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Mon 1st Aug 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hub Box reports record FY Ebitda, explores funding options: Hub Box, the south west-based burger and barbecue concept led by Richard Boon, is exploring different funding options and talking to potential investors after it posted record Ebitda for the year to the end of 2021, Propel has learned. The 11-strong business, which has openings lined up in Dorchester and Gloucester, is understood to be exploring different funding streams which would allow it to “unlock the next level of growth” for the business. Propel understands that although private equity has shown interest in the company, its current investors, which include Loungers founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, are “very committed to the business and are very happy to continue supporting its growth”. The investment interest comes as net like-for-like sales at the company were up 17.2% in the first 29 weeks of its current financial year compared to the same period in 2019. Turnover for its full year to the end of 2021, which included covid restrictions and closures, stood at £12,332,354, up from £7,229,961 in 2020. Company Ebitda was £1.538m, up from £538,830 in 2020, while restaurant Ebitda was circa £2.475m. The company said: “These figures represent Hub Box’s best ever financial year and continue the growth and improving performance over the last few years. We opened two new sites in the year – Falmouth in May and Cheltenham in September. Falmouth is a fantastic waterfront location that plays to our traditional strengths on a historic Cornish Marina. Hub Box Cheltenham’s location in the recently re-imagined Brewery Quarter scheme was more of a testing ground for how the brand would perform in a spa town that is quite some distance from our Cornish roots, in an urban setting. It has made an excellent start and has performed well ahead of expectations ever since opening, consistently in the top four of our sites for weekly sales. It gives us confidence to look at more locations that do not fit with what could be considered to be a typical Hub Box site, both in terms of a wider geography and setting. Over the past two years, Hub Box has performed extremely well, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We have raised finance through both share-holders funds and bank debt. We have moved into profitability and opened three new sites. Alongside this, we have managed margins and wage costs in an increasingly difficult market. We also have some excellent future sites in our pipeline. We are well positioned to continue to grow and prosper, despite the more challenging conditions that 2022 are likely to bring.” The group, which has an opening lined up in Worthing for next year, is also understood to be in talks on a site in Weymouth. Boon told Propel earlier this year that he believes there is scope to grow an estate of 100-plus sites in the UK.
 

Industry News:

Videos from Women’s Conference to be released later this month: In mid-August, Premium subscribers will receive access to all the videos from Propel’s Women’s Entrepreneur and Leaders Conference, featuring the sector’s finest female leaders and entrepreneurs. Jo Clevely, co-founder of Geronimo Inns, talks to Ann Elliott about why design matters so much in hospitality venues and how women can really make their mark in this often-hidden side of the business. Wenny Armstrong, managing director of Ballie Ballerson, shares her story about starting the business, winning investment and the highs and lows of the last few years. Grace Harding, chief executive of Ocean Basket Group, now in 18 countries and recently launched in the UK, talks about her attitude to leadership, recruiting the best possible talent and creating working environments in which people have the opportunity to thrive and learn. Zoe Collins, managing director of the Jamie Oliver Group, talks about her journey from producing live shows for BBC Radio One to running a high profile, award-winning global media and food brand with social impact at its heart. Dawn Donohoe, managing director of London Cocktail Club and Barrio Bars, talks about her 20 years of senior leadership experience in the sector and how it has helped her become a successful managing director and leader. Meanwhile, Ann Elliott talks to Karen Bates, group people director at BrewDog; Anne-Marie Sarantis, head of people at Gusto; Dawn Browne, people and talent director at Fuller’s; and Miranda Burgum, people director at Gail’s Bakery about what women need to do to reach board level. Elliott also talks to Lizi Hills, head of finance at Various Eateries; Danielle Davies, chief financial officer at Revolution; Koula Achillea, finance director at Oakman Group; and Julie Centracchio, chief financial officer at Boston Tea Party about how finance roles can help women reach the top. Lucy Worth, chief operating officer at Mowgli; Lisa Gibbons, chief operating officer (Bella Italia and concessions) at the Big Table Group; and Kate Eastwood, operations director at Fuller’s also talk to Elliott about how women can really make their mark in operations. Also talking to Elliott are Naomi Heaton, founder of The Other House; Chelsea Finch, founder of the three-strong London-based coffee shop brand, District; entrepreneur Anh Pham, founder of Paeonia; and Rebecca Bishop, founder of Two Magpies Bakery about how and why they set up their own businesses. Premium subscribers also receive access to four databases – the Propel Multi-Site Database, New Openings Database, Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book and UK Food & Beverage Franchisor Database. They 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. 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.
 
Propel video series – facing up to supply chain fragility: In a new series of Propel videos in partnership with Fourth, leading industry provider of Inventory and Workforce management solutions, Propel group editor Mark Wingett talks to leading supply chain experts about the current challenges facing the sector and how they are navigating them. In the first video of the series, he is joined by Stefan Porter, purchasing and supply chain director at the Azzurri Group – the ASK, Zizzi and Coco Di Mama operator – to discuss dealing with a supply chain under pressure, adapting the businesses approach to the erosion of margin, the challenges and opportunities created by operating across several brands and the role of menu engineering. The video will be available on Monday, 1 August, at 9am.

Poultry supply to stay tight into 2023 as feed and energy prices expected to remain high: Poultry supply will stay tight into 2023 as feed and energy prices are expected to remain high, catering butcher Birtwistles has warned. In its latest market report, Birtwistles said poultry demand remains solid, but global prices keep rising to offset high feed costs. “Feed and energy prices are higher than they have been in several years and are expected to remain high into 2023,” it said. The report added that lingering covid-19 impacts, avian flu and the Ukraine crisis means “supply will be tight”. It said: “At present, we expect UK prices to possibly rise slightly. Chicken thigh meat, inner fillets and wings are still proving to be difficult, with demand still outstripping supply at times. The high input/output nature of chicken farming means it is heavily exposed to the inflationary volatility. This exposure needs to be shared along the supply chain to ensure all links remain strong. There is a balancing act to be maintained between feeding the population and ensuring all parties in the supply chain receive a fair return. If they are squeezed too hard, the supply chain could reach a breaking point. The industry has worked very hard in recent decades to lift the reputation of British poultry. No parties wish to cut corners and undermine this effort, nor see supply chains reach breaking point.” The report also warned wheat prices will rise further if a deal struck last week between Ukraine and Russia to resume exports through the Black Sea collapses. As soon as the deal was announced, there was an immediate reduction in wheat prices, but if it doesn’t happen, wheat prices will rise again, leading to “a drop in production and an increase in meat prices”. The report said: “In regards to the UK, we welcome more grain coming onto the world market as this may help bring the cost of feed down, and in turn, reduce the input costs for pigs and poultry.” Elsewhere, the first week of July saw GB deadweight cattle prices decrease slightly but remain at historically high levels. The average price for prime cattle procured deadweight in GB fell by 1.6p on the previous week to average 442.3p/kg, but this was still 42p above where it was this time a year ago. The following week saw the GB EU-spec Standard Pig Price rise by 1.98p to 193.09p/kg, a 32.4% increase year-on-year. GB deadweight prices for new seasons lamb stood at 639.1p/kg that same week, down 7p on the previous week.
 
Inflation pummels business confidence: Confidence among businesses fell by 3 percentage points in July to 25% on the index compiled by Lloyds bank. It is the first time confidence has fallen below the long-term average of 28% since March 2021, when lockdown restrictions were being lifted. Lloyds surveyed 1,200 businesses with a turnover of £250,000 a year. Economic optimism fell 10 percentage points to 12%, remaining above the zero mark that separates a positive sentiment from a negative one on the index. Firms are positive they can continue to trade despite their wider concerns about the economy, with the net balance for trading prospects up by 3 percentage points to 37% in July. Paul Gordon, managing director for SME and mid-corporates, said: “It is important that firms keep a tight rein on input costs where they can and a close watch on profit margins in what are already tough conditions.”
 
Former Turtle Bay and Nando’s director and ex-ALMR CEO merge businesses to help industry ‘develop talent, retain skills and drive profitability’: Former Turtle Bay and Nando’s director Karen Turton and ex-Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Nick Bish have merged their businesses in an effort to help the industry “develop talent, retain skills and drive profitability”. They are confident the combined business, formed by merging Bish’s Transition programme into Turton’s Purple Story consultancy, will “accelerate operational excellence for individuals and underpin organisational success for a multi-site audience”. Bish was, until 2013, chief executive of the ALMR, which merged with the British Hospitality Association to form UKHospitality in 2018. He went on to found multi-site operations development programme Transition after identifying a “vast need” for it within the industry. Turton, who previously worked with Bish at Transition as its learning and performance director, set up Purple Story in 2019 following senior operations roles with Spirit Pub Company, Nando’s and Turtle Bay. Bish will become chair of the new business, with Turton taking on the chief executive role. Turton said: “Over the past year, it became increasingly clear that Purple Story and Transition share a vision to drive commercial success through developing performance in people. By merging the businesses, with Nick as our chair, our future is in safe hands as we work towards breaking the £1m turnover milestone in 2024. Nick brings with him not only Transition’s strong client base, but also his long-held connections with licensed retail industry leaders.” Bish added: “I am so excited by the new challenge as Purple Story continues to grow and build a reputation with a wide range of ambitious organisations. Our vision is to liberate the latent talent within skilful individuals so they can realise their own ambitions, and businesses can retain the skills that drive profitability.”
 
Job of the Day: COREcruitment is working with a UK hospitality and retail business about to do great things. Already very popular within the London area, it is going through a new phase of growth and looking for a people director. The role will encompass setting and driving a people strategy; driving a culture of performance management with a clear career route; creating a reward structure; challenging and supporting the operations team to deliver a great customer experience; improving consistency of performance across the estate; implementing a training structure to ensure initiatives really embed in the business; assisting with the management of all budgets in line with financial procedures; and managing the HR budget economically. It also involves managing a head office team; working alongside the operational team reviewing, adjusting, implementing and managing all aspects of remuneration, bonuses and benefits; and developing implementing and communicating effective systems of performance management. The salary is up to £100,000. For more information, contact gemma@corecruitment.com.

 
Company News:

KFC running out of chicken as branches pause offers and warn of shortages: KFC has been forced to pause one of its weekly food offers due to a shortage of chicken. In a company memo sent to branches and seen by The Sun, company bosses issued an urgent update warning of shortages. The memo warned staff about supplies of chicken on the bone, beans and Pepsi Max cans. It said: “Due to the shortage of COB (chicken on the bone), we are again pausing the WOW Tuesday offer. We will confirm our position for the remainder of the window once we have confirmed supply.” The WOW Tuesday offer is a popular deal for nine pieces of chicken for £5.99. The memo urged staff to remove the ‘Tuesday Big Deal’ banner and replace it with items from a contingency folder, including a ‘Family Feast’ banner and ‘Mighty Bucket for One’ sign. The memo added that the WOW offer would still be available on tills if restaurants had a sufficient supply of COB to “avoid as much guest dissatisfaction as possible”. But it said customers would not be able to purchase the offer from kiosks or through mobile ordering. The memo said KFC staff would start to see “out of stock” across all depots over the weekend regarding its bean supply, and there was no fixed return date for the item at this time. “Sorry for the ongoing disruptions this is causing to you and your teams,” it said. A KFC spokesperson said: “Recent supply chain challenges have meant some of our restaurants are facing a few shortages. We don’t want our fans to miss out, but to uphold the Colonel’s high standards, we’ve had to temporarily pause our Tuesday deal. Despite that, it’s service as usual – all thanks to our incredible team members. They’re doing a brilliant job keeping the fryers going, so please be kind to them.”
 
Clean Kitchen Club set to name Thomas Foulser as managing director: Clean Kitchen Club, the fledgling plant-based, fast-food concept, is set to name Thomas Foulser, formerly of Inception Group, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. It is understood that Foulser, who has been with Inception for the past 13 years, will take up his new role with Clean this week. He started as a general manager at Inception’s Barts venue before becoming a senior operations manager, and more recently, the Mr Fogg’s operator’s head of commercial and associate director. Earlier this week, Clean increased its presence in central London with an opening in Soho. The business, which counts Steve Easterbrook, the ex-chief executive of McDonald’s, PizzaExpress and Wagamama, as an investor, opened on the former Lords of Poke site in Old Compton Street. It follows an opening on Notting Hill earlier this year, and preceeds the launch of a flagship restaurant at Battersea Power Station later this year. The company had also spoken about opening on the ex-Cote site in Jerdan Place, Fulham Broadway, but is understood to have backed away from that unit. It will launch a crowdfunding campaign through Seedrs later this month with the aim of raising £2.5m to scale operations through new sites, expanding its corporate catering arm and launching its products across UK supermarkets. It has already seen £2m pledged in the pre-registration stage. It plans to have 40-plus sites operating by the end of 2024 and hopes to start expanding outside the capital next year, with Manchester, Brighton, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham among its target locations.
 
Planet Organic to open first regional site: Health-focused retailer Planet Organic will open its first regional site, in Henley, later this year. The 13-strong business has taken a 2,440 square-foot store located at 12-16 Market Place, which previously housed a Superdrug. The new Henley store will feature a broad range of products, spanning organic fresh produce, groceries, chilled and frozen ranges, beauty and wellbeing products, along with the brand’s coffee, fresh juices, smoothies and food to go. Nick Ridley, property director at Planet Organic, said: “We’re hugely excited to announce the forthcoming opening of our latest store in Henley. It marks a pivotal moment in our growth plans as we expand outside of London for the first time. Henley is a fantastic fit for Planet and we can’t wait to bring our first-class range of products – as well as an enthusiastic, highly-trained team of expert colleagues – to the local community and invite them to join our mission to discover better at Planet Organic.” The company, which earlier this year opened a new distribution centre in Sunbury-on-Thames, opened sites in Broadway Market, Hampstead and Queen’s Park earlier this year and is believed to have lined up further openings in the capital in Northcote Road and London Bridge.

Mission Mars secures Didsbury site for Rudy’s: Mission Mars, the Albert’s Schloss operator led by Roy Ellis, has secured a new site for its fast-growing Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza concept, in Didsbury, Manchester. It is set to open a 90-cover restaurant on the former Mad Giant food hall site on Wilmslow Road, for what will be its fifth opening under the pizza concept in the Manchester area and 12th overall. Last week, Ellis told Propel: “Our new Rudy’s in Chorlton and Sheffield are both performing nicely ahead of expectation. Rudy’s Chapel Allerton and Didsbury will open in the next month or two. Beyond this, we have a further four Rudy’s sites very close to final design and should be open by spring 2023. We look forward to investing further in our people with the development of our management development centre and a pizzaiola academy in central Manchester later this year.”

Bob & Berts plans Glasgow opening: Coffee brand Bob & Berts has lined up a new opening in Scotland, in Glasgow. The business, which recently opened its sixth Scottish site, in Perth, is planning to open a site in an empty retail unit at 154 Sauchiehall Street. The BGF-backed business was founded in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, in 2013 by Colin McClean. Following a £2m investment from BGF in 2017, the business has grown to 25 sites across the UK, and in the last 12 months, opened its first four sites in the north west of England, including most recently in Bury. Earlier this spring, the business said it had set its sights on further growth in the north west of England for the next phase of its ambitious expansion. It is looking at other north west locations including Southport, Lytham St Annes, Blackpool and Carlisle.

Greggs blocked from opening Leicester Square flagship site through the night: Food-to-go operator Greggs has been blocked from opening its new flagship site in London’s Leicester Square through the night. The newly opened store is currently open from 6am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and Greggs had applied to Westminster City Council to sell food and drink from 11pm to 5am, but a licence was refused over fears it could be a “hotspot” for trouble. The Met Police wrote to the council stating it was its belief that if the licence was granted, it could “undermine the licensing objectives in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder”, reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service. A representative for Greggs said the late-night and early morning sale of hot food and drinks would typically attract emergency service and shift workers rather than anti-social groups. They added: “Greggs is an excellent neighbour…there’s no intention to draw hordes of new people in. There are other Greggs offers in the locality.” Greggs plans to open circa 150 new sites over the next year, taking its total number across the UK to just under 2,500.
 
Parkdean Resorts appoints new head of accommodation: Parkdean Resorts, Britain’s biggest holiday park operator, has promoted Karen Gibson to head of accommodation. Gibson has worked at Parkdean, operator of 66 parks across the UK, since 2003, starting out as a seasonal bar team member before progressing through various roles at different parks, including complex manager, holiday sales manager, park services and general manager. She most recently worked in regional accommodation support, and now head up the department on a national level. She will focus on driving up standards across the parks, building and delivering training and supporting refurbishment planning. Barrie Robinson, operations director at Parkdean Resorts, said: “Karen has been doing a fantastic job in driving standards at our parks and improving performance across the board, and is the perfect example of how hard work and commitment can pay off. She’s been with the business for almost 20 years now, and we’re hugely grateful for everything she does for us.” In April, Parkdean announced a record £140m nationwide investment programme including new developments at 16 parks, more than 850 new caravans and lodges and hundreds of upgraded chalets and lodges. The company has also taken on 375 trainees via the government’s Kickstart scheme, with 550 more to be recruited this year.
 
Trejo’s Tacos closes in on £1m crowdfunding target to fund flagship London site: Trejo’s Tacos, the US taco concept from actor Danny Trejo, is more than three-quarters of the way to its £1m crowdfunding campaign to fund the opening of a flagship site in central London. Launched last month, the campaign, which has another two weeks to run, has so far raised more than £770,000 from over 160 investors. It is offering 21% equity, and the fundraise, which is being carried out through Seedrs, would give the business a pre-money valuation of £3.8m. After opening in London, the company is planning to open a ghost kitchen every three months, followed by expansion within London and further afield in the UK.
 
Monmouthshire operator set to open third site, eyes further expansion: Monmouthshire operator Andreas Christou, an award-winning restaurateur with two Italian restaurants in Wales, will later this summer open his latest branch ahead of further expansion in the country. Casa Bianca, which has sister restaurants in Abergavenny and Monmouth, is expected to open in Milbourne Chambers, on the corner of Glebeland Street and High Street in Merthyr Tydfil, by late summer 2022. Casa Bianca, which focuses on southern Italian cooking and flavours, won two Blue Ribbons at the 2022 Good Food Awards. Christou told Wales 24: “We have had great success with La Piccola in Monmouth and Casa Bianca in Abergavenny — and we hope to achieve the same in Merthyr Tydfil, ahead of further expansion across Wales.” The new venture has been made possible by an investment from the Welsh government’s transforming towns placemaking scheme, in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. 
 
Nottingham operators to launch Mexican concept: A new Mexican restaurant is set to be opened in Nottingham by the award-winning team behind city venues Bar Iberico and Iberico World Tapas. The taqueria will be based in the former Oriental Mart supermarket in Heathcoat Street, Hockley. The ground floor and basement will be used for dining. Dan Lindsay, who operates Bar Iberico with chef Jacque Ferreira, said: “It’s at least two years since we’ve had this concept of Mexican food in our heads, and it’s not happened with covid and finding the right building. Ever since we came up with the idea, we’ve been trialling lots of Mexican influenced food at Bar Iberico. It’s gone down really well. Tacos have been outselling everything apart from crispy chicken, they have been so popular. It embraces that sharing concept as well, it’s a really nice way to eat.”

Inn Collection Group plans June 2023 opening for debut Tyneside venue: The Inn Collection Group has targeted a June 2023 opening for its debut Tyneside venue, The Park Hotel at Longsands Beach. A multimillion-pound refurbishment of the site, which the Inn Collection Group acquired in March 2021, has just got under way and is expected to take 11 months to complete. The 53-bedroom venue is being transformed into a family-friendly pub with rooms, complete with an ice cream parlour and fish and chip takeaway, plus outdoor seating areas and terraces overlooking the beach. The Inn Collection Group managing director, Sean Donkin, said: “This stunning building is long overdue significant investment to give it an exciting new chapter as a thriving inn.” Refurbishment works are also under way on the 40-bedroom Ripon Spa Hotel in Yorkshire, which the 31-strong group acquired in June 2021.

Sheffield firm plans sports bar and grill addition: A Sheffield entrepreneur behind several cafes and bars in the city is to open a new family-friendly venue at Hillsborough Barracks. MNKY, owned by Ryan Macdonald, already runs two bars at Steelyard Kelham, plus five cafes and ice cream bars in the city. He is now getting ready to invest more than £350,000 in Monkey Bar Club at Hillsborough Barracks, after agreeing a 15-year lease with LCP, the commercial property and investment company that manages the site. The sports bar and grill, which will have about 100 covers, will include food from Smokin’ Bull, which makes burgers, fries, chicken wings and vegan options, and will serve a range of real ales among other drinks. Macdonald said: “I was looking for premises that were a little different from where we already are, and Hillsborough Barracks is ideal because there are very few places to eat there. I want it to be a real family environment and believe this new venue will be a real draw for them. The fit out starts soon and I hope to be open in early October.”

Swansea bar owners set to double up: Ollie Moore and Matt Thomas, owners of food and live music venue The Perch on Wind Street, are set to open a second site in Swansea. They have completed the purchase of Bar 6, on Princess Way, in double-quick time with help from law firm Peter Lynn and Partners. Led by head of commercial property Chris Tymanowski, the solicitors were able to act for both seller and buyer, meaning the sale and purchase took less than two weeks to complete. “We needed a fast turnaround time, and they got the deal over the line in a very short space of time, which not only kept us on track with our plans but prevented the need for Bar 6 to close while the transaction was taking place,” said Moore. Tymanowski added: “The individual parts of these deals are not hugely complex on their own, but when combined, the moving parts and third-party involvement can mean the deal takes several months to complete. In this case, I had existing relationships with the seller, buyer and landlord, allowing for quick and easy communication to achieve the required timescale.”

Birmingham bakery-cafe team doubles up with Korean restaurant concept: The team behind Birmingham artisan bakery and cafe Orientee has opened a new Korean restaurant concept in the city. Itaewon Bar and Restaurant, named after a district in South Korea, has opened in Station Street, offering burgers and wings as well as twists on classic dishes such as a Korean friend chicken eggs benedict, and “croffles”, a cross between a croissant and a waffle. Drinks include Korean-inspired cocktails, and the restaurant has partnered with Birmingham Brewery to offer gluten-free and vegan ale and lager. Sister concept Orientee is based at the Octagon Business Centre, alongside the team’s online bakery business, Wheat Bakehouse.

Leeds opera company opens new restaurant: Opera North, an opera company based in Leeds, has opened a new restaurant in its grade II-listed premises at New Briggate. Called Kino, it seats up to 100 covers across three floors, initially offering cheese and charcuterie, wine, craft beer and cocktails ahead of an evolving food offering featuring guest chefs and kitchen residencies. First up is Leeds street food kitchen MorMor, which will serve its flavours from the Levant – a crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and north east Africa. The restaurant will provide a full food offer from September. Richard Mantle, general director at Opera North, said: “Opening Kino is the final piece in the puzzle following our transformative £18m redevelopment programme, Music Works. Located next to Leeds Grand Theatre, where Opera North is a resident company, Kino is the perfect spot to enjoy drinks and a bite to eat before a performance, or as a destination in its own right.”

Liverpool Mediterranean street food concept set to double up with second site: Liverpool’s Olive Branch Mediterranean Street Food is set to open a second venue. The business, which has a site in Richmond Street in the city, has taken on the former Thomas Cook unit in Church Street. The concept serves a range of Mediterranean dishes including mezze, shawarma, burgers and wraps. It offers click-and collect as well as delivery and dine-in options.

Birmingham brewer set to open second taproom: Birmingham craft brewer Dig Brew Co is set to open a second taproom in the city. Dig Brew Co was founded in 2017 by Oliver Webb, who spent five years running portable cocktail bars before establishing a taproom and dough kitchen in River Street, Digbeth. He now plans to open a second site, called Lemonade Stand, at Piccadilly Arcade, opposite Birmingham New Street Station. He has signed a short-term lease with landlords Horton’s for the former Petals of Piccadilly unit, with the potential for a future long-term agreement. Webb said the taproom was “a natural extension of what we’re already doing in Digbeth”, adding: “A city centre shop front gives us the chance to put ourselves in front of a much broader range of people.” Horton’s also recently let a unit at Piccadilly Arcade to bubble tea outlet iTEA on a ten-year lease.

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