Story of the Day:
Hospitality underpins city centre vibrancy, but inflation and strikes hit recovery: Britain’s hospitality sector is powering the economic recovery of major cities from the covid-19 pandemic—but rising costs and strikes are threatening the renaissance. The latest “Top Cities” report from CGA by NielsenIQ and Wi-Fi solutions provider Wireless Social combines CGA’s sales data with device log-in data from Wireless Social to provide a “vibrancy” ranking of Britain’s ten most populous cities over the four weeks to 24 September 2022. Birmingham tops the report’s list of most vibrant cities for the second successive period, ahead of Glasgow, while Manchester climbs two places to third. London is bottom of the rankings for the second period in a row, with both sales and footfall still short of the pre-covid levels of 2019. London was one of only three cities recording sales below the same period in 2019 – an improvement from four and five in the previous two reports. Footfall in the ten cities has also marginally improved over the last few months. However, high levels of inflation mean average sales are significantly down in real terms, and city-centre footfall remains well below pre-pandemic comparatives. CGA client director Chris Jeffrey said: “Restaurants, pubs and bars have been hugely impressive in pulling sales ahead of their pre-covid levels, and they are instrumental in attracting people back to Britain’s big cities. But this recovery is at risk of stagnation from the soaring costs in energy, food, property and other key areas for businesses and consumers alike. Rail strikes are another major threat to city-centre spending at the moment, and ongoing labour shortages and supply chain issues are adding to the headwinds.” Julian Ross, founder and chief executive of Wireless Social, added: “As we approach the winter months, it’s vital the industry receives further support.” Meanwhile, a survey from guest experience management business HGEM indicates that 60% of consumers are looking to spend less on hospitality in January and February. Most likely to cut spending are those in Generation Z (66%) or 46-55 age groups (67%), whereas Millennials and those aged 56-65 are less likely (56% and 51% respectively). The study also found that only 44% of workplaces have confirmed they will be having an office Christmas party, and a third (36%) are yet undecided. The top factor this year for influencing where consumers would hold their festivities is total cost (26%), followed by perceived value (23%) and meal quality (20%).
Sponsored message – try Quorn’s ChiQin range with flexitarian eating on the rise:
Flexitarian eating is on the rise, with diners demanding more mouth-watering meat free and plant-based options on menus. A Quorn report, in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, looked into what’s behind one of the largest foodservice trends in recent years, the plant-based movement, and how it has gone from niche to mainstream. “We surveyed 2,000 UK adults who identify as flexitarians for the Quorn ChiQin report,” said Phil Thornborrow, Quorn foodservice director. “The research found that the burger is still the top choice of meat free meal when flexitarians eat out of home, but there is huge growing desire for more chicken like dishes served as messy builds like wings, strips and tenders. Diners are looking for vegan and veggie meals that have the same attributes as meat dishes. We are consistently investing in technology and know that we’ve got the best meat free chicken on the market. In terms of taste and texture, our ChiQin range is crunchy, tasty, tender and succulent.” Quorn’s latest vegan range consists of three wings – crispy, buffalo and southern fried, the buttermilk style burger and newly added vegan fillet. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free sample. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email email@example.com
Host of franchise operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies:
A host of franchise operators are among the 30 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 28 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database
, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Incito Group Holdings
, a McDonald’s franchise business led by husband-and-wife team Paul and Amanda Tone, which currently operates eight sites. Also added this month is American-inspired fast food restaurant franchise concept Chickaros
, which was founded in 2019 in Aldridge by childhood friends, Shaz and Shudz Miah, and now has five sites in its portfolio. In addition, Harry Singh
, a Fireaway Pizza franchisee who owns two stores in Kent, one in Gloucester, another in Dudley and his latest site, in Worcester’s Angel Street, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 2,100-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database now features 2,677 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database
on Friday, 4 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book
, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database
. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade your subscription
. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
Georgel – vital that the government continue to listen and invest in recovery of our sector: Kevin Georgel, chief executive of St Austell Brewery, has said it is vital the government “continues to listen and invest in the recovery of our sector”. It comes as the Cornwall-based company, which owns and operates 178 pubs, inns and hotels across the West Country, has further added to its Devon-based estate with the acquisition of the Blue Ball Inn in Lynmouth. This follows the acquisitions of the Wellington in Boscastle, Cornwall, and the Beaver Inn in Appledore, Devon, in recent months. Georgel said: “We are pleased to announce that the Blue Ball Inn in Lynmouth has joined our managed pub estate. This latest acquisition continues to drive forward our plan to strengthen and grow our pub estate in Cornwall, and across the wider south west, in the years to come. Like so many industries, hospitality is facing significant headwinds at the moment. Rising inflationary pressures, including the unprecedented cost of energy, are causing real challenges for us. As we continue to navigate these obstacles, it’s vital that the government continues to listen and invest in the recovery of our sector. That being said, we are a business with a clear vision for the future and, while we may face short-term challenges, our long-term strategy has not changed. Our priority remains investing in our people and our properties. We’re committed to creating year-round employment opportunities in rural areas like Lynmouth and protecting great British pubs, which are really important assets to communities across our operating region.” The Blue Ball Inn is a traditional coaching inn dating back to the 13th century, located 900 feet above sea level in the hamlet of Countisbury.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a “new-generation” international hospitality group with multiple new openings across the world. It is looking for a cluster general manager in the south of England. The company operates boutique-style properties with a range of services including restaurants and cocktail bars; wellness centres; events and meeting spaces as well as hubs and co-working space. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The cluster general manager is the main leader within the area, providing leadership to all managers and staff and making sure the locations function optimally while achieving all financial, revenue and experience goals. The company is looking to strengthening its leadership team by adding this position that will support, coach, and develop the managers; manage the cluster’s P&L and reporting ensuring that all revenue, costs, and data is consistent across all channels; and monitor and maximise the profitability of all departments.” The salary is up to £55,000. For more information, email email@example.com
Merlin Entertainments narrows losses, reports positive Ebitda: Merlin Entertainments narrowed its losses and reported positive Ebitda for the year ending 25 December 2021. It reported an underlying pre-tax loss of £92m for the period, compared with £591m in 2020. Revenue rose 100.7% from £629m in 2020 to £1,216m while an underlying Ebitda loss of £102m was turned into underlying Ebitda of £379m. At the end of 2021, the group operated 138 attractions in 24 countries and welcomed 35.2 million guests during the year. This was up 59.5% on 22 million in 2020 but still some way below pre-pandemic levels. The year saw the opening of the group’s largest capital project to date, Legoland New York, and since the year-end it has opened a Legoland in Korea as well as Peppa Pig theme parks in Florida and the Netherlands; a themed hotel at Legoland Dubai; a flying theatre experience in the Netherlands, a next-gen Lego Discovery centre in Belgium; and has taken over operations at Cadbury World in the UK. It has also added new rides and experiences at several resorts. The company said: “These significant strategic developments come together with what we expect will be a continued recovery in trading conditions. Having demonstrated our ability to trade strongly during 2021, we expect to maintain the momentum we generated in our major markets. Some trading headwinds remain…and there will inevitably be some ongoing challenges in different territories. The strength of our brands and our continued investment, together with the commitment and passion of our teams, provide significant confidence in our ongoing recovery and future growth.” Looking ahead, the group will build three Legoland resorts in China over the next five years and also has options for theme park management contract opportunities with other brands. The company added: “We continue to transform our theme parks into destination resorts…the themed accommodation offerings in our hotels and holiday villages continue to be very successful…there are also ongoing opportunities to add visitor attractions located next to theme parks (such as waterparks). Our growth strategy also includes the roll out of our chainable midway attractions in new locations and countries, often creating clusters where we develop multiple attractions in one location. We continue to consider acquisitions of, or investments in, visitor attractions, sites and brands that could strategically enhance our portfolio and enable us to grow into new geographies. We believe there remain further attractive acquisition opportunities that would meet our investment criteria in the future.”
Mark Crowther appointed as chairman of Pub People: Investment manager Downing LLP has appointed Mark Crowther as the non-executive chairman of Midlands pub company Pub People, Propel has learned. Crowther previously successfully exited Liberation Group, where he was chief executive for 11 years having formed the group through its original buyout, and has also held senior positions at Carlsberg, Diageo and Allied Domecq. He is currently the chairman of Portobello Brewing and Curious Brewery, and also a non-executive director with Darwin & Wallace. Last month, Downing acquired Pub People from its management team – Andrew Crawford and Kevin Sammons – and merged it with its existing investment in Autumn Pubs, which has been managed under contract by the business since 2012. Downing also committed further funding to help the 49-strong group expand through acquisitions. Crawford, managing director of Pub People, said: “I am delighted to be working with Mark, who brings an enormous wealth of experience and expertise and will add immense value to our business.” Crowther said: “Pub People is a good quality predominantly freehold business led by a great team who have developed the business over many years. With the support of Downing, it has an experienced and supportive sector-specialist investor in the pubs market. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Andy and his team along with the other stakeholders as we embark on an exciting acquisition plan within our target geography”. Nick Carter, associate director at Downing, said: “We see terrific potential in the Pub People business. We are very excited about its future, despite the current economic challenges. Pubs will remain a cornerstone of British culture and we are delighted to have Mark join the business to support Andy and the board for this next chapter.”
London McDonald’s franchisee returns to profit, turnover passes £90m mark: McDonald’s franchisee Capital Arches returned to profit in the year ending 31 December 2021, with turnover passing the £90m mark. The business, which is run by Claude Abi-Gerges and operates 30 McDonald’s restaurants across London, turned a £1,965,389 loss in 2020 into a £8,283,125 pre-tax profit (2019: £1,146 profit). Turnover was up to £91,719,672 from £62,671,658 in 2020, but down on £102,224,550 in 2019. It received £4,158,279 in government grants, compared to £13,054,849 in 2020. As in 2020, no dividends were paid. Since the year end, the group has closed stores in Kings Cross and St Martins Lane and opened a new one at Wandsworth Southside. In July, it completed the purchase of a further north London site and has also completed refurbishments at a second Kings Cross site. The group also received £3,846,085 from McDonald’s in the form of two credit notes against amounts owed on store refurbishment projects. The company said: “The delivery service continues to see demand rising rapidly and high street restaurants have also seen a recovery in trade. Overall high street footfall was, however, reduced when compared to pre-pandemic levels as office working has reduced. The company is continuing to plan to substantially invest in its restaurants as part of the Experience of The Future and Convenience of the Future programmes to upgrade the looks and feel of its restaurants, with new and enhanced equipment. This forms part of its strategy to grow market share and profitability. While there has been a pausing in this investment during 2020 and 2021, this programme has been restarted in 2022.”
Doner Shack reports record breaking sales for Glasgow opening: Döner Shack, the fast casual kebab concept, has reported record breaking numbers in its latest Glasgow restaurant, with sales of £40,000 and a footfall of over 2,500 in just one week of trading. The company said it served more than 500 free kebabs in a four-hour period on the opening day of the 65-cover site, located in the Silverburn shopping centre. Co-founder and managing director Sanjeev Sanghera said: “Döner Shack has become the benchmark for the fast-casual sector and a world class franchise opportunity. Our strategy was always to develop and invest in our operating model so that regardless of volume, we would retain our consistency and speed of service. We served our customers at a lightning-quick speed and the average order times were sub seven minutes — even during peak times. We’re now planning for an even bigger opening with our next opening in Baker Street, London within the next couple of months.” Döner Shack now has four restaurants in the UK, with the other three in Leeds, Leicester and Manchester. Further sites are due to open in the capital in the late autumn. In August, the business appointed former Chaiiwala UK international franchise director Nil Naik as its new global franchise director, as it looks to grow to 150 UK sites over the next five years, as well as expanding abroad.
Wendy’s UK set to link up with Papas Hospitality Group: Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, is understood to have signed up Papas Hospitality Group, the company behind the Papas Fish & Chips chain, as one its first franchisees in the UK. Papas Fish & Chips was founded in 1966 in Margate, Kent, and operates ten sites under its eponymous brand across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Blackpool. The company has applied to open a Wendy’s site in a vacant former phone shop in Sheffield High Street. In August, Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, said the brand’s potential in the UK remains “vast” and that the business had six traditional franchisees approved in the region “who we expect will begin opening restaurants in early 2023”. On trading, Gunther Plosch, chief financial officer at Wendy’s, said: “The UK consumer is clearly under a decent amount of pressure, right. There is very, very high inflation, and that is definitely having an impact on the footfall that is happening in the UK. Having said all of that, we remain very bullish on the UK market. We expect to have about 35 restaurants by the end of the year, ten on the company side, so that development schedule is in place. And the remaining are going to be Reef units.” The company, which returned to the UK last year, has so far opened restaurants in Reading, Stratford, Oxford, Croydon, Brighton, Ilford, Camden, Romford and Maidstone. It is understood to have further openings lined up in Sutton, Kingston, Colchester, Peterborough and Uxbridge.
Frost Burgers placed into administration: Frost Burgers, the two-strong restaurant business, has entered into administration. Founded in 2018 by social media influencer Monami Frost, the vegan burger concept operated sites in Liverpool and Manchester. Last year, its turnover was £515,811. Paul Stanley and Jason Greenhalgh from Begbies Traynor were appointed as joint administrators after the business ceased trading last month and are now looking for someone to buy the leases and the assets, including ready-made commercial kitchens. Stanley said: “Despite gaining an excellent reputation, Frost Burgers has become just one of the many businesses within the hospitality sector that have experienced financial distress. Restaurants in particular are struggling to afford raw ingredients, and many are struggling with their energy bills. The hospitality sector is also taking a huge hit from labour shortages as well as debts accrued over lockdowns, including bounce back loans. It is likely that more restaurants will find themselves in a similar position as we progress towards the end of 2022.”
Team behind Tattu plans modern Greek restaurant in Manchester: The team behind Tattu is planning to open a modern Greek restaurant in Manchester. The business plans to open Fenix Restaurant & Bar in Enterprise City, part of Allied London’s new St John’s Development. Tattu co-founder Adam Jones said: “Our first restaurant brand was born here in Manchester, and thanks to the incredible reception it received, we quickly became the fastest growing restaurant in the UK, opening locations in five major cities, including a rooftop flagship in central London this year. It therefore was only right to return to our home city to launch our exciting new culinary venture. The concept was born in the first lockdown and will be three years in the making. Out of the ashes rises the Fenix. Inspired by Cycladic philosophies and modern Greek fusion cuisine, Fenix is a vibrant dining concept that will marry Mykonian influence with high-quality service standards and hospitality. Fenix will bring a truly unique and energetic experience to Manchester’s now celebrated restaurant scene.” Tattu made its London debut earlier this year with a 220-cover restaurant located in Outernet’s The Now Building on the corner of Tottenham Court Road. Founded in 2015 by brothers Jones and his brother, Drew, Tattu opened its first restaurant in Manchester, followed by sites in Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh, offering contemporary cuisine inspired by traditional Chinese flavours and ingredients.
Los Mochis founders to launch Notting Hill cocktail bar: The founders of Los Michos are to open Viajante87, an “innovative and experiential” cocktail bar in London’s Notting Hill. Co-founder Markus Thesleff said the new “high-energy hideaway” at 87 Notting Hill Gate will thread the “Baja-Nihon energy of its sister Los Mochis, through all elements including cocktail, design, and bar bites”. The cocktail development will be spearheaded by bar director Panos Kanatsoulis, formerly of Mr Fox Bar, The Clumsies Athens and Zuma Dubai, with a dedicated mixology lab sprawling across the basement. Thesleff said: “I feel west London has been missing something like this, so when the opportunity arose to open a very special cocktail-based hideaway, we leapt at the chance. It has allowed us a new channel for creativity while keeping the vibe high and music key. We’ve taken the elements that we know work and applied them to a diverse cocktail offering focused around our Agaveria, opening up the possibilities of what we’re able to do.” Earlier this month, Los Mochis, the Baja-Nihon restaurant, announced it was to open its second site, on the rooftop of 100 Liverpool Street at Broadgate. The original Los Mochis opened on Farmer Street, Notting Hill, at the end of 2020.
Wahaca appoints Laura Fotheringham-Gunn as DF Tacos COO: Mexican restaurant group Wahaca has appointed Laura Fotheringham-Gunn, formerly of Neat Burger, as chief operating officer of its DF Tacos concept. Fotheringham-Gunn joins the business after spending more than a year and a half as head of operations and people at Neat Burger. Prior to that, she spent a year and a half as head of operations of the Zurich-based start-up Stripped Pizza. Launched initially as DF/Mexico at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, DF Tacos now also operates in Tottenham Court Road, Brixton, and Market Halls Victoria, Canary Wharf and Oxford Street. Earlier this year, the Mark Selby-led Wahaca said it was looking to secure a series of sites across London as it begins a measured expansion programme in the capital. Wahaca plans to open new restaurants in key locations such as King’s Cross, Victoria and strong London suburbs – specifically targeting locations and landlords who prioritise sustainability. The company is working with P-Three on its plans.
Pastan set for double opening: Vegan pasta concept Pastan is set for a double opening before the end of the year. The business, which is the brainchild of Jerome Ibanez-Fawcett, formerly head of operations at Friska, will open restaurants in Brighton and Bristol. The Brighton venue will open next month in the former Erpingham House premises in Duke Street. That will be followed by Bristol, where Pastan has acquired the ex-Friska site in Princes Street. As previously reported, Pastan is opening in the former Vertigo restaurant premises in Manchester’s Cross Street later this month, adding to its debut bricks and mortar site, in London’s Barbican. Pastan is also launching a range of sauces for retail and wholesale. Ibanez-Fawcett launched Pastan in 2020 as a delivery-only venture and has previously run pop-ups in Covent Garden and Notting Hill in London as well as Gloucester Road in Bristol.
Popeyes plans Plymouth site: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service brand, is lining up an opening in Plymouth. The business, which is led by Tom Crowley in the UK, has submitted plans to take a space in the city’s New George Street. Last month, the brand announced it had accelerated its UK expansion plans by signing for four new sites and its first UK headquarters. It confirmed forthcoming openings in Derby, Leicester, Cambridge and Liverpool – revealed by Propel earlier this year. It also said it had signed the lease on its debut headquarters, a 6,000 square-foot site that will sit above its forthcoming restaurant in Ealing Broadway. The brand, which currently operates six restaurants open plus four delivery kitchens in the UK, has also got openings lined up in Brighton and Reading.
Fattal Group acquires London’s historic Dilly Hotel: Fattal Group, owner of Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland, has acquired the Dilly Hotel in London. The group said it plans to invest £90m into the Dilly to create a leading luxury hotel. Opened in 1908, the Dilly is located between Piccadilly and Regent Street and features more than 280 rooms, indoor swimming pool, fitness and treatment rooms, and squash courts – as well as seven meeting rooms and event spaces. With this deal, Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland said it will accelerate its momentum as one of the fastest growing hotel groups in Europe and strengthen its position as one of the UK and Ireland’s leading hotel brands. The acquisition is part of a recently announced €400m fund, which Fattal raised in partnership with a number of institutional investors. Bank Hapoalim supported the transaction. Leonardo Hotels operates 52 hotels across the UK and Ireland. It is part of Fattal Hotels, which owns and operates more than 200 hotels in excess of 100 destinations, with plans to rapidly expand its global presence. In Europe, it has more than 150 hotels in 86 cities and 14 countries. In total, so far, Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland has seen more than 2,530 bedrooms refurbished across the group and has had more than 1,450 rooms added through new developments and acquisitions – including Leonardo hotels in Manchester, Bristol Glassfields, Chester, and new NYX Hotels opening in Dublin and Edinburgh. The development pipeline is being supported by the rebranding of the Jurys Inn portfolio to Leonardo Hotels, creating one global brand.
Ennismore plans Ireland debut with Hoxton hotel brand: Ennismore is planning to launch its Hoxton hotel brand in Ireland as part of seven openings in key European cities by early 2024. The Central Hotel in Dublin is being redeveloped as a 129-room Hoxton by Deutsche Finance International and BCP Capital, its owners, with Ennismore, the owner of the Hoxton concept, signing a long-term operating contract. Plans are progressing for the careful refurbishment and expansion of the Exchequer Street hotel, incorporating neighbouring buildings, “which will restore the Central Hotel and its iconic Library Bar as a cultural landmark in the city centre”. Rob Andrews, chief operating officer of The Hoxton at Ennismore, said: “Dublin is an exciting, cosmopolitan city, and a celebrated business and tourist destination. We are passionate about making the local culture and charm of the neighbourhood part of the fabric of our hotel.” Ennismore, which has a hotel joint venture with French group Accor, has 11 Hoxton hotels. Its seven new openings will include a fourth property in London, in Shepherd’s Bush, plus hotels in Brussels, Berlin, Edinburgh, Vienna and Amsterdam, its second in the Dutch city.
Krispy Kreme signs deal to launch in France: Krispy Kreme has announced it is to launch in France next summer after entering into a joint venture with French coffee chain Columbus Café. Over the next five years, the company expects to create 500 fresh points of access in France, with a long-term goal of more than 2,000. It will start with an opening in Paris next summer. France is the sixth international country development deal Krispy Kreme has announced so far this year. Combined with signings in Switzerland, Turkey, Jordan, Costa Rica and Chile, the new markets represent a combined circa 5,000 points of access as it continues to build on its long-term goal to “deliver fresh doughnuts daily to more than 50,000 across the world”. Krispy Kreme’s president and chief executive Mike Tattersfield said: “We could not be more thrilled to bring an American classic as well as premium, locally inspired doughnuts to France with a terrific partner in Columbus Café. Western Europe is a very important area of focus for the company for further expansion, and we believe Paris is the perfect city to embark on that journey.”
Michelin-starred chef to open second south west site under vegetable-led concept: Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton is set to open a second site in the south-west under his vegetable-led concept, Root. Eggleton, chef-patron of The Pony Restaurant Group, which operates several sites across the region including Michelin-starred gastro pub the Pony & Trap in Chew Manga, launched Root in 2017 with Story Butchers co-founder Luke Hasell. Opening at Cargo in Whapping Wharf, Bristol, it offered a predominantly vegetarian menu but with a few sustainably sourced meat and fish options. A second site is now set to open, in Sadler Street in Wells, Somerset, led by head chef Rob Howell and his wife, Megan. The Root team said: “Root Bristol has and continues to be a popular and busy restaurant, with our loyal and hardworking team being vital to its success. We are proud of what we have achieved, and after five years, it felt like an opportune moment to create a second restaurant. We feel a great weight of responsibility to get this right and offer something special in Wells. We are grateful for this opportunity and are excited to get started.” Like at Wapping Wharf, the new Root will offer a frequently changing menu of small sharing dishes with a strong emphasis on seasonal ingredients.
Afrikana makes Essex debut with Lakeside opening: Afrikana, the Midlands-based African restaurant concept, has made its Essex debut by opening in Lakeside shopping centre – its first franchise kiosk. It has replaced the former Sainsy’s Pie and Mash store, which closed in July 2021, at the Thurrock-based destination. It is an eighth site overall for the brand, which was established in the small Midlands town of Aldridge in 2018 by Omair Ali, who has worked across multiple restaurant groups in the UK and UAE including Chiquitos and Ben & Jerry’s. Afrikana also has an opening in Hounslow, west London, in the pipeline, and has lined up Bristol for its next franchise location.
Hollywood Bowl to open new Liverpool bowling alley and Peterborough Puttstars next month, signs for Dudley site: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK's largest ten-pin bowling operator, will next month open a new £2.8m bowling alley in Liverpool and a £2.6m Puttstars in Peterborough. The Liverpool venue, located at the New Mersey retail park in Speke, will open on Friday, 4 November, creating 30 jobs. It will feature 16 state-of-the-art bowling lanes with high-tech scoring, as well an arcade area and American-style bar and diner serving hot dogs, burgers, shakes and cocktails. It will be a second Hollywood Bowl site in the city following the one in Edge Lane, which has been open since 1990. The company will follow that a week later by opening a Puttstars indoor mini-golf centre in Peterborough’s Queensgate Shopping Centre. Opening on Tuesday, 11 November, and also creating 30 new jobs, it will be the fifth Puttstars to open in the UK. Set over two floors, it will feature three nine-hole courses with different levels of difficulty, plus arcade games, and offer pizzas, hotdogs, shakes and cocktails. Meanwhile, the company has also signed for a 36,000 square-foot bowling alley at Dudley’s Merry Hill shopping centre, due to open in 2023. Offering 24 lanes, including exclusive VIP ones, as well as an extensive food and drink offering and a family-friendly amusements area, it will be the company’s 65th Hollywood Bowl location. JLL and Time Retail Partners represented Merry Hill while Bruce Gillingham Pollard acted for Hollywood Bowl.
Former Quo Vadis and Rochelle Canteen chef to launch second converted London barge concept: Chef Lorcan Spiteri, who has worked in the kitchens at Soho members club Quo Vadis and Shoreditch bar-restaurant Rochelle Canteen, will next month launch a second converted London barge concept. He is opening cocktail bar Bruno’s with brother Fin Spiteri, who has worked behind the bar at Islington’s 69 Colebrook Row and Highgate’s Ladies & Gents, as well as founding Borough Market's Flat Iron Square project. Launching on Tuesday, 11 November, it will be located on the Regent’s Canal next to Caravel, the restaurant the brothers opened on another converted floating barge in March. It will be accessed via a pontoon leading up to the deck, while the downstairs bar will feature portholes looking out onto the water. Among the drinks will be the Peach Drop, a blend of vodka, lemon juice, peach syrup, egg whites and burnt sugar; and the Cookout, a smoky concoction combining mezcal, barbecued lemon juice and orgeat. A selection of “nostalgic bar snacks” will include saucisson, soppressata and cheeses, served in stainless steel trays. Fin said: “I have always felt at home in bars, having spent years working at some of the best establishments in London, and it has been a long since been a dream of Lorcan and I to open our own. We have loved every minute of Caravel, and so when we were given the opportunity to open something just next door, we jumped at it.”