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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 7th Oct 2022 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Foodservice inflation tops 15% for first time: Food and drink price inflation in hospitality hit 15% for the first time in the history of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index in August, the latest data has shown. Droughts, the war in Ukraine and spiralling costs of commodities, energy and labour throughout the supply chain all contributed to the record high. The index has now recorded double-digit inflation in every month of 2022 since February, with prices increasing almost 2% from July alone. Every category of the index experienced year-on-year inflation, with two key segments – dairy, and oils and fats – surpassing 4% month-on-month. Only two – fruit and sugar – registered a small fall in prices from July. Very dry weather in the UK and European Union had a severe impact on many crops and pastures, though conditions have been more favourable in recent weeks. There has also been some easing in commodity markets and the price of oil, but with energy pricing very uncertain and the Ukraine war continuing, the market is likely to remain volatile for some time, the index said. Steep falls in the value of sterling will also push up the cost of imports and fuel inflation. Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “In the months ahead it is likely we will reach peak inflation, then see some levelling-off, before a gradual fall during next year. But falling inflation does not mean that prices will go down. For at least the full year of 2023 we expect they will just increase more slowly.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NielsenIQ, added: “While some pressures may be easing, a tough winter lies ahead. The foodservice sector remains a vibrant contributor to the UK economy, but it deserves urgent, targeted and sustained government support to mitigate inflationary challenges and sustain vulnerable businesses.”

Industry News:

SushiDog co-founder Greg Ilsen to speak at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, three free places per company for operators: SushiDog co-founder Greg Ilsen 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”. Ilsen will discuss the creation of the quick service sushi roll concept, and its plans to build on its four-strong estate in London, with another five locations in the pipeline. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing
Next edition of The New Openings Database to be sent to Premium subscribers today, 14,500-word report included: The next edition of The New Openings Database will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers today (Friday, 7 October), at midday. The database provides details about what 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 is also a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features expanding restaurant and cafe 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 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, Nutritics 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 next video, Nutritics’ director of knowledge labs, Elbha Purcell, and Dr Laura Kirwan, sustainability lead, explain how its Foodprint carbon analysis, management and reporting technology can simplify your sustainability journey and help meet your environmental, social and governance goals; and hear from some of the partners that helped design the system. The video will be sent at 9am today (Friday, 7 October).
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a wholesale business that is looking for a managing director. This business trades in multiple categories across various channels both in the UK and abroad and is set to embark on a new phase of expansion. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The managing director will work closely alongside a creative and passionate founder to develop the business, implement new ideas and ensure the business continues its successful incline. A big part of this role will be driving forward a new e-commerce channel of the business, so it is looking for candidates who have experience either directly managing an e-commerce business or managing e-commerce as an omnichannel within their business.” The salary is up to £150,000 and the position is based in north London. For more information, email

Company News:

The Social Gaming Group eyes UK expansion, aims to double global footprint next year and targets up to 100 bars worldwide:Gastro-gaming concept The Social Gaming Group (TSGG) is targeting expansion in the UK as part of plans to eventually grow to up to 100 bars worldwide, and is aiming to double its global footprint next year. The company launched as Oche, which combines tech-enhanced darts with gastro food, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in 2018 before opening its first franchise venue, in Brisbane, the following year. Venues in Amsterdam and Gothenburg followed in 2020 and 2021, and earlier this year, it returned to Oslo to open its first shuffleboard bar, SHUFL, at which point TSGG was formed as an umbrella company. This was followed by the launch of a debut UK site, an Oche in London’s The Strand, in July, while next month will see the opening of a second Australian franchise, with a first Oche and SHUFL under one roof, in Melbourne. It will then finish the year with an Oche launch in Singapore. “We now have a venues business with owned bars and franchised bars, and then we have what we call social gaming solutions, which takes our technology and expands it to other hospitality groups,” chief executive Troy Warfield, a former president at golf entertainment brand Topgolf, told Propel. “The US will be the next place we look at, but we’ve got other UK venues we’re close to sealing permits for. A big part of our model is franchising, which we’d like to replicate around the world, and we’re in discussions with people around the UK who want to be franchise partners. We’d definitely look to expand outside London. There’s a lot of opportunity across the UK. I think from where we are now, we can double our business next year in terms of footprint – some of which will be in the UK. It’s a pretty rapid expansion, and we could easily see 70-100 bars around the world over time, with around 70% or 80% franchised. We think there’s a great appetite in the UK for this kind of proposition.” Warfield added: “We’ve been delighted with The Strand site. London has really suffered coming out of covid and coming into a cost-of-living crisis, and we want to be one of the many injections into the arm of the UK hospitality business. Trading is in line with what we were expecting, and as businesses have been coming back post-summer, we’ve really seen that accelerating.” TSGG is owned by Norwegian tech investor Karbon Invest, with founders Jens Rugseth, Rune Syversen and chief executive Christian Breddam.

John Barnes and Charlie Carroll among backers of new venture from Henry Harris and Dave Strauss: John Barnes – the ex-chairman of Harry Ramsden, Novus Leisure and La Tasca – and Charlie Carroll, founder of steak concept Flat Iron, are among the investors in Lyon Pub Company, the new venture from Henry Harris and Dave Strauss. Propel revealed on Thursday (6 October) that Harris, the former chef patron of the Racine restaurant in Knightsbridge, and Strauss, formerly of Burger & Lobster and the Rockfish Group, were to launch the new venture at the Three Compasses site in Farringdon. Barnes, who is also a shareholder in Rockfish, and Carroll are joined as investors in the new business by Rex Goldsmith – aka The Chelsea Fishmonger, and Company of Cooks founder Mike Lucy. The site in Cowcross Street will feature a pub downstairs, which is set to open later this month, and a restaurant called Bouchon Racine upstairs. The restaurant, which will have its own separate street entrance, is set to open in November. Racine in Knightsbridge closed at the start of 2015 after 12 years of trading. Harris was also chef director of London 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 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.
Shadi Halliwell steps down as PizzaExpress chief customer officer: Shadi Halliwell has stepped down as chief customer officer of PizzaExpress, the Paula MacKenzie-led business, Propel understands. Halliwell joined the then David Campbell-led business at the start of 2021. Prior to joining PizzaExpress, she was chief marketing officer of Three UK, and from 2014 to 2017 was group marketing and creative director of Harvey Nichols. She also played a leading role in the marketing success of O2 for 15 years, most recently as head of brand and marcomms. Halliwell, who was on the PizzaExpress executive committee, played a key role in the launch earlier this year of the group’s new rewards scheme and menu item – pizza wraps – to go along with new logo and branding. It is thought PizzaExpress is currently recruiting for a new chief marketing officer. Meanwhile, PizzaExpress is to open a site at The Brewery Quarter development in Cheltenham. The company has secured the last remaining food and beverage space at the scheme and expects to open the restaurant in late autumn. PizzaExpress will move into the ground floor of unit 13, next to Cupola Tower.
McDonald’s franchisee sees profits soar, eyes further acquisitions: McDonald’s franchisee I&A Restaurants, which operates 18 stores across Bedfordshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire, saw profits soar in the year ending 31 December 2021 and said it plans further acquisitions. The company, which operates 13 drive-thrus, two city centre sites, two out-of-town sites and one service station restaurant, reported pre-tax profits of £8,112,664 compared to £2,623,181 in 2020 and £2,878,263 in 2019. Turnover rose to £80,502,044 from £51,912,660 in 2020 and £55,743,972 in 2019. It received £251,822 from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (2020: £3,044,966), and the directors recommended a dividend of £1,760,000 be paid (2020: £1,280,000). The company said it had a “relatively successful year” despite the effects of the pandemic, with product sales of £16.1m between January and March rising to £61.35m from April to December once restrictions were lifted. The company said: “Despite the challenges during 2021, the company has shown a positive impact to sales growth of 55.07%. The business has remained strong and takeaway and home delivery sales have shown very positive growth. Confidence in the McDonald’s brand has remained high.” Employee levels increased by 400 to 1,800 during the year, and the company said it plans to “acquire more restaurants should the opportunity arise”.
Humble Grape to launch sixth site next month: Humble Grape, the London wine bar and shop concept founded by James Dawson, will next month launch its sixth site, in Crouch End. Opening in Topsfield Parade, the venue will offer food alongside 400 sustainable wines, many on an exclusive basis. Dishes will include crispy cauliflower with lime aioli and chilli ketchup; chilli fried chicken with cauliflower leaf kimchi and lime aioli; and slow cooked halloumi with tomato ragu. The dog-friendly 1,200 square-foot, 65-cover venue will be split into a front bar, dining area and cellar room. The cellar room will seat 12 people in a semi-private space set against the backdrop of a wine cellar, while an outdoor terrace will offer 20 covers. Dawson said: “We are excited about bringing Humble Grape to Crouch End. The local, community feel in the area is something we strive to pull through in all our wine bars and restaurants, and Crouch End holds that same neighbourhood feeling. After the many challenges our industry has faced over the past couple of years, it’s great to take another step forward in our growth plan.” Humble Grape also operates sites in Battersea, Canary Wharf, Fleet Street, Islington and Liverpool Street.
The Hummingbird Bakery to launch fourth London site later this month, plans further openings in 2022: US-style cupcake concept The Hummingbird Bakery will launch its fourth London bakery later this month and is planning further openings in 2022. It will open a 1,700 square-foot bakery in Buckingham Palace Road, in London’s Victoria, on Tuesday, 25 October. It will offer a range of cakes and sweet treats to enjoy in store or have delivered and will feature a personalisation station where guests can customise their desserts and cakes. All menu items are hand baked daily on site and include vegan and gluten-free ranges. It follows the reopening earlier this year of the brand’s fully refurbished Old Brompton Road bakery and launch of its at-home cupcake decorating kits. The next phase of growth will see more bakery openings this year, further refurbishments and more seasonal decoration kits launched. Simone Tasker, operations manager of The Hummingbird Bakery, said: “We are in the process of revamping our existing bakeries and, as a team, we are really thrilled to be growing. This October, we open our first new bakery, with many more to follow, so watch this space.” The Hummingbird Bakery launched in the UK in 2004 and also operates sites in Notting Hill and Spitalfields.
Former Swingers and Venue Group operations director set to launch neighbourhood bar and music venue in Soho next month: Former Swingers and Venue Group operations director Tristan Hoffmann is set to launch a neighbourhood bar and music venue in London’s Soho next month. Hoffmann, who was also formerly operations manager at New York venues Highline Ballroom and BB King Blues Club & Grill, will open The Lower Third at the former The 12 Bar Club site, at 26 Denmark Street, in November. Hoffmann has partnered with Karrie Golderg, co-founder of London development group Greenlight and founder of US venue marketing agency The Kagency, and Shannon Tebay, former head bartender at Manhattan’s Death & Company and The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, for the venture. The venue will consist of multiple distinct spaces and performance areas including The Forge, which will have a small stage for acoustic performances; the Club Room, which will be a larger-capacity music venue serving a smaller selection of cocktails, beer and wine; and the Lower Third bar. Hoffmann said: “We wanted to create a space that honoured the venue’s history and is very much a part of the neighbourhood, but also provided an elevated drinks offering that matches up to the experience of enjoying live music in venues such as this. Shannon’s background makes her the perfect partner – she has the energy and vision to create this while maintaining the spirit of Soho.” Performers will range from sets by internationally recognised bands and artists to the promotion of local up-and-coming talent.
Stem & Glory confirms November opening for Broadgate site, eyes further expansion in UK and beyond: Vegan restaurant Stem & Glory has confirmed its new site in London’s Broadgate will open next month, as it seeks further expansion in the UK and beyond. Propel reported in October last year the plant-based business had secured a second site in the capital, and third overall, following a £600,000 crowdfunding campaign. It will now open on the top floor of London’s Broadgate Circle with a series of soft launch events from Tuesday, 1 November, ahead of a full public opening on Tuesday, 8 November. Set over two floors, it will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, offering a fully vegan menu and vegan bar, including cocktails, mocktails, fine wine and craft beer. Founder Louise Palmer-Masterton said: “We are delighted to finally open at this iconic destination after three years of planning. As well as our most stylish location to date, we have elevated our drinks offering with a beautiful bar at ground level to accompany our contemporary vegan menus. We have assembled a world class team who will be taking our food and legendary service to the next level.” The business, which also operates restaurants in Cambridge and London’s Barts Square, said it will now shift its focus to sites four and five. Propel revealed in April that Stem & Glory was planning a £1.4m fundraise to support this growth on the SeedLegals platform. It has already raised more than £1.8m from more than 1,600 individual investors over several fundraises and said it is now seeking partners and investors for wider expansion both here and abroad. The chain uses only 100% renewable energy, operating at less than 20% lower emissions than the average restaurant, and earlier this year received carbon neutral certification. It is also aiming to have 40% of its workforce made up by migrant workers and has launched a paid degree apprenticeship scheme, which starts in January.
Forest Holidays returns to profit, trading strongly following sale to Sykes, 12th site to open in 2023: Holiday park operator Forest Holidays, which operates 11 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, returned to profit in the year ending 3 March 2022. The company reported a pre-tax profit of £6,142,000, compared with losses of £11,252,000 in 2021 and £2,333,000 in 2020. Turnover was £55,838,000, up from £23,397,000 in 2021 and £37,539,000 in 2020. Post year-end, in April 2022, the company was acquired by holiday property rental business Sykes Holiday Cottages. In a statement accompanying the accounts, it said: “At the time of writing (20 September 2022), all locations are trading strongly. This includes a new location in Delamere Forest that opened in April 2021, which is performing well. Further, the business continues to experience strong demand for future holidays, with an order book that indicates the potential to exceed budgeted revenue projections for the current financial year...and is currently materially ahead of prior years. Despite the locations being closed at the beginning of the reporting period, performance in the year was ahead of budget and we ended the year with a healthy balance sheet. Furthermore, we are excited to report we are now in the process of building our 12th location, which is due to open by the end of February 2023. The overall position of the company remains healthy, with lines of credit fully established.” Upon the acquisition by Sykes, secured bank loans and preferred ordinary shares were repaid and an inter-company loan, due on demand, was put in place. The company had net current liabilities of £73,506,000 at 3 March 2022.
Jeremy Clarkson ordered to shut his Oxfordshire farms cafe and restaurant: Jeremy Clarkson has been ordered to shut his farm's cafe and restaurant after the local authority claimed it breached planning laws. Clarkson has appealed a West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) enforcement notice that has been slapped on Diddly Squat Farm, in Chadlington. He opened the restaurant in July, several months after two applications were rejected, after saying he had found a “delightful little loophole” to circumvent planning laws. WODC ordered the farm to undertake measures including the removal of mobile toilets and dining tables within six weeks of it serving the notice. It also said the farm must stop selling products other than those made there or within 16 miles – a condition of the original planning permission. Representatives of the farm said some of the requirements were “excessive” and the proposed six-week period to undertake ordered work would be too short. The Planning Inspectorate has accepted Clarkson’s appeal as valid and representations are due by Monday, 7 November. A WODC spokesman said: “Council officers have worked with the owner and planning agents of the business over many months to investigate breaches in planning control, advising on how the business can be operated in a lawful way and trying to reach a solution. The business continues to operate outside the planning permissions granted and advice has been ignored.”
Kent pub operator acquires second site: Kent pub operator Georgina Paxton has acquired her second site. Paxton, who runs The Hampton Inn in Herne Bay, is now also operating The Rose Inn, less than two miles away in Mortimer Street, after long-serving licensee Karen Hazell retired last month. Both pubs are owned by Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame. Paxton has been running The Hampton Inn in Western Esplanade for Shepherd Neame for seven years. She said: “The two pubs I have now are hugely different. They have a totally different clientele – I have 27 staff at the Hampton and can do 120 covers on some Sundays while the Rose has four staff and does not do food.” The three-storey Rose Inn, which has just two rooms on the ground floor for the pub, and some seating outside on the pedestrianised street, continues its early opening time of 10am, which it has had for many years.
Tim Hortons to expand Welsh presence with Swansea drive-thru: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons is expanding its presence in Wales with a new drive-thru in Swansea. SK Group, which is leading the rollout of the brand in the UK, is launching the outlet at Enterprise Retail Park, in Llansamlet for its third venue in the country. The investment forms part of Tim Hortons' plan to double its 60-strong estate across the UK by the end of 2023. The restaurant will offer dine-in seating for up to 90 customers and outdoor seating as well as a drive-thru service, and create 50 jobs. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “After opening our first restaurant in Wales [in Cardiff] in 2017, we have experienced a huge demand for Tim Hortons across the country. It’s therefore an exciting time for us to be expanding with this launch in Swansea. As an impressive coastal city, we hope to make our mark on the area when we officially open later this year.”
Papa John’s expands UK estate with Cirencester opening: Papa John’s has further expanded its UK estate with an opening in Cirencester. The site has opened in Bishop’s Walk in the Gloucestershire town. Amit Pancholi, director of business development, Papa John’s UK, said: “As a brand, Papa John’s continues to expand across the UK. We aim to create convenience for our customers, so we are opening on high streets in smaller trade zones. This shortens delivery times.” Papa John’s operates more than 500 sites in the UK.
Greater London Hospitality partners with Ping Pong for new Chinese menu at The Soak: Greater London Hospitality (GLH), which operates 19 hotels under five brands, has partnered with Chinese dim sum restaurant Ping Pong for a new menu offering at The Soak. The bar and restaurant, located in Terminus Place, in London’s Victoria, opened in 2019 as part of a refurbishment at GLH’s The Clermont Victoria. Through a partnership with Ping Pong, from this month, it will be offering authentic dumplings, grilled beef gyoza and Shanghai chilli wontons alongside its own dishes like vegetarian tagliatelle, biriyani and fish and chips. The Soak also has a new cocktail menu, featuring drinks such as “Very Dark” (Sipsmith Sloe Gin, Crème de Mure, fresh blackberries, orange juice and Champagne) and “Bay Bramble” (Chivas Regal, bramble liqueur, lemon juice and agave syrup). GLH is a hotel owner-operator with a portfolio comprising 5,000-plus bedrooms in London across brands including The Clermont, Guoman Hotels, Hard Rock Hotel London and Thistle. It also operates Thistle Express sites in Luton and Swindon.
Chef Thomas Straker confirms late October launch for debut restaurant: Chef Thomas Straker, previously of Elystan Street and Casa Cruz, will launch his debut restaurant later this month. Propel reported in March that Straker would be launching a 40-cover venue in London’s Golbourne Road as a replacement for his proposed Acre restaurant, which was scrapped due to the pandemic. Straker’s will now open on Tuesday, 25 October, with a menu focused on sustainable and seasonal ingredients but high-quality produce. “Straker’s has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to finally open after years of planning,” he said. “For me, it’s all about using the best produce, so while the menu will be uncomplicated and unfussy, the techniques used in the kitchen have been carefully considered to really ensure each ingredient has its moment in the spotlight.” A short but specialist wine menu will come via small, low intervention wineries in France, Italy and Spain, alongside a list of classic cocktails. The menu will feature a number of Italian-influenced “primi” pasta dishes, such as pillowy potato gnocchi and ragù, alongside larger plates like roasted turbot with buttered chanterelles and chives; and wood roasted oysters, seaweed butter and spicy fermented chilli.
North east Greek street food business Acropolis opens fifth site: North east Greek street food business Acropolis is continuing to expand across the region after opening its fifth site. The business has opened in Acorn Road in Jesmond after being forced to find an alternative to its home in Danieli Holdings’ Stack Newcastle, which closed earlier this year. The site, which offers dine-in and takeaway options, builds its regional presence that includes its flagship Grainger Market outlet, Stack Sunderland base, and sites at By the River HWKR Market and Jesmond Beach Box. Acropolis, which was established by brothers Viktor and Filip Tachan and Yusuf Yenil in 2016, is also a regular vendor at pop-up locations such as markets at Newcastle Quayside and Tynemouth. The company said: “We have grown beyond our expectations since we first set up as a pop-up operator and have established a really strong and loyal customer base across the region, which is growing all the time. We are really ambitious and always keen to look at the next opportunity, and we see Jesmond as a great opportunity. We are already looking at what comes next for Acropolis and our team.”
York pop-up restaurant-bar business acquires city site for debut bricks and mortar venue: York hospitality company, Fabler Bars, which runs pop-up venture Thor’s Tipi, has acquired the Dusk Bar in the city. The company, run by husband-and-wife directors, Richard and Amanda Monaghan, has acquired the New Street venue from Andy Knights in a six-figure deal. The Monaghans, who have more than 30 years combined events and hospitality experience, launched Thor’s Tipi in 2015 and use Scandinavian-style tipis to run restaurant-bars during the summer and Christmas in York, Leeds, Lincoln and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London. Amanda Monaghan said: “Dusk Bar popped onto our radar when we were looking to develop our Thor’s business with a bricks and mortar establishment to which we could bring the values of Thor’s and benefit from all-year-round opening. Dusk complements Thor’s and, as well as becoming a valuable part of our business, will be used to train staff and aid our development by adding expertise from mainstream hospitality. We will keep the Dusk name, clientele and style but aim to rebrand, refresh and renovate early in 2023. We’ll also bring our ‘pop-up event’ knowledge to Dusk to keep it fresh, but this is not a takeover as Dusk is a York institution and we will enhance what makes it special.”
Indoor play centre concept to open in Doncaster for third site: Indoor play centre Play Valley is to open its third site, in Doncaster. The 12,000 square-foot venue, next to Morrisons in Watervole Way, will open on Monday (10 October). The site will include a giant junior play frame with ball pools, slides and obstacles; a role-play street for under sevens featuring a stable, post office, fire station and play valley theatre; interactive canon blasters; as well as a four-level play frame dedicated to children aged four and under. The opening of the Doncaster venue follows on from openings in Rotherham and Sheffield by businessman Simon Jesson and his partner Sarah.
Five Guys to open Romford restaurant: Better burger brand Five Guys is to open a new site in Romford, east London, later this year. A new 3,405 square foot restaurant will be based in The Brewery and join a line-up of other upcoming operators including Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay and The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama at the shopping centre. Five Guys opened its first UK store in Covent Garden in 2013 and rapidly spread across the UK, with 155 branches currently open. Paul Hamilton, brand and customer director at Five Guys, told Essex Live: “The Five Guys crew will be excited to welcome The Brewery visitors to enjoy fresh, quality and fully customisable burgers at our new restaurant.”
The Korean Cowgirl to open in Camden for second site: The Korean Cowgirl, which offers Texas barbecue and Korean fried chicken, is to open its second site, in Camden this month. The concept is opening in Chalk Farm Road within the same property as student hotel The Stay Club, building on its existing venue at the Cave Hotel in Faversham, Kent, reports Hot Dinners. The menu includes the USDA Texas-style brisket and Korean barbecue sausage, smoked overnight for 15 hours alongside candied brisket popcorn and soy and garlic chicken wings. There is also an American smash burger alongside one with Korean fried chicken.
Kent bakery set to open 12th branch: A Kent bakery that has 11 branches across the county is set to open its 12th site. A former Shoe Zone in Rainham will reopen as a Boyce’s Bakery – run by Keith and Karen Boyce, their son Tommy, daughter Stacey Canty and her husband, Nic – within the next few months. The business, known for its freshly baked bread and home-made cakes, began with a shop in Leysdown, when Keith and Karen moved to the Isle of Sheppey from London 25 years ago. The family also sold their goods at 16 markets every week but is now focused more on its shops. Tommy, who has worked in the business since he was at school, told Kent Online: “We’re hoping to open the new bakery at the beginning of November. We sold our products at the Rainham market, in the high street, for ten years. We knew for a long time we’d like to set up shop there, and finally the time is right to do that.” Boyce’s opened a branch in Allington just before lockdown in 2020 and opened in Gillingham High Street in March last year, taking over the former Liddelows Larder bakery.

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