Story of the Day:
Parent company of Backyard Chicken placed into liquidation: The future of Backyard Chicken, the concept from former Jamie’s Italian chief executive Simon Blagden, has been thrown into doubt after its parent company was placed into liquidation and its debut site closed. Propel understands Mazars LLP has been appointed liquidators for Backyard Chicken Co. The chicken concept, which saw Blagden reunited with Jules Hunt, former executive chef of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, launched its debut site in spring 2019 on the ex-CAU site in Bristol’s Queens Road. The site is now listed as temporarily closed. The new venture was backed by hospitality entrepreneur Jeremy Mogford, who founded the Browns brasserie and bar chain. Propel understands Mogford stepped down as a director of the business in the summer. Backyard Chicken had a heavy focus on technology with customers able to order via tablets on each table, allowing the business to streamline staff numbers. The debut restaurant also featured a takeaway section with ordering kiosks. The debut menu offered two types of chicken – grilled or fried – with a third of the menu being vegan. Blagden, who joined Jamie’s Italian in 2008 as its managing director from PizzaExpress, spearheaded the growth and development of the Jamie’s Italian brand in the UK and internationally, growing it into a business that at one time was valued at circa £200m. The former Mitchells & Butlers executive went on to become chief executive of the high-profile chef’s restaurant group, which included the Barbecoa concept and short-lived flatbread and pizza concept Union Jacks. He stepped down from Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group in October 2017.
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Richard Hodgson to speak at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, three free places per company for operators:
Richard Hodgson, chief executive of Snowfox Group, the YO! owner, will be among the speakers 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”. Hodgson will discuss the continued evolution of the business, its success in the retail sector, growth across North America, and where the next challenges and opportunities are coming from. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Host of cafe operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies:
A host of cafe operators are among the 60 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 (30 September), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database
, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Tamper Coffee,
founded by Jonathan and Natalie Perry, which operates three cafes in Sheffield, and has recently expanded to Manchester by opening a 120-seater New-Zealand-focused restaurant and bakery called Tahi. Also added this month is Savvy Baker,
which is the brainchild of Leeds baker Savannah Roqaa and operates two sites. In addition, Shropshire caterer J Grant Catering,
which is owned by Jason Grant, and runs cafes in Coalbrookdale and Shrewsbury, is included. Premium subscribers will also receive a 4,100-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. The database now features 2,677 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database
on Friday, 7 October, 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 12,500-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book,
which is produced in association with Mapal Group, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database.
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 email@example.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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
Independent and night-time economy businesses ‘being marginalised by government’: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has accused the government of marginalising independent and night-time economy businesses. It said while trade associations battle for support now and in the next Budget, representation is leaning towards the exclusion of certain businesses across the sector, marginalising true independents. It is now urging the government to consider an inclusive support package, easing the frustrations and challenges for independent businesses across the sector. Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: “We fear independent hospitality and night-time economy businesses are being frozen out of future support – as was the case during the pandemic, with VAT cuts only aligned to food, soft drink and accommodation. At that time, wet-led businesses were marginalised by the government, and we fear they will continue to be, while the predominance of representation in government is influenced by wealthy corporations and the trade associations that back them. It’s about time the true night-time economy and hospitality sector made up of independents, predominantly small medium enterprise businesses, are heard and considered by the government. We will only have true parity when the VAT cuts and targeted financial relief are inclusive and beneficial to all businesses across the sector, not exclusive to certain types of business. Under the current cost constraints, a huge proportion of the hospitality and night-time economy businesses will be lost in the coming weeks and months, leaving many to become an opportunity for cheap acquisition by corporations with financial scope to expand their empires. We must fight for fair and inclusive support for all within the government.”
Consumers more likely to choose drink over food when making dining out choices restricted by rising costs: Consumers are more likely to choose drink over food when making dining out choices restricted by the cost-of-living crisis, a new study has found. The research, by drinks insight agency Proof, showed when faced with a shrinking budget, consumers are more likely to consider drinks in the on-trade than food. Furthermore, with a restricted budget during on-trade meals, consumers are more likely to restrict food purchases than alcohol. It found, given a £100 budget for a night out, 21% would go for drinks in a pub/bar and 57% would go for dinner. But when that budget is halved to £50, 19% would go for a drink, whereas those considering a meal declines to 34%. And when the budget is reduced further to £20, 14% would go for drinks and only 7% would go out for dinner. The study also showed when consumers look to restrict spend during meals, 40% will avoid a starter and 39% will avoid a dessert, whereas only 24% will avoid alcohol. Furthermore, with a tighter budget, one in five (21%) of consumers are drinking less often but treating themselves to better quality drinks. It said: “Despite spiralling costs, there is still a place for premium-priced drinks in the on-trade as consumers look to treat themselves when they go out. It is likely consumers will reduce the frequency of visits, and therefore they are treating themselves when they go out as it’s a special occasion.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an event space that is looking for a senior event manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Key responsibilities will include taking responsibility in delivering all varied events to the highest standard. You will be a key contact for the client from contract through to event delivery. The senior event manager will act as line manager for the events management team. You will ensure there is sufficient staffing of management, security and cleaners for the event; create quotes for audio/video, catering, and other venue services as well as writing management plans and risk assessments. You will liaise with recommended suppliers when required and act as venue expert, advising clients of best practice within the venue and provide relevant information on event industry trends.” The position is based in London with a salary of £35,000. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We Are Bar Group placed into administration: We Are Bar Group, the London bar operator, has been placed into administration, Propel has learned. Propel revealed earlier this month that an accelerated sales process has been begun for the seven-strong City of London business, which operates the Jamies wine bars brand. The business was working with Axia Valuation Services on its options under the heading Project Manhattan. We Are Bar Group operates the Jamies in Adam’s Court, St Mary At Hill, Tudor Street and in Ludgate Hill, plus Number 25 in Birchin Lane, The Bolthole in Suffolk Lane and Willy’s Wine Bar in Fenchurch Street. Andrew Andronikou and Michael Kiely, both of Quantuma Advisory, have now been appointed joint administrators of the business. At the start of last year, We Are Bar Group had its company voluntary arrangement proposals approved by the majority of its creditors. In March 2019, Ian Banks left his position as chief executive after chairman Simon Vardigans took full control of the company. Vardigans brought in the Roger Payne-led Enhanced Hospitality to help manage the group’s venues and is understood to have injected a substantial amount of cash into the business. It is thought a pre-pack administration might be one of the options explored.
Boxpark secures site in Liverpool for sixth venue: Boxpark, the hospitality and leisure operator, is to open its sixth site – and first outside the capital for its eponymous brand – in Liverpool. Boxpark has agreed a 15-year lease with Terracotta Asset Management for The Canning Hall site in the south of the city centre, which sits within the Baltic Triangle district, forming part of the Cains Brewery Village estate. Built in the 1980s, the tall portal frame warehouse building will be transformed into a food and entertainment destination, featuring a large internal space with units set over the ground floor, a small internal mezzanine, and an external terrace. Spanning 16,000 square foot and holding 400 internal covers plus 200 external covers, the proposals for Boxpark Liverpool will include around ten kitchen units and three internal bars with additional external bars. Set to open in late 2023, Boxpark Liverpool will join its counterparts in London’s Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley. Earlier this year, Boxpark announced the roll-out of its sibling premium food and beverage concept, BoxHall, with sites opening in Bristol and London’s Liverpool Street next year. Boxpark Liverpool forms part of the group’s national expansion plans following investment from private equity firm LDC last year. Boxpark chief executive Simon Champion said: “Our team has searched extensively for sites in Liverpool since 2016, having considered multiple locations across the city. As a dynamic and fast-growing business, we hope Boxpark will be an exciting addition to Liverpool’s buzzing food and drink scene, offering an all-day food and entertainment destination.”
Lake – clear demand for Chopstix in Wales gives us real impetus to identify additional locations: Jon Lake, managing director of fast-growing quick service restaurant brand Chopstix, has said clear demand for the brand in Wales has given the business real impetus to identify additional locations across the country. The circa 80-strong business opened its fifth site in Wales this week, in Cwmbran. The new restaurant located in North Walk represents the next step in a busy period of expansion in Wales for Chopstix, having already unveiled its St David’s shopping centre site in Cardiff last month, and with plans to significantly increase its footprint in North Wales over the next 12 months. Lake said: “We’re well aware of the popularity of Chopstix in Wales, as the impressively strong sales data and customer feedback across existing sites has guided our growth strategy throughout the region, but nothing beats seeing queues of expectant diners on opening day. The clear demand for the brand in Wales has given us real impetus to identify additional locations across the country. The next step will be to expand into North Wales through a mix of company operated and franchise stores, I hope to be able to share more details on this soon.”
Lina Stores secures Clapham site: Delicatessen brand Lina Stores is set to open a site in Clapham’s The Pavement. Propel has learned the business will take over the former St Clair restaurant site at 22 The Pavement. Lina Stores had previously been linked to the nearby ex-The Dairy site. A Lina Stores spokesperson told Propel: “Since the pandemic we have made more and more regular deliveries of our delicatessen staples and in particular handmade pasta to the Clapham neighbourhood. We are delighted to finally find the perfect home to enable us to serve our loyal customers on a more regular basis. We have some exciting plans for this location, which is due to open in 2023.” As revealed by Propel last year, the White Rabbit Projects-backed company took over the former Sourced Markets site in Wigmore Street, for its latest opening this summer. Lina Stores, which opened its first site outside the UK in Tokyo last summer, currently operates restaurants in London’s Soho and King’s Cross as well as its original delicatessen in Brewer Street. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Clapham deal.
Welcome Break notes trend for lower weekday and higher weekend trading, with less commuter but more leisure demand: Welcome Break, the Applegreen-owned operator of 34 motorway service areas, three trunk road service areas and 29 hotels in the UK, has noted a trend for lower weekday and higher weekend trading in 2022 – with less commuter but more leisure demand. The company said in its accounts for the year ending 31 December 2021 that many of its motorway service area sites recorded “exceptional results and record weekly sales” in the summer period, helped by pent-up demand. It added: “Trade for the remainder of the year remained strong. Traffic was below usual levels due to homeworking and reduced coach traffic but spend per transaction remained strong. This reflects a changing trend in transactions, with marginally lower commuter trade during weekdays and higher leisure trade at weekends. The continuation of the strong trading performance, particularly the ongoing spend benefit, is also noticeable during 2022.” The group reported a pre-tax profit of £36,245,000 in 2021, compared with a loss of £16,857,000 in 2020 and a £30,103,000 profit in 2019. Turnover of £754,086,000 was up on £514,473,000 in 2020, and on £725,279,000 in 2019. The group received £3,771,000 in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments (2020: £13,206,000) and incurred one-off costs of £900,000 associated with trading in a covid secure environment. The strong performance in the period allowed the group to fully repay a temporary working capital facility of £25.4m in September 2021, while a dividend of £30m was paid (2020: zero). Capital expenditure was £15.8m, an increase on previous years as projects put on hold during the pandemic began to be completed, including the refurbishments of forecourt units and the purchase of coffee vending machines.
Former City Pub Group FD joins Cirrus Inns: Tarquin Williams, former finance director at City Pub Group, has joined Cirrus Inns, which owns 19 freehold pubs and five long leaseholds, as interim chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Williams stepped down from City Pub Group earlier this year, after seven years with the Clive Watson-chaired business. He also previously spent more than 16 years at Fuller’s, including eight years as its financial controller. In July, Propel reported Cirrus Inns remained cautious about the recovery of the London market. The company refinanced its £8.5m loan with Metro Bank in April having extended it for six months in October 2021 to help support its recovery from the pandemic.
Just Eat Takeaway expects to generate positive adjusted Ebitda in second half of 2022 and turn profitable earlier than initially anticipated: Just Eat Takeaway has said it expects to generate positive adjusted Ebitda in the second half of 2022, an improvement compared with an adjusted Ebitda of minus €134m in the first half of the year. Previously, the company guided adjusted Ebitda margin in the range of minus 0.5% to minus 0.7% of gross transaction value (GTV). The company also said due to uncertainty related to the impact of macroeconomic conditions and foreign exchange volatility on the business, management was updating the guidance on GTV to grow by low-single digits year-on-year in 2022 instead of mid-single digits. The company stated: “Further improving profitability remains one of Just Eat Takeaway’s highest priorities. As previously communicated, the company is working on improvements to revenue per order, delivery costs per order and overheads and operational expenditure. As a result of the significant progress Just Eat Takeaway has already made, management now expects Just Eat Takeaway to turn profitable earlier than initially anticipated. Management expects the company to maintain positive adjusted Ebitda in FY2023, and the long-term objectives for Just Eat Takeaway remain unchanged.”
Janene Pretorius steps down as CPO for the Ivy Collection: Janene Pretorius has stepped down as chief people officer of the Richard Caring-backed Ivy Collection, after more than five and half years with the business, Propel understands. Pretorius joined the Ivy Collection in 2017 from Prezzo, where she had been HR director for four and a half years. In 2020, she was also appointed chief people officer for the Caring-backed Bill’s Restaurants and Caprice Holdings, relinquishing both roles at the end of last year. Earlier this year, Propel revealed Una O’Reilly, formerly of Westfield and McArthurGlen Group, had been appointed group chief people, culture and sustainability officer across the Ivy Collection, Bill’s Restaurants and Caprice Holdings. Caprice Holdings opened its new Scott’s on the River site, in London’s Richmond, this week.
The Guinea Grill's former head chef to open Oxfordshire pub: Nathan Richardson, most recently the head chef at the award-winning Guinea Grill pub in London’s Mayfair, will open The Lamb Tavern in Oxfordshire on Friday (30 September). The Lamb Tavern at Buckland – which is listed in the Doomsday Book – is nestled in the heart of the village. Richardson has restored the pub back to life after the previous tenants of 15 years chose to leave after the covid pandemic. He will work with his former boss and supper-club partner Phil White to reopen the business. There will be 40 covers in the restaurant as well as a private dining room for events, which will seat up to 16 people. The menu will feature “robust British classics”. Richardson said: “If you know me, you know pubs pulsate through my blood. I am so proud to be opening The Lamb Tavern. We cook everything from scratch including our own bread, butter, desserts and ice cream. This kind of 'elevated gastropub' cooking makes me so happy – it's a fun menu, with serious parts to it! The villagers have been lovely so far, everyone has been so welcoming and they're excited about their beloved pub coming back to life.”
Indoor skydiving experience set to make London debut for fourth UK site: Indoor skydiving experience iFly is set to make its London debut in December, with its fourth UK site in total. It will open at The O2 Centre through Waterfront Limited Partnership, a joint venture between AEG and Crosstree Real Estate Partners, which owns and operates the Entertainment District at The O2. iFly, which already has sites in Milton Keynes, Basingstoke and Manchester, also has more than 90 sites worldwide. Using state-of-the-art wind tunnel technology, it creates wind speeds that stimulate the freefall element of a skydive, with sessions lasting between 45 and 60 minutes. A 360-degree viewing platform will also be available for visitors to observe the attraction. Simon Ward, chief executive of iFly, said: “We’re delighted to be working on our fourth UK location, right in the heart of one of the world’s most iconic leisure and entertainment destinations. As the visionaries in our industry, it’s vital we continue to research and develop new technologies and locations to deliver the dream of flight to more and more people.” Both parties dealt directly.
Chipotle testing AI in back-of-house, to trial autonomous kitchen assistant: Chipotle is piloting three technologies as it looks to “deliver better forecasting, optimal quality and increased convenience for digital guests”. One is a cook-to-needs kitchen management system, the second is location-based technology to enhance mobile app functionality, and the third is “Chippy”, an autonomous kitchen assistant, which will launch in a restaurant in Fountain Valley, California, next month. Chipotle has already tested Chippy’s ability to make and season its tortilla chips with salt and lime at its headquarters’ innovation hub in Irvine, California. The company said eight of its southern Californian restaurants are testing a kitchen management system that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor ingredient levels in real-time and tells the crew how much to prep, cook and when to start cooking, while automatically populating real-time production planning for each restaurant. Chipotle chief technology officer Curt Garner said: "The new kitchen management system has alleviated manual tasks for our crew and given restaurant managers the tools they need to make informed in-the-moment decisions, ultimately enabling them to focus on an exceptional culinary and an outstanding guest experience.” In 73 Ohio restaurants, Chipotle is testing advanced location-based technology to enhance its app functionality to provide a convenient experience for guests. For guests who opt-in, the programme can engage with app users upon arrival and utilises real-time data to enhance their experiences with order readiness messaging, wrong pick-up location detection, reminders to scan the Chipotle Rewards QR code at checkout and more.
Nando’s and Five Guys secure sites at £15m Belfast development: Nando’s and better burger brand Five Guys have secured sites at the £15m Odyssey development in Belfast. They will each take a unit within the revamped riverside complex, formerly known as the Odyssey Pavilion, from February. The team behind the development has also confirmed Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi will also be taking a unit at the scheme, as reported by Propel in March. For Zizzi’s and Five Guys, it will be their second Belfast locations, complementing existing outlets at Victoria Square, while the Odyssey location will be Nando’s ninth restaurant in Northern Ireland. Guy Hollis, from Odyssey leaseholders Matagorda2, said: “We look forward to welcoming Zizzi’s, Nando’s, and Five Guys to the scheme and expect to announce a further half a dozen tenants over the coming months. Work is currently under way to accommodate the fitout of units, with our new tenants expected to open their doors early next year.” Matagorda2 is backed by Alanis Capital and was advised on the lettings by Finch and McMullen Real Estate. Earlier this year, Hollywood Bowl opened its first Northern Ireland venue, a £2.4m, 20-lane centre, in the Odyssey complex.
Soho House to open second Scandinavian site with Stockholm launch in November: Soho House will open its second Scandinavia site with an opening in Stockholm in late November. Situated in Majorsgatan, the venue will be located in an old Methodist church. It will be set across three floors with original architectural features of the reformed church maintained. The members’ club space will lie on the first floor. Overlooking the club space, the mezzanine will provide a location for drinks in the church’s vaulted ceiling. Downstairs, the Library will be a take on a Soho House-inspired Swedish drawing room, with a bar feature in the centre. Towards the back of the downstairs space will be Club Cecconi’s, which will provide members and their guests authentic, northern Italian dishes on a regularly rotating menu. Outside, the private courtyard will provide both Club Cecconi’s dining and lounge seating areas. Founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, Soho House operates about 40 sites, mostly in North America and Europe.
Groucho Club owners relaunch The Audley in Mayfair: Artfarm, the hospitality company run by Iwan and Manuela Wirth which last month acquired the iconic Groucho Club in London, has relaunched The Audley in Mayfair. Propel revealed in 2020 that Artfarm had taken on the lease for the grade II-listed, five-storey building and planned to transform it with the addition of a restaurant and rooms, as well as the restoration of many of its original historic features. It has now reopened, offering a range of draft beer and cider alongside a bar snack menu from executive chef Jamie Shears, ranging from Scotch eggs and sausage rolls to fresh crab on toast, half a pint of prawns and the London Dip sandwich – roast beef with a gravy dip. With art at the heart of the project, the pub displays several pieces of notable contemporary artwork alongside framed caricatures, cartoons and maps dating as far as the 17th century. Ewan Venters, chief executive of Hauser & Wirth and Artfarm, said: “The word Audley is English Anglo Saxon for ‘old friend’, and the pub has been an old friend to people who live and work in Mayfair since it opened in Edwardian times. We wanted it to remain just that. This area is so rich in culture and history, and where better for those stories to continue than at the local pub?” Artfarm was founded by the Wirths in 2014, opening the Roth Bar & Grill that same year and The Fife Arms in Scotland 2018, and acquired the Groucho last month in a deal believed to be valued at circa £40m. Other Artfarm properties include Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles and Durslade Farmhouse and Durslade Farm Shop in Somerset.
Prison-themed immersive experience Alcotraz heading back to London for biggest venue yet: Prison-themed immersive experience Alcotraz, operated by Inventive Productions, is heading back to London for its biggest venue to date. The site will open in November in the Rosewood Building in Hackney Road, east London. The attraction will feature expanded storylines, three expansive cell blocks, 30 individual cells and seven secret rooms. Guests are tasked with smuggling liquor past the warden and getting it into the hands of some of Alcotraz’s longest-serving inmates, who then transform the contraband liquor into cocktails. Triple the size of its previous London home, the site will span 5,000 square foot and house up to 180 inmates at any time. Sam Shearman, creator of Alcotraz and founder of Inventive Productions, said: “After five years of developing the Alcotraz brand and opening venues across the country, it feels incredible to put the focus back on London, the city where it all started, and launch a truly incredible flagship venue. This will be our biggest project yet and offers scope to expand our storylines and offer an ever-increasing unique experience to guests.” Alcotraz first opened in London in 2017 and has since expanded to Manchester, Liverpool and Brighton.
Tenpin bowling brand opens ‘most innovative’ venue yet, with additional experiential concepts: Tenpin bowling brand Tenpin has opened its “most innovative” venue yet, featuring a host of additional experiential concepts. The brand’s 48th site, in Walsall, offers Houdini escape rooms, laser tag and a karaoke room alongside its 20 bowling lanes, arcade games and pool tables. Spread across two floors in the West Midlands town’s Crown Wharf, it also offers guests a “great value” cocktail selection. Graham Blackwell, chief executive at Tenpin, said: “It’s such an exciting time for Tenpin as we continue to launch new sites across the UK. Walsall is our most innovative site to date, and we are looking forward to bringing more high-energy spaces to towns and cities across the UK.” The new opening comes as Tenpin rolls out a wave of refurbishments across its existing portfolio, with six newly updated venues already unveiled this year including Plymouth, Coventry, Croydon, Bexleyheath, Northampton and new acquisition, Harlow. Founded in 2003, the company offers “epic bowling vibes with a twist”, including the UK’s first HyperBowling experience.
The Real Greek opens in Gloucester: The Real Greek, the Fulham Shore-owned brand, has opened in the former Carluccio’s site at Gloucester Quays, in Gloucester. Propel revealed in April the brand has secured the 4,035 square-foot space in Merchants Road, with capacity for 170 diners both indoors and out. It is the third The Real Group restaurant to open in 2022, and only the second in the south west. The eastern Mediterranean-inspired menu will be led by Nikos Karathanos, the youngest Greek chef to be awarded a Michelin star. Nabil Mankarious, managing director at The Real Greek, said: “Gloucester Quays is an exciting and popular urban development that makes the perfect day out for locals or visitors to the area. As the third location to open this year, it’s also exciting to anticipate the next step in the upward growth trajectory of The Real Greek’s portfolio of restaurants.” The new site is the 25th to open under The Real Greek brand, and 12th outside the capital. Earlier this month, Fulham Shore opened a second Hove site for its sourdough pizza brand, Franco Manca. It now operates circa 70 Franco Manca sites.
Historic Yorkshire hotel goes into administration: Monk Fryston Hall Hotel, a grade-II listed country house in the Vale of York in Yorkshire, has gone into administration after closing during the pandemic. Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell, of Begbies Traynor, have been appointed joint administrators of the property, which dates to the 12th century and features function rooms, a restaurant and 29 en-suite bedrooms. The venue, which also includes 29 acres of land with ornate gardens, lakes and mature parkland, is being marketed by Eddisons. The hotel is currently not trading, and around ten staff who were laid off following the pandemic have now been made redundant. Pitts said: “Monk Fryston Hall Hotel is a magnificent historic building set in acres of beautiful parkland and has been successfully trading as a hotel and wedding venue since the 1950s. Unfortunately, like many businesses in the hospitality sector, the disruption of the pandemic proved to be too great a burden for it to bear. We are working with Eddisons to market the business in order to provide the best return for creditors as well as enabling it to continue to trade and provide jobs.” Monk Fryston Hall Hotel was acquired by Sharon Mason and Geoff Davies in 2013 and run independently.
Vine Hotels adds Eastbourne site to portfolio: Vine Hotels, which is co-owned by former BBC boss Greg Dyke, is continuing with its period of growth after securing a contract to take over the management of a hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The business will provide an overarching management team and strategy to the 76-bedroom Best Western York House Hotel, which has been owned by the Sangiuseppe family for more than 16 years. The property takes the number of hotels owned and managed by Vine Hotels to 13, after a string of acquisitions including Bredbury Hall Hotel in Cheshire and The Old Rectory in Handsworth. Vine Hotels chief executive Garin Davies said: “We look forward to supporting the hotel management team in developing a robust sales and marketing strategy, and using our extensive expertise to capitalise on opportunities and move the hotel forwards.”
Stay Company secures lease for Nottingham £2m serviced department scheme: East Midlands serviced apartment operators The Stay Company has secured the lease for a £2m scheme in Nottingham. It has taken on the lease on Whitefriars House, in Friar Lane, following a major refurbishment that has transformed three levels of the four-storey building into 17 open plan studios and one- and two-bedroomed apartments. The latest acquisition takes the total number of The Stay Company serviced apartments to almost 100 across the region. Dan Wilkinson, director of The Stay Company, said: “Whitefriars House is fulfilling its brilliant potential both for our clients, and as a viable added investment to The Stay Company’s growing portfolio. Indeed, a planning application for our next development in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, is already at an advanced stage. This development has been hugely rewarding, and it has been fantastic to watch it take shape. Its central location will be a real bonus for guests.”