Story of the Day:
Two Magpies sees potential for growth to 50 sites, aiming for £10m turnover to attract ‘big investment’:
Co-founder Steve Magnall believes Two Magpies Bakery has the potential to grow to 50 sites but is determined to get to £10m in turnover so he can attract some “big investment”. Magnall said in June he is seeking private investment to triple the size of the Suffolk bakery, which currently has seven sites, over the next few years. But he told the Propel Multi-Club Conference he sees potential to more than double even those growth plans if the right investment can be found. “In East Anglia we think there’s potential for up to 50 sites,” said Magnall. “I want to get us up to 20 as soon as possible, and I’m being offered a site every two weeks. We’re currently being offered sites in Bury St Edmunds and Beccles, and I’m looking at a pop-up in Cambridge. Other offers include Framlingham, Wells-next-the-Sea, Hadleigh, Newmarket and Colchester. But everything we’ve done so far is out of cash flow and a little bit of borrowing, and we need to get to that next stage of big investment. The plan is for £750,000 Ebitda this year on turnover of roughly £7.4m, which is good growth, but for investment purposes, most people are not interested until you get to about £10m, so we need to get to that stage. There are efficiencies to be had out of our business – our net profit is running at 6.7%, but by going to Walpole (its new production centre) we will massively gain efficiency in terms of production, because we’re currently sitting on top of each other and not doing bigger batches.” The new centre at Walpole, which is currently being fitted out, will see Two Magpies move production from Halesworth and Darsham – both 2,000 square feet – to an 11,000 square-foot site, “which will futureproof the business for about three times growth”. It will then convert Halesworth into a small shop and new site for its baking school, which is currently based at Darsham. This will allow the school, run by co-founder Rebecca Bishop – who will next year release a recipe book – to increase its student numbers. It would also allow for 84 extra covers at Darsham, where planning permission has been granted for the construction of 200 holiday homes next door. The company also plans to open a training academy. Magnall added: “We will train staff all the way through, irrespective of skill set. We’re surrounded by three-quarters water and haven’t got a big pool to pull from, so it’s really important to keep staff as best we can.” Magnall's presentation will be among the videos from the Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party that Premium subscribers will be given exclusive access to next Friday (23 September) at 9am. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade your subscription.
Panel discussion on sector investment landscape to be held at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, three free places per company for operators:
A panel discussion on the sector investment landscape will be held at the final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, which takes place on Thursday, 10 November, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London, and is open for bookings. The all-day conference will focus on “new ways of working”. The panel discussion will be led by Andrew Ball, of Haysmacintyre,
with serial sector investor Luke Johnson; Darrel Connell, of Imbiba; Lisa Boden, of Edition Capital; and Robin Rowland, of TriSpan. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing email@example.com.
Next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector gradually building back from pandemic with almost 50% of multi-site companies in profit:
The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows the sector is gradually building back from the pandemic, with almost 50% of multi-site companies making a profit. This is an improvement on the 41.6% reported in July. The next edition will show 326 companies making a combined loss of £5.4bn compared with 293 companies in profit – making a combined £1.5bn. The 619 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have collective turnover of £31.3bn. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book on Friday (16 September), at midday. Another 22 companies have been added, while accounts have been updated for 42 businesses. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers will also be given exclusive access to the recording of the Propel Multi-Club summer conference. The videos will be sent next Friday (23 September), at 9am. Premium subscribers also receive the Multi-Site Operators Database,
produced in association with Virgate, and the New Openings Database,
which are also updated each month. Premium subscribers also have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database,
which will be updated every two months. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade your subscription.
Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews, and 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; plus regular video content and exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
UKHospitality – long term solutions needed to ease workforce shortage: UKHospitality has called on the government to work with it on finding long term solutions to easing the sector’s workforce shortage. Chief executive Kate Nicholls spoke following the release of the latest unemployment figures, which showed the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in the three months to July 2022, the lowest since 1974. But the figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed the inactivity rate rose to 21.7% – the highest since 2017. “These figures highlight what an important sector hospitality is as a UK employer, showing one in six new jobs in the year were generated by the industry,” said Nicholls. “This equates to an increase of 133,000 new roles, driving total employment in hospitality up 6% to nearly 2.5 million. Vacancies in the sector remain high, however, close to double pre-pandemic levels. Vacancies across the economy are 20% higher than a year ago, demonstrating how inherent problems in the labour market remain and how difficult a situation employers in the sector find themselves. In order to ease this workforce shortage, we need to work with the government on long term solutions such as an employment and skills strategy and to ensure government schemes are open to all sectors – hospitality is currently excluded from initiatives such as skills bootcamps, for example. All this will be for naught, however, if the sector doesn’t receive some short-term support. On top of the energy price cap, we need targeted support, such as VAT cut to 10% and a business rates holiday, to sustain businesses big and small and protect jobs this winter.” In May, UKHospitality launched a new workforce strategy called Fixing the crisis: a framework for collaborative action across the sector. It aims to help plug the sector’s huge jobs gap by examining all aspects of hospitality’s labour needs – including recruitment, skills and training, working lives, image and infrastructure to support employees.
Fazenda reveals ‘industry-leading’ maternity package as part of wider benefits overhaul to champion industry: Premium casual South American operator Fazenda has revealed an “industry-leading” maternity package as part of wider benefits overhaul in a bid to tackle perceptions of hospitality as a career. The new maternity package comes after a review into employee benefits, as the industry faces recruitment and retention challenges across the board. Under the new policy, team members who have worked for Fazenda for five years or more will be offered 39 weeks full maternity pay. Those team members with 12 months’ service will also benefit from six weeks of full pay, followed by 33 weeks of half pay. In addition, Fazenda has enhanced its paternity package, offering two weeks’ full paternity pay for team members with more than two years’ service and two additional weeks of parental leave at full pay for team members with more than five years of service. Managing director Tomás Maunier said: “Historically, we've never been one to shout about what we do for our team. We believe in offering such benefits because it's the right thing to do. However, we feel maybe it's time to not only champion our business as a great place to work, but the industry as a whole. For years, our industry has struggled with a bad reputation as a choice of career. We want to help break down these barriers and help change the narrative. Although our maternity package is a very generous one, we're aware this is just a small step in the right direction.” The group, which recently announced plans to open its first London restaurant in spring 2023, has also introduced company-wide private healthcare.
Center Parcs faces backlash for turfing out guests on day of Queen's funeral: Center Parcs is facing a backlash from customers after it revealed plans to close its five UK holiday sites on the day of the Queen's funeral, turfing holidaymakers out for 24 hours. Complaints started to flood in via its social media pages after the company said it would shut sites from 10am on the day to allow staff "to support our Queen on her final journey". It said all holidaymakers who would be affected would receive an email later on Tuesday (13 September) to explain their options. They include a full refund if guests want to cancel, reports Sky News. Those part-way through seven-day holidays will be forced to spend the night elsewhere or go home early. They would be refunded for the loss, the company said, saying details would be in the email they received. Those due to arrive on Monday (19 September) for shorter stays are being given the opportunity to begin their breaks a day later – also at a discounted rate. One post on the Center Parcs’ Facebook page read: “We were five related families getting together for our annual family holiday – with two small children and two dogs, three hours from home! Where the hell are we supposed to go for one night?! It's that or cancel some or all of the much-anticipated holiday! By all means close the restaurants and activities, but let us stay on the park!!” The company's Twitter account contained similar messages. Rival Butlin's has said its holiday resorts would remain open on Monday, but new arrivals would be asked to arrive two hours later than normal, from 3pm.
Plan B launches diversity survey:
Plan B, the mentoring platform designed to accelerate women’s representation on boards, has launched a survey to better understand the sentiment of women working within the hospitality sector. The survey, run in partnership with UKHospitality, will extend to both operators and suppliers and is designed to gather insights into the challenges faced by women working in the sector and raise awareness of the barriers to career development and retention. It aims to identify key data and themes that can be translated into strategies to improve gender diversity at all levels within hospitality businesses and increase the opportunity for the progression of women leaders. The survey can be accessed here
and the results will be revealed at the “Plan B: Accelerating Change Conference”, which is supported by Propel, on Wednesday, 5 October at 30 Euston Square, London. The conference is designed for C-level business leaders, founders and HR professionals seeking to learn how to make positive change in their organisations. The ticket price includes a “plus one” to be shared with an up-and-coming talent from an under-represented group, who may not typically be invited to attend such an event.
Nottingham to scrap late-night levy from end of next month: Nottingham has confirmed it will scrap its late-night levy from the end of October. The levy, which requires businesses that sell alcohol after midnight to make an annual payment to the local authority, was introduced in 2014 to cover the costs of policing the city centre in the early hours. The amount each business is required to pay is determined by the size of its premises, with rates ranging from £299 a year to £4,440. However, with hospitality businesses operating in a tougher economic climate than when the levy was introduced, the council’s licensing committee has been considered its future. A full council meeting on Monday (12 September) endorsed revoking the scheme, which will come to an end on Monday, 31 October. Nottingham councillor, Neghat Khan, said: “A lot has changed since the levy was introduced eight years ago, with the hospitality industry really struggling during the pandemic – only to be hit by the cost-of-living crisis bringing it higher bills and lower incomes from reduced customer numbers. It was the right time for us to consider whether the levy should be revoked, to ease the financial burden on existing businesses and to help encourage businesses looking to expand or invest in Nottingham’s late-night economy.”
London hotel occupancy 10.5% below 2019 levels, steeper decline than previous month: London’s hotel occupancy fell 10.5% in August below 2019 levels – a steeper decline than seen in the previous month. The occupancy rate for August in the capital was 77.1%, which was also a decrease on July 2022, according to data from STR. However, both average daily rate (ADR) and revpar remained well above pre-pandemic comparables, at 19.4% and 6.9%, respectively. ADR for August was £179.49, while revpar was £138.37. When looking at daily data, Saturdays showed the highest occupancy levels, including 87.2% on 13 August. An STR spokesman said: “The global hotel industry continues to navigate challenges stemming from the pandemic as well as more recent headwinds from labour shortages, inflation and geopolitical concerns.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a client that it has placed multiple people with this year, which is looking for a business development manager that will also manage accounts – 50/50 split. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The perfect candidate will understand technology used in hospitality, either hotel/restaurant EPOS or digital platforms. The business can offer excellent growth and development, fantastic commission structure and car allowance, and a supportive and generous work environment. This is a perfect blend of sales and account management. The successful business development manager will work across one of three verticals in hospitality technology, depending on where your strength lies. You will win new business within the hospitality setting (hotels/quick service restaurants/restaurant/contract catering) and manage the larger accounts to ensure customer satisfaction, reduced churn, and account growth.” The salary is up to £55,000 and the position is based in Derby. For more information, email email@example.com
Escape room experience Houdini’s to open fourth standalone site, extends operator partnerships: Escape room experience Houdini’s is set to open its fourth standalone site and has further extended its partnerships with operators, Propel has learned. Houdini’s new site will be in Southampton’s Castle Way, opposite the Westquay shopping centre, and is set to open in mid-November. The business has also begun a partnership with London operator Davy’s, which will see escape rooms open at the Davy’s Wine Vaults in Greenwich in mid-October. Three games will be on offer – Titanic, Alcatraz and its new haunted hotel offer, Room 13. Meanwhile, Houdini’s will shortly strengthen its joint venture with Ten Entertainment Group with an opening in its Walsall venue. It marks the 15th opening between the two companies, with Houdini’s set to have 20 sites across its business by the end of the year. Houdini’s managing director Simon Bradford told Propel: “The escape room industry is buoyant and the week before last was a record week for Houdini’s in terms of sales. We are finding more and more operators are looking to give people a reason to visit their venues and with the public wanting to enjoy an experience when they go out, particularly since the pandemic, it’s opening up so many avenues for us. Operators are looking at space they don’t use and trying to maximise every opportunity.” Bradford said the business will open 35 games at venues this year and is targeting having 200 games across about 75 sites by December 2024. It has partnerships with Best Western, Stonegate Group and is also set to join forces with the 20-strong Portobello Pubs. Bradford said the business also has a “strong appetite” to begin franchising and aims to launch its offer next year. “We’ve got a scalable product that we are taking around the country,” added Bradford, who joined the business at the beginning of the year. “It’s not just about solving puzzles – we make our guests feel like they are really in these places with the scenery, effects etc.”
Blank Street Coffee adds Notting Hill Gate and Marble Arch sites to openings pipeline: US coffee chain Blank Street Coffee, which made its UK debut in July, has further added to its openings pipeline, after securing sites in London’s Marble Arch and Notting Hill Gate. The fast-growing New York chain, which is looking to quickly build a presence in London, has so far opened five sites in the capital. Propel understands the business has now secured the unit at 1 Old Quebec Street, for an opening at the end of this month. It has also secured the ex-Crussh site in Notting Hill Gate for an opening before the end of the year. As previously revealed by Propel, Blank Street Coffee has also secured a site in Waterloo station. The small-format, specialty coffee brand, which also offers a selection of takeaway sweet and savoury pastries, has prices starting at £3 or under for a small coffee – from an Americano to an oat flat white. Blank Street Coffee was started in Williamsburg in 2020 by Vinay Menda and Issam Freiha and has already grown to 40 locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan. Simon Carson, of Harper Dennis Hobbs, represents Blank Street Coffee.
RedCat appoints Kiran Quinn as marketing director: RedCat Pub Company, the investment vehicle from ex-Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, has appointed Kiran Quinn as its new marketing director, Propel has learned. Quinn spent more than ten years at brewer and retailer Greene King, including the last two years as marketing director for the company’s Premium & Urban Pubs division. Previous to that she spent more than eight years at London pub retailer Fuller’s, including four years as a marketing manager. Last month, RedCat added another three sites in the south west to its portfolio. The company acquired the Mooreland Hotel and the Swan Hotel, along with The Jamaica Inn in Cornwall. They took the portfolio of The Coaching Inn Group, which was acquired by RedCat last August, to 32 sites. RedCat has grown strongly since inception in February 2021, having acquired more than 100 pubs and pub hotels, now amounting to a hotel room estate of in excess of 1,200 rooms.
McDonald's strikes 15-year power purchase deal with EDF: McDonald's has reached a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement with EDF Renewables North America in a bid to address its restaurant electricity carbon footprint. McDonald's has committed to the purchase of clean energy from EDF's 255 MWac / 332 MWdc Apollo Solar project as part of its sustainability goals. Located in Texas, Apollo Solar is expected to begin delivery of low carbon electricity in June 2024. Once complete, the project is expected to generate 619,000 MWh of low-carbon energy annually, enough to meet the consumption of more than 1,200 McDonald's restaurants across the US. “We are thrilled to add EDF Renewables and the Apollo Solar project to our US renewable energy portfolio as part of our continued commitment to climate action,” said Elaine Strunk, senior director of global sustainability at McDonald’s. “Apollo Solar plays a significant role in our science-based emissions reduction target for 2030 and brings a considerable amount of new renewable generation to the grid. Together with EDF Renewables, this project furthers our shared goal of making a more sustainable planet for generations to come.”
New bar concept Lulu’s Café and Cocktails secures debut site: Lulu’s Café and Cocktails, a new bar from Angelo Arti, has secured its debut site in London’s Dalston. The business has acquired The Duchess of Dalston in Kingsland Road in Dalston. Arti has an extensive background in hospitality, working in a number of senior roles in hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes across London. Acting on behalf of Rivington Street Hospitality Group, DCL disposed of the neighbourhood bar for a premium. Lulu’s will serve “traditional cocktails and authentic, locally sourced food in an environment that provides a classic and timeless experience for every patron”. The venue will operate an all-day dining service with daily specials, focusing on seasonal produce and principally Mediterranean food with multi-cultural influences. Coffee will be provided direct from local roastery Alchemy Roastery. Laurene Heil, of Raven Rose, acted for Lulu Café and Cocktails.
Zambrero UK lines up Reading opening: Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise, which donates a meal for every burrito or bowl purchased, has lined up an opening in Reading, for its second regional site. The company, which operates more than 200 restaurants globally, recently opened its fifth site in the UK, in Crouch End. The brand, which is led in the UK by chief executive Emily The, is now set to take on the former William Hill site in Reading’s Queen Victoria Street, for an opening before the end of this year. The brand opened its debut UK site in Kentish Town last year, with a second following in Loughton, Essex, last December. A third launched in Twickenham earlier this spring, followed by an opening this summer in Chelmsford. To date, Zambrero’s global network has donated more than 57 million meals via its humanitarian partner Rise Against Hunger.
Marston’s appoints Tamarah Khatib as director of digital: Marston’s has appointed Tamarah Khatib as its new director of digital. Khatib joins the Andrew Andrea-led Marston’s after seven and a half years as head of digital at Mitchells & Butlers. Previous to that she had stints at Abercombie & Kent, Europcar and BMI.
Turnover boost for Scottish hotel following full reopening after fire, loans £27m from parent company: Cameron House Resort has seen an increase in turnover of more than £6m after its full reopening following a fire. The venue, on the banks of Loch Lomond in Balloch, Scotland, fully reopened in September 2021 following a fatal fire in December 2017 that destroyed a portion of the main building. An inquiry into the blaze, which led to the deaths of two guests, is currently ongoing. Following the full reopening of the site, the company reported turnover of £8,384,000 for the year ending 31 December 2021, up from £2,367,000 the previous year. It reported a pre-tax loss of £998,000 versus a £13,846,000 profit in 2020. The 2020 figures included £12,872,000 insurance income and £8,658,000 in reinstatement insurance. In 2021, it also received £534,000 in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments, compared with £1,333,000 in 2020. The company also paid out £2,575,000 in costs associated with fire damage in 2020, plus £121,000 in pre-opening costs, while 2021 saw a further £48,000 spent in pre-opening costs. During 2021, the company’s parent – Monroe Offshore Holdings ¬– made funding loans to it totalling £27m. In its statement accompanying the accounts, the company’s directors said: “The hotel reopening was successful and COP26, which was held in Glasgow during November, contributed to a strong average room rate being achieved. Unfortunately, Omicron slowed the successful reopening, with travelling discouraged over the key festive period. With reinstatement now complete and insurance proceeds received, the excess cost of reinstatement was funded by contributions from the company’s parent.” Since the year-end, the company has opened a £17.5m 68-bedroom extension to the main hotel, which includes extensive banqueting facilities.
Molson Coors to close National Brewery Centre: Molson Coors is to close The National Brewery Centre in Burton, Staffordshire, at the end of October. The brewer said 500 employees currently working from its High Street headquarters in the town will be moved to the brewery centre building, which it owns and will mean the closure of the tourist and wedding venue. Adam Firby, HR and facilities director at Molson Coors, told Staffordshire Live: “Since agreeing to sell our current head office site to support Burton town centre’s redevelopment, we’ve been focused on finding a new head office home in Burton. Our priority was always to try to stay in the town centre if at all possible, which is why we explored the brewery centre as one of the few options available to us. Relocating to the brewery centre allows us to keep our around 500 employees who use our head office in the town centre and importantly brings us closer to our Burton brewery. We also believe investing in this historic site to make it a great head office for our people, keeps its connection to our brewing heritage by making it a part of our future, ensuring it will play a role in our town for generations to come. While we’re very pleased to be able to remain in Burton town centre, we absolutely recognise the closure of the brewery centre is not without challenges. We’re committed to working with Planning Solutions, the National Brewing Heritage Trust and the council to manage the closure of the site as sensitively as possible and find the right new home for our industry’s important heritage.”
JD Gyms secures West Midlands site: JD Gyms, operators of circa 70 gyms around the UK, has secured a site in Oldbury, West Midlands. It has signed a 15-year lease on unit 3, a new 16,200 square-foot leisure premises at Birchley Island Retail Park, and will open a facility in late 2022, which will include a new swimming pool, sauna and a mezzanine level. Oldbury is one of several sites listed as “coming soon” on the JGD Gyms website, along with ones in Coatbridge, Farnborough and Luton. It recently opened in former Xercise4Less sites in Hartlepool, North Shields and Livingston. Birchley Island Retail Park, which opened in May, is a former Toys ‘R’ Us site, which is also home to a drive-thru restaurant operated by Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons.
Temper to open fourth site next month: Temper, the Imbiba-backed, Sam Lee-led modern barbecue concept, will open its fourth site on Saturday, 1 October. Propel revealed in January that Temper, which launched in 2017 and is operated under the Casper & Cole umbrella, had secured the former Jones Family Project site in Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, for its next opening. Temper, which also operates sites in Soho, Angel and Seven Dials, sees chefs prepare food in front of guests. The menu at Shoreditch, served from the basement restaurant, will see the addition of some new specially created “experimental plates” from chef director David Lagonell. These include a smoked brisket with spit-roasted clam, anchovy and beef fat mayonnaise taco; and whole duck carnitas with a mix of duck meat, offal and crispy skin with pickled kumquats and fresh chillies, served on a homemade paratha. Temper’s bottomless barbecue brunch and Sunday roast options will also be available. On the first floor will be a cocktail bar serving bespoke drinks curated by general manager Janis Logins. The restaurant will have covers for 135, plus 60 at the bar.
Hub Box confirms October opening for Dorchester site: Hub Box, the south west-based burger and barbecue concept led by Richard Boon, will open its new restaurant in Dorchester, its first in Dorset and 12th altogether, next month. The 120-seat venue, located in the town’s Brewery Square, will serve Hub Box’s offering of gourmet burgers, hand-cut fries, cocktails and craft beer from early October. It will feature both indoor and outdoor dining spaces and a dedicated bar area, with a design “celebrating south west coastal and surf culture, while also giving a nod to the site’s rich 19th century architecture and heritage as a former brewery”. Boon said: “Brewery Square is a thriving destination in Dorset’s county town, which lends itself perfectly as a location for our restaurant. As a proud south west business, we believe in choosing areas that celebrate local culture and drive awareness of independent businesses. Our Dorchester restaurant signifies a milestone in our journey as we venture into a new county, bringing job opportunities to the area and growing our passionate team culture. It’s an exciting time for Hub Box and we’re looking forward to welcoming the Dorset community through our doors.” Last month, Hub Box, which opened three new restaurants during lockdown, reported record sales of £12.6m last month. At the time, Propel revealed the business, which also has an opening lined up in Gloucester Quays, is understood to be exploring different funding streams that would allow it to “unlock the next level of growth”.