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Wed 2nd Nov 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

WSH Group acquires London coffee business Notes: WSH Group, the parent company of BaxterStorey and Benugo, has acquired Notes, the ten-strong London coffee shop and wine bar concept, for an undisclosed sum, Propel has learned. Robert Robinson and Fabio Ferreira founded Notes, which is chaired by James Horler, in 2010. Its coffee shops across the capital include sites in Canary Wharf, King’s Cross, Moorgate and Trafalgar Square, and under WSH Group’s ownership, the business is expected to undergo further expansion. Notes also owns a roastery in Canning Town, east London, and an online retail business. Noel Mahony, executive director at WSH, said: “Notes offers an exciting new concept for the WSH family; with a London-based roastery and wholesale business, in addition to a day to night concept that has been incredibly successful. Notes will benefit from WSH’s expertise in supporting ambitious future growth, continuing to work as an autonomous business.” Horler told Propel: “This is a very exciting development in the building of the Notes concept. The founders Robert Robinson and Fabio Ferreira are staying with the company to drive forward the performance. With their knowledge and enthusiasm, combined with the structure, support and breadth of WSH, then this is a very positive move for both parties.” Earlier this week, Propel revealed Matthew Thompson had stepped down as managing director of Benugo, the operator of deli cafes and catering in high-profile venues, after three years with the business. 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. Mahony, former chief executive of BaxterStorey, has been appointed interim managing director while a long-term replacement for Thompson is sought.

Industry News:

Two days to go before next edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details of 208 new sites, 10,000-word report included: The next edition of The New Openings Database will show the details of 208 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 its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. 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 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.
John Gaunt & Partners to run licensing and legal drop-in during next week’s Propel Multi-Club Conference: Licensing solicitor John Gaunt & Partners will be running a licensing and legal drop-in during the Propel Multi-Club Conference next Thursday (10 November). John Gaunt partner Tim Shield and senior solicitor Leigh Schelvis will be on hand to provide advice about any legal issues you or your company may be experiencing. Areas around licensing that may be of interest could be onerous conditions on your premises licence and ongoing costs to them, regulatory issues occurring within your estate or advice around the due diligence that should be undertaken on acquiring businesses or sites. Please schedule a time for a private chat by emailing
Staff turnover at highest level since pandemic: More staff are leaving jobs in hospitality now than at any time since the start of the pandemic, according to new research. The findings by workforce management platform Fourth showed 8.3% of the workforce left the sector between August and September – the highest percentage of leavers since 15.6% of people left their roles in March 2020. The rate is being driven by employees leaving jobs in pubs (10.8%) and restaurants (9.8%), with quick service restaurants (8.1%) and hotels (6.5%) seeing a slightly slower rate of departure. However, overall staffing numbers have grown 8.8% in the 12 months to September 2022. The data – which is pulled from a database of more than 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar, and hotel sectors – also showed pubs have 4.4% fewer workers than a year ago. Restaurant staff numbers are up 7.2% from a year ago but fell by 4% between August and September. Pub workers aged 23-plus earn an average of £10.12 compared with their equivalents earning £9.98 in restaurants. The minimum wage is £9.50. British workers currently make up around 55.5% of the workforce, a figure that has remained stable throughout 2022. However, there continues to be a shift in EU and non-EU workers. In July 2021, non-EU workers made up just 12.7% of the workforce but this has grown to 20.1% as of September. In the same period, EU workers have fallen from more than a third of the workforce (35.9%) to under a quarter (24.3%). In September, 25.7% of new starters in hospitality were from a non-EU background and just 14.1% were from the EU. The remaining 60.1% were British. Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “The industry is precariously placed. While staff numbers and collective hours worked remain solid, this is set against a backdrop of inflation at a four-decade high, the cost-of-living crisis, rising fuel costs and an understandably cautious consumer base, all making it far harder to turn a profit than a year ago.”
UKHospitality calls for removal of Liverpool’s late-night levy: UKHospitality has called for the removal of Liverpool’s late-night levy, which has been under review since last month. The levy was introduced in April 2017 and is paid by premises serving drinks from midnight to 6am. The consultation follows the council’s decision in November 2021 to seek views on whether or not the levy should continue, or if amendments should be made. The results will help to inform any formal proposal to scrap or vary the levy from April 2023, with any decision then subject to a further consultation before a final decision. UKHospitality has warned keeping the levy could lead to closures, discourage new openings and impact on employment in the city. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Liverpool is one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, with hospitality being at the centre of its offering. It’s been incredibly frustrating to see a needless levy prove to be such a burden for businesses, particularly nightclubs and other late-night venues. The decision by Liverpool City Council to consult on removal of the levy is a positive step and follows in the footsteps of other areas, such as Nottingham and Cheltenham, which have removed their levies. At a time of extreme inflation and staffing challenges, continuing a levy that took more than £365,000 from the industry last year could prove to be fatal for some businesses. This is such a shame, and unfortunately what we predicted would happen when levies were first introduced.”
Operators invited to take part in Christie & Co market sentiment survey: Operators are being invited to take part in an anonymous market sentiment survey by Christie & Co that will form part of its annual Business Outlook 2023 report. The survey consists of four questions and takes a minute to complete. To take part, click here
Entrepreneur, hotelier and yachtsman Peter de Savary passes away: Entrepreneur Peter de Savary passed away on Sunday (30 October), following a remarkable career that spanned six decades and four continents. He first rose to prominence in the 1980s as both a keen yachtsman leading the British challenge for the America's Cup in 1983 and as an entrepreneur who at one point owned both the most southern and northern points of the UK; Land's End & John O'Groats. His ensuing business interests were equally diverse, from his development of the worldwide St James' Clubs and The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, to shipyards and the regeneration of industrial wasteland in both the US and UK. His vision brought to life more than 60 hotels, resorts and hospitality projects, including seven championship golf courses and three marinas. In recent years, he spent his time developing a portfolio of award-winning boutique hotels with his wife Lana, including the Beachcroft Arms in Bognor Regis and the Cary Arms and Spa in Torquay. 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a travel business in London that is looking for a head of HR. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “You will have the opportunity to impact every employee’s experience and contribute to the delivery of the business vision. You will simultaneously roll your sleeves up and get involved at a detailed level, at the same time as discussing and setting strategy. You will have proven experience is a similar position, with a minimum of three years in a fast paced, growing commercial business. A strong experience building and maintaining culture at rapidly growing organisations and a degree and/or HR qualifications will be required.” The salary is up to £75,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Bishti – success in the UK has given Neat Burger the platform for international expansion: Zack Bishti, co-founder and chief executive of the Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger, has told Propel its plans for international expansion have only been made possible because of the success of its UK business. The company, which has eight sites in the UK, will open in Dubai later this week, with an opening in New York scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Bishti said: “Our international expansion has only been possible because of the success of the UK business and how great it’s been developing the product over the last few years. It’s been a trying time obviously, but I think it’s just testament to the quality of the product and our community more than anything. We’re well capitalised, we’ve got ambitious plans, but I want to do meaningful expansion, particularly now, as there is that balance of the team’s focus between opening in multiple territories. Dubai is obviously a big thing for us, we don’t want to drop the ball on that. And New York’s probably the biggest part of our story, and the one we’ve spent the most time prepping for. Italy is on the list, we don’t have a date yet, but the deal is signed and we have a partner there. We're being very thoughtful with balancing that against our UK estate.” The company will open its next UK site in February, on the former Benito’s Hat site at The O2. Bishti said: “That’s one we’re excited about as it’s slightly different trade patterns, more of a destination, and what you’re relying on is capturing some of the guests from the 240 odd events it has every year. We’ll be opening a handful of new sites on the UK estate next year. I’m really keen to jump into a secondary city, like Manchester or Bristol. There’s a huge community hungry for our type of product, but international growth is the name of the game for us at the moment. The reality is work from home is not going away, I think any restaurant needs to pivot in terms of what their site selection strategy looks like and find something that has a balance. For us, it’s really about finding great areas to make sense for the brand and allow for seven-day trade. It’s not necessarily about London ‘villages’, you look at somewhere like Covent Garden, for example, and I definitely wouldn’t call that a village. What you really want is community hubs that are brand builders. We’ve got amazing retention rates and now I think, in the UK, our focus is new customer acquisition to build on that foundation.”

Page – we will decide on expansion plans next year after we see what Christmas trade is like: David Page, chairman of Fulham Shore, the Franco Manca and The Real Greek owner, has said the business will make a decision on its expansion plans for its next financial year after it sees what Christmas trade is like. He told Propel: “In the bag are our openings for this year, until the end of March. We’re going to probably open two more The Real Greeks before the end of March and then we’re going to make a decision on how we’re going to open restaurants next year – whether we spread them out through the year or whether we front load them. We haven’t signed them, but we are obviously negotiating on a lot of sites. We haven’t signed any, and we’re going to make that decision after we see what Christmas trade is like, probably in January. We don’t really need to make a decision until then because it’s an eight-week build, and we’ll then be opening restaurants in April, May, June.” The company has launched a Franco Manca brand retail range into 500 Tesco stores across the UK, and Page, who also launched PizzaExpress into the retail space, didn’t rule out doing something similar with The Real Greek. He said the business has an exclusive deal with Tesco for “six or nine months” and could then launch with other retailers. He said: “The retail product is quite timely, because in normal circumstances we would have an upgrade to our performance, but at the moment we’re sort of putting whatever income we get from the retail business into our back pocket, just in case trading in the restaurants becomes even more difficult. Saying that, we had a record week last week – obviously half-term helped. But the crunch will come in the next few weeks when Rishi (Sunak) starts doing whatever it is they’re going to do. Mortgage rates continue to rise, and we don’t really know how that’s going to affect the consumer. Our trade did not have a very good week after the Queen’s death and mourning period, and it seems to have recovered from that period, but we don’t really have any idea what the next few months are going to bring.”
Spaghetti House narrows losses but turnover still half of pre-pandemic levels: London restaurant company Spaghetti House has reported turnover increased to £5,313,753 for the year ending 27 March 2022 compared with £1,199,518 the previous year as the business builds back from the covid pandemic. However, the figure was still only half of the £10,575,929 reported in March 2020 – when the final month of trading was impacted by covid. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £368,328 from £864,203 the previous year (2020: pre-tax profit of £1,189,513). The business received government grants of £467,109 during the period (2021: £1,926,693). No dividend was paid (2021: zero). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The covid-19 pandemic that broke in 2020 and the Omicron variant has had a major impact on the restaurant business and cash flows of the company. The company has been working to stabilise the financial position and performance with the support of the directors.” Spaghetti House operates ten restaurants across London.
Young’s adds East Sussex village inn to estate: London pub operator Young’s has acquired the freehold of the Griffin Inn in Fletching, East Sussex, Propel has learned. The pub comprises a 16th century freehold coaching house, 13 en-suite hotel bedrooms and a two-tiered pub garden. The external area is equipped with a garden bar, barbecue, wood fired oven and the “Crystal Palace” – a large inside/outside dining space. The off-market acquisition adds to the company’s growing presence around the East Sussex and Kent border. Young’s chief executive Simon Dodd said: “I really want to thank the sellers, the Pullan family and in particular James Pullan, who has lovingly built this fabulous business since 1979.” Last month, Young’s acquired the Carpenters Arms, Tonbridge, further strengthening its presence in Kent. In September, the company bought the freehold of The Half Moon in Windlesham from the Sturt family, which had owned and operated the Surrey pub for more than a century, in an off-market deal. It followed the acquisitions by Young’s this summer of two Buckinghamshire pubs – Merlin’s Cave in Chalfont St Giles and The Bedford Arms in Chenies.
Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern to close Whitby site: Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern is to close the Star Inn the Harbour in Whitby on Saturday, 12 November. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart we have decided to close the Star Inn the Harbour,” said Pern, who is a director of the restaurant alongside Mike Green. “Mike and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and all the fantastic staff who have done a brilliant job over the years – it has been a pleasure to work alongside them all.” All members of staff have been offered employment at the group’s other venues. The Star Inn the Harbour, which opened in June 2017, is part of the Star Group, which includes the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome, the Star Inn the City and the Winter Hütte in York. The Star Inn at Harome, which was ravaged by a fire that left it closed for a year, is due to fully reopen by the end of November. The Winter Hütte, a pop-up two-storey Swiss-style chalet in York city centre, is due to open on Thursday, 17 November. The Star Group is also a lead partner in a new Refectory Restaurant at York Minster, expected to open in 2023.
Newcastle pub operator Sir John Fitzgerald returns to profit: Sir John Fitzgerald, the Newcastle pub operator, returned to profit for the first time in three years in the year ending 31 January 2022. It reported a pre-tax profit of £1,361,482 compared with losses of £2,695,791 in 2021 and £362,300 in 2020. In 2019, it had made a pre-tax profit of £331,285. Turnover more than doubled, from £4,139,280 in 2021 to £10,655,201, but is still behind pre-pandemic levels (£16,963,842 in the year ending 31 January 2020). It received £435,185 in government grants compared with £2,482,935 in 2021. The company stated: “In light of the current commercial environment, the company has taken steps to substantially reduce its borrowings. During the year, the management took steps to substantially reduce the company’s exposure to external debt and entered into a new term loan facility to provide sufficient funds for ongoing operations. Management consider the company has no significant concentration on credit risk as the majority of its turnover is generated from cash sales.” The company, which operates 14 pubs across the north east, was acquired by Ladhar Group in December 2020.
Zizzi launches cook-along series with TV chef Big Zuu as it reveals how to create its dishes: Azzurri Group-owned brand Zizzi has launched a cook-along series with TV chef Big Zuu. The seven-part series – which starts today (Wednesday, 2 November) at 5pm – sees the chef revealing how to create Zizzi classic dishes with a twist from starter, main course, dessert and cocktails. The series invites followers to cook along the following recipes with Big Zuu, sharing their dishes using the hashtag #ZuuZillionaire – cheesy chilli garlic bread, king prawn spiedini, calzone pollo spinaci, casareccia pollo riccante, caramelised banana waffle and zillionaire’s slice washed down with a strawberry zing cocktail. The partnership forms part of the launch of the Zillionaires’ Club loyalty platform, rewarding customers with exclusive Zizzi “perkz”. Customers can earn Zs each time they visit a Zizzi and spend more than £10. Big Zuu has also designed an exclusive pizza now available on the Zizzi menu – Big Zuu’s Zillionaire Rustica. One side features creamy, spring onions, mozzarella, balsamic onions and goat’s cheese on a white base. The other side is made up of spinach, flame roasted peppers, roquito peppers, harissa, spring onions, rocket and mozzarella on a tomato base. Harry Heeley, managing director at Zizzi Restaurants, said: “Allowing Big Zuu into our kitchens and revealing our secret recipes was a first but we couldn’t have done it with anyone more in tune with our brand values. We are looking forward to welcoming customers to enjoy the Zillionaires’ Club as well as Big Zuu’s Zillionaires’ Rustica on our menus nationwide.”
Artfarm appoints Mark Hix as director of food and beverage at the Groucho Club: Chef Mark Hix, who lost his London restaurant empire to the pandemic in early 2020, has returned to the capital as the director of food and beverage at the Groucho Club. Hix is responsible for the entire food and drink offering at the private Soho club, which was bought this summer by ArtFarm, which is overseen by Ewan Venters, who is the chief executive of Artfarm’s parent company, Hauser and Wirth. Hix told the Evening Standard: “The chance to work at the Groucho was irresistible to me. I have worked with Ewan on several projects previously, and this club is part of the fabric of my life. I would like to bring my influence to bear on what is already a very strong offering. I shall be concentrating on British food at best, supplementing simple club food that everyone can relate to, like our famous shepherd’s pie, with some of my signature dishes. Likewise, the drinks menu will showcase some of our fabulous British spirits producers.” Venters said: “I am thrilled to welcome Mark back to his spiritual home. He has been a member of the Groucho for more than 30 years, and he understands the special nature of this club. Mark is one of my food heroes. He was almost single-handedly responsible for putting modern British cooking on the map, and I am sure our members, their guests and those hiring our event spaces will welcome his trademark flourishes on the menu.”

Pret launches Christmas menu with several new items: Pret A Manger will today (Wednesday, 2 November) launch its Christmas menu for 2022, including several brand-new items. Among the new additions are a festive falafel and squash, beet wellington baguette, Christmas brunch rye roll, hot roast macaroni cheese, creamy mushroom macaroni cheese, Boxing Day toastie and chocolate orange mini loaf. Also returning are past favourites like the Christmas lunch sandwich, brie and cranberry baguette and pigs in blanket hot roll. Among the new drinks are a praline latte and a macaroon hot chocolate, while the gingerbread latte also makes a return. Pret Coffee subscribers can also gift one free hot drink per week to a non-subscriber friend or family member from 15 November, while supplies last. Katherine Bagshawe, UK food and coffee director at Pret said: “Christmas is a very exciting time for us as we look to develop new and exciting products we know our customers will love. We spend months researching trends, flavour profiles and working with our suppliers to get the best and freshest ingredients to help give Pret the Christmas food edge. We can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions once they try the menu.” The menu is available until the end of December and is also available on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat (Christmas lunch sandwich exclusively on Deliveroo).
Neighbourhood bar OutPost doubles up with International Quarter London opening: East London neighbourhood bar OutPost has doubled up. The concept has launched at Lendlease’s International Quarter London (IQL) development following its sister site, White Post, in Hackney. Located opposite IQL’s Pavilion building, OutPost’s 2,000 square-foot location caters to 180 covers and serves as a flexible, multi-purpose creative space. Following in the footsteps of its sister site, OutPost is a community-led bar, which also operates as a venue for meetings and other events. OutPost serves an extensive range of local and international beer, a comprehensive wine and cocktail menu, and a selection of artisan stone baked pizza. Dan Heath, found of Outpost, said: “Unrivalled in connectivity and with community front of mind, IQL has so much to offer an independent business such as OutPost. We are excited to bring our flexible, creative space and quality offering to the area and expand our growing portfolio of local gems.” Shelley Sandzer, Nash Bond, and CF Commercial represent Lendlease at IQL while OutPost dealt direct.
Shaftesbury reports demand for space led to increase in rental values: West End landlord Shaftesbury has reported footfall and occupancy has again improved in the six months to the end of September 2022, though its portfolio valuation fell 3% during the period. The company said its available-to-let vacancy fell to 2.4%, from 2.6% in March. The landlord said its West End portfolio enjoyed strong domestic footfall and a rebound in international visitors in its first summer without coronavirus-related restrictions. The company said the valuation of its portfolio had slipped to £3.2bn in the six months from £3.3bn. It said the decline reflected an increase in yields driven by rising finance rates and a deteriorating macroeconomic outlook, partly offset by estimated rental value growth and an increase in annualised current income, with continued improvement in occupancy levels. Shaftesbury said leasing activity remains good across all uses. It said it had completed commercial lettings, renewals and rent reviews with a rental value of £15.8m, and residential lettings totalling £6.2m of income during the six months to the end of September. Chief executive Brian Bickell said: “The West End has enjoyed its first summer of trading unaffected by covid restrictions since 2019, with strong domestic footfall and a rebound in international visitor numbers, which have continued into the first weeks of autumn. Our occupiers continue to report trading revenues, on average, above 2019 levels and demand for space in our carefully curated, popular locations remains good across all uses, reflected in a return to pre-covid occupancy levels and further growth in rental values.”
Knoops to open in Cambridge later this month: Luxury hot chocolate shop Knoops is set to open its eighth store later this month, in Cambridge. Propel revealed in May that an opening in the city, along with Bath and St Albans, was in the company’s immediate pipeline as it laid out plans to expand to 100 UK restaurants over the next five years. It will now bring its “unique, tailormade and customisable chocolate percentage menu” to 28 Green Street in Cambridge, opening on Friday, 25 November. The business – which opened a flagship store in London’s Covent Garden in June to add to sites in Kensington, Chelsea, Richmond, Sussex, Oxford and Brighton – expects Cambridge to be a “bustling venue”, with the city attracting more than eight million visitors a year. Placed between Trinity College and Sidney Sussex College, it is also hoping to attract the sizeable local student population. Knoops chief executive Tori Nunn told Propel in May she expects it to have ten to 15 new stores open by next summer “at the absolute minimum”, and believes it can grow to 3,000 stores worldwide by 2030.
South west hotel operator sees profits soar as it builds back from pandemic: South west hotel operator Latona Leisure saw profits soar in the year ending 31 January 2022, with revenue almost back to pre-pandemic levels. The company, which runs four hotels in Somerset, Wiltshire and Avon, reported pre-tax profit of £952,071, more than a three-fold increase on the previous year’s figure of £274,514. It is also up on the last pre-pandemic figure of £268,762 in the year ending 31 January 2020. Turnover of £6,258,605 was also up on £3,221,779 in 2021 and heading back to the pre-pandemic level of £7,672,185 in 2020. The business received £540,286 in government grants (2021: £1,084,945) and dividends of £93,722 were paid (2021: £60,510). The company said: “Following the easing of covid-19 government lockdowns in May 2021, a substantial increase in hotel revenues was experienced in the year, which is in line with expectations and the industry. The directors are satisfied with the trading performance of the company outside the periods of lockdown.”
Frankie & Benny’s launches new menu additions and 30% discount: Frankie & Benny’s, owned by The Restaurant Group, has launched a series of new menu additions, alongside a limited time only 30% discount. The new dishes include creamy chicken and nduja pasta, black ‘n’ blue burger, chicken and halloumi burger, lemon pepper salmon and a Mediterranean grain salad, plus a collaboration with vegan burger brand Biff’s for the Smashed Biff’s Wing Stacker Burger. Guests can get 30% off by signing up to the Frankie & Benny’s newsletter via its website to get a QR code, with the offer running to Sunday, 20 November. Frankie & Benny’s head of brand, Sasha Story, said: “The new menu is full of delicious dishes that have been designed for their freshness and vibrant flavours. We are very pleased because there’s something new for everyone, from delicious comfort food to the new meat free vegan alternatives.”
Fitness brand signs for tenth UK gym and 22nd overall: Fitness brand Ultimate Performance has secured a site for its tenth UK gym and 22nd overall. A 5,095 square-foot space at 293 Fulham Road will form the brand’s flagship location when it launches in early 2023, spanning two floors and a basement space. Founded in 2009, the brand also has five sites in the US, three in Asia, two in Dubai and one each in Australia and the Netherlands. It offers a no membership policy, booked time slots, one-on-one personal training, nutrition programs, round-the-clock diet support and stress management. Nick Mitchell, founder and chief executive, said: “Securing such a prestigious location in Fulham Road brings the business full circle, and back to our London roots. The first gym I ever opened in 2009 was also in London. Since then, we’ve opened gyms in global locations such as Los Angeles, Washington, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, and Mumbai, with ambitious plans for continued expansion across the world. However, London will always be close to my heart.” Miles Commercial and Savills acted on behalf of landlords, the Sloane Stanley Estate.
Nightcap opens Barrio site in Watford: Nightcap – the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars – has opened a site for the Barrio brand in Watford. The venue has launched in the former Bosleys bar premises at 107-115 The Parade. The ground and first floor space spans 7,825 square feet, in addition to a large outside terrace area. Jim Robertson, managing director at Barrio Familia, said: “This is just the start of things for Barrio Watford and we are so glad that our Barrio familia is growing.” The site marks the second new opening for Barrio since its acquisition by Nightcap in November last year. It takes the total number of Barrio sites to six with a flagship site set to open in London’s Covent Garden.
Cosmo, Las Iguanas and Zizzi set for openings at Preston scheme: Buffet brand Cosmo, Big Table Group-owned Las Iguanas and Azzuri Group-owned Zizzi are all set to open their first sites in Preston. They have collectively taken 18,000 square feet of space in the town’s multimillion-pound Animate leisure complex. Zizzi has taken 3,250 square feet on the development’s main terrace, while Cosmo will take 11,000 square feet on the upper floor. The scheme, located in Preston’s Harris Quarter, has already signed up an eight-screen Arc Cinema and a 16-lane Hollywood Bowl. Construction is expected to start in January 2023 and be completed by the following year. John Brady of letting agency Brady’s, who advised on all three deals alongside CBRE, told the Lancashire Post: “Given its size and large student population, the city offers potential for a far wider array of restaurants and bars. Animate will help address this, and we’re delighted to welcome all three restaurants.” Marc Ward, head of acquisitions for Azzurri Group, added: “Preston has been a long-standing target for Zizzi. We have been working with Maple Grove and Preston City Council for many years to bring this development to fruition and are very pleased to be part of this exciting leisure and restaurant hub at the centre of this major UK city.”

Fuller’s names its Pub of the Year: London pub operator Fuller’s has named The Mayfly in Stocksbridge its Pub of the Year. The Griffin Trophy is open to all Fuller’s 208 managed pubs and hotels and 178 tenanted inns. After several years in Fuller’s tenanted division, The Mayfly moved to its managed estate in 2017, and Darren Felvus took over as general manager the following year. He said: “I’m really proud of the team – they are all hard workers, so it’s great to see this pay off.”

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