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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 31st Oct 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Peach Pubs founder Cash invests in international cricketers’ pubco: Peach Pubs founder Lee Cash has invested in The Cat & Wickets Pub Company, which was founded by cricketers Harry Gurney and Stuart Broad, Propel has learned. After two years working as a consultant in the business, predominantly coaching Gurney in his role as managing director, Cash has now acquired a stake in the business and is taking up an official non-executive role. Gurney, a former England one-day international, said: “Our vision is to have a group of five quality gastropubs in the Midlands, based on our successful model at The Tap & Run, Upper Broughton. Having built a group of 21 gastropubs, Lee is acutely aware of what it takes and what the common pitfalls are when hospitality companies begin to grow.” Broad, who is still turning out for England, added: “When Harry and I were learning our craft on the cricket field, the counsel of senior players was hugely valuable to us, and we don’t think commerce is any different. Lee has already added significant value to our business, and we are excited to see how that develops further over the coming years.” In the first year of trading after the pandemic, The Tap & Run turned over double that of the 12 months prior. The pub “prides itself on the personality of the team” and serves premium gastropub food in a modern pub environment, with subtle nods to the cricketing heritage of its founders. Tragically, the pub was destroyed by fire in June this year, but while the rebuild takes place, the team have been busy designing menus, working on interiors and creating systems and processes using Cash’s experience to facilitate sustainable growth. Cash said: “I am thrilled to officially be on board at The Cat & Wickets Pub Company. Harry has the kind of drive you don’t see every day, added to the team he’s already got around him, I’m sure we'll build something great – and have a lot of fun doing it.” The Tap & Run should reopen in April 2023.
 

Industry News:

Number of experiential concepts to feature in next edition of The New Openings Database, 10,000-word report included: A number of experiential concepts will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database. The database will show the details of 207 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (4 November) at midday, including which company has opened a site or plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features Roxy Leisure, the operator of the Roxy Lanes and Roxy Ballroom concepts, which is planning to make its debut in Wales with the opening of a Roxy Lanes site in Cardiff’s Queen Street. Also added this month is Arrowsmiths, the new competitive socialising concept from Mitchells & Butlers, which has been launched in the O’Neill’s in Solihull. Meanwhile, escape room experience Houdini’s, which is set to open its fourth standalone site in November, in Southampton’s Castle Way, will be included. In addition, immersive social experience concept Sandbox VR, which made its debut in the UK earlier this summer, in The Post Building in London’s Museum Street, and is now planning to open a site in the Grand Central shopping centre in Birmingham, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 10,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases – the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate, the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com 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 Mark Wingett.

UKHospitality makes energy guidance and costs calculator widely available to sector: UKHospitality has made its energy guidance publicly available due to the extraordinarily high prices sector businesses are facing this winter. The guidance, which was previously a member exclusive, covers the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which UKHospitality was instrumental in delivering. Also available to access is a Q&A to help businesses through the process and an energy calculator to help them budget for future energy costs. Members of UKHospitality continue to receive exclusive content that can help them through the winter. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We know our sector is feeling the pinch more than most, and that is why we’ve taken the decision to make our expert guidance available to all. The government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme is in place to reduce the unit price businesses pay for their energy, but navigating these schemes can be a challenging process, so we want to offer as much help as possible. This is a perilous situation for the sector, and UKHospitality will continue to ensure the government is fully aware of the existential threat that inflation and energy bills combine to create.”

Deliveroo injects £2.5m into subsidising cost of eco-friendly packaging for small restaurants: Deliveroo is pumping £2.5m into subsidising the cost of eco-friendly packaging for its smaller restaurant partners. The partners will receive a 50% subsidy on the cost of sustainable packaging, the delivery firm told CityAM. The scheme will cover any item that is home-compostable or made from recyclable paper, cardboard, or recycled plastic. The company said it would also explore alternative options on products where an easily recyclable or compostable alternative doesn’t yet exist. Some 45,000 small to medium sized Deliveroo restaurant partners across the UK will be able to take part in the scheme. Small businesses with the highest sales over the past year will be able to access the initiative first as they have the highest packaging footprint. A voucher code will initially be made available to small-medium-sized enterprises with the highest sales, and therefore highest packaging footprint, over the past 12 months. Deliveroo hopes the investment could save up to an estimated 403 tonnes of plastic, the equivalent of around 25 trucks, potentially going to landfills. Its packaging supplier will offset 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of the annual emissions for more than 300 standard cars. Off the back of a similar initiative in Hong Kong, Deliveroo will also launch the scheme in France, Italy, and Belgium in the coming weeks. The multi-million-pound investment would “play a crucial role in helping our partners make greener choices,” Paul Bedford, director of policy and sustainability at Deliveroo, said. “By subsidising greener packaging, we’re underlining our commitment to reimagining packaging, reducing waste, and lowering our carbon footprint.”

Hartnett – the government needs a minister to represent the food industry: Chef Angela Hartnett has called for the government to introduce a minister to represent the food industry following struggles due to covid-19 and the rise of inflation. Hartnett told The Express she had no trust in the leading party as she detailed how businesses have been suffering. She said: “I think what they need to do is basically come together and actually have a committee. We employ three million people, we’re the third or fourth biggest industry in the UK, and yet we don't have a voice in government. We either need some sort of minister in hospitality, or a sub minister to have a committee where you get every sector – from the hotels, the restaurants or catering colleges –the whole lot. If they were smart, that’s what they would do. It’s ridiculous the way it is at the moment because they’re dealing with people’s lives.” The chef said she counted herself lucky to have been able to keep her restaurants running during the pandemic by introducing a takeaway service. She said: “We had four businesses that were making no money for however many months, and we’ve all been left with more debt than when we closed with. We got through it. We’ve still got all our businesses, so we’ve been lucky. We adapted, we did takeaways and stuff. We just made sure we did something to get business through the door.”

Gino D’Acampo – next year for many restaurants is going to be tougher than this year: Chef Gino D’Acampo has said that next year for many restaurants is going to be tougher than this year, and it will become a business of survival rather than making money. The chef, who was talking at an event at his restaurant within the INNSiDE Newcastle hotel, told Chronicle Live that restaurants everywhere face a challenging time in the coming months, and those that cannot adapt to ride out the difficulties are set to fail. He said: “If a restaurant has budgeted to use £3,000 of electricity and gas and it’s £6,000, it’s going to put pressure on us – where are we going to find the extra £3,000? It then will become a business of survival, not of making money. Newcastle is still the busiest and we’ve not seen a drop in customers, not at all. Everybody has been very supportive.” Even so, D’Acampo seen higher expenditure and higher costs. “At the moment we have our back to the wall, and that’s the whole country, everybody,” he said. “Every restaurant right now finds exactly the same problem. In the next 12 months, a lot of restaurants are going to go down. We are going to have to do exactly the same things as we did during covid, we have to invest. We will never stop investing.” D’Acampo also said a lot of Italian restaurants have been doing a bad job for years and definitely will not be able to survive, adding “that will be good for us”.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a restaurant group that is seeking an operations manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This is an opportunity to manage up to five sites. With further expansion planned, this role will be instrumental in the continued growth of the business. You will have the detailed approach needed coming from a premium restaurant background.” The salary is up to £80,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email kate@corecruitment.com

Company News: 

Burgerism to launch first ‘on street’ site, set to be one of its ‘leading growth options’: Burgerism, the fast-growing smash burger concept from Foodomnia, is to launch its first “on street” site next month, with the business envisaging the format becoming one of its leading growth options. The new format site will launch late next month in the Stockport suburb of Gatley. It follows setting up at Escape To Freight Island earlier this year; launching a dark kitchen in Ardwick last year; and another in Leeds which opened last week. Co-founder Mark Murphy said: “It’s our first foray into on street real estate, but we still intend to deliver an off-premise only experience, with fans having the option to order for pick-up or delivery. Like all our locations to date, this store will remain 100% online, with orders being placed through our website or with one of our delivery partners. We envisage this format becoming one of our leading growth options and see a healthy pipeline of locations across suburban UK in particular. In Stockport, for example, we see really strong levels of demand for what we do and look forward to offering delivery to a new catchment area within Greater Manchester. However, we’ll also continue to explore concession formats where we partner with leading venue operators, such as Escape to Freight Island in Manchester, to offer fans the opportunity to enjoy Burgerism in a more social setting. We believe our menu and brand translates well to both the physical and online domains, but as an online operator we excel most in the kitchen and dispatch setting, rather than front of house.” The brand currently feeds 8,000 people per week in Manchester and is the most ordered burger on delivery apps in the city. In May, Murphy told Propel that the business planned to open a further 30 sites across the UK over the next three to four years. The company believes the total market opportunity for Burgerism could well be over 1,000 units in the UK alone, made up of a blend of delivery kitchens, takeaways and a number of flagship bricks-and-mortar locations.

Neat Burger to make Middle East debut with first international franchise site: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger is to make its Middle East debut as it opens its first international franchise site. It has partnered with Baker Street Hospitality to bring the concept to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a restaurant set to open in the food court of Dubai Mall on Thursday (3 November). The partnership plans further sites across the UAE, with more locations to be opened “soon”. Hamilton said: “We created Neat Burger to make plant-based eating more accessible to everyone. The response to Neat Burger since we opened has been incredible. I’m really proud of the boundaries we have been able to push in this space and the plans for expansion are really exciting.” Chief executive Zack Bishti added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Baker Street Hospitality Group as we continue our global expansion to be market leaders in the plant-based quick service restaurant category. The UAE has long been ahead of the curve for food innovation, and we are looking forward to launching our first international franchise in such a discerning food market. We are excited to bring Neat Burger to Dubai and pave the way for eating sustainably in the region." Having made its debut in in 2019 in London’s Oxford Circus, Neat Burger currently has eight sites in the UK, alongside its debut US opening in Manhattan. The business plans to expand to 1,000 corporately owned, franchise and dark kitchens by 2030.

Turtle Bay begins building 2023 openings pipeline, secures Hammersmith site: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay has begun building its openings pipeline for next year, including an opening in London’s Hammersmith, Propel has learned. The Piper-backed, 46-strong business, which opened in Salford Quays and Birmingham’s Brindleyplace earlier this summer, will open in Romford at the end of November, with Hammersmith lined up for early 2023. At the same time, the Nick Crossley-led business is in talks to open sites in Talbot Square, Blackpool, and in Chester’s Northgate development. The business is aiming to open 40 new sites over the next five years. Last week, the company launched a limited-edition newspaper, in collaboration with Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, in honour of Black History Month 2022. Available in all of its 46 restaurants and online, the publication was guest-edited by cultural commentator Zeze Millz and author and journalist Natalie Morris, with dozens of contributors telling their stories. “This project is about the celebration and empowerment of Black people – not just during the month of October but all year-round,” said Libby Andrews, Turtle Bay’s marketing director. “We wanted to give the mic to the people and culture that inspire our brand, from the Caribbean Islands across to the UK. We have also created a launch pad for the next phase of our internal Equality & Inclusion programme, as well our supply chain, to support black-owned businesses across the country.”

Chopstix to open first site in partnership with Butlins: Fast-growing quick service restaurant brand Chopstix is to open its first site in partnership with Butlins next year. The Jon Lake-led brand will open as part of Butlins’ new £3m Skyline Eats food and drink destination at its Bognor Regis resort. It will open alongside existing restaurants Costa Coffee, Burger King and Scoop, and another new brand for Butlins, Subway. At the same time, Scoop will be partnering with Wafflemeister to serve handmade Belgian Liege waffles. Skyline Eats will be open to guests on both family breaks and adult only Big Weekenders in 2023. Nikki Ratcliffe, resort director at Butlin’s Bognor Regis said: “We can’t wait to open Skyline Eats and are delighted to be bringing some of the biggest high street brands to our Bognor resort. This new, exciting food and drink destination includes Chopstix and Subway, both new to Butlin’s. Skyline Eats will provide our guests with the great-tasting, quality choice they want around their shows and activities.” Chopstix recently said it sees a runway for 500-600 UK stores by 2028 and is on its way to becoming “the largest Asian-inspired QSR brand in Europe”. The brand is on course to pass the 100-store mark by the end of its financial year. Earlier this month, Propel revealed that Chopstix had signed a long-term agreement with Sparta Foods, with the franchisee laying out a growth strategy which will bring a development pipeline of 25 stores over the coming years.

Matthew Thompson steps down as Benugo MD: Matthew Thompson has stepped down as managing director of Benugo, the operator of deli cafes and catering in high-profile venues, after three years with the business, Propel has learned. Thompson joined Benugo after two years as managing director for cleaning and environmental services business Mitie. He has also had stints with Compass Group and Zenith. Noel Mahony, former chief executive of BaxterStorey and current executive director Benugo’s parent company WSH Group, has been appointed interim managing director while a long-term replacement for Thompson is sought. A Benugo spokesperson told Propel: “Matthew joined just before the pandemic and successfully steered Benugo through a very challenging period. We thank Matthew for his contribution and wish him the very best for the future. Noel Mahony will be acting as interim managing director, working alongside Benugo founder Ben Warner and the Benugo management team.” Earlier this month, Benugo reopen its original store, in London’s Clerkenwell. The store, in St John Street, was first opened in 1998 by brothers Ben and Hugo Warner. 

Franco Manca appoints Sorrel Ward as marketing director: Franco Manca, the Fulham Shore-owned sourdough pizza brand, has appointed Sorrel Ward, formerly of City Pub Group and Novus Leisure, as its new marketing director, Propel has learned. Ward has spent the past year and a half as head of marketing at City Pub Group. Prior to that, she was head of marketing at Novus for nearly three years. She has also had stints at Spirit Group and Scottish & Newcastle. Earlier this month, Franco Manca international development director Phineas Page said the brand was saving the equivalent of one new store build a year through an energy scheme and is accelerating its international expansion. While next year’s pipeline will see 15 new stores added to the brand’s circa 70 UK estate, it is also set to break into “three or four” new international territories in 2023, including Spain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It will then turn its attention to “key markets” like Germany, France, Switzerland and the US.  Fulham Shore, which also operates 25 Real Greek restaurants, said last month it is still on track to deliver 18 new restaurants in its current financial year.

Alcohol-free craft beer brewer Big Drop plans £2m fundraise: Alcohol-free craft beer brewer Big Drop is planning a £2m fundraise to support its expansion plans, Propel has learned. The company was launched in 2016 by Rob Fink and James Kindred, two long-time friends who wanted to create alcohol-free craft beer “that didn’t compromise on taste”. Now the company is about to launch on crowdfunding platform Seedrs, offering 12% equity, giving a pre-money valuation of £14.84m. Big Drop plans to use the funds to drive growth in key areas including increasing availability in UK supermarkets and pub groups and build on its success in Australia and the US. In the US, the business is entering a joint venture with Illinois contract brewer Destihl to widen its distribution footprint from six to 37 states. Over the past five years, Big Drop has received £6.5m in equity finance, including a Series A round of £3.5m, which included industry giants as well as institutional investors. Some have since joined Big Drop as board advisors including Mark Hunter, ex-global chief executive of Molson Coors, and Stefan Orlowski, former European president at Heineken. Big Drop had originally planned an £800,000 crowdfunding campaign in the summer, but instead of seeking new investors, it asked some of its existing ones, who were willing to follow-on, for support.

Live music marketplace GigPig to launch in ten UK cities following pilot: Live music marketplace GigPig is planning to launch in ten cities across the UK. Following a pre-seed investment in June, GigPig has been piloting its new platform in Manchester and Newcastle. More than 200 restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs have signed up, saving £200,000 on booking fees collectively, GigPip said. In those two cities alone, more than 100 DJs, bands, musicians and production crew are signing up every month, with in excess of 1,000 artists earning £500,000 on the platform to date. In response to demand from thousands of venues and artists, GigPig is accelerating its plans to democratise and grow the UK's live music scene. Over the coming weeks, GigPig will launch in Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Nottingham. It expects the expansion to rapidly attract more than 1,000 venues, 3,000 artists and generate more than 1,000 gigs a week in the coming months. This could help deliver £2m in cost savings for hospitality venues and generate more than £10m in earnings for artists, the company said. Micheal Forster, co-founder and chief executive, said: “Every year, the hospitality sector is forced to pay millions to access the live music market, while artists are forced to give away a large portion of their earnings to third party agents. We built GigPig to put control of the UK’s live music scene back in the hands of venues and artists, allowing any venue to offer live music in just a few clicks and creating new work opportunities for artists.”

Portuguese pastelaria concept Santa Nata makes UK regional debut: Portuguese pastelaria concept Santa Nata, which made its UK debut in 2019 with the launch of two sites in Covent Garden, has opened its first regional site, in Oxford. The company, which also operates sites in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has opened at 7 Cornmarket Street. The business is working with Seeds Consulting on its expansion plans, with a target of 25-plus UK locations over the next three years, mainly via franchising, and to expand overseas in partnership with qualified multi-unit franchisees. The concept focuses on pastel de nata – a Portuguese pastry with egg custard filling – and also offers Portuguese cherry liqueur ginjinha port and an espresso known as bica. Co-founder Francisco Oliveira’s family have been baking since 1900 and own seven bakeries in Portugal.

The Dice Box begins franchise roll out: Board game café concept The Dice Box is to begin its franchise roll out with openings in Peterborough and Worcester. The concept was launched by husband-and-wife team Trevor and Stephanie Davies in 2018, in Leamington Spa. A franchise offer was launched last year, and now the first two franchisees for the concept are set to open in The Shambles in Worcester, and in the former Lightbox cafe site in Bridge Street, Peterborough. The Leamington Spa cafe has nearly 700 games and offers a place where “groups of friends can play board games with food and drinks”. The founders said: “We wanted to create a space where everyone feels welcome. It doesn’t matter whether you have been playing board games for years or you have never played anything. In today’s technology-driven world, there is nothing better than socialising over a board game.” There is an hourly cover charge of £2 per person, per hour, which gives customers the flexibility to stay as long as they like. Customers can choose from a “wide range of refreshments from a high-quality menu” to enjoy while playing, and can also purchase board games.

Phil Neale steps down as marketing and communications director at Boparan Restaurant Group: Phil Neale has stepped down as marketing and communications director at Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), the owner and operator of brands including Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner, Carluccio’s and Slim Chickens, Propel understands. Neale, formerly of Tesco, joined BRG last summer after previously performing in and managing the band The Neales, leading it to the live final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2015. He also spent three years as Tesco, including a stint as brand manager for Tesco Finest. Earlier this month, Slim Chickens opened its first site in Ireland, as part of a franchise deal with one of Starbucks’ longest licensed partners, OCO West End. The new 2,800 square-foot, 74-cover restaurant opened in Belfast’s Boucher Square. BRG plans to be operating 350 restaurants in Britain under the US brand in the next few years.

Alcoholic tea brand Noveltea enters liquidation: Alcoholic tea brand Noveltea has entered liquidation after struggling to recover from the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic. The company was created by former Newcastle University students Vincent Efferoth and Lukas Passia, and later secured funding through Dragon’s Den in Germany with investor Dagmar Woehrl. As well as the effects of the pandemic, the inflationary environment has impacted the business, and revenues were significantly hit. One of its largest customers in Europe also filed for insolvency in the summer, influencing profits. The business has ceased trading, with all staff being made redundant. An accelerated sale process did not provide any viable offers, and so the business and directors filed for a creditors voluntary liquidation. Allan Kelly and Steven Ross, of FRP, were appointed as joint liquidators of Tea Venture, which is behind Noveltea, on 11 October. Kelly said: “The Noveltea brand brought an innovative concept to the drinks market. But the business was still in the early stages of its growth and unable to withstand the immense pressure of rising input prices or reach the revenue growth it needed. We are now marketing the assets for sale, including the business’ intellectual property and brand.”

Former Roast chef serves up modern British menu at new London boutique hotel restaurant and bar: Stuart Kivi-Cauldwell, who was previously chef at Roast restaurant in London’s Borough Market, is running the kitchen at a new boutique hotel in the capital. Sun Street Hotel is part of a new City development called One Crown Place. The restaurant and bar sees Kivi-Cauldwell offer a modern British menu. He told Hot Dinners: “I love the feel of Sun Street – right in the heart of the city. It’s a historic building, and I’m a bit of a food historian – I like bringing old dishes back to life.” His menu includes native British lobster with Koffmann’s fries; and grilled hispi cabbage with truffled mash and oat milk sauce. Part of the menu is also devoted to cuts on the Josper grill. Kivi-Cauldwell has also worked at Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow, as well The Wolseley. 

Norwich operator returns with vegan cafe concept: Norwich operator Sam Finnie, who used to own Finnie’s Juice Bar and Old Cobblers Cafe in the city, has returned with vegan cafe concept Graze. Finnie has opened the plant-based venue with friend Steven Old in Magdalen Road, offering vegan milkshakes, smoothies, salads and curries, as well as samosas and onion bhajis. Finnie, who also ran Middle Eastern restaurant Moorish in Norwich in partnership with husband-and-wife team Syyub and Samia King, told the Norwich Evening News: “We have met a lot of nice people, including old customers I’ve served over the years, and new ones as well. They love the cafe and said it’s very inviting and it has a nice vibe – that’s what we were trying to create.”

Cheltenham restaurant to double up with Bristol launch: Cheltenham restaurant Muse Brasserie is to double up with an opening in Bristol. Muse Brasserie, which promises diners “a unique and inspirational French fusion dining experience” opened in Cheltenham in 2019. The concept is heading to Bristol next month, opening in Prince Street in the premises previously occupied by the Prince Street Social bar and restaurant, reports Bristol 24/7. Muse Brasserie said its menu sees “traditional European and Asian ingredients combined with modern cooking techniques, and beautifully presented with love and passion”.

Hull music venue reopens after seven years closed: A Hull music venue that has been closed since 2015 has reopened. Tunnel, in Dagger Lane, has been given a complete refit featuring a new sound and light system and décor, to create a space for up to 240 clubbers. The venue aims to promote rising stars on the DJ scene and runs a student night on Tuesdays. Tunnel’s house DJ, Josh Matthews, said: “It’s great to see the return of Tunnel after so many years. Hull has really missed its once thriving non-commercial club scene.”

Manchester Neapolitan pizza concept Noi Quattro joins line-up at city street food venue: Manchester Neapolitan pizza concept Noi Quattro has joined the line-up of traders at city independent street food hub Society. Noi Quattro, which operates a restaurant in the Northern Quarter, has taken its trademark Naples-style dishes, sides and desserts to the venue in Barbirolli Square. At Society, Noi Quattro is serving seven and 11-inch pizzas from its signature menu, along with a collection of authentic Neapolitan street food including the traditional snack of “stuzzichini” – bites of fried dough with a selection of toppings. Noi Quattro completes the Society family of independent local street food traders, joining Slap and Pickle, Manzoku Street Food, Chaat Cart, and Yoki Social Table. Society also hosts Vocation Brewery’s Manchester taproom, reports Manchester Finest.

Leon and Greggs to open new units at former Little Chef site in Dorset: Natural fast food brand Leon, owned by EG Group, and food-to-go operator Greggs are set to open new units at a former Little Chef site in Dorset. They will open at the Red Post service area, off the A31 at Winterborne Zelston, which was bought by EG Group and turned into an EG Diner before the site closed in 2018. EG Group then got the green light to demolish the kiosk, restaurant and forecourt canopy and construct a new building with a forecourt and coffee drive-thru – before confirming the site will be occupied by Leon, Greggs and an Asda on the Move. The units are set to open over the autumn, reports Dorset Live. EG Group has also received the go-ahead to open a Leon drive-thru on 2,368 square feet of land next to Snowhill Retail Park, off the A650 in Wakefield.

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