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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 11th Oct 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Lane7 launches debut site for family entertainment centre concept, at least four more to open in next 18 months: Boutique bowling company, Lane7, has opened the debut site for its family entertainment centre concept – Level X. The venue, inside a 30,000 square foot space in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow, features a range of futuristic, immersive attractions that have been sourced from around the globe. Level X features Disney-style “load and play” RFID wristband technology that allows customers unlimited access on entry to all the gaming features within Level X as well as the ability to tap and pay for food and drink. The former Hamleys Toys site has been transformed to feature a range of family-friendly gaming and attraction “zones”. These include Alt Verse – a virtual reality zone – and Level up – a collection of the newest and most nostalgic arcade sensations from around the globe, including giant Hungry Hippos. There is also Big Putts – an indoor mini golf course with technology in the ball that keeps score for players, displayed on screens around the course; and Gutterball – tenpin bowling featuring graffiti art and bespoke bowling balls. Founder Tim Wilks said he already has plans to open at least four more Level X venues across the UK in the next 18 months, with a 65,000 square-foot site in the centre of Middlesbrough set to open before the end of 2022. That will feature a different range of family-focused attractions, including a new indoor go-karting concept. Wilks said there will be 11 different attractions featurixng across Level X sites, all running under their own brand identities. He added: “We see this as just the start for a brand that will become synonymous with a new approach to family entertainment centres in the UK. Immersive, tech-led gaming and entertainment on this scale is something that I predict will become commonplace in the necessary reinvention of our city centres up and down the UK.” Wilks has also said plans are already in place to look at franchising the model to put Level X on a wider international platform. His Lane7 business now has 11 sites across the UK with plans to open a further six in the next 18 months.

Industry News:

Burgerism co-founder Mark Murphy to speak at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, three free places per company for operators: Burgerism co-founder Mark Murphy 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”. Murphy will set out how the fast-growing smash burger concept plans to open a further 30 sites across the UK over the next three to four years and become the “Domino’s for burgers”. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing
Next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book reveals more sector companies making a profit than a loss for first time since pandemic: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, shows more sector companies are making a profit than a loss for the first time since the pandemic. The Blue Book shows total losses of £5.4bn being reported by 314 companies. However, a further 324 sector companies are reporting total profits of £1.7bn. The next edition will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (14 October), at midday. It will feature an additional 18 companies, taking the total to 638. They are turning over a collective £32.3bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate, the New Openings Database, 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, Zonal 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, Fleet Street managing director Mark Stretton talks to Zonal’s sales director Tim Chapman and Jonathan Grant, head of technical sales, about how the business can help operators target inefficiencies, reduce costs and increase margin, and grow revenue. The video will be sent at 9am today (Tuesday, 11 October).
Lord – red tape is decimating the UK's cultural history: Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, has voiced concerns red tape is decimating the UK's cultural history. His concerns come following multiple allegations and court orders across the country regarding noise complaints made by residents. In Manchester, the city's Night and Day venue has started a staunch attempt to reverse a noise abatement order following complaints against the venue, while in London, more than 20 venues have been investigated citing noise complaints this year alone. Lord, who also runs Parklife and The Warehouse Project events in Manchester, said: “It's the smaller independent and grassroots venues that are most under threat from noise restrictions and sound curfews especially now more residents are working from home. It only takes one neighbour to complain for others to join suit, and too often we are seeing councils bow to keep developers happy rather than protect the night-time establishments in the area. We need a greater common-sense approach to look beyond the commercialisation of areas steeped in music history and a deeper acknowledgement of the tourism these venues bring to city centres.” Lord, who is pushing for wider implementation and enforcement of the “agent of change” Bill, making developers responsible for dealing with noise issues when they build new homes near music venues, said: “If venues like Night and Day vanish, we will be decimating part of our cultural history. I have heard political suggestions that alcohol licences should be dismissed or removed from areas of residential development, but this makes no sense. If anything, residential planning should not be granted in areas of cultural importance.” 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an outdoor and large-scale events business that is looking for an operations director. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “They will oversee the day-to-day working and develop the operations. They will be responsible for identifying, implementing, and developing effective methods across the business so that it runs to its maximum productivity. Responsibilities will also include full accountability for health and safety, the bars and warehouse teams, reviewing and updating operational procedures and processes, managing supplier relationships and commercial agreements, reviewing current financial systems and implementing cost control strategies.” The salary is up to £70,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Gail’s launches ‘the early bird never works late’ recruitment campaign: The fast-growing Gail’s Bakery has launched a new recruitment campaign based around enjoying working in hospitality while having a work-life balance, Propel has learned. Entitled “The Early Bird Never Works Late”, it highlights the working lifestyle, well-being and customer relationships employees can enjoy while working at the circa 100-strong business. The Gail’s team, led by group head of talent Oli Cavaliero, found 35% of the company’s management applications come from people working late evenings, who want their evenings back to improve their well-being and personal life. The company said: “With bakeries closing by 7pm, employees can enjoy work-friendly hospitality hours without the late shifts, spending time with their family or partaking in their hobbies in the evenings. Gail’s doesn’t have double shifts like hospitality venues, which have late-night operations. Well-being and a work-life balance is important to Gail’s and is also one of the most important factors for job seekers. Employees can build their customer relationships through serving craft coffee and artisan bread during the day to their regular customers. In the last six months more than 200 of Gail’s employees, also known as Breadheads, have been promoted.” Tom Molnar, chief executive of Bread Holdings, parent company of Gail’s, said: "We shouldn’t rest until every community can choose craft. The ethos of a craft baker – to do everything to a high standard, pay attention to details, respect the ingredients and share widely – is an ethos we think is worth living by.”
Scoffs Group sees turnover rise by 50% helped by increased delivery app sales, passes pre-pandemic levels: Scoffs Group – the largest Costa Coffee franchisee in the UK – saw turnover rise by 50% due to increased delivery app sales and a reduced rate of VAT in the year ending 31 December 2021. Turnover increased to £35,884,701 from £23,966,387 in 2020, and from £35,220,726 in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Pre-tax profits were also up, to £6,936,651, from £2,301,441 in 2020, and £1,348,006 in 2019. Ebitda also increased significantly, from £4,357,579 in 2019 and £5,533,717 in 2020 to £9,821,798. During 2021, the business received £2,580,128 in government grants compared with £4,290,791 in 2020. The company said: “Turnover rose 50% as the UK economy moved out of lockdowns and the pandemic, the ongoing reduced VAT rate on sales, and due to pro-active measures taken by management to increase non-store, delivery app sales. Both operating profit and Ebitda increased significantly in the year as a result of the improved sales and the continued government grants received.” During the period, the group’s portfolio rose from 90 to 104 stores, since when it has acquired a further 19, all based in Cornwall. In March 2022, Scoffs secured a franchise partnership with south west operator Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken, and in August 2022, lined up its first opening under the brand.

Jamie Oliver franchisee to open second Dublin site tomorrow: Jamie Oliver’s international restaurant business and franchise partner Gerry Fitzpatrick will open his long-awaited second Dublin venue tomorrow (Wednesday, 12 October). Propel first reported in February 2018 that Fitzpatrick, who launched Jamie’s Italian in Dundrum in 2012, was eyeing a second restaurant in the city. The 100-seater Chequer Lane by Jamie Oliver in Exchequer Street was originally slated for an April 2020 opening, but the pandemic put paid to those plans. However, it is now ready to launch, with a menu celebrating “the best of great Irish produce”, alongside seasonal dishes that will change throughout the year. The drinks list will be led by cocktails focusing on Irish single malt whiskey, while Oliver’s roasts with all the trimmings will be available at weekends. Ed Loftus, who heads up the Jamie Oliver restaurant division, said: “Chequer Lane is going to be a special restaurant and a new approach for the group. It’s an intimate space, celebrating produce-led classic food with a touch of Jamie magic.” Fitzpatrick added: “Chequer Lane will be a fantastic addition to Dublin’s bustling restaurant scene. Diners can expect the very best delicious food and drink in a welcoming environment in the heart of Dublin city.” Chequer Lane by Jamie Oliver will sit alongside the existing brands in the group’s international portfolio including Jamie’s Italian, Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria, Jamie’s Deli, Jamie Oliver’s Diner and Jamie Oliver Kitchen. Jamie Oliver Restaurants currently has 70 restaurants across 21 markets and is on course for 18 new openings in 2022.
Ivy Collection appoints Igor Novakovic as new marketing director: The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed business, has appointed Igor Novakovic as its new marketing director, Propel has learned. Novakovic joins the business, which passed £200m of turnover in the year to 2 January 2022, after five years with Marriott International, where he was director, Select Brands Europe. Previous to that he spent three and a half years at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Earlier this year, Louise Philip stepped down as group marketing director across the Caring’s backed Ivy Collection, Bill’s Restaurants and Caprice Holdings. Philip initially joined the Ivy Collection as director of marketing in 2018, before being promoted in July 2020. 

Sharp expects Innis & Gunn to build back in 2022 following fall in both revenue and profits: Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder of Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn, said he expects the group to “build back” in 2022 following a fall in both revenue and pre-tax profits. The group reported turnover of £21,114,000 for the year ending 31 December 2021, down slightly from £21,345,000 in 2020 (2019: £24,272,000), due mainly to shipping and supply chain issues affecting off-trade sales. Sharp said that was “clearly frustrating, but a result we can accept within the context of 2021”. Pre-tax losses went from from minus £813,000 in 2020 to minus £1,215,000 (2019: minus £459,000). Sharp said the group had been profitable in the second half of 2021 and was on track to deliver growth versus 2020 before Omicron “decimated the on-trade…stalling our progress”. The company said the shortfall was offset by increased trading in its taprooms due to less restrictions than in 2020, which also led to an increase in gross profits (£7,380,000 compared to £6,873,000 in 2020). In the six months it was able to open its taprooms, the group’s lager performed especially well following a successful campaign and “ambitious on-trade roll out”. Since the year end, the group has opened a fifth taproom, and second in Glasgow, on West Nile Street. Sharp said: “Our taproom business had a successful year, increasing turnover versus 2020 and making a modest Ebitda profit. 2022 is the year we will build back. The worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, and as the on-trade returns to normal, so too does our focus on building our lager in bars throughout the UK.” The group said the return of on-trade in quarter three saw volumes reach 94% of quarter three in 2019, and even with the return of restrictions and the shipping delays, total volume in quarter four was slightly up from 2019 quarter four. On-trade sales volumes “rebounded strongly” 61% versus 2020. All four taprooms performed well when allowed to trade, with an 84% increase in draught sales on 2020 “reflecting a return to normality”, and a table ordering app received 25,000 downloads and accounted for 32% of sales. The group received £536,000 in job retention scheme income (2020: £639,000) plus £30,000 from the government’s Brewers’ Support Fund.
Bewiched Coffee opens first franchise site, business plans five openings in 2023: Midlands cafe operator Bewiched Coffee has opened its first franchise site. Propel reported in March that Bewiched had partnered with the Heart Of England Co-operative Society as it looked to grow its now 15-strong estate. The first site under that partnership has now opened at the Balsall Common store in the West Midlands. Managing director Matt Fountain said: “Looks like a bit of a game changer to us. Our wider teams have continued to break all of our records on customer feedback and we are staying focused on trying to scale our business while retaining great service at the heart of our offer.” Fountain told Propel the business was looking at the possibility of at least two more openings next year with Heart Of England Co-operative Society, in Leamington Spa and a drive-thru in Northamptonshire, as part of plans to open five stores in 2023. At the time of the partnership being agreed, Fountain told Propel there were plans to open 15 sites over the next three years. Fountain plans to have 40 Bewiched sites by the end of 2026, including 20 drive-thrus by the end of 2025.
Pret appoints Ed Evans as new CPO, Andrea Wareham to leave after 22 years with business: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-owned business, has appointed Ed Evans as its new chief people officer, Propel has learned. Evans will join Pret at the start of next year, after nine years at Yum! Brands. He replaces Andrea Wareham, who is leaving the business after more than 22 years, starting as a HR manager, before a 14-year stint as its global HR director and more recently chief people officer. Pano Christou, chief executive of Pret, told Propel: “Put simply, Pret wouldn’t be the business it is today without Andrea’s hard work. Since joining Pret, Andrea has done an incredible amount to develop and establish our values and people practices, rising through the HR team to become our chief people officer. We wish her nothing but the best as she steps back to spend some more time with her family. Andrea will be here until the new year, but meanwhile, following an extensive search, we have appointed Ed Evans as our next chief people officer, starting from January 2023. Ed joins us from Yum! Brands where he spent nine years, most recently as HR director for Taco Bell. Before that, he held HR roles in KFC US and KFC UK & Ireland. Ed brings huge experience, integrity, and a great track record with him. He will continue Andrea’s efforts in making Pret a brilliant place to work, both in the UK and as we expand into new markets.”
Patty&Bun makes delivery kitchen move: Patty&Bun, the better burger concept led by Joe Grossmann is set to make its move into delivery kitchens. The company has partnered with Growth Kitchen, the food tech start-up building smart satellite kitchen networks, as it looks to target under-served neighbourhoods across London. The partnership will see Patty&Bun first join Growth Kitchen’s Bermondsey hub as it plans to explore delivery as an integral revenue stream. Patty&Bun has 11 restaurants around London along with two concessions with crazy golf concept Swingers and plans to continue expanding its delivery of locally curated burgers across the city outside of its restaurants. Grossman said: “Growth Kitchen’s partnership represents an exciting opportunity for us to further our footprint of our delivery. The ability to tap into a whole new catchment of Peckham/Bermondsey etc and bring some of that Patty love is brilliant – hopefully more to come with Growth in due course.”
Greene King launches 20th Hive pub: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched its 20th Hive Pub following a £450,000 refurbishment of the Coach & Horses in Maghull, near Liverpool. The pub, which was previously a Greene King managed pub, will be run by franchisee Gaynor Sartorius and manager Matty Bris. The renovation included the addition of beach huts, covered outdoor seating and wooden furniture to the beer garden. The pub will also have Sky Sports and BT Sport subscriptions. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “We are delighted to have hit this important milestone and will continue with even more Hive Pub openings between now and the end of the year.”
PizzaExpress adds Just Eat and UberEats to delivery options, scraps virtual Mac & Wings brand: PizzaExpress has ended its exclusive delivery partnership with Deliveroo by partnering with Just Eat and UberEats. Customers in the UK and Ireland can continue to order from the pizza chain through Deliveroo, but now through the other platforms too. Tom Hatcher, PizzaExpress’ delivery and collection director, said: “We’re excited to be launching PizzaExpress on Just Eat and UberEats, alongside continuing our partnership with Deliveroo, meaning even more customers can order PizzaExpress delivery. Customers can expect the same great PizzaExpress menu as well as exclusive dishes and bespoke value bundles.”  Meanwhile, Propel has learned PizzaExpress has ended its virtual delivery brand Mac & Wings, which it created in partnership with Deliveroo and launched in July 2020. It included six variations of chicken wings – ranging in heat from the mild lemon and herb to the hot jalapeño – and seven variations of mac ‘n’ cheese.
Bulgarian operator set to make London restaurant debut: Bulgarian operator Ivo Dimitrov is set to make his London restaurant debut next month. Dimitrov, who is Bulgarian born with Greek heritage and has lived in London for more than 20 years, will open Mediterranean concept Cavo at the Outernet building in Denmark Street in late November. The 11,300 square-foot open plan restaurant will include a separate private dining room and an adjacent 1,300 square-foot rooftop terrace, which will focus on oysters, seafood, Mediterranean wine and select champagnes. Having launched similar concepts in Greece and Spain, Dimitrov said he has “set his sights on the capital for his next and biggest venture to date.” He added: “We are thrilled to be bringing our Mediterranean dining concept to one of Europe’s most lively capitals, and in the coveted fourth floor setting at the new state-of-the-art Outernet building. We’re confident our rooftop terrace and authentic Mediterranean experience will become one of London’s top dining destinations when we open this autumn.”
Hollywood Bowl Group reports ‘period of strong trading and further growth’: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK's largest ten-pin bowling operator, said it has continued its excellent momentum following a record first half with another period of strong trading and further growth in the six months to 30 September 2022. The business reported total revenue growth of 42.3% compared with FY19 with total group revenue of £184.9m for FY22, of which UK revenues were £178.7m (FY21: £71.9m and FY19: £129.9m). It reported like-for-like revenue growth of 28.3% compared with FY19, and that it expects to report Ebitda growth in excess of 40% compared with FY19 (£38.2m), ahead of market expectations. The company carried out ten refurbishments and rebrands in the year, while three new centres opened and are “trading well” – Hollywood Bowl in Belfast, Birmingham Resorts World and Puttstars in Harrow. It said that 41 centres (65% of UK estate) now have “Pins on Strings” with 15 installed during the year. There are two new centres  – Hollywood Bowl Speke and Puttstars Peterborough – due to open in early FY23 with two new Hollywood Bowl centres due on site in FY23. A further ten centres are targeted for opening before the end of FY25. The group's UK electricity costs are hedged to the end of FY24, and it said its programme of solar panel installations has remained on track during the second half with a total of 22 centres now completed or under construction. Food and drink costs represent less than 10% of overall costs and the business said it has minimised its exposure to supply chain and food inflation through the “simplification of its menus”. Labour costs account for less than 20% of revenue at centre level. Stephen Burns, chief executive, said: “Although our customers are undoubtedly facing a number of challenges, I firmly believe our great value for money offer will remain very attractive to families looking for high quality, affordable leisure experiences to enjoy together. Looking ahead, we see a significant opportunity to grow our business to more than 110 centres across our three experiential leisure brands: Hollywood Bowl and Puttstars in the UK and Splitsville in Canada. Our strong balance sheet and cash generative business model, combined with our resilience to inflationary pressures will allow us to capitalise on this organic and international growth potential and continue to create value for all our stakeholders.”
Benugo to reopen original Clerkenwell store from tomorrow: Benugo, the operator of deli cafes and catering in high-profile venues, will reopen its original store, in London’s Clerkenwell, from tomorrow (Wednesday, 12 October). The store, in St John Street, was first opened in 1998 by brothers Ben and Hugo Warner. Ben Warner said: “We are delighted to be reopening our Clerkenwell cafe, where it all began more than 20 years ago. The high energy and fast pace of London continues to inspire us, and there is nowhere quite like Clerkenwell. We were the first to bring the café deli concept to London with our iconic New Yorker sandwiches, abundant exciting salads, homemade delicious cakes with our own unique Benugo espresso blend, and we look forward to welcoming our customers, old and new, back to this high street location.” Benugo now serves 100% carbon neutral coffee, in collaboration with ClimatePartner, across all its outlets, allowing customers to see the carbon footprint of hot drinks on its menus.
Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza concept makes regional debut: Chef Gordon Ramsay has opened the first regional site under his Street Pizza concept, in Edinburgh. As revealed earlier this summer by Propel, Ramsay, who is expected to open a Street Burger site in the Edinburgh St James scheme, has opened the new restaurant in Henderson Row in the Scottish capital. He recently converted his Street Burger site in London’s Islington to his Street Pizza concept, which now operates six sites in total. The chef opened a Street Burger restaurant on the former Byron site in Upper Street, last summer. Propel revealed last month that Ramsay is to convert his The Narrow pub site, which is situated on the Thames near Limehouse, east London, into his Bread Street Kitchen concept. The Narrow is currently closed but is due to reopen later this autumn as Bread Street Kitchen on the River. 
Midlands burger restaurant concept BrrGrr heads to Walsall for fourth site: Midlands burger restaurant concept BrrGrr is heading to Walsall next month for its fourth site. BrrGrr, which has branches in Birmingham, Nottingham and Wolverhampton will open in Freer Street, Walsall on Saturday, 5 November. Walsall store owner Nim Tandon said: “We pride ourselves on using the highest quality ingredients and create our handmade burgers with great care. We’re really looking forward to hearing what our new guests have to say and getting some feedback.”
Ten Entertainment appoints Sangita Shah as new non-executive director: Ten Entertainment Group has appointed Sangita Shah as a non-executive director with effect from Tuesday, 1 November. The company considers Shah to be an independent director and she will serve on its remuneration, nominations and audit committees. She currently serves as non-executive chair of RA International and non-executive chair of Kinovo, both of which are listed on London’s AIM market. She serves as a non-executive director on the board of Inspired, which is also listed on London's AIM market and where she chairs the Remuneration Committee. She is also the non-executive lead board director of Forward Industries, which is listed on the NASDAQ. The company said: “Sangita brings a wealth of experience in both executive and non-executive senior leadership roles. She is also a board member of the Quoted Companies Alliance, specialising in environmental, social and governance policy and diversity and inclusion, and is passionate about environmental issues. She brings with her great experience of developing strategies for sustainability that will be an excellent support to our evolving progress towards net zero.” Adam Bellamy, chairman, said: “Sangita's strong experience across a broad range of disciplines makes her the ideal addition to our highly capable non-executive team. We are looking forward to her joining the team as Ten Entertainment Group delivers its next stage of growth."
Black Sheep Coffee and Cosmo makes Liverpool debuts: Speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee and buffet brand Cosmo have both made their Liverpool debuts, at Liverpool ONE. Black Sheep has taken a 1,800 square-foot site on Paradise Place, switching from coffee, bagels, toasties, smoothies and shakes during the day to craft beer, wine and espresso martinis in the evening – served up alongside sourdough pizza and free popcorn. Eirik Holth and Gabriel Shohet, co-Founders of Black Sheep Coffee, said: “We are thrilled to finally be opening our first location in Liverpool, and this is a crucial part of our continued expansion across the UK.” Cosmo, meanwhile, has opened a 11,000 square-foot site in Manesty’s Lane which includes a bar and dedicated dessert counter alongside a 300-seat capacity restaurant. Director Kan Koo said: “We have put a lot of love, time and investment into this space, and I really do think that people haven’t seen anything like this in the city before.” Metis, CBRE and Stärka acted for Liverpool ONE. Savills acted for Cosmo and Black Sheep dealt direct.
Cocktail expert Salvatore Calabrese to launch new Mayfair bar: Cocktail expert Salvatore Calabrese will open a new Mayfair bar next month. He will be part of the launch team at Velvet, which will take over the former Bassoon bar space at the Corinthia London hotel in Whitehall Place, opening on Monday, 7 November. Alongside him will be bar manager Christian Maspes, formerly of the American Bar at the Savoy and Quaglinos, reports Hot Dinners. Calabrese, formerly of Duke’s Hotel and the Donovan Bar at Browns Hotel in Mayfair, has also served drinks at the Lanesborough Hotel as well as his own bars at the Fifty St James club and the Playboy club.
French budget hotel chain plans UK expansion with 100 new venues over next 13 years: French budget hotel chain B&B Hotels is planning to expand into the UK and open 100 new venues by 2035. These will include a combination of takeovers, conversions and leasing new hotels with development partners. Max C Luscher, B&B Hotels’ chief executive of central and northern Europe, said: “With over 650 hotels and 59,000 rooms in our B&B global portfolio, we are well positioned to bring our overseas experience and business model of providing a high-quality hotel experience at affordable rates to UK consumers, at a time when money matters more than ever.” Kevin Murray, who has more than 25 years of experience in hotel acquisitions and the wider hotel industry, has been appointed as managing director for development in the UK. He added: “Our expansion plans will see the delivery of at least 100 hotels by 2035, through the same business model that has led us to success in Europe – an asset light and flexible model with low capital expenditure and best-in-class profitability. B&B Hotels’ decentralised structure also allows for necessary agility and adaptation to meet local needs and opportunities, which has helped us succeed in so many countries already.” B&B Hotels was established in Brest, France, as Galaxie SA in 1990 and has since grown to more than 650 hotels across 14 European countries. It took on its current name in 2006 after being acquired first by Duke Street Capital, and then by Eurazeo. It has since passed into the ownership of Carlyle Group, PAI Partners and, finally, Goldman Sachs in 2019. It operates mainly a management-agent rather than ownership model and offers breakfast buffets, free Wi-Fi and remote check-in and check-out.
Shepherd Cox Lincolnshire hotel issued with winding up order: A luxury Lincolnshire hotel acquired out of administration by Shepherd Cox two years ago has been issued with a winding up order. HMRC has taken the action against The Old Barn Hotel in Toll Bar Road, Marston, near Grantham, although the reason for the order is not yet known. Shepherd Cox, which owns and operates around 20 hotels in the UK under brands such as Holiday Inn, Best Western, Travelodge and Accor, bought the 103-bedroom hotel out of administration in 2020, a year after its previous owner, New Barn Hotel, called in RSM Restructuring Advisory. The venue, which also houses a leisure club, restaurant and function facilities, had previously gone into administration in 2011 and put up for sale for £3.5m. It was subsequently bought by Leena Group, for around £2m, in 2013. In August 2020, three hotels formerly owned and operated by Shepherd Cox were placed on the market by its administrators.

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