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Thu 10th Nov 2022 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Tim Martin – sector has made a ‘massive mistake’ in constantly asking for support when what it needs is equality, Wetherspoon going head-to-head with McDonald’s and Wagamama with new menu items: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has argued the licensed trade has made a “massive mistake” in constantly asking for “support” when it instead needs equality. Speaking to Propel following the company’s first-quarter trading update, Martin said it was “impossible to be sure” whether the softening of trade in recent weeks was a blip or a trend. Like-for-like sales for the 14 weeks to 6 November 2022 were 9.6% higher than the same period last year and 0.4% higher than the 14 weeks ending 3 November 2019. For the first nine weeks of the financial year, sales were 1.5% above the same period in calendar year 2019, while for the last five weeks, sales were 1.1% lower than the same period in 2019 However, the news did spark investor concern, sending the company’s share price down by 9% before it slightly recovered, finishing the day down 6.3%. Martin said: “Consumers will definitely have less money, but we will try and persuade them to abandon supermarkets and to return to the fold in spite of the economic climate. VAT free dinner parties should be discouraged, we say. The licensed trade has made a massive mistake in constantly asking for ‘support’. We don’t need support. Pubs support the government – not vice versa. Wetherspoon alone pays more than 40% of its sales to the government – about one pound in every thousand the government receives in taxes of one kind or another. Every pub and restaurant in the land does the same pro rata. We don’t need support, we need equality. But only Wetherspoon and a few family brewers seem even to understand this point, let alone campaign for it. Asking for support sounds like we’re asking for a special favour. We’re not. We’re asking for the same tax regime as supermarkets. Supermarkets pay no VAT on food sales and pubs pay 20%. Supermarkets also pay far less business rates per pint.” Wetherspoon is also taking on McDonald’s and Wagamama with new menu items. Martin said: “We’ve launched an American burger to go head to head with the Big Mac, which has a price reduction (priced between £4.69-£8.45 depending on size and drink option). The new heatwave burger is very popular – comes with chicken hot sauce and hash brown. We also have a katsu curry to take on Wagamama and introduced a halloumi and roast vegetable salad for vegetarians.” Wetherspoon revealed in the update it would be disposing of a further seven sites, which Martin would not reveal the locations of at this stage. However, he said no further pub sales were planned. 

Industry News:

Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature updated accounts for 74 companies, another 18 businesses added: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, will feature updated accounts for 74 companies. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book tomorrow (Friday, 11 November), at midday. Another 18 companies have been added, taking the total to 656. They are turning over a collective £33.6bn. The Blue Book shows 354 sector companies reporting total profits of £2.1bn while total losses of £4.0bn are being reported by 302 companies. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of 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.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a business in the tech/delivery/dark kitchen space that is looking for a head of analytics. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “You will be owning process and business tools across the company to acquire, store and interrogate data, building and maintaining ETL processes, working with key partnerships and working closely with tech leads in the business.” The salary is up to £70,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Big Table Group appoints John Baker as MD of Bella Italia: The Big Table Group, the operator of Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, has appointed John Baker as managing director of its Bella Italia brand, Propel has learned. The Alan Morgan-led, Epiris-backed business said Baker has a wealth of leadership experience including roles at Pizza Hut (senior operations leader), Debenhams (divisional director, restaurants and cafes) and more recently with Krispy Kreme, where he was chief operating officer. Baker, who started his career with Allied Domecq and Mitchells & Butlers, was also previously operations director at Betty's and Taylor's of Harrogate. He will join the circa 70-strong Bella Italia on Monday (14 November). Propel also understands Megan Trimble, formerly of Tim Hortons and The Restaurant Group, has joined Bella Italia as its new marketing director. Trimble joins Bella Italia after more than three years at Tim Hortons UK & Ireland, most recently as its marketing controller. In September, Propel revealed Big Table Group, which also owns the Banana Tree brand, had restructured its business team to ensure greater focus on brand performance. As a result, Morgan, who will continue as chief executive, has also taken the role of managing director of Las Iguanas, with Lisa Gibbons appointed as managing director of a portfolio of brands including Café Rouge, Amalfi, Center Parcs concessions and Big Table Group’s franchised business. As part of the restructure, the business created new chief operating officer and HR director roles within Las Iguanas and Bella Italia, and also streamlined some of the group/shared roles, including chief marketing officer, to focus more on the individual brands.

Wendy’s remains committed to UK expansion plans despite cost pressures, energy prices rise by up to 60%: Wendy’s remains committed to its UK expansion plans, despite cost pressures which have seen energy costs rise by up to 60%. Chief executive Todd Penegor was speaking following the company’s third quarter trading update, at which point its return to the UK market has seen 25 Wendy’s restaurants open since last year, including nine company-owned ones. “Clearly, in the UK, the macro backdrop is a little bit more challenged, but we're still committed to building out that market. We continue to invest in company restaurants, we’ve got REEF units open and we’ve got six new franchisees signed up,” said Penegor. “So, our big opportunity in Europe is to build out the UK first. We continue to then think about how do we get into Ireland, and then over time, into Spain. We continue to prospect for good partners on all of those markets to continue to grow alongside of us. With the consumer economic backdrop and the macroeconomic backdrop, does that take a little bit longer than what we had originally thought? Time will tell.” Chief financial officer Gunther Plosch said: “We have definitely seen a pretty hefty headwind on energy cost. Energy costs are up 50% to 60%, and that obviously puts margin under pressure. I would also say that sales are slightly lower than what we had expected. As a result, obviously, you’re not getting as much leverage into that P&L as we thought. Having said that, we think this is temporary, which is evidenced by UK entrepreneurs signing up as franchisees since they believe in the potential of those markets. It’s a speed bump and not more.” Penegor added: “We’re playing a long-term game. We do have start-up costs that go with opening the restaurants, but it’s a key pillar to really driving the growth across the region.”
Rocafella Leisure secures rights to bring immersive Nerf attraction to UK, plans rollout in Britain and overseas: Manchester leisure group, Rocafella Leisure, has secured the rights for Nerf Action Xperience (NAX) with US entertainment company, Hasbro, to bring the concept to the UK. The first site, spanning 35,000 square foot, will open at the Trafford Palazzo in Manchester next summer. It will be the prelude to the start of a UK-wide and overseas roll-out of NAX venues. Each NAX centre will provide guests with a multitude of Nerf-fuelled indoor activities to explore. They will comprise three different zones in a purpose-built and immersive environment. The competition zone will allow groups to battle it out with different Nerf blasters in three immersive themed arenas. The sports zone will feature a huge atrium of Nerf-related sports challenges, including basketball and football volley. And there is a dedicated training zone to hone players’ targeting skills. Chris Hayes, Rocafella Leisure chief executive, said: “It has been a huge and momentous effort by all my team to finally turn this exciting project into reality. We want NAX to become a brand leader in the world of family entertainment and leisure attractions. This first opening will mark the start of multiple NAX venues popping up across the country and overseas over the next five to ten years.” Matt Proulx, vice-president location based entertainment at Hasbro, added: “Hasbro is continually introducing innovative experiences for consumers – and we’re excited to partner with Rocafella Leisure to bring the NAX experience to fans throughout the UK.” Partnering NAX in providing guests with refreshments will be Manchester food and beverage business, Archie’s, providing visitors with its burgers, shakes and waffles, while delivering children’s parties for NAX.
NWTC eyes Bournemouth opening for The Botanist: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company (NWTC) is set to further add to its openings pipeline with a site in Bournemouth. Propel understands the 35-strong business has applied to open a site under its The Botanist brand inside Bobby’s shopping centre in Commercial Road in the Dorset town. Last month, the company said it expects to continue opening new venues at a rate of between five and eight per year, creating around 500 jobs annually, with sites in Edinburgh, Durham, Sunderland, Barnsley and a second site in Chester – which will feature new concept North Light - already in progress for 2023. The business operates under eight brands – The Botanist, The Florist, The Club House, The Oast House, The Canal House, The Trading House, The Smugglers Cove and The Furnace. 
Vanessa Hall joins Rare Restaurants as non-executive director: Vanessa Hall, the former Vapiano, YO! and Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) executive, has joined Rare Restaurants, the owner of Gaucho and M Restaurants, as a non-executive director, Propel has learned. Hall, who stepped down as chair of London gastro-pub operator Cubitt House last summer, is currently chair at fast-growing leisure company Gravity Active. Hall was previously chief executive at YO! and brand operations director at M&B. She was also previously chief executive of Vapiano SE after serving on its advisory board. Propel revealed last month that Rare Restaurants has appointed advisors to review its funding options. The Martin Williams-led business, which in its last financial year posted turnover of £53m and Ebitda of £10.8m, has appointed Clearwater International to assess its options, which could include a sale of the business. Williams told Propel: “We are assessing our strategic options after a highly successful 18 months trading post pandemic. After enjoying sustained sector leading growth, we anticipate turnover for 2022 will exceed £70m.” Investec Bank and debt specialist SC Lowy acquired Gaucho as part of restructure of the business at the end of 2018. In April 2019, holding company Lomo Bidco, an entity owned by Investec and SC Lowy, acquired M Restaurants. The transaction brought together M Restaurants’ then three venues and Gaucho’s 16 restaurants. Williams set out a five-year growth plan for Rare earlier this year, which could see it opening up to 30 new sites across the UK. So far this year, it has opened a Gaucho in Glasgow and a new M site in Canary Wharf. Further Gaucho openings are lined up in Newcastle, Liverpool and Cardiff.

Trio of former Harcourt Inns sites for sale: A trio of London-based, freehold pubs which previously formed part of the Harcourt Inns estate have been brought to the market, Propel has learned. The sites are being considered for sale either individually or as a portfolio. The pubs which are being considered for sale are The Crown in Chiswick and The Three Cranes in the City, both of which have letting bedrooms, and the Harcourt in Marylebone. Paul Breen, director in the licensed leisure team at Savills, which is marketing the sites, said: “It is extremely rare to see freehold properties of this quality being brought to the market. The pubs have all been tastefully refurbished in recent years and are presented in excellent order. They represent a fantastic opportunity for established operators and new entrants to acquire properties in some of London’s most exclusive locations.” James McCulloch founded Harcourt Inns in 2014 with the acquisition and refurbishment of The Harcourt in Marylebone. He subsequently went on to develop The Three Cranes in the City, The Coach in Clerkenwell, The Hero of Maida in Maida Vale, The Crown in Chiswick and KPH in Notting Hill
ETM Group and Maven Leisure appoint new marketing director: ETM Group, which operates 17 premium bars, pubs and restaurants in central London, and Maven Leisure, the new venture from ETM Group’s co-founder Ed Martin, chief financial officer Landen Prescott Brann and non-executive chairman Graham Turner, have appointed Kate Macdonald as marketing director. Martin said: “We’re thrilled to bring Kate on board at a critical time for both our business and the industry. Kate’s extensive experience and breadth of understanding in fast-moving consumer goods, hospitality and consumer will be critical in driving our ambitious growth plans over the next few years.” Macdonald, who has held various senior leadership roles at both Heineken and Sipsmith, added: “ETM has long been a company I’ve admired, for its disruptive and bold approach to both consumer and concept. During a turbulent time for hospitality, it is imperative we give an outstanding yet distinctive consumer experience in each venue to drive loyalty and retention.” 
Star’s JAT pubs double premium offering following soaring wine and spirit sales: Just Add Talent (JAT) pubs, a managed operator of Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, has doubled its premium offering following soaring wine and spirit sales. In response to the trend, JAT is now allocating a third of its new drinks menus to premium wine and spirits selections. Star Pubs & Bars wine category buyer, Roberta Neave, said: “Ongoing strong sales of premium products, from wine and spirit to food, across our JAT estate has encouraged us to upweight our premium offer. Star Pubs & Bars JAT wine sales are tracking 14.08% above the managed pub operator market, and spirits 11.23%. Before, premium wine and spirits accounted for 15% of the menu, but we feel the sustained momentum justifies doubling our premium selection, providing operators with greater margins. With our new menu, we are supercharging pub classic wine and spirit choices and making them the best they can be. Whereas customers previously would get a white wine and soda spritzer, now they will be offered a NZ Marlborough Sauvignon with cucumber. With spirits, an Espresso Martini will now become an Ultimate Espresso Martini with Ciroc Vodka, and Bucks Fizz will be premiumised through the addition of Cointreau Orange Liqueur. People want to eat and drink locally, and in spite of the cost-of-living crisis, many are treating themselves when they go out. They might not go out so often, but they make sure it is special when they do.”
Foodco makes Manchester debut with latest Jamaica Blue, set to open two more Muffin Breaks before end of 2022: Foodco has opened its first Manchester restaurant with the launch of a Jamaica Blue in Arndale. Propel reported in August that Foodco had signed for a site in the shopping centre, and it has now opened a 4,206 square-foot, two-floor unit after agreeing a ten-year lease. Josh Nixon, head of estates for Jamaica Blue UK, said: “We’re thrilled to be opening at Manchester Arndale and excited to share our high-quality coffee and delicious menu with Manchester’s foodies.” While its 18th UK site will be the last Jamaica Blue opening of 2022, Foodco is set to open two further Muffin Breaks before the end of the year. Propel reported earlier this week that Foodco had secured a site at Bradford’s Broadway shopping centre for the brand, and this will now open on Friday, 2 December. That will be followed by a final opening of the year, in Reading, on Thursday, 15 December, taking the number of Muffin Breaks in the UK to 62. Metis Real Estate and Time Retail Partners are Manchester Arndale’s retained letting agents.
Team behind London Victoria’s Venetian-inspired Italian restaurant and bar Tozi to open site at UK’s debut art’otel: The team behind Venetian-inspired Italian restaurant and bar Tozi in London’s Victoria is to open a site at the new art’otel Battersea Power Station. The Tozi Grand Café will launch on Monday, 12 December when the hotel welcomes its first guests. The Tozi Grand Café will offer menus of Venetian cicchetti, antipasti afternoon teas and brunches. The hotel will be the first UK opening for the art’otel brand, which is owned by PPHE Hotel Group. The opening of the Tozi Grand Café will be followed by the official launch of the hotel, spa and skyline restaurant JOIA by Michelin-starred chef Henrique Sá Pessoa in February. JOIA will showcase Pessoa’s take on traditional plates using the best of British and Iberian produce. It will also offer a cocktail menu with views of London’s skyline from 14 floors up. The 164-bedroom hotel is located within Battersea Roof Gardens.
Luxury holiday park operator Haulfryn Group reports revenue exceeds pre-pandemic levels following ‘staycation’ boost: Luxury holiday park operator Haulfryn Group has reported a revenue boost resulting from “staycation” trends for the year ending 31 January 2022. The group reported turnover of £74,907,000 for the period, up from £49,997,000 in 2021. It was also up on the £62,854,000 reported in the last full year before the pandemic (to 31 January 2020). Pre-tax profits were also up, from £4,514,000 in 2021 to £6,313,000 (2020: £5,693,000). It also received £724,000 in government support, compared to £1,880,000 in 2021. During periods of covid-enforced lockdown, the group focused on food delivery and takeaway services at its parks, introduced contactless check-in and awarded pitch owners a £400,000 rebate. “While the closure periods had an inevitable impact on trading levels, heightened consumer interest in UK ‘staycations’ helped the business deliver particularly strong performance following the reopening of the parks, with customers seeking to secure bookings not just in peak trading weeks, but equally in traditionally quieter times,” said the company. “Sales of holiday homes were also strong, delivering a pleasing level of revenue and profit.” Total dividends of £1.3m were paid (2021: £1.1m). Since the year-end, in April 2022, the company was acquired by a newly established holding company, Suffolk Street Holdings. “The group reorganisation was the first step in a demerger of the business that may ultimately lead to the sale of the company to a third party,” the company said. Coxsts of £1.3m were paid relating to the reorganisation and demerger. Following that, Haulfryn last month sold eight of its parks to RoyaleResorts, leaving it with just two sites in England and three in Wales, as well as its residential parks. Chief executive Adrian Patten said the sales were part of a move away from short-term holiday rentals towards the premium owner market.
St Pancras Hotels Group set to launch new Italian flour lab concept: St Pancras Hotels Group, based in King’s Cross, is set to launch new Italian flour lab concept Spagnoletti next week. Opening in Euston Road on Wednesday, 16 November, the concept will be centred around flour, with high quality ingredients made fresh every day in its live pasta lab. These will include pastries, breads, snacks, small plates, sharing plates, pasta dishes and sweet desserts. Set over two floors, it will offer a menu which is a collaboration between group executive chef Manuele Bazzoni and head chef Girolamo de Gennaro. An early morning classic breakfast menu will include eggs Florentine with freshly brewed coffee, while from lunchtime onwards, guests can watch the making of dishes such as spaghetti alla chitarra, rigatoni and oxtail mafalde. There will also be beers on tap and a creative cocktail station. The name and design are inspired by Charles Spagnoletti, the 19th century London engineer and inventor who was responsible for the development of the telegraphic signalling systems first used on the Metropolitan Line, passing through King’s Cross station.

Former Ginger Pig and Coal Shed head chef lines up first solo restaurant, in Brighton: Former Ginger Pig and Coal Shed head chef Dave Mothersill has lined up his first solo restaurant venture. Furma, which opens on Brighton’s New Road on Wednesday, 30 November, will feature a regularly changing menu highlighting the season’s best produce, and place an emphasis on whole animal cookery, dry aged meat and a combination of classic and modern techniques. Dishes on a multi-course tasting menu will include baked potato parker house rolls with roasted yeast butter and fermented honey; and barbecue oysters with bonito butter, walnut and caviar. A wine pairing designed to accompany the tasting menu will featuring a wide-ranging selection from the UK, Japan, Lebanon, Italy and more, while cocktails will make use of waste products from the kitchen. Named after the Furner family, former owners of the land the restaurant sits on, the 37-cover venue will also feature counter seating overlooking the open kitchen, and a private dining area for up to six people. Mothersill said: “I could not be prouder to see my very own vision and concept come to life in the city I’ve called home for 20 years. I can’t wait to share the menu and showcase some of my favourite producers and suppliers from across the country.”

Better burger brand Boo secures Manchester site: Better burger brand Boo Burger has secured its first site in the north west, in Manchester. The company, which was founded in Leicester in 2017 by Mohammed Suleman and recently secured its fifth site, in Derby, will open in Circle Square, the joint venture between Bruntwood SciTech and Vita Group on the former BBC site in the city. Boo is opening a 3,000 square-foot site underneath Vita Living East at the scheme. It will join North Brewing Co, which will be opening its first north west site, taking a 2,590 square-foot space underneath the Vita Living East tower. The two tenants are expected to create a further 50 jobs in the area once they are open. Propel revealed last week that Boo Burger also plans to open sites in Cheapside in Preston, Alcester Road in Birmingham, and Gallowtree Gate in Leicester, either as franchises or centrally-run restaurants. The business has also lined up an opening in Abu Dhabi, its first overseas, in the Yas Mall. The company currently operates two sites in Leicester, a site in Loughborough, and one in Nottingham’s Trinity Square, which opened earlier this year. 

Former The Landmark London executive sous chef returns with his own pub: Former The Landmark London executive sous chef Matt Fletcher has returned to run his own pub at the venue. Fletcher first worked at The Landmark between 2009 and 2012 – working up from sous chef to senior sous chef and then executive sous chef – before taking on various executive and head chef roles in Australia. He has now returned to The Landmark as chef de cuisine and to open Great Central Pub by Matt Fletcher, formerly the Great Central Bar & Restaurant. Opening on 28 November, Fletcher will lead all menus and innovations and oversee the day to day running of the gastropub. Among the bar snacks will be scotch egg with piccalilli and sticky honey mustard pork belly bites, while a menu of pub classics will feature beer battered market British fish with hand cooked chips. The drinks list will include locally sourced beers and ales, a global wine list, cocktails and mocktails and speciality coffees. Fletcher said: “I am thrilled to be back at The Landmark London. Some five-star hotels and high-end places can often make people feel unwelcome and out of place, but I want my pub to feel welcoming and not stuffy. An affordable place where you can relax with family, friends, a partner or even alone.” Fergus Stewart, general manager at The Landmark, added: “It’s great for us to welcome Matt back to the kitchens at the hotel, but this time in his own establishment, which I know will be a fantastic addition to the property.”

Pieminister secures B Corp status: Bristol-based pie and mash restaurant operator Pieminister has become a certified B Corp, joining a global community of businesses audited and proven to meet high environmental and social accountability and transparency. Not only does B Corp certification verify those high ethical standards, but also requires a commitment to constant improvement, with companies required to recertify every three years. Pieminister, which was founded by Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon in 2003, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we are now a B Corp We’re chuffed to join a global community that uses business as a force for good, balancing purpose and profit while continuously aiming to achieve higher environmental and social standards. Pies, Planet and People have been at the core of our business since we started back in 2003, and this is just the beginning. We promise to keep trying to Bake Things Better.” The company, which currently operates 15 restaurants, launched a franchise opportunity in the UK last year, with the goal of having 100 pie shops and 300 digital pie restaurants by 2030. The business is working with Seed Consulting on its franchise plans – which will focus on the roll out of three formats – kiosk, cafe and restaurant.

Tomahawk Steakhouse to open Nottingham site on Friday: North east multi-site operator Howard Eggleston will open a site for his Tomahawk Steakhouse brand in Nottingham on Friday (11 November). The restaurant will open in the former Carluccio’s premises in Lower Pavement. Eggleston said he had been eyeing Nottingham for a while, and when the site came up, it was a “no brainer”. The restaurant has more than 105 covers and a private dining space upstairs, and has created 35 jobs. Eggleston launched Tomahawk five years ago in Potto, North Yorkshire, and its popularity has led to openings across the north east and further afield under three brands – Rio Brazilian Steakhouse, Tomahawk Steakhouse and Pollo. Eggleston aims to have a 25-strong estate by the end of the year, with openings in Sunderland and Altrincham in the pipeline.

Aqua Restaurant Group to open fifth London site later this month: Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, the David Yeo-founded business that operates a portfolio of restaurants across the globe, will open its fifth London site later this month. As previously reported, sushi spot Shiro, which will be based at 100 Liverpool Street, will follow in the footsteps of Aqua Shard, Hutong, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Nueva. It will feature a sushi counter and robata counter, along with an outdoor terrace, and serve up an offering including “intensely flavoured” crystal sushi. As well as its London sites, Aqua operates eight in Hong Kong, two in Beijing and one each in New York, Miami and Dubai.

Alcohol-free craft beer brewer Big Drop overfunds on £2m fundraise to support expansion plans: Alcohol-free craft beer brewer Big Drop has overfunded on its £2m fundraise to support its expansion plans. Propel revealed last month that the company, founded in 2016 by Rob Fink and James Kindred, was launching the campaign on Seedrs 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. It has now closed the fundraise, having raised £2,217,941 from 209 investors. They were offered equity of 13.48%, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £14.2m.

BaxterStorey appoints new people director: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has appointed Arran McDowell, former UK HR director at fellow contract caterers Elior, as its new people director. Having spent the last 15 years with Elior, McDowell previously held roles at both Carphone Warehouse and HSBC. “BaxterStorey has seen incredible growth, and this is thanks to the teams who have been given the support and guidance to be innovative and bring their ideas to life,” he said. “Hospitality is an incredibly diverse and exciting industry to work in, and I look forward to working with the people team, and wider business, to build on our talent attraction and find more future stars of foodservice.” Ronan Harte, chief executive at BaxterStorey, added: “Our people are crucial in every aspect of our business, therefore strong leadership in our people team is fundamental to delivering a people-first employee proposition. I am therefore delighted that Arran has joined the BaxterStorey leadership team.”

Former Holiday Inn hotel in West Yorkshire acquired out of administration: A West Yorkshire hotel that was undergoing a phased refurbishment when IHG Hotels & Resorts served notice to withdraw its Holiday Inn brand has been rescued out of administration. Rehan Ahmed and Tauseef Rashid, of Quantuma, helped deliver the sale of the former Tong Holiday Inn hotel, on the outskirts of Bradford, to Tong Marquee for an undisclosed sum. Formerly trading as a Holiday Inn, the hotel property dates to the 19th century and was purchased by Bir Hotels (UK) in November 2017 for an undisclosed sum. IHG Hotels & Resorts served notice to withdraw its Holiday Inn brand from the 59-bedroom venue in December 2021. Along with the impact of the pandemic, the withdrawal of the hotel brand made trading difficult, which led to Quantuma being appointment as administrators in January 2022. Tong Marquee has confirmed it intends to continue to trade the property as a hotel.

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