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Tue 8th Nov 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Foodservice inflation hits record high of 18.8%: Inflation in food and drink prices hit a record high of 18.8% in September, the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals. After reaching 15% for first time in August, the Index surged again during September. This means inflation has been in double digits in every month of 2022 since January. Year-on-year price rises topped 10% in every food category of the September index, with dairy and oils and fats the most inflationary segments. Other core products for hospitality, including meat, vegetables and fruit, were all above 17%, with total food prices climbing 2.9% since August alone. Food inflation is also rising fast in the retail sector, and the food category of the Consumer Price Index passed 10% for the first time in September, with fresh food climbing 13.3%. The rate of general inflation across the wider economy and the impact of steady hikes in interest rates on consumers’ spending on eating out, are also causing significant concerns among hospitality operators and suppliers. The report, from CGA and Prestige Purchasing, predicts inflation will continue to be high. While food commodity markets have shown some signs of easing in recent weeks, OPEC’s reduction of oil production and the continued vulnerability of the Black Sea grain corridor deal with Russia are among the factors placing upwards pressure on pricing. Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “The speed of price rises from suppliers to the hospitality sector continues to increase, and there is little that we can see in the months ahead that will change that. Inflation has well and truly taken root in our supply chains, and while we do expect prices to rise more slowly in 2023, we believe we will still be seeing significant levels of inflation for most of next year.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NielsenIQ, added: “Britain’s best restaurants, pubs and bars still have a bright future, but thousands of businesses weakened by two years of covid-19 are now extremely fragile. Government support is desperately needed to sustain them through this storm.”

Industry News:

Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector slowly on road to recovery as percentage of profitable companies increases: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows the sector is slowly on the road to recovery as the percentage of profitable companies increases. The Blue Book shows 54% of the industry’s 656 biggest multi-site companies are making a pre-tax profit ­– up from 50.1% in October. The Blue Book reveals 354 sector companies are reporting total profits of £2.1bn while total losses of £4.0bn are being reported by 302 companies. The 656 companies are turning over a collective £33.6bn. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (11 November), at midday. An additional 18 companies have been added to the Blue Book, which is updated every month and provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

James Hacon joins speaker line-up for Thursday’s Propel Multi-Club Conference: James Hacon, founder of Think Hospitality, has been added to the speaker line-up for Thursday’s (10 November) Propel Multi-Club Conference. The all-day conference, which takes place at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London, will focus on “new ways of working”. Hacon will discuss the global trends that will impact the hospitality industry for the long term – from remote working, health consciousness, ageing population to responsible consumerism and more. Speakers will also include Tim Shield, partner at John Gaunt & Partners; Greg Ilsen, co-founder of SushiDog; Burgerism co-founder Mark Murphy; Bob & Berts co-founders Colin McClean and David Ferguson; James Lipscombe, founder of The Chesterford Group; Roy Ellis, founder of Mission Mars; Alex Reilley, co-founder and chairman of Loungers; Nick Crossley, chief executive of Turtle Bay; Richard Hodgson, chief executive of Snowfox Group; and Stephen Owens, managing director – pubs and restaurants at Christie & Co. Andrew Ball, of Haysmacintyre, will lead a panel discussion on the sector investment landscape with serial sector investor Luke Johnson; Darrel Connell, of Imbiba; Steve Kenee, former chief investment officer at Oakman Inns and Restaurants; and Robin Rowland, of TriSpan. Meanwhile, Fleet Street managing director Mark Stretton will lead a panel on the property landscape featuring Owens; Jon Lake, managing director of Chopstix; Julian Reilly, property and franchise development director at Creams; and Popeyes property director Tom Byng.

Restaurant spending falls 11.3% in October as more consumers cut back: Restaurant spending fell 11.3% year-on-year in October as more consumers cut back in response to the cost-of-living crisis, according to the latest data from Barclaycard. Of the half of Brits (52%) who are cutting back on discretionary purchases to afford their energy bills this autumn and winter, six in ten (62%) said they are spending less on eating out at restaurants and 37% are buying fewer cinema tickets. Bars, pubs and clubs, however, saw slight year-on-year growth of 1.7%, though prior to September, this would have been the smallest growth for the category since March last year. Takeaways and fast-food spending grew 11.7% as half of consumers (50%) are swapping nights out for evenings in to save money this autumn and winter. The hospitality and leisure sector saw year-on-year growth of 10.2%, but this was the smallest uplift for the category since March 2021. With the festive season fast approaching, almost half (48%) of Brits are planning to cut down on Christmas purchases, including festive activities and gifts, to save money this year. Of these, two fifths (42%) will curb their spending on Christmas parties and socialising. Overall, consumer card spending grew 3.5% year-on-year in October – higher than in September (1.8%) but well below the 8.8% in consumer price inflation. Supermarket shopping grew 4.6%, 1.8 percentage points higher than last month (2.8%), as the cost of food continued to rise. Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, confidence in the UK economy fell sharply to 15% – the lowest level recorded since 2015, when Barclaycard began tracking this data, and less than half the level this time last year (31%). Meanwhile, 92% are worried about the negative impact of rising inflation on their personal finances, with 30% of Brits assessing whether every individual purchase is necessary.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company to sell Eagle Brewery to Estrella Damm brewer: Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) is to sell the Eagle Brewery in Bedford to its long-term partner, Spanish brewer SA Damm (Damm), the brewer of Estrella Damm. The Eagle Brewery will become Damm’s first brewery outside of mainland Europe and only its second outside of Spain. CMBC and Damm expect the sale to complete by the end of this year. As part of the agreement, the Eagle Brewery’s beer will remain part of CMBC’s portfolio. CMBC and Damm have enjoyed a long partnership distributing Estrella Damm, with the UK being one of Estrella Damm’s key export markets. Much of the partnership’s activity has taken place at the Eagle Brewery, where Estrella Damm has been packaged for the UK market since 2010. All 67 production colleagues working at the Eagle Brewery will transfer over to Damm’s workforce in the UK and will be supported by CMBC through the transition. CMBC’s logistics operation in Bedford will continue from its current location on the site for around the next 12 months, before moving to a new location. Demetrio Carceller Arce, executive president, Damm, said: “This deal will strengthen our position in the UK market and help drive our brand in the UK, a key market for the company’s international growth. The British public can currently enjoy our products in more than 10,000 bars and restaurants, a figure we expect to continue to grow in the coming years.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a rapidly growing restaurant brand looking for a digital marketing manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This role is about developing and leading on multi-channel communication and working closely with the brand and marketing team to translate their strategies into reality on social. You need to be able to think strategically while also being able to act tactically as the business progresses towards a greater integration of all platforms and sales channels. The business is focused on creating better relationships with customers, by having more transactions via digital or mobile.” The salary is up to £50,000 and the position is based in London. For more information on the role contact gemma@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Paul aiming for 100-site UK estate with 50% franchised, first new store to open next year: French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul is aiming for a 100-site UK estate, with 50% of it franchised. The brand, which operates circa 36 bakery stores over here, made its UK franchise debut last month when Graham and Matthew Allan took over the running of its store in Oxford. “Our initial target is to grow to 100 stores across the UK, with at least 50% of these being franchise stores outside London,” chief executive Mark Hilton told Propel. “We believe Graham and Matt will become really strong and successful partners over the coming years and are looking to build a pipeline of similarly like-minded, passionate and capable individuals to continue to grow the Paul brand across the UK. We think Graham and Matt taking on the stores in Oxford will be a first step in the brand’s expansion outside the capital. While their initial focus is to get fully up to speed with the business in Oxford, they are already looking to build a pipeline of new locations within their agreed geographic region, and we would expect them to open their first new store in 2023. We are also in discussions with other interested individuals and groups and look forward to welcoming new franchise partners into the Paul family over the coming 12-24 months. There are no plans to open any stores in the balance of this year – our focus is to work with our landlords to continue to secure renewal extensions where applicable and invest in projects to upgrade some stores. Operationally, our focus is to deliver some outstanding products for Christmas, which is always a key trading period of the year. We need to work with our supplier partners to ensure supply chain integrity over the coming months and look after our teams across all our stores as they, like everyone else, grapple with the challenges we all face with rising costs.” Hilton went on to say trading has been “challenging”, but “slow and steady growth throughout the year” has seen sales close in on 2019 levels. “Our average ticket has grown, but we still have work to do to recover overall transactions versus 2019, which isn’t surprising as office workers, who are the main driver of our city locations, are still not back to 2019 levels – although we’ve seen an encouraging pick up since September,” he added. “While we see optimism from a top line perspective, the challenge remains throughout the rest of the P&L, but the learnings we’ve gained through covid mean we are much more efficient than pre-covid, which will help mitigate some of the cost pressures.” Meanwhile, new Christmas offerings from Paul will include a Vanilla & Pecan Buche, a Mince Pie Pastel de Nata and a Vegan Trimmings Sandwich.

PizzaExpress appoints Stephen Taylor as new chief marketing officer: PizzaExpress has appointed Stephen Taylor, formerly of Nokia, Samsung, Paypal and Proctor & Gamble, as its new chief marketing officer. Taylor, who will report to PizzaExpress chief executive Paula MacKenzie, was previously European chief marketing officer at Samsung, vice president consumer at Paypal and held several senior marketing roles at Proctor & Gamble. Most recently, he led the global marketing function at Nokia as Global chief marketing officer. The company said Taylor’s mission will be to “harness the power of PizzaExpress’ heritage” to further develop it as a “distinctive and unifying brand”. It added that Taylor has “a rich history of transformative and creative brand-building at major consumer brands” and that his experience of placing sustainability at the core of the business at Nokia stands him in good stead, with PizzaExpress committing to being net zero by 2040. He will oversee the company’s digital and loyalty, brand and marketing communications, strategy and insight, food and beverage, and PizzaExpress Live Music teams. MacKenzie said: “Stephen brings diverse experience with a proven-track record of honing a brand identity and resurrecting nostalgic brands. Leading a talented team, he will ensure that we show up in both an authentic and relevant way to loyal and new customers across our omnichannel business, a key part of fuelling our future growth. We’re thrilled to be welcoming him to team PizzaExpress.”

Martin Burke appointed group chief marketing officer of Patisserie Valerie and Bakers + Baristas: Martin Burke, formerly of Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate and Warner Bros, has been appointed group chief marketing officer of the Patisserie Valerie and Bakers + Baristas brands, Propel has learned. Burke joins the Causeway Capital-backed brands after ten years with Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, including the past six years as its marketing and e-commerce director. Previous to that, he spent over five years as a senior marketing manager at Warner Bros Entertainment. In September, Propel revealed that Patisserie Valerie was to close nine sites that it feels will “not recover sufficiently” following the pandemic. The company, which operates 95 sites in total, with the majority under the Bakers + Baristas brand, closed patisseries in Belfast Donegal Square, Belfast Castle Lane, Belfast Forestside, Victoria Station, Windsor, Dundee, Glasgow Central, Eastbourne and Exeter. In 2020, Causeway merged Patisserie Valerie and Bakers + Baristas to create a “high-quality patisserie and coffee group” with more than 125 locations in the UK and Ireland.

London indoor climbing gym concept looking to secure two more sites ahead of accelerated regional expansion from 2024: London indoor climbing gym concept The Font is looking to secure two more sites in the capital ahead of an accelerated regional expansion from 2024. Co-founded by Joey Powis, the fitness brand opened its debut site, in Wandsworth, in 2021, and earlier this year secured a second site, near London Bridge, which is on course to open later this month. “We are working alongside Shelley Sandzer to secure two more sites during 2023, which would get us to four, which would provide a platform to start rolling out quickly from 2024 onwards,” Powis told Propel. “We would like to keep our focus on London for the next 18 months and build our community within the capital. However, we do aspire to bring our model to other UK urban hubs such as Manchester. It would be great to build a strong London group of sites, and then extend across the country in the coming years. Climbing is an incredible discipline which I believe has a huge amount of growth ahead of it, and as our community of climbers flourishes, so will our growth plans. How quickly that will be depends on lots of factors that are difficult to predict, but we’ll be going as far as we can.” The London Bridge site will also offer coffee from neighbouring 92 Degrees, as well as craft beer and food from local dark kitchens, and Powis said the food and beverage offer will vary from site to site, “collaborating with local suppliers and businesses instead of competing with them”. The Wandsworth site, which typically sees 1,500-2,000 visitors per week and growing, was born from Powis’ frustration at not being able to pursue his love for outdoor activities when based mainly in central London for work. “I had some climbing gyms close by, which became my place to escape, and over time, it became more and more clear about what the perfect climbing gym should look like, before I finally took the plunge to start one,” he added.

Package of nine London freehold pubs brought to market: A package of nine London freehold pubs has been brought to market, with a combined value of £11.95m, Propel has learned. The freeholds, which are privately owned, are being marketed jointly by AG&G and Savills Auctions. They are available individually or as a group. The packages comprises the Bitter End, Romford (guide price £1,750,000); Durham Arms, Romford (£1,350,000); Royal Oak, Islington (£1,550,000); The Victoria, Tottenham (£1,350,000); Sir Robert Peel, Walworth (£750,000); Baring Arms, Islington (£1,500,000); Lord Southampton, Kentish Town (£1,750,000); and the former Duke of Clarence, Camberwell (£1,950,000).

Ex-Paul UK COO Gary Cowles joins Antic Pubs: Antic Pubs, the London-based pub operator, has appointed Gary Cowles, formerly of Paul UK, Stonegate Pub Company and Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), as its new chief operating officer, Propel has learned. Cowles joins the 16-strong Antic, which is led by founder Antony Thomas, after seven and a half years with artisan bakery chain Paul UK as its chief operating officer. He joined Paul after two years as a consultant working with Selfridges, Wickwar Brewing Company and Novus Leisure. Prior to that, he spent two and a half years as an operations director at Stonegate, after 11 years at M&B. Antic has five pubs in its openings pipeline, including new sites in Leyton, Norbury and Catford.

JKS Restaurants opens first international site: JKS Restaurants, led by Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi, has opened its first international site, in Qatar. The business has opened a site under its Sri Lankan brand Hoppers in Barahat Msheireb Downtown, Doha. The company, which has previously spoken about launching some of its brands in the Middle East, said: “Hoppers Doha seeks to bring you the best of Lanka, via London, but in a way that seamlessly integrates into its beautiful surroundings in Msheireb.” In September, Propel revealed that JKS, which currently operates three sites in the capital under Hoppers – in Soho, King’s Cross and Marylebone – was lining up a new opening at Montacute Yards, in Shoreditch High Street, for the brand. Propel also revealed in July that JKS was planning to open a new venture in Mayfair, on the former Momo restaurant site, and is understood to have applied to open on the site, in Heddon Street, under a new company heading, Riad Restaurants. JKS has also set up another company, Ladoo Restaurants, and applied to take over the neighbouring Mo Diner.

Heavenly Desserts strengthens team as it prepares to expand into international markets: Artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts has strengthened its team as it prepares to expand into international markets. Currently made up of 42 stores across the UK, Heavenly Desserts will launch the brand in Canada next month and has four openings in the pipeline. Martha Prudence, restaurant manager in Southampton, joins the head office as the new store openings trainer, while brand excellence auditor Louise Wilkinson, formerly of Hickory’s and Marston’s, is tasked with supporting franchisees and restaurants in all aspects of store operations. Warren Smith, area manager for the north and Scotland, brings previous experience as an area manager, along with his former role as a cluster manager for Greene King’s Farmhouse Inns brands, and will be responsible for supporting franchisees and general managers in the north. Yousif Aslam, co-founder and managing director, said: “With new innovative product launches happening all the time and the brand expanding internationally, we’re seeing incredibly exciting growth. As we move at pace, it is crucial we uphold the fantastic standard of Heavenly Desserts – be that in new stores both nationally and worldwide, or our existing store base.” Heavenly Desserts’ first international opening will be in the district of Mississauga, near Toronto. Master franchise rights have also already secured in the US, Pakistan and Copenhagen.

Giggling Squid co-founder closes Lime Squeezy Thai Kitchen in Brighton to focus on debut site: Pranee Laurillard, the co-founder of Giggling Squid, has closed the second site under her Thai fast-casual concept, Lime Squeezy Thai Kitchen, in Brighton. The restaurant, on the ex-PizzaExpress site in Jubilee Street, launched earlier this year but is now closed and on the market. Laurillard, who founded Giggling Squid with her husband Andy in 2009, launched the concept last year on the former Wahaca restaurant in Chichester, West Sussex. Propel understands that the business is planning further investment in this site.

Foodco UK agrees deal for Muffin Break site at Bradford shopping centre: Foodco UK has agreed a deal to open a Muffin Break site at The Broadway shopping centre in Bradford. The company has begun fitting out the 1,758 square-foot unit in the Charles Street Mall, offering its coffee made from 100% Arabica beans along with a selection of sweet and savoury options. Earlier this year, Foodco UK said it was planning to open another 15 sites across its Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue brands over the next 12 months.

Crudo founders to open first eat-in only restaurant for third site, in Hackney: Maria Yanez and Carlos Socorro, founders of London ceviche-focused concept Crudo, are to open an eat-in only restaurant in Hackney for their third site – with more outlets set to follow. The duo will open the venue in Mare Street on Thursday, 17 November. Crudo is expanding its menu to include hot dishes, a greater variety of ceviche and a South American focused cocktail menu. The restaurant’s launch comes ahead of other new openings for the concept, which is planning further sites before the end of the year. The menu at Mare Street will include a selection of bigger plates to share including 36-hour short ribs cooked in brown beer; and a whole fish cooked over coals with aji verde, a sauce of coriander, jalapenos and lime. Yanez and Socorro created Crudo in 2019, noticing a gap in the market for ceviche. The couple, both from Venezuela, met in Miami, where ceviche is the go-to quick bite. The first site opened in Fitzrovia in September 2019, with an outlet in Old Street, which has some dine-in tables, following.

Former Drake & Morgan director Taskin Muzaffer brings back Pedler with Canary Wharf launch: Taskin Muzaffer, the former operations manager and business development director for Drake & Morgan, has brought back his Pedler restaurant, this time in London’s Canary Wharf. Muzaffer launched the restaurant in Queen’s Road, Peckham, in 2014. It was moved further up the street in 2021 and renamed as Pedler Good Fortune, but the venue has been “temporarily closed”. Pedler has now made its comeback at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf. The menu includes king tiger prawns “al ajillio”; Iberico pork and foie gras sliders; and globe artichoke “oysters”, all to share, alongside cocktails, fresh beer from copper tanks and an artisan wine list. Pedler also has private hire spaces, with capacity for between 30 and 200 people. Muzaffer said: “We bring extraordinary people together to create extraordinary hospitality. It is in our blood, it is what we live by, and it is the lifestyle we curate. We keep it local in all that we do, taste and feel, from sustainable farming to day boat fishermen.”

My Supper Hero acquires fellow finish-at-home meal kit business: My Supper Hero, the meal delivery platform founded by Haché and Cabana founder Jamie Barber and singer Myleene Klaas last year, has acquired fellow finish-at-home meal kit business Finish and Feast. Barber said: “The acquisition continues our mission to help people eat brilliantly at home with less than ten minutes of effort at a fraction of the price of eating out, and at a comparable cost to many takeaways.” Klass added: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the thousands of Finish & Feast customers to My Supper Hero, and we look forward to helping time-poor couples and families eat restaurant quality suppers from the comfort of their own home.”

Parlour and Six Portland Road chef-owner to open third London site: Jesse Dunford Wood, chef-owner at gastropubs Parlour in Kensal Green and Six Portland Road in Holland Park, is set to open a third London site. Harvest will open in early 2023 at the site of a former curry house in Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, as an all-day restaurant serving breakfast through to brunch, lunch and dinner. There will be an emphasis on contemporary vegetarian dishes, which will complement British coastal fish and direct-from-farm meats, while the drinks offering will be wine-led, with refined cocktails and a strong non-alcoholic offering. It will have almost 40 seats inside and a secret heated covered garden in the back for 30, as well as a front terrace.

Steakhouse and late-night bar brand Pasture secures second Bristol site for new offer: Steakhouse and late-night bar brand Pasture is to launch a second site in Bristol under a new offer called Prime and Pasture. The business, which is owned by Sam Elliott and made its debut in Bristol in 2018 before expanding to Cardiff, has secured a site in the Redcliff Quarter, a major mixed-use development in central Bristol. It has acquired the long leasehold interest in a prominent corner unit, which fronts St Thomas Street and Cross Street, just round the corner from the company’s first restaurant on Portwall Lane. It plans to open a new butcher’s shop, grocery, burger joint and breakfast offering on the new site in early 2023. Elliott said “Redcliffe has undergone a major transformation since we first opened our doors in 2018. Both residential ans office blocks are being constructed all around us and it’s fast becoming a stylish and sought-after central location for Bristol. We are very excited to bring our new offer to Redcliffe with an emphasis on high quality food and sustainable production and plans for further expansion next year.” Arc Retail acted on the Redcliffe deal.

South west restaurant operators acquire Cornish pub for third site: South west restaurant operators Tamara Costin and William Speed have acquired a pub in Cornwall for their third site. The duo, who own Beachhouse in Kingsbridge and The Schoolhouse in Mothecombe, have bought the Seven Stars in Flushing. Costin said the pair had been on the lookout for the right pub establishment in Cornwall “for some time”. The owners of the acclaimed Beachhouse and Schoolhouse in Devon have purchased a new site in Cornwall. Costin said: “We’re aiming for an opening date of early spring 2023, with rooms following on thereafter. We’ll be ensuring all the food and most of the drinks, apart from some wine and spirits, will be Cornish, with the pub remaining a great local drinking spot, while building a solid reputation as a destination dining location.” Speed added: “As you can imagine, we are abuzz with ideas, concepts and plans. This most definitely feels like my family and I are coming home to this beguiling corner of Cornwall. We can'’ wait to get the pub turned around and open again with our Beachhouse DNA additions.”

Middle Eastern restaurant group Nothing But Love set for UK debut next month: Middle Eastern restaurant group Nothing But Love is set to make its UK debut next month with Mayha in London’s Marylebone. As reported in August, the group will open the omakase restaurant over two floors at 43 Chiltern Street. Founded 20 years ago, Nothing But Love, which originated in Lebanon, operates ten restaurants in the Middle East including Meat the Fish, Maryool, Skirt and The Backburner. It also recently launched Nothing But Love Kitchens, a gourmet cloud kitchen venture catering to seven in-house brands and one external brand. The London opening on Thursday, 8 December, is a big step for Nothing But Love after two of the group’s restaurants, including Mayha Beirut, were destroyed in the chemical blast that shook the Lebanese capital two years ago. Head chefs Jurek Wasio and Yuichi Nakaya, who have previously worked in London at Yashin Ocean House and Yashin Sushi, have been recruited direct from Mayha Beirut. Their menu will use seasonal ingredients sourced from local and Japanese suppliers, while the drinks list will include sake, spirits, wine and beer. The ground floor will be home to a counter where guests can interact with the chefs, while the lower ground floor will offer a Japanese raw bar and courtyard.

Scottish independent brand to open first site outside Ayrshire at start of next year: Kitchen 77, the Scottish independent brand owned by Chris Steele, will open its first site outside Ayrshire at the start of next year. Stailinn Scottish Kitchen is the latest venture from the team behind Ayrshire venues Drunken Coo Steakhouse, Hollybush Inn, Arthur Street Kitchen and Stage Door Cafe. As reported by Propel in November last year, it has secured a site in Glasgow’s Silverburn shopping centre. A poster on the door stated: “Coming early 2023, traditional Scottish cooking – breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, wine and cocktails.” The restaurant will have a balcony bar and a seated area and will also offer delivery.

Gusto Italian to open in Oxford next month: Premium casual dining restaurant group Gusto Italian will open the doors to its new restaurant in Oxford next month. Propel revealed in July that the Matt Snell-led business had secured the historic Mitre Hotel building in Oxford’s High Street for its 14th site. It will now open on Thursday, 1 December, with the 170-cover dining room featuring an open-plan theatre kitchen as well as a cocktail lounge and bar serving Gusto’s signature drinks and classic cocktails. Upstairs will be a private 60-cover dining room available to hire. The restaurant will serve contemporary Italian dishes on its à la carte and set menus and has launched a brand-new wine list with 50 hand-picked Italian wines. It will also offer Gusto’s new immersive Pizza Experience, where groups between six and ten can enjoy four courses over two hours and make their own sourdough pizzas and cannolis. Snell said: “We’ve been working tirelessly to restore the building back to its former glory and can’t wait for everyone to see it and enjoy the Gusto Italian experience. We are pleased to restore this once-loved landmark and can’t wait to reintroduce the venue to the Oxford drinking and dining scene.”

London vegan concept set to open second site this month: London vegan concept We Are Vegan Everything (WAVE) is set to open its second site later this month. Founders Caitlyn Thornhill and Sophie Beale opened their first bricks-and-mortar site, in Hackney’s Dispensary Lane, in January 2019 after together running a vegan bakery in Camden Market. The new site, opposite Stoke Newington Farmers Market in Stoke Newington Road, will offer an all-day menu as well as a takeaway service. Dishes include a ‘Save the Salmon’ bagel made with marinated carrots, cream cheese, cucumber, dill and watercress, as well as a gluten free mushroom roll and peanut butter and jam cookie. A festive toastie featuring a sourdough ciabatta with gravy marinated roast ‘chicken’, stuffing, sprouts, pink slaw, homemade horseradish and cranberry sauce will kick off the seasonal specials, while drinks include peanut butter and salted caramel coffees.

Chester independent wine bar to open Manchester site next month: Chester independent wine bar Covino will open its second site, a bar based on the roof of Bruntwood Work’s Blackfriars House in Manchester, next month. As first revealed in the summer, Climat will be a 100-cover restaurant with an outdoor terrace, featuring a “contemporary Parisian-style” and more than 250 wines from across the world. This will be complimented by an ever-changing daily menu developed by executive chef Luke Richardson and head chef Simon Ulph. Dishes will include whole turbot and slow cooked lamb shoulder, served alongside a selection of snacks and larger plates. Christopher Laidler, owner of Climat, said: “After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly my own), I couldn’t be happier we’re one step closer to bringing Climat to life. Climat is essentially going to be a place for guests to share our passion for really good food and drink in a relaxed rooftop setting, with what I think is one of the best views of Manchester’s skyline.” The restaurant will open on Monday, 5 December.

Team behind Swift venues in London launches third site for cocktail bar concept: The team behind two Swift venues in London have launched a third site for the cocktail bar concept. Bobby Hiddleston, who previously worked at New York’s Dead Rabbit, and Mia Johansson, who used to tend the bar at Milk and Honey, have again partnered with husband-and-wife team Edmund Weil and Rosie Stimpson, who operate Nightjar and Oriole, for Swift Borough. The team, which launched the concept in 2016, also own Swift bars in Soho and Shoreditch. The new venue is based over two storeys in Borough High Street, with the downstairs bar offering an intimate, seated area, with a high-concept menu featuring 11 original cocktails inspired by the history of its Southwark surroundings. Hiddleston said: “Borough is such a quintessential part of London, known the world over for its amazing produce, restaurants and nightlife. We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a vibrant community to bring our vision of Swift Borough to life.”

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