Story of the Day:
Zonal acquires Airship, deal includes sister platforms Airship CRM and Toggle: Hospitality technology provider Zonal has acquired sector customer relationship management platform Airship in a deal which includes Airship CRM and Toggle. The companies already have a successful long-term partnership, with more than 100 shared customers benefiting from integration that allows hospitality businesses to drive visits and generate pre-visit revenue. The acquisition will further integrate the products both companies offer, giving operators new ways to grow profits and provide consumers with a smoother, more connected customer journey. Dan Brookman is staying on as chief executive of Airship, working out of its Sheffield office with the current team to drive the business forward and achieve further penetration in the industry. Stuart McLean, chief executive at Zonal, said: “Over the last three years, Zonal and Airship have enjoyed a very successful partnership, and we are all very excited to welcome Dan and the team to the Zonal family. This move will further integrate our products and represents a huge opportunity for our customers, who will benefit from the data-driven, business-building and revenue-driving benefits that this integration will bring. Teams across both businesses will be working hard to bring the benefits of this new partnership to customers old and new, and we are all looking forward to building the business together.” Brookman added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the next stage of our growth. This new partnership with Zonal gives us a springboard in the UK and US, and I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together. Between our products and collective integrations, we have some great tech and are committed to put our customers at the centre of that. We want to really push technology to help operators drive revenue growth. The flow of customer data is richer than ever, and the possibilities for personalisation, automation and revenue recognition will revolutionise hospitality marketing.” Zonal was founded as a stock control solution by hotelier Ralph McLean in 1979, while Airship was founded by Brookman and Rob Marcer in 2003 as a digital customer experience specialist.
Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards open for entries:
The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards are open for entries. The awards, in their fifth year, recognise outstanding marketing and innovation in the sector and the closing date to enter is 11.59pm on Tuesday, 1 November. Awards are open to restaurant, bar and foodservice outlets. There are 12 categories – Best Communications; Best New Product Development; Best New Website; Best New/Improved Visual Identity; Best Digital Engagement; Best Use of Technology; Best Community or Charitable Initiative; Innovation of the Year; Campaign of the Year; Marketer of the Year; Innovator of the Year
; and Future Marketing Leader of the Year.
To recognise the important relationship between agencies and their foodservice clients, the awards will recognise both the operator and all agencies involved in the delivery of campaigns and projects. Past winners have recognised more than 50 brands and agencies including Wagamama, Gail’s Bakery, YO!, Grind, Rick Stein, Searcys, Boxpark, Greggs and The Breakfast Club. Finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony on Wednesday, 25 January, in London. The awards will be delivered alongside the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Summit. Awards co-founder James Hacon said: “As the sector faces unprecedented trading challenges, we are seeing leaders having to adapt in new and very different ways, whether that be making fundamental changes to operating models, adopting an omni-channel approach or repositioning brands. Marketing, strategy and innovation roles are becoming increasingly important to the leadership mix. These awards continue recognising the success of brilliant brands, talented teams and individuals.” Propel managing director Paul Charity added: “We launched this event five years ago and have had thousands of people from across Europe attend the various segments. The awards recognise the very best within the spheres of foodservice marketing and innovation.” More details will be announced soon. Categories, entry information and judges can be found by clicking here
One day to go before next edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details on 268 new sites, 14,500-word report included:
The next edition of The New Openings Database
will show the details of 268 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published tomorrow (Friday, 7 October), at midday. It includes which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features expanding restaurant and café operators, niche cuisine, and new experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 14,500-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database
, produced in association with Virgate, the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book
, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Video series launches to help operators harness technology to drive their business forwards, Deliverect to feature: In a new series of Propel videos, leading suppliers explain how operators can harness their technology to drive their businesses forward. In the fourth video, Deliverect provides advice on how best to drive extra revenue to your business, working with virtual brands and keeping menus fresh. The video will be sent at 9am today (Thursday, 6 October).
UKHospitality Scotland – sector businesses facing third consecutive festive wipeout due to lack of Christmas bookings: Scottish sector businesses are being threatened by spiralling costs and a lack of Christmas parties, UKHospitality Scotland has warned. The number of bookings for the festive season is believed to be lower than normal for this time of year, as economic uncertainty forces people to cut back on spending. UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson told STV News some venues had decided to not offer Christmas parties. That leaves businesses facing a third consecutive festive wipeout after covid lockdown rules prevented gatherings in 2020 and 2021. “Many businesses are very concerned about the lack of Christmas and Hogmanay bookings,” Thompson said. “However, some businesses have already reduced or decided not to offer Christmas parties and lunches as the costs are too high and consumers will be unable or unwilling to pay the higher prices. Christmas and new year is a crucial time for hospitality and if businesses experience another poor trading period, or are unable to trade at all, then more will be at risk of permanent closure.”
NTIA calls on government to protect sector ‘under attack’ from escalation in noise complaints: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has called on the government to protect the sector through agent of change and asset protection schemes with noise complaints escalating “exponentially” in the last six months. Coupled with growing operating costs, businesses in the UK are being challenged by police and licensing authorities through resident complaints, “but the reality is they are being scrutinised for doing what we have always done”, the trade body argued. It said residents have become used to quieter nights over the last three years, with limited or no night-time economy engagement due to pandemic restrictions. The transition from pandemic lockdowns to open for business from July 2021 and the rebirth of night-time economy businesses who suffered at the hands of the pandemic, has seen a huge influx of noise abatement notices and pressure from local authorities to reduce noise and nuisance, the NTIA said. It claimed some of these cases are born from malice, but also said some are due to residential developments taking place during the pandemic where licensing and planning do not consider the long term impacts. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The UK's night-time economy businesses are under attack, undeservedly in many cases. These businesses have weathered more than three years of austerity, and now with untenable operating costs, face a fight for survival. The escalation of noise complaints across the UK has become a real issue with businesses not only feeling the pressures of current costs and trade, but now the notion their livelihoods could be challenged at any moment. We need the government to recognise the importance of these businesses and protect them with the same vigour they would the museums, galleries and historic sites that the UK is known so well for.”
Budweiser launches new draught dispenser that can customise drinks and share live data with other bars: Budweiser has launched a new draught dispenser that has the ability to customise drinks and share live data with other bars. The new dispensing tower can deliver multiple options from one base keg liquid, enabling operators to significantly expand their draught offering without the cost and complexity of adding new lines and cellar technology. Consumers can choose ingredients to add to their drink from a range of options displayed on the tower, including natural flavours and botanicals, which are added while pouring. The system, which works across categories including beer, seltzer, sparkling wine and cocktails, also provides live sales and location data. This means if a particular flavour is performing well in a certain city, sales teams can advise bars in other locations to add it to their menu. Richard Corker, global director dispense development AB InBev/GITEC, said: “We believe this system has the potential to transform the role of draught in the global on-premise. During a three-month trial in London last year with Mike’s Hard Seltzer, we found our precision blending technology delivered margins comparable with spirit serves, even offering significant profit uplift for those venues. Guests loved creating their own drink by tailoring the ingredients according to their mood, time of day or just the atmosphere of the bar. We believe precision blending will generate a new category of personalised draught serves.” The trial saw venues report a 282% uplift in revenue when it offered the ability to customise the base seltzer with different flavours, versus when only one draught flavour was on sale.
More than 80% of employees see a decline in training options as their career progresses: More than 80% of employees have said they see a decline in training options as their career progresses, according to new research. The findings by HIT Training also showed less than half of businesses (46.3%) offer apprenticeships at all career levels while most employees (58.5%) believe apprenticeships are only for school leavers. In fact, only one quarter of employees (25.9%) see apprenticeships as a viable training option for anyone at any stage of their career. However, 77% of all people surveyed said if they were offered a job with the prospect of doing an apprenticeship to develop their skills, they would in fact take it. “There are huge misconceptions around apprenticeships in the UK,” said Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training. “Most employees believe they are only for those leaving school, and less than half of businesses offer this flexible training option to workers at all career stages, meaning there are great swathes of employees around the country with untapped potential talent, or who think they have no means to diversify their skills while remaining in with their current employer.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an art gallery in London exploring the new age of digital art. It is looking for a head of web, and someone with management experience within the art gallery space to help it on its new venture. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The main duties will be to oversee the day-to-day operations of the team; run team meetings; ensure all team members are actively involved and aligned on running tasks; work closely with the chief technology officer and developer team to ensure the platform is operating smoothly and identifying processes and innovations that will increase efficiency and add value; develop the marketing and sales funnels for the business; and develop and maintain high-level artist and client relationships to create new business opportunities.” The salary is up to £120,000. For more information, email email@example.com
Former Swingers partner to launch London’s first interactive game show experience next spring: Josh Ford, a former partner in crazy golf concept Swingers, will launch London’s first interactive game show experience next spring. Ford, who was the creative lead behind Swingers when the four-strong brand was just a fledgling pop-up, is behind Gameshow Studios, where guests, in teams of two to six, will become contestants for a 90-minute game show experience. It will include a backstage Green Room cocktail bar and a fully immersive gameshow set, complete with stage, dramatic lighting and big set pieces to give the feel of stepping inside a television set. Each team will sit in their own luxury booth around a state-of-the-art gaming table and will be guided by a charismatic host as they battle it out for a place on the leaderboard. There will also be a food and beverage offering where guests can order throughout the game by pressing a dedicated service button at their table. The venue will be able to host up to 250 guests at a time in 40 seated game booths. Ford said: “We are excited to be bringing a new concept and immersive experience to London. Pushing boundaries as well as buzzers, we are creating a new format of competitive socialising where players can experience all the joy, excitement and anticipation that comes with a TV game show. In reality, very few people get the chance to take part in them, so Gameshow Studios allows players to have that experience without the risk of embarrassment in front of millions of viewers.” Ford started out as creative director for events business Rough Hill in 2000 before setting up boutique music and arts Winterwell Festival in Gloucestershire. He went on to co-found immersive team game Time Run in 2014, and after becoming a partner in Swingers that same year, created and co-founded Sherlock: The Game is Now, a 90-minute immersive escape game experience based on the BBC series.
Activist investor Edward Bramson takes stake in Hostmore: Edward Bramson, the activist investor behind self-styled turnaround specialist Sherborne Investors Management, has taken a stake in Hostmore, the parent company of Fridays, 63rd+1st and Fridays and Go. Bramson took his personal holding in the company to circa 3.6% at the end of last month. At the same time, Stephen Welker, Bramson's fellow co-founder of Sherborne, upped his stake in the business to 3.2% through Beechenbrook Holdings LLC, where he is sole owner. Welker also became a non-executive director of Hostmore last month. In 2015, Bramson seized control of Electra Private Equity, a previous owner of TGI Friday’s, through his Sherborne vehicle after a boardroom battle. He stepped down from the Electra board in March 2018, and two months later the company, which also backed Hotter Shoes, appointed investment bank Greenhill to wind down the business. Bramson was also Electra's interim chief executive between 2016 and 2017, and was chiefly responsible for a sweeping overhaul of the firm’s investment portfolio and governance. He was replaced on the Electra board by Welker, who had been a non-executive director of TGI Fridays since 2017. Bramson’s Sherborne vehicle invests in companies “which we believe have the potential to increase their profits substantially, but which have underperformed for an extended period of time”. It states: “Our firm’s approach provides current shareholders with a new alternative. In the absence of an operational turnaround, shareholders in underperforming companies can choose to continue with the existing situation, sell their shares at a loss, or hope a buyer for the whole company may emerge offering a modest premium to a depressed share price.” Hostmore started trading at 147p at its demerger from Electra last November, but the shares have recently sunk to a low of 16p. They currently stand at just over 17p, a loss in value of just under 90% in 11 months since it became a listed company. Last month, the business reported that its revenue for the ten weeks since 3 July was 14% lower than the FY19 comparable period, and chief executive Robert B. Cook said it was putting a hold on new restaurants “until we can see some sort of recovery in the market”. On Bramson taking a stake in the business and whether it was working with Sherborne, a Hostmore spokesperson told Propel: “Hostmore values support and input from various individual and institutional shareholders, a number of which have prior experience of working with our core brand, Fridays. We recently appointed Stephen Welker as a non-executive director, whose skills and experience, combined with his knowledge of the Fridays brand and team, will be important as we pursue our various growth opportunities.”
Jollibee reports UK turnover exceeds £10m: Jollibee, the Philippines fast food group, has reported UK turnover increased to £11,029,351 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £3,853,159 the year before. Pre-tax losses were up to £4,012,151 from £2,001,138 the previous year. The company said it intended to continue its restaurant opening programme and the business now operates 12 sites in the UK, having opened five so far in 2022, including in Sheffield this week. It added five sites to its portfolio in 2021. Last year, Jollibee, which operates about 1,200 sites worldwide, said it plans to be in “every major city in the UK”. It said it would invest £30m to open 50 sites in Britain by 2025 and expects to invest almost £1m per site. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company has suffered a substantial interruption to its trading operations during the year as a result of mandatory government lockdowns during 2020 and 2021 as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the company has continued to open further restaurants during the year, as the industry returns to normal trading activities.” The business received £325,891 in government grants during the period (2020: £272,092). Jollibee made its UK debut in 2018.
Livingstone brothers acquire stake in Whitbread: The billionaire Livingstone brothers, Ian and Richard, have acquired a stake in Premier Inn owner Whitbread. The brothers have acquired a circa 3.5% stake in Whitbread through their L&R Ventures vehicle, with their holding valued at £165m. Earlier this year, The Times reported that the brothers had teamed up with a Dutch pension fund manager PGGM to invest €1bn in buying hotels from cash-strapped owners. London + Regional, the global investment company of Richard Livingstone, launched the new European hotel venture with PGGM and John Ozinga, the former chief executive of Accor Invest, the property division of the French hotels group. L+R Hotels already owns a portfolio of more than 100 hotels worth more than €5bn, including Cliveden House in Berkshire, Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay and the Fairmont Monte Carlo. There is no indication the Livingstones are intending to buy Whitbread.
Rudy’s lines up third opening in Liverpool: Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza, the Mission Mars-owned concept, is to open a third site in Liverpool, at the city’s Royal Albert Dock. Propel understands that the 13-strong concept will take over the former Leather Satchel Company for an opening later this year. It already operates sites in the city’s Castle Street and Bold Street. The business recently opened its second site in London, as part of competitive socialising concept Fairgame, which opened last month in Canary Wharf. Rudy’s also has an opening lined up in Didsbury (Manchester) for later this year, and has several other sites in legals. Mission Mars will open its new £3m Albert’s Schloss in Liverpool next month. Propel reported in March the group, which also operates Albert’s Schenke in Hanover Street in the city, had been given the go-ahead to convert a former food market in Radiant House, at 18-26 Bold Street, into a third site for its Bavarian beer hall concept. The venue was formerly home to The Liverpool Gas Company and has been empty since 2019. Spread across two floors, it will feature a large stage that will host cabaret and live music performances, alongside two large bars, a fresh tank beer system and a Cook Haus dining area on the ground floor.
Somerset McDonald’s franchisee sees turnover and profit exceed pre-pandemic levels: McDonald’s franchisee Lambtrad, which operates 12 sites across Somerset, has reported turnover increased to £46,889,613 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £31,832,674 the previous year. The company said the growth in sales was predominantly due to stores being closed for several weeks during 2020, along with an uplift in delivery sales and the addition of a new store during 2021. On a like-for-like basis, with 11 stores open for the whole year, sales increased 45.47%. This also exceeded the £31,959,954 figure reported in 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Pre-tax profit was up to £4,371,073 from £1,672,173 the year before (2019: £1,156,528). Gross profit stood at 67.88% compared with 67.53% the previous year and was in line with expectations. The company received £283,451 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (2020: £2,122,405). The business, which employs more than 1,200 people, said it plans to acquire more restaurants should the opportunity arise. Total dividends of £400,500 were paid (2020: £190,000).
Clean Kitchen Club reports strong trading, plans Selfridges opening: Clean Kitchen Club, the fledgling plant-based, fast-food concept, is seeing strong trading through its four-strong estate, aided by “great growth on Deliveroo, as it gears up to open a site in Selfridges London, Propel has learned. A spokesperson for the business, which finished its recent £2.1m fundraise on Seedrs with almost £2.4m, said: “Trading has been very strong from our stores, with a great growth on Deliveroo. However, where we are excelling is our catering arm, working with the likes of Amazon, Sony, Dior and Sky Studios, all of which points to a growing demand for plant-based catering.” The company, founded by Mickey Pearce and Verity Bowditch, said it has “some exciting upcoming events on the horizon”, including a presence at the Winter Wonderland Christmas event in Hyde Park and a new site opening at Selfridges on Oxford Street. It also reiterated that it is planning on opening sites outside of London, in cities like Manchester and Brighton, next year. The business will open its new flagship site at the Battersea Power Station development next week (14 October). Located just off the scheme’s north riverside entrance, the 2,441-square-foot space will accommodate 80 covers. Propel revealed in July that Steve Easterbrook, the ex-chief executive of McDonald’s, PizzaExpress and Wagamama, had invested in the company, which plans to have 40-plus sites operating by the end of 2024.
Henry Harris and David Strauss to launch new venture with Farringdon opening: Henry Harris, the former chef patron of the Knightsbridge-based Racine restaurant, and David Strauss, formerly of Burger & Lobster and the Rockfish Group, are to launch a new venture called Lyon Pub Company. The new business will launch with an opening on the Three Compasses site in Farringdon. It is thought that the site, in Cowcross Street, will feature a restaurant called Bouchon Racine. The original Racine in Knightsbridge closed at the start of 2015 after 12 years of trading. Harris was also chef director of London-based pub business Harcourt Inns for three years before he stepped down in October 2020. Harris partnered with Harcourt Inns, which is backed by investment firm Ducalian Capital, in 2017 to oversee the relaunch of The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale. He then went on to oversee the food offer across the company’s other subsequent openings of The Three Cranes in the City of London; the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell; and The Crown in Chiswick. Last March, Wright Brothers, the oyster specialist and seafood wholesaler, appointed Harris to the new position of chef and beverage director. Strauss stepped down as restaurant director at Rockfish Group, the nine-strong seafood restaurant group led by Mitch Tonks, earlier this year after three years with the business. Prior to that, he was managing director of Burger & Lobster and London steak restaurant group Goodman.
Marco Pierre White Restaurants launches £15 and £20 two and three-course meal deals across UK estate: Marco Pierre White Restaurants has launched two and three-course meal deals, for £15 and £20 respectively, across its UK estate. Available across participating venues within its 40-strong UK portfolio, the scheme is intended to encourage dining out during the cost-of-living crisis. Darren Coslett-Blaize, brand director for Marco Pierre White Restaurants, said: “Like every business in the country, we’re hugely conscious of the rise in energy bills across our restaurant estate. This is also having a major impact on the cost of all the ingredients. From the consumer side, everyone is feeling the squeeze, so we want to provide a menu that will allow our guests to visit without feeling they can’t enjoy themselves because of the cost. We’re not limiting the choices guests can have and want them to still think they can go out to celebrate a special occasion, or just for a bite to eat, knowing there’s plenty to choose from without breaking the bank.” The deals both feature a range of autumnal dishes that mix British classics with Pierre White’s French cooking techniques. These include starters of starters of beetroot and hen’s egg salad or fillets of Spanish anchovies, and mains of confit duck leg with béarnaise sauce and Koffmann fries and an aubergine parmigiana. Among the desserts are autumn fruits poached in sparkling wine and a Union Jack cheese plate.
Knead Group reports profit boost following pub sales to Redcat: Knead Group, led by Michael Thurlby, has reported turnover was down 5.6% to £2,384,353 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £2,524,643 the year before. The fall was a result of the business selling four sites to RedCat Pub Company, the investment vehicle headed by Rooney Anand, in August 2021, and its sites being closed for the first 14 weeks of the year due to the pandemic. The business now operates three sites – The Crown Hotel, Paten & Co and The Tobie Norris, all in Stamford – having sold The Lord Nelson in Oakham, The Prince Rupert in Newark and Smith’s of Bourne and The Jubilee, both in Bourne, to RedCat. The accounts showed between reopening in April and the sales in August, The Jubilee turned over £73,506, The Lord Nelson had turnover of £249,359, The Prince Rupert made revenue of £170,957 and Smith’s of Bourne turned over £475,990. Group pre-tax profit increased to £1,748,542 from £140,009 the previous year. The business received £376,091 from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (2020: £578,556) and £181,999 in hospitality grants (2020: £63,750).
Drunch marks move to ‘more foodie offering’ with Fitzrovia opening for third site, includes first late-night venue: Mediterranean inspired London restaurant concept Drunch has opened its third site with a new venture in Fitzrovia, marking a move away from a daytime eatery towards a “more foodie offering”. Owner Hom Malass has opened the venue on the corner of Great Titchfield Street and Langham Street, which also includes speakeasy club lounge, Kave. Drunch offers a breakfast, brunch, lunch and à la carte menu created by head chef Valerio Vivetti, who has worked at the likes of Somma in Norway and The Lanesborough. Vivetti’s à la carte menu features dishes, such as toro tuna tartare, crispy veal Milanese, and ravioli ricotta and black truffle. The 30-cover restaurant also includes a heated terrace. Kave is located below the restaurant and guests enter through a secret unmarked door. The speakeasy has been restored from what was originally a Victorian baker’s kitchen, and more recently an illegal gambling den. Kave features an extensive cocktail menu, live DJs, a sharing style menu with Mediterranean touches and a late licence. Drunch also operates sites in Mayfair and Regents Park.
Colicci reports turnover exceeds pre-pandemic levels as tourism returns to central London: Colicci, which operates cafes, restaurants and kiosks across 14 London parks and a kiosk at Westfield Stratford, has reported turnover increased 66% to £17,483,997 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £10,548,654 the year before. The company said this was partly a result of the tourist market returning, and the performance had allowed it to repay the circa £1.2m it borrowed through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme in 2020. Turnover also exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with the business having reported sales of £14,795,140 in 2019. Pre-tax profit rose to £2,954,497 from £1,258,441 the previous year (2019: £395,424). During the period, the business made three company-wide salary increases as “labour shortages worsened during the year”. The company stated: “Despite the challenges posed, the business is in a stable condition and the directors are satisfied with the results. Tourism has returned to central London, where the business operates a high concentration of sites. The demand for takeaway products has remained high, and as such, the business is now focusing on a number of sustainable initiatives and products to mitigate its environmental impact.” Founded in 1982 by Ernie and Josephine Colicci, the family business started out as a single ice cream van.
Freehold investment in iconic entertainment venue The Jazz Café sold to private consortium: The freehold investment of the property housing the iconic entertainment venue, The Jazz Café, in London’s Camden, has been sold to a private consortium for an undisclosed sum. The investment opportunity was brought to the market earlier this year, with offers in excess of £6.15m being sought. The property is let on a long lease to the Columbo Group, which also operates XOYO in Shoreditch and The Blues Kitchen sites in Camden, Shoreditch and Brixton. Jack Silvani, director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, who advised the vendor, said: “This sale was an opportunity to acquire a secure, defensive, long-income asset. Investors buying into this segment of the market are typically cash buyers acquiring for the long term and are therefore less concerned by market fluctuations. The Jazz Café is one of the best-known live music venues in London. It has traded successfully in its current format for over 30 years, and was sold with a further 25 years on the lease. In a turbulent investment market, we tend to observe a flight to quality. We firmly believe many areas of the leisure sector offer this.”
Cobra Beer – business is gradually making its way back to pre-pandemic levels: Cobra Beer, which was founded by Lord Karan Bilimoria in 1989, has said the business is gradually making its way back to pre-pandemic levels of performance. It comes as the business reported turnover increased 25% to £44,676,445 for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with £35,700,136 the year before. However, the figure was still down on the £53,404,857 reported in 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Gross profit was up to £12,373,072 from £9,402,945 the year before (2019: £15,645,773), driven by an improved sales mix as a result of the on-trade reopening post-pandemic, where the business usually makes sales at a higher margin. Pre-tax profit rose to £7,024,253 from £4,733,192 the previous year (2019: £9,337,722). During the period, the company paid dividends amounting to £4,573,972 (2020: £6,017,595). Beer manufactured by the company is sold across the UK, India, Europe, Middle East and East Asia, while Molson Coors holds a controlling interest in the company. Molson Coors is Cobra Beer’s only customer and acts as its distributor. Lord Bilimoria, who is the company’s chairman, has also served as its chief executive and was created a life peer in 2006. In 2009, Molson Coors paid about £14m for a 50.1% share, leaving Lord Bilimoria and other shareholders with the remaining stake.
Chopstix to give away 10,000 boxes of noodles today: Fast-growing quick service restaurant brand Chopstix will today (Thursday, 6 October) give away 10,000 boxes of noodles to celebrate National Noodle Day, and help consumers impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. It has partnered with Your Local Pantry, which operates 80 community food hubs around the country, to donate 5,000 food vouchers, which will be shared across its neighbourhood food hubs in the UK. In addition, 5,000 boxes of small noodles are being given away in-store to customers who download a voucher on the Chopstix website. Rob Burns, marketing director for Chopstix, said: “The last few years have been a challenging time for people across the UK, and now the cost-of-living crisis is putting more and more people under continued pressure. We wanted to do something to mark National Noodle Day that would look to make even a little difference and give people something to smile about.” Chopstix, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year, operates around 80 stores in the UK and is undergoing a period of rapid expansion. Earlier this week, it signed a long-term agreement with franchise partner Sparta Foods to add 25 sites over the next few years.
Supper adds new range of restaurant partners covering all dayparts: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has added a new range of restaurant partners from across the capital, covering all dayparts. These include Greek Gyros restaurant The Athenian, elite beef concept Le Petit Beef Bar, Japanese-inspired Izakaya from Flesh & Buns, authentic Italian restaurant Officina 00 and Franklin’s Wine & Bar. Also joining are Japanese cake boutique Sakurado, Moore House Cocktails, Ekte Nordic Kitchen, salad sandwich concept Kaleido Rolls and gourmet street food from Duck Frites. Further choices will be available through ramen restaurant Kanada-Ya, all-day Japanese concept Machiya, Greek plates and craft cocktails from Meraki, authentic Japanese dining from Ginza St James, regional Indian dishes from Pahli Hill and Neapolitan pizza concept Cinquecento. Sushi bar Nobu has also extended its hours, meaning users can order home deliveries for lunch from Monday to Thursday. Founder Peter Georgiou said: “It’s an exciting time at Supper, we continue to establish ourselves as the premier luxury lifestyle and food concierge service.” Supper has also been updating its website and app to provide better information on the restaurants and retailers available, plus more accurate delivery and preparation times and menu details, including clearer allergen information.