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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 13th Oct 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Simmons Bars plans to expand to more than 50 sites over the next three to five years: Simmons Bars, the London cocktail bar operator, has announced plans to double its estate to more than 50 sites over the next three to five years, after what has “been a record-breaking year” for the business. Next month, the Nick Campbell-led company, which is backed by Lonsdale Capital Partners, will open its 25th site in the capital, on the ex-Parkers site in Kingsway, Holborn. The business, which has seen sales more than double since 2019, said the launch will be its biggest site yet, with a capacity to fit 400 guests, spanning over two floors and featuring a giant disco ball DJ booth. The Holborn site follows the launch of a new Simmons bar located on the ex-The Woodstock pub in Bond Street, which will open on Thursday, 10 November. Campbell, founder and chief executive of Simmons Bars, said: “Holborn is that incredible little part of London that connects Soho, east London, and the City, and we could not be more delighted to bring the party to a new corner of town. This year, we celebrate our fifth bar and 25th within the group, in what has been a monumental year of growth for Simmons. We’re thrilled to share what else we have in store over the next few years!” In July, Campbell told Propel the past couple of years had been transformational for the business. The company has opened eight sites in London since the end of lockdown, the latest two being on the former Pillars of Hercules pub in Soho, and the ex-@Bar site in Clapham High Street. He said: “We are continuing to focus on London as we see plenty more opportunities there, but with one eye on regional expansion in key cities such as Manchester and Birmingham in the not-too-distant future. We not only made it through one of the most challenging environments the hospitality industry will ever see, but we came out the other side so much stronger. We are now looking to go from strength to strength and build on the huge momentum we’ve created.”  

Industry News:

The Chesterford Group founder James Lipscombe to speak at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2022, three free places per company for operators: James Lipscombe, founder of The Chesterford Group, 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”. The Chesterford Group operates circa 40 sites under brands including Churchill’s and Bankers Fish & Chips, and is also a Pret A Manger franchisee, and Lipscombe will discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by both businesses. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing
Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature updated accounts for 35 companies, another 18 businesses added: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, will feature updated accounts for 35 companies. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book tomorrow (Friday, 14 October), at midday. Another 18 companies have been added, taking the total to 638. The Blue Book shows more sector companies are making a profit than a loss for the first time since the pandemic. While total losses of £5.4bn are being reported by 314 companies, a further 324 sector companies are reporting total profits of £1.7bn. 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.
Nicholls – taking small steps towards sustainability can help SMEs keep the lights on: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said taking small steps towards sustainability can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cut costs at a time its most needed as well as ticking green boxes. Nicholls was speaking at the launch of the trade body’s new Sustainability Commitment yesterday (Wednesday, 12 October), aimed at guiding the sector to achieve net zero by 2040. It outlined ten key pledges, including eliminating unnecessary single-use packaging by 2025 and reducing food waste by 50% by 2025. Nicholls said while many SMEs would argue that mere survival takes precedent over green targets during the cost-of-living and energy crises, taking a more sustainable approach can help them cut the cloth accordingly. “The challenges we face in terms of energy, the environment, supply chain, food supply and the potential threat of blackouts does give us a focus on making our energy supply chain more sustainable,” she said. “We know this winter will be brutally tough for many of us, which is why we will continue to push for additional support, to give our businesses headroom to be able to make the investments we need to be more sustainable and do the right things for the future. We have a critical period in the next six to 12 months, which will just be a battle for survival, but a VAT cut would give us the injection to be able to invest, and fairer business rates would also help us deliver. We’re already seeing the impact the energy crisis is having, and in parts of the country, you will see hospitality go dark over the winter. There are opportunities, however, and we have seen businesses take a deeper interest in reducing energy use, reducing waste and decarbonising. We want the sector to be at the forefront of decarbonising, and it’s tough for SMEs, but if we all make small changes it can have a huge impact, and simple steps can help businesses cut costs. Ours is an overwhelmingly SME-led industry, so it’s crucial SMEs are equipped with the tools to deliver environmental targets set out by government, and build businesses whose everyday operations are environmentally friendly.” Also speaking at the launch was Mark Chapman, chief executive of the Zero Carbon Forum, who said: “A lot of the solutions to the climate crisis are also ones that will help operators through the next six months in terms of being more efficient.” 
UKHospitality again warns further help needed for sector business as it welcomes expansion of energy support: UKHospitality has welcomed the introduction of the Energy Prices Bill to help the sector and the expansion of the support but again warned many business will struggle to make it through to the spring without further government help. Downing Street has extended its energy subsidy scheme for companies further to cover contracts signed as far back as December 2021 rather than April this year. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The government’s intervention to support hospitality businesses facing soaring energy costs this winter is extremely welcome and it’s fantastic to see this legislation introduced. The measures in this Bill will provide relief to all manner of hospitality businesses. I’m pleased the government has continued to listen to the sector to ensure its relief package is inclusive for all. Its decision to expand the scheme to include operators on fixed price contracts agreed from 1 December 2021 has avoided unfairly penalising businesses who had acted early to protect themselves from further price hikes. The publication of wholesale energy prices will also provide much-needed clarity for businesses. Unfortunately, the reality of this crisis means, even with this support, energy bills will still be much higher than last year and many hospitality businesses will struggle to make it through to next spring. What the sector really needs now is the introduction of longer-term measures that can allow us to boost economic growth, namely a lower rate of VAT and further business rates relief.” Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill added: “While we appreciate the government listening to our concerns and feedback, it is too little too late for many. Current debt and rising costs are still placing an immense amount of pressure on night-time economy businesses. We need the chancellor to cut VAT across the board and extend business rates relief, to give us the financial headroom to survive.”
Burger King CFO  – ignore social responsibility at your peril: Tim Doubleday, chief financial officer at Burger King UK, has warned businesses should ignore social responsibility at their peril, despite the temptation to focus just on survival in such testing times for the sector. Doubleday was speaking at the launch of UKHospitality’s new Sustainability Commitment, aimed at guiding the sector to achieve net zero by 2040. He said: “In today’s society, for businesses to succeed, you have to be resilient. That’s not just in terms of sustainability, it also means having long-term prospects and future value for your business, and you can’t have that if you don’t take environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies seriously. In the 2008 financial crash, lots of people said corporate responsibility activities would be put on ice due to the recession, which is very similar to the discussions we’re having today. In reality, it’s actually accelerated the need for social responsibility, and I think we’ve moved now into that area of corporate responsibility being an integral part of our businesses. We have learned the value of having the values of a responsible business. At the moment we have geopolitical changes, we’ve just come through the pandemic, we have a new government and elections in the not-too-distant future, and there’s all sorts of talk of putting sustainability and zero carbon strategies on ice. But actually, what we do know is those companies that look to emerging trends tend to do better, and those who don’t do so at their peril.” Burger King, whose BK For Good strategy saw it save 300,000 tonnes of plastic per year by removing plastic toys, is one of around 30 large businesses in the Zero Carbon Forum. But Doubleday insisted changes, however big or small, must be made by all businesses, regardless of their size. “It’s a journey for all of us, and those little steps do matter,” he added. “The average hospitality outlet uses 350,000 kilowatts of energy a year, which is the equivalent to 18 houses.”

Goldstein – we have 10% vacancies, we need to show we’re a country that attracts talent: Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International and non-executive chairman of Prezzo, has said the pizza and pasta chain has “10% vacancies” across its circa 150-strong estate, and that the UK needs to show that “we’re a country that attracts talent”. Talking to Bloomberg, Goldstein said: “We employ nearly 3,500 people (at Prezzo). We have 10% vacancies around the place. We can’t find people. Since the pandemic, people have gone into different industries. I’m not going to use the word Brexit, but people have migrated out of the country. We need to create opportunities, we need to show that we're a country that attracts talent, that rewards talent, that wants people amongst us, because we need to have a growth economy. And we’re not yet hitting the right notes. We need visas, we need the world opened up for people, but we also need training. We need well-funded education. We need to ensure that we’ve not suddenly got a narrative against people going into further education, which is what we're hearing from the current government. We need training, we need investment. We need migration, we need people to be working in our industries. We need to make sure that we have an environment where growth is really fostered and fulfilled.” When discussing the impact of inflation, Goldstein added: “I think most predictions believe that by the coming of next summer, inflation will have tapered off to quite some considerable degree. But I think that we need to not just fight inflation, we need to look across the economic board. We need to have the right environment across the UK to ensure we have growth, the right employment opportunities and the right investment in situations.” Cain International bought Prezzo out of administration for around £5m at the end of 2020. 

North Yorkshire, Devon and Cumbria have most top restaurants in England outside the capital: North Yorkshire, Devon and Cumbria have been revealed as the regions with the most top restaurants in England outside of the capital. London, with 172 restaurants out of 1,400 featured for culinary excellence, comes out on top in the AA The Restaurant Guide 2023, which has now been launched. Behind the capital, the top regions are North Yorkshire (68 restaurants), Devon (59), Cumbria (57), Cornwall (42), Gloucestershire and Norfolk (38), Hampshire (36), Suffolk (32), Kent (31) and Oxfordshire (30). In Scotland, Edinburgh leads the way with 29 featured restaurants, followed by the Highlands (27) and Perth & Kinross (20). Conwy is the Welsh county with the highest number of featured restaurants (11), followed by Gwynedd and Pembrokeshire with nine each. And County Antrim is the foodie capital of Northern Ireland outside of Belfast, with both destinations having six restaurants in the guide, which is now in its 29th edition and features 150 new additions. Among the new entries are No Fifty Cheyne (London), The Jackdaw (Conwy), Grace & Savour (Solihull), The Flitch of Bacon (Essex), The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant (Perth & Kinross) and Haar (Fife). Meanwhile, the AA has also named Socius in Burnham Market, Norfolk, as its Restaurant of the Year for England, with Chez Bruce taking the London award. Gem 42 in Newport took the honours in Wales, while The Cellar in Anstruther, Fife, did so in Scotland.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a retail and hospitality business that is looking for a head of finance. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This role will be crucial in transforming financial processes and systems and developing the team, all in support of delivering its strategy. You will be responsible for the finance function in its entirety. You will focus on set up and implementation of systems and procedures necessary for the efficient running of the finance department including feasibility studies, management accounts, cash flow analysis and inter-departmental projects. You will also operate as the financial gatekeeper and ensure all relevant financial statutory and regulatory requirements are met.” The salary is up to £65,000 and the position is based in Croydon, south London. For more information, email

Company News:

New World Trading Company reports strong FY revenue and profit growth, but sees signs consumer spend is softening: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company (NWTC) has reported turnover increased to £59.9m for the year ending 31 March 2022 compared with £17.1m the previous year, but said it has seen signs consumer spending is starting to soften. It said revenue for the year was up 16% on the pre-covid levels of 2019, while adjusted Ebitda rose to £6.7m, despite disruption from the pandemic continuing with restrictions on trade remaining in place until July. The company said for the year to 31 March 2022, it posted a pre-tax profit of £1.9m compared with a £5.7m loss the previous year. NWTC opened three new sites during the year – The Club House Plymouth, The Furnace Sheffield and The Botanist Exeter. Since the year end it has opened The Botanist venues in Ipswich and Worcester and The Club House in Cardiff for its second outlet in the Welsh capital, taking the business to 35 sites. It expects to continue opening new venues at a rate of between five and eight per year, creating around 500 jobs annually, with sites in Edinburgh, Durham, Sunderland, Barnsley and a second site in Chester already in progress for 2023. Jim Pickworth, chief financial officer, said: "We're now ahead compared with March 2020, before the pandemic affected our business, which is testament to our fantastic resilient teams, people culture, training and development programmes and our unique and innovative proposition. While we are not immune from the challenges now facing the sector, the business is well-positioned with a clear growth strategy and an exciting pipeline of openings. We have also recently tentatively positioned some smaller sites for sale in the tail of the portfolio. By March 2023, our estate will have grown by one-third since the start of the pandemic. Trading over the summer has been good, and we’re ahead compared with where we were this time in 2019. However, there are some signs that consumer spending generally is starting to soften.” Natasha Waterfield, chief operating officer, added: "Our focus remains on delivering great customer experiences and on innovation. In the last two years, we've launched a brunch offer, a weekly events line-up, some brilliant new dishes, cocktails and a new lunch menu, opened seven new sites and launched one new brand." The business operates under eight brands – The Botanist, The Florist, The Club House, The Oast House, The Canal House, The Trading House, The Smugglers Cove and The Furnace.

The Wolseley Hospitality Group reports sales up 8% last month: The Wolseley Hospitality Group (formerly Corbin & King) saw sales increase 8% last month versus the same period in 2019, while year to date sales are up 5%, Propel has learned. Baton Berisha, who joined the Minor International-backed business as its chief executive in August, said: “Our restaurants are trading well in 2022, with high demand across our portfolio. We ended the 2021 financial year with revenue of £33.39m and group Ebitda of £2.34m. Despite trading restrictions for the first part of the year with a sales shortfall of £19.65m versus 2019, the group was more profitable for the remainder of the period. Year to date in 2022, we are up by 5% versus 2019, and in September, we traded 8% up on a like for like basis versus 2019. We are looking forward to a strong final quarter and opening Manzi's in Soho and The Wolseley City next year.” Pre-tax losses for the company narrowed last year, from £4.23m in 2020 to £2.05m. Minor International acquired 100% of Corbin & King in April after the business was placed into administration, having held a 74% share since 2017. The acquisition saw co-founder Jeremy King leave the business, which changed its name to The Wolseley Hospitality Group over the summer. The company currently operates The Wolseley in Piccadilly, The Delaunay in Aldwych, Brasserie Zédel in Soho, Colbert in Chelsea, Fischer's in Marylebone, Soutine in St John’s Wood and Bellanger in Islington.

Coco di Mama lines up its first regional site: Coco di Mama, the Azzurri Group-owned Italian food-to-go brand, has lined up its first regional bricks-and-mortar site, in Reading. Propel understands that the business, which is led by Jim Attwood, will open in the old Ecco shoe store in the city’s Broad Street, before the end of the year. Coco di Mama currently operates 15 bricks-and-mortar sites in London and in circa 140 locations nationwide as delivery kitchens out of Zizzi and ASK sites. Earlier this year, the business opened its first roadside services site, at Roadchef’s flagship Norton Canes service area on the M6, and is set to work with Network Rail on opening its first site in a train station in London’s Liverpool Street station, with an opening set for early next year. Speaking last month, Attwood said: “What we learned is that whereas before the affluent office worker was our lifeblood, we now know the brand resonates with different types of consumers, students in particular. Rather than focus on opening stores in London, we are going to start our regional expansion later in the year, and likewise in travel as well, where there are busy travel hubs to go into.” 

Noble Rot eyes Mayfair site: The team behind Noble Rot Wine Bar & Restaurant is eyeing an opening in London’s Mayfair. Propel understands that Noble Rot has applied for a licence to take over the former Le Boudin Blanc site in Shepherd Market, which closed at the start of this month after 30 years of trading. The original Noble Rot opened near Holborn in 2015, bringing the Noble Rot magazine, led by Mark Andrew and Daniel Keeling, into restaurant form. A second Noble Rot site opened in Soho, inside the former home of the Gay Hussar on Greek Street, in September 2020. Andrew and Keeling have also since opened a wine shop opposite its original restaurant and bar on Lamb’s Conduit Street, called Shrine to the Vine. 

Pip Lacey to launch Islington pub venture: Pip Lacey, former head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Murano and previous winner of television series Great British Menu, is to launch a new pub venture in London’s Islington. Alongside business partner Gordy McIntyre, Lacey, who until it recently closed was leading the kitchen at Jeremy Clarkson's farm restaurant Diddly Squat, will open Hicce Hart on the former Day & Night site in Penton Street. Lacey and McIntyre also operate restaurant Hicce in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. The offer at Hicce Hart will include a selection of small plate-style bar snacks alongside a full dining menu of sharing starters, mains and desserts. There will also be a Sunday roast option. Lacey told the Evening Standard: “I’m so excited for us to open our second place. And, to do it with existing ambitious members of the Hicce family, is the dream come true.” McIntyre added: “Having spent so much of my working life in and around pubs I owe them for a vast majority of the people I hold dear. To have the privilege to become custodians of such a historical site is a real honour.”

The Salad Project launch ‘never seen before NFTs’: The Salad Project, the all-day dining concept which opened in London last year, is launching a series of limited NFTs as an “innovative and imaginative way to reward loyal fans”. The business, which recently launched its second site in the capital, in Old Broad Street, said the new series will feature the release of 35 unique, hand drawn NFTs depicting a bunch of affable vegetables engaging in everyday activities. Fans can get their hands on a selection of characters, including Alfredo the avocado and Cara the carrot. The Salad Project, which was set up in 2021 by friends Florian de Chezelles and James Dare, said each NFT will entitle its owner to a free salad every day from the company’s menu, with 22 offering a year’s worth, ten offering two years’ worth – and a lifetime of salad for three true fans. The company said: “Any customers who visit the store at least twice a week on average will save a significant sum over the course of the life of their NFT, with those eating at the store three times a week looking to save over £7,000 in the next five years.” The NFT launch is part of a wider and more long-term strategy that will see the Salad Project leverage blockchain technology to reward their customers for their loyalty to the brand. The founders said they have also set their eyes on the metaverse as “an exciting avenue for the brand to look at in years to come”.

RoyaleResorts owner strikes deal to acquire eight holiday parks from The Haulfryn Group: RoyaleGroup, the owner of RoyaleResorts, has struck a deal to acquire eight holiday parks in the south west of England and North Wales. The sites are being acquired from The Haulfryn Group, which will concentrate on the premium segment of the market. Completion is expected towards the end of the year. The sites being acquired are Finlake Resort & Spa, Holmans Wood and Dartmoor View – all of which sit on the edge of Dartmoor National Park; Devon Hills near Paignton; Brokerswood near Longleat; Praa Sands, close to Penzance in Cornwall; and Gimblet Rock and Aberafon on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales. RoyaleGroup oversees a number of companies including RoyaleResorts, which operates holiday, luxury lodge and adventure parks across the UK, as well as RoyaleLife, the UK’s largest bungalow provider. RoyaleGroup’s chief operating officer Jason Williams said: “The acquisition of these parks from The Haulfryn Group is a perfect fit as we continue to grow the RoyaleResorts brand, our holiday and leisure part of the business. They will widen RoyaleResort’s offering particularly in the south west, and give our customers an even bigger choice as they seek outstanding holidays in superb locations.” The deal will leave Haulfryn with Welsh sites The Warren Resort & Spa, Tal Y fan and Crugan; Delamere Lake Sailing & Holiday Park in Northwich and Edgeley Holiday Park, near Guildford; as well its residential parks. Adrian Patten, chief executive of Haulfryn, said: “As part of our strategic review, we have decided to move away from short-term holiday rentals and focus our attention on the premium owner market, for both holiday and residential homes. We are very much looking forward to what the future holds and are ready to make significant acquisitions to ensure the future success of the business.”
The Real Greek to make Midlands debut with Solihull opening for 25th site: The Real Greek, the Fulham Shore-owned brand, will open its 25th site on Monday (17 October) at the Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull. The opening marks the brand’s first restaurant in the Midlands and 13th outside of London. It will also be its fourth opening of 2022 following outlets in Manchester, Newcastle, and Gloucester. The new 146-cover restaurant, which has indoor and outdoor seating, is located in Touchwood’s leisure complex, which features more than 80 stores, 20 drinking and dining outlets, and a nine-screen cinema. Nabil Mankarious, managing drector at The Real Greek, said: “Solihull is a great addition to our existing portfolio of restaurants, and Touchwood is the perfect buzzy location, which will attract a new host of visitors to experience The Real Greek. It is an exciting time for our brand as we continue to expand across the UK, with more openings in process in the pipeline.”

Arcade bar concept Four Quarters confirms Newcastle opening plans: London arcade bar concept Four Quarters has finally confirmed plans to open in Newcastle. A launch in the city for the Edition Capital-backed business has been mooted for over a year, and the four-strong group has now confirmed it plans to move into the basement and lower ground floor of the former Gershwin’s restaurant in Dean Street. The company currently operates three sites in London and one in Bristol. It made its regional debut earlier this year in the former The Bristol Ram pub site. The company, which was established in 2014, opened its first bar in Peckham, with others following in Hackney Wick and in the Elephant Park development in south London. The Newcastle site, which is scheduled to open at the end of next month, will feature arcade games such as Pac-Man and “comfy booths with various old school consoles, from the Megadrive, N64, to the beloved PS2”. Four Quarters co-founder Francois Kitching said: “We’re immensely proud to be opening our latest Four Quarters location in my hometown, and on a street that has been important to me for as long as I can remember. While the opening has been a long and involved process, we have worked closely with all of the city’s stakeholders to make sure that everyone is happy, especially our future FQ community.” Fellow-co founder Marc Jones said: “The goal was always not to be just a ‘London brand’. We want Four Quarters to be a key part of the nightlife scene that thrives across the country, including cities other than London.”
French delicatessen concept Petit Paris to make UK debut with Manchester opening: French delicatessen concept Petit Paris is to open its debut UK site, in Manchester. The Parisian deli business, which operates a number of sites in the French capital, has agreed a five-year lease for 10 King Street with landlord DTZ Investors. Petit Paris will be occupying 437 square-foot of space and will offer wine, oysters, cheese and charcuterie boards. The deli will also operate an online store and supply products to chefs and restaurants. The site is due to open at the start of next year. Mattheiu Dath, owner of Petit Paris, said: “Petit Paris is the missing piece in Manchester, a French deli that can provide a number of incredible products from France. We are excited to be part of King Street.” Lyons Thompson Letts and Orme are joint leasing agents at King Street.
Green & Fortune supports staff with extraordinary winter payment: Independent restaurant and hospitality company Green & Fortune is supporting its staff through the cost-of-living crisis with an extraordinary winter payment. Payments of up to £600 per person will be made to the team (pro-rated where appropriate) with an aggregated cost of more than £100,000 paid out between November 2022 and February 2023. The payments, part of Green & Fortune’s supports initiative, are to be made based on salary with hourly employees and those earning less than £30,000 benefiting most. Green & Fortune is a beyond London living wage employer and its supports initiative was initially launched to help its employees during the pandemic. Chief executive John Nugent said: “We’ve built an incredible team of people who are invested in the business’ success and therefore we want to repay this commitment as we face an extraordinary and untrodden outlook. We’ve ensured those most in need will benefit most financially and want to add something tangible in to our duty of care around each and every person in our team.” Greene & Fortune operates cafes and events within four London venues – Kings Place in King’s Cross, Sea Containers on the South Bank, Rose Court on the South Bank and Central Hall Westminster.
Danieli Holdings to take stack container concept to Lincoln with plans to roll it out nationally: North east operator Danieli Holdings is to take its Stack container leisure venue concept to Lincoln with plans to roll it out nationally. The company is giving the former Argos store at St Marks Shopping Centre a new lease of life. City of Lincoln Council has given the green light to the proposal to transform the site into a 2,000-capacity venue, which will include five bars, ten street food outlets, a large coffee shop, roof terrace as well as a central plaza area with a balcony. The development – which will create 160 jobs – will also have a stage for live performances and a large outdoor terrace on the first floor, with plans for the work to start next week with a view to be completed by late spring 2023. Danieli Group runs a Stack site in Sunderland and also previously had a venue in Newcastle that shut earlier this year due to office development work. Neill Winch, chief executive of Danieli Group, said: “We have huge plans to roll out Stack nationally and are delighted to have Lincoln as our first site outside of the north east and to be able to breathe new life into this amazing building.”
Longboys to open flagship site in London’s King’s Cross: Gourmet finger doughnut concept Longboys is opening a flagship site in London’s King’s Cross. The outlet, set to be its biggest yet, will launch at Coal Drops Yard on Friday, 28 October. Longboys was founded in 2019 by pastry chefs Graham Hornigold and Heather Kaniuk, and is now headed up by Hornigold, best known for his time at Hakkasan Group. Longboys, which is opening in the space once occupied by Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, has two dedicated doughnut stores in London – at Seven Dials Market and Boxpark Wembley – along with a pop-up at Coal Drops Yard serving doughnuts as well as gourmet soft serve ice cream, specialty coffee and soda. The concept’s doughnut flavours include raspberry rose lychee, lemon meringue pie, and triple chocolate brownie. The group’s doughnuts are also stocked in London’s Harrods and Selfridges. Hornigold said: “King’s Cross is home to us, so it feels like we’ve come full circle; we’ve been here for the past two years in our pop-up space, to launch our flagship site here is amazing. We are looking forward to giving our Longboys a permanent home in Coal Drops Yard and introducing our new food experiences and soft serve to the masses.”
Yorkshire operators strengthen portfolio with village pub deal: Yorkshire operators Darren and Lisa Forsyth have further strengthened their portfolio by acquiring a village pub. The duo have bought The Cottage Inn in the village of Hunmanby from Paul Cowley in a deal brokered by Christie & Co. The Forsyths manage a portfolio of hospitality businesses across the region, including the Filey Sports Bar & Lounge in Scarborough and several similar pubs in Wakefield. Funding for the purchase was secured through Stephen McConalogue, associate director at Christie & Co’s sister company, Christie Finance.
Gordon Ramsay Group appoints global communications director: Gordon Ramsay Group has appointed Jo Milloy to the newly created role of global communications director. Based in the UK, Milloy has been working as a senior advisor to Ramsay; his restaurant group, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants; and TV production company Studio Ramsay Global for several years, while also aiding a select roster of high-profile clients including the now Princess of Wales’ Middleton family on their personal and business communications messaging. The appointment comes at a time of huge growth for both Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Studio Ramsay Global and follows the appointment of Rebecca Lewis to the also newly created role of brand partnerships director. Milloy’s role will involve overseeing strategic communications for the Michelin-starred chef’s growing business portfolio. Ramsay said: “Jo and I have been working together for a number of years and I’m delighted she has agreed to join us full time and step up to this important and integral new role. With her extensive expertise and hands on experience within my business, she will hit the ground running, appointing a new team and developing a global strategy to support our dynamic and ambitious future plans.” Milloy has previously worked for Neil Reading PR, Sky TV and Henry’s House PR, and was also Victoria Beckham’s personal communication advisor for more than 15 years before resigning in 2020.

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