go really helps to ensure we keep as much as possible from going to waste and continue delivering on our food waste commitments. As announced in the Greggs Pledge, we are committed to creating 25% less food waste by 2025 than we did in 2018, and we will continue to work towards 100% of excess food going to those most in need.”

Tortilla appoints haysmacintyre as new auditor: Mexican restaurant brand Tortilla has announced that, following a competitive tender process, it has appointed haysmacintyre as its new statutory auditor, replacing Blick Rothenberg Audit. Tortilla which opened its 50th site in the UK on Friday (17 June), in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays, said: “The board would like to thank Blick Rothenberg for its services and significant support over the last ten years.” The appointment will be subject to approval by shareholders at the company’s next annual general meeting.

Sandwich concept Mondo Sando to begin second residency: Sandwich concept Mondo Sando is to begin a second residency in London. The concept, launched last year, is moving into The White Horse pub in Peckham next month. Mondo’s menu draws on food from Miyazaki films, Redwall novels and the Beano, and offers subs, small plates and burgers inspired by delis, diners and drinking dens across the world. The White Horse residency also sees Mondo debuting some veggie sandwiches, including a deep-fried aubergine parm (deep fried aubergine, fresh mozzarella, béchamel, pecorino, basil, Norma sauce, rocket) and a Thai larb (vegan soy larb with Thai basil, mint, coriander, shallot and chilli, lime dressing, toasted rice powder, black bean kewpie mayo, pickled beans, cucumber and lettuce). Launching on Thursday, 14 July, the White Horse will be Mondo’s second pub spot, having moved into the Grove House Tavern in Camberwell earlier this year. Both sites will run alongside each other. The White Horse will offer the same menu all day, whereas the Grove House Tavern will continue with separate lunch and dinner menus. Co-founder and head chef Jack Macrae said: “It’s great to be stepping back into Peckham. The White Horse is such a classic pub and the perfect home for us there. I’ve always felt the good people of SE15 appreciate a decent sandwich – ask anyone about Salas and you’ll see what I mean – so it’s both a daunting and thrilling prospect to be serving up subs at the localist local of them all.”

Inn Collection Group relocates HQ to support ongoing expansion: The Inn Collection Group has relocated its head office to larger premises to accommodate ongoing growth across its operations. The company has moved its 60-strong head office and central reservations team into new premises at Newcastle’s Quorum Park. The business, which employs more than 800 staff, said upgrading into larger, new premises will pave the way for the group’s continued growth as it expands its portfolio of sites across the north of England and north Wales.  Managing director Sean Donkin said: “Our relocation marks a whole new chapter for The Inn Collection Group’s development. It will create a fantastic working environment for our existing central team, while futureproofing us for staff growth as we continue to execute expansion plans.” The Inn Collection Group launched its “eat, drink, sleep and explore” model in 2006 from its previous headquarters at Cawledge Park in Alnwick, Northumberland. It currently has 31 freehold sites in prime touristic locations across the north of England and north Wales. 

Tim Hortons reveals opening date for debut London site: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons will make its London debut next Friday (1 July). SK Group, which is leading the rollout of the brand in the UK, will open the site at Royale Leisure Park in Park Royal on what will also be Canada Day. The 4,209 square-foot site will offer a dine-in and drive-thru service, with delivery options being added a few weeks after opening. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “Having opened 54 venues across the UK, Londoners have been crying out for us to open a restaurant in the capital.” 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 has plans to add another circa 30 locations in Britain by the end of 2022.

Deliveroo expands rapid grocery delivery service with new retail model: Deliveroo has further expanded its rapid grocery delivery service, Deliveroo HOP. Whereas Deliveroo’s original HOP model provided rapid delivery from delivery-only sites owned and managed by Deliveroo, the new model sees the business offer its expertise and technology to grocery partners in their existing retail sites. Its first tie-up under the new model is with Supermarket of Dreams in Holland Park, London. The launch is the latest step in the rollout of “Deliveroo HOP” across the UK and international markets, with recent new delivery-only sites opening in Bristol and Cambridge as well as Milan. Deliveroo launched Deliveroo HOP last year to complement the company’s existing on-demand grocery service, which already delivers from almost 6,000 partner grocery stores in the UK. Meanwhile, Deliveroo is expanding its partnership with LloydsPharmacy, with a further 110 stores being added to the UK rollout over the coming months. It means healthcare essentials will be available from 150 stores under the partnership, which was launched in 2020.

Duck Duck Goose founder to open restaurant with rooms in Kent: Oliver Brown, founder of the former Duck Duck Goose Cantonese restaurant in London, is set to open a restaurant with rooms in Kent. Brown, who has also worked with Rowley Leigh at Le Cafe Anglais, will next month open Updown at a former farm near Deal with partner Ruth Leigh, who has worked with Stevie Parle and Henry Harris in the past. The couple have spent the last few years carefully restoring the 17th century, grade II-listed farmhouse and grounds to house seven rooms, including two cottages. While the works have been taking place, the space has been used to host a series of supper clubs featuring the likes of Anna Tobias, Will Bowlby and Alex Jackson. The success of these further cemented the couple’s dream to make Updown a permanent fixture to share their seasonal menus. Brown will head up a menu of Italian leaning hyper-seasonal menu using local ingredients, while an equally seasonal drinks menu will feature cocktails made with produce from the garden and local wines. He said: “Updown Farm is a dream come true for Ruth and I. After the last few years working on the house and hosting some of our favourite chefs and good friends at the farm, we can’t wait to have people here to stay and get completely immersed in life here. Updown is a celebration of what the area has to offer – from some of the most beautiful fruit and veg from our neighbouring farms to wines from local vineyards. We have big plans for the Updown and hope to restore more of it in months to come – watch this space!”

The Alchemist confirms second Edinburgh site: Bar and restaurant group The Alchemist has confirmed it is to double its presence in Edinburgh, with a £1.5m investment in a second site in the Scottish capital. As revealed by Propel, the new site at 51 George Street, will be 20-strong The Alchemist’s third in Scotland following its debut as part of the St James Quarter development at the end of last year, alongside recently revealed plans to open in Glasgow’s George Square this winter. The new Edinburgh venue will open in early 2023, creating 60 jobs. Encapsulating The Alchemist’s mystical apothecary of “theatre served” and molecular mixology, the 7,051 square-foot space will house 185 covers. Jenny McPhee, brand director, said: “The response to our first bar and restaurant in Edinburgh last year, alongside plans to make our debut in Glasgow later this year, has been incredible, and we’re thrilled to be further expanding our portfolio in Scotland with a second venue in the capital. The site is going to be stunning, offering an unrivalled and unconventional drinking and dining experience in the heart of the city.” The Palatine Private Equity-backed business will open its Glasgow site in October. The company is investing £1.6m in the 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 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.

Humdingers further expands retail operation with six-month pop-up: London catering firm Humdingers has further expanded its retail operation with a pop-up cafe, bar and bakery at the Museum of the Home. The new location joins Humdingers Catering & Soup Kitchen in Hoxton Street and Humdingers Bakery & Cafe in Hornsey Road. Housed in 300-year-old almshouses built in Shoreditch, the Museum of the Home residency will last for six months. The cafe offers a range of pastries, cakes, sandwiches, coffee, wine, beer, and pizzas and plans are in place for a tapas pop-up in August. The space features an outdoor terrace, cafe, and drinks bar. Humdingers Catering embodies a “purpose-over-profit” mindset and is continually seeking out ways to be of service to community and society. Humdingers Soup Kitchen was launched as a social enterprise during the pandemic, where catering facilities and staff were repurposed to feed the local community. Founder Robert Hunningher said: “It is about playing our part to ensure no one in our community goes hungry or is stuck at a disadvantage. This will also hopefully inspire other businesses to act in a similar way, to always be mindful of their surrounding community and what they can do to help.” Hunningher founded Humdinger Catering in 2006, starting out with a cake stall and sandwich delivery service.

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