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Tue 22nd Nov 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Churn and payrolls levels rising as one in nine hospitality jobs remain vacant, but recruitment efforts starting to pay off: The sector is experiencing rising payrolls and levels of churn as one in nine hospitality jobs remain vacant, despite recent improvements in recruitment, new surveys from CGA by NielsenIQ and Fourth reveal. The October Business Confidence Survey shows 11% of roles are vacant – a figure level with the last survey three months ago but down from a peak vacancy rate of 15% at the height of the pandemic. The recovery in recruitment since the end of covid-19 restrictions means the sector has increased its headcount by 8.8% in the 12 months to September, according to Fourth’s latest Hospitality Workforce Report. It suggests efforts to attract more people to work in the industry, including through the Hospitality Rising campaign, are starting to pay off. The data from Fourth’s Hospitality Workforce Report, which analyses more than 700 companies across the UK restaurant, pub, bar, quick service restaurant and hotel sectors, shows a staff turnover rate of 8.3% in September – equivalent to one in 12 workers vacating their post. This is the highest figure since March 2020, when the start of the pandemic led many overseas workers to return home. Staff shortages have forced many hospitality operators to raise pay levels to attract new workers, while the Business Confidence Survey indicates average pay has risen by 9% in the last 12 months. Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, added: “Brexit and covid-19 have taken a heavy toll on staffing in hospitality, and with one in nine jobs open, there are clearly some severe challenges in recruitment and retention. Operators are working flat out to recruit, and cross-industry initiatives like Hospitality Rising are helping to sell the sector as a great place to work, but the staffing crisis is likely to stretch well into 2023.”
 

Industry News:

KellyDeli CMO Steve Flanagan among speakers at Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023, open for bookings: Steve Flanagan, chief marketing officer of KellyDeli, owner of the Sushi Daily concept, will be among the speakers at the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, aiming to build a community, promote the sharing of ideas, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference as the centrepiece of the January event series, taking place on 24 and 25 January at One Moorgate Place in London. Flanagan will talk about building a business case for media. More than 50 industry and agency leaders take to the stage over two days, representing brands including Gails Bakery, Hawksmoor, Burger King UK, Loungers, The Alchemist, Hall & Woodhouse, BrewDog, East Coast Concepts, Press Up Hospitality Group, Krispy Kreme, Mission Mars, Inception Group, New World Trading Company, MJMK, Caprice Holdings, Hakkasan, Gusto Italian, Tattu Restaurants, Red Engine, Vapiano, The Cocktail Club, Hilton, Elior, Flat Earth Pizzas, Lollipop, Lego Restaurants, Cornish Bakery, Chotto Matte, Ping Pong, Nobu, Searcys and Six by Nico. Day one themes will be consumer and sector trends, start-ups, concepts and creativity and digital evolution, while day two focuses on purpose and responsible business, strategies for growth and communication and culture. Tickets for operators for the two days are £600 plus VAT and £350 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £950 plus VAT for the two days and £525 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jo Charity at Propel on jo.charity@propelinfo.com.
 
Fifth UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database released today, almost 100 pages of content: The fifth UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Tuesday, 22 November) at midday. With almost 100 pages of content, it will provide insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details of 170 companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK. The new entries are fast-growing chai and Indian street food business Filli; Mexican street food restaurant Plan Burrito; noodle-in-a-box concept Ned’s Noodle Bar; Indian street food cafe brand Chai Green; Canada-based Korean cuisine concept Stickbug; all-day Italian casual dining concept Ci Gusto; American-style restaurant chain Monterey Jack’s; Greek food van concept My Greek Fat Wrap; urban dessert experience Love Churros; premium dessert concept Haute Dolci, dessert and coffee brand Stuffed Gelato; independent dessert operator The G Factory; board game concept The Dice Box; Indian online restaurant company Rebel Foods; halal burger and pizza business Mak Halal and Canadian bakery cafe concept Cinnzeo. Premium subscribers also receive access to The New Openings Database; the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; and the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides from this month's Propel Multi-Club Conference. The videos will be sent on Wednesday, 30 November, at 9am. 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 Friday Wrap interviews and 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. They 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.
 
Deliverect to reveal key trends in consumer behaviour around purchasing takeaways and delivery in Propel sector supplier video series: In the latest of Propel's video interviews with leading sector suppliers, Propel insights editor Mark Wingett talks to Zhong Xu, co-founder and chief executive of Deliverect, the Belgian start-up streamlining the restaurant industry with its online food delivery management software. They discuss a survey the business recently carried out with 7,000 people on consumer behaviour around purchasing takeaways and delivery, the key trends it revealed, including how people are continuing to use takeout options, and increasingly focusing on quality and peer reviews. The video will be sent out at 9am today (Tuesday, 22 November)
 
Law firm launches fresh covid insurance claim on behalf of Allianz policyholders: Law firm Mischon de Raya has launched a fresh covid insurance claim on behalf on Allianz policyholders and urged any operators wishing to join the action to come forward. The firm was involved in the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) test case concerning the scope of insurance cover for covid-19 business interruption losses, and is also acting for Various Eateries in its High Court case against its insurer. It has now secured funding for a claim against Allianz, with the intention to pursue a group covid-19 business interruption action on behalf of several medium to large-sized hospitality policyholders. The action will initially be in respect of a specific denial of access clause, but potentially in other relevant clauses too, and the firm is aiming to have all policyholders who wish to join signed up by the end of the year. It said some insurers have continued to deny cover, either entirely or in part, for any wordings that were not specifically addressed by the FCA test case, which has given rise to a second wave of covid-19 litigation by policyholders. It added that certain policies with denial of access clauses should provide cover for covid-19 business interruption losses, and the majority of businesses with such cover are likely to be in the hospitality industry. Richard Leedham and Sonia Campbell, the Mishcon de Reya partners who successfully represented a large number of hospitality businesses in the FCA test case, said: “It is surprising how many businesses may still be covered for covid-19 business interruption losses and yet are not pursuing claims under their denial of access clauses. In our experience, the insurance industry has spent months telling businesses they don’t have cover, and many policyholders have simply accepted that at face value. It is now clear many insured do have cover in principle under clauses, which after the test cases, many thought would not respond. Please get in touch if you or your clients have policies with Allianz with denial of access language, particularly the Z/561/1 denial of access clause.”
 
Gilkes – we would like to employ more Brits but they aren’t applying in any great numbers: Charlie Gilkes, co-founder of Inception Group, has said the Mr Fogg’s brand operator would like to “employ more Brits but they aren’t applying in any great numbers”. He told the Evening Standard: “The hospitality industry has the potential to light a fire under the economic revival of central London, but we are not trading all the hours we would like to. It continues to be incredibly hard to find people who want to work in the sector. In past times, many people have come from Europe to London to work for two or three years, but that pool of workers has diminished since Brexit. We would like to employ more Brits but they aren’t applying in any great numbers.” Gilkes was speaking after CBI chief executive Tony Danker called on politicians to be “practical” about immigration, as he told the BBC the UK should use immigration to solve worker shortages and boost economic growth. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said the industry has faced labour shortages of 10% since last summer. She said: “Despite heavy investment in training and recruitment initiatives, the outlook has not improved and vacancy rates remain at record levels across the economy as a whole, suggesting we need a new approach. For hospitality, the vacancies mean we cannot operate at full capacity with half of businesses cutting hours, closing on certain days and reducing capacity – that means we are turning away £25bn in business and the Treasury is losing £7bn in tax.” A poll published by the Heart of London Business Alliance, which represents 600 businesses and 100 property owners in central London, found 95% of respondents said staff shortages were impacting business performance, with 82% stating this issue was “a big problem”.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an international hospitality and food retail business that is looking for an e-commerce manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Some of the key responsibilities of the role will be to develop the e-commerce distribution channel via the consumer digital journey, innovate and manage seamless execution of that vision for future growth and expanding the company’s digital presence throughout the group to become the leader in the market. The ideal candidate will have three to five years’ experience as an e-commerce manager/business-to-consumer operations. Hybrid working is available with some national and international travel required.” The salary is up to £65,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email abbie@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Reilley – Loungers is in a relentless agitated state where we’re always looking for the next iteration of what we do: Alex Reilley, executive chairman of Loungers, has said when it comes to evolving the 210-strong business, it is always in a “relentless sort of agitated state where we were we're always looking for the next iteration of what we do”. Speaking at this month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference, Reilley said the Lounge and Cosy Cub operator always keeps an eye on “what's going on out there”, but has never been a business “that’s been particularly obsessed with other businesses”. He said: “We spend a lot of time really thinking about how we think trends will change and evolve. There’s this constant sense of just understanding and appreciating when you think trends are going to start to really change in terms of a specific product or a certain type of cuisine. I think we’re always keen to try and push that and with the size of our estate we can try out stuff and quickly see if it doesn’t work or if something does. We have this constant, relentless sort of agitated state where we’re always looking for the next iteration of what we do. This innovation and evolution the business is constantly focused on means we stay really relevant, really fresh. We’re constantly challenged, and we never rest on our laurels really. It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s the nature of the beast.” Reilley said the business hadn’t seen any signs of a softening in like-for-like sales and “we’re looking really hard for them”. He said: “We know from the last recession where you start to see sales softening, which gives you an indication of ultimately what potentially is happening in the wider economy. You tend not to see a reduction in sales cut evenly across the board. It tends to be if you see sales start to soften fairly dramatically on Mondays and Tuesdays, that’s a sign people are really reining in their spending and we, touch wood, aren’t seeing that at the moment. I don't know whether it’s going to be the new year because I think we expect a good Christmas. We are certainly geared up for a really busy month. Now, whether we then get into 2023 and we see people really start to rein in their spending I don’t know. As always, we’re just second guessing. You just prepare to be cautious and be ready for the possibility that things might slow down. But you also have to be alive to the opportunities that that might also present.”

Bob & Berts plans seven openings in 2023, secures Glasgow site: Cafe brand Bob & Berts is planning to open seven sites next year, as it eyes further growth in the north of England and in the longer term a move into the Midlands. The BGF-backed company currently operates 28 sites across Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, employing circa 850 staff and generating annual turnover of £20m. It recently opened its fifth site in England, in Carlisle, and secured its first site in Glasgow, in an empty retail unit at 154 Sauchiehall Street. Speaking at this month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference, joint managing director David Ferguson said the business planned to open seven sites next year, with a launch in the Midlands a long-term target. He said two challenges the business, which was founded in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, in 2013 by Colin McClean, faced was to maintain the quality and value of its offer, and its close relationships with suppliers. He said: “We've seven sites planned for next year, but ultimately our vision still remains the same to offer something into local communities, which is bright, fresh, different from the sterile big chain kind of offer, to serve proper coffee and great grub. We've got the same challenges as everyone else in terms of margin. Our fixed costs are quite low for a business of our size, we believe. We do good rental deals, good accommodation costs. Our challenge is we are a value offer and we need to try and maintain that margin in this tough time. We don't want to become seen as an expensive place to go for the local communities we are in. Maintaining a close relationship with suppliers and maintaining the quality of our offer are also big challenges. We are lucky our suppliers at home, who we've got exceptionally good relationships with, have been able to come on the journey with us so far. We're currently in discussions with those same suppliers to try and get a route to market through England as we expand. It’s no surprise as we're in Scotland, we've gone down through the north of England. Our longer-term plan is to open sites in the north east and come down into the Midlands, and we're working pretty hard on that.”
 
Fat Hippo lines up a second London opening, in Soho: Better burger brand Fat Hippo, which made its London debut last month, will open a second site in the capital, in Soho. Propel has learned the 16-strong business, which was founded in 2010 by Michael Phillips, will take on the former Las Banderas site in Wardour Street. Last month, Fat Hippo opened its debut London restaurant, in Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch. It has subsequently opened in York, occupying the former Jimmy’s site in Low Petergate, to take its estate to 16 sites. The business is also eyeing an opening in the Jackson’s Corner development in Reading’s King Street, as part of plans to open six sites across the UK in the next 12 months. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on behalf of Fat Hippo.
 
Brindisa Kitchens to open new bar concept Kroketa in London’s Soho: Spanish restaurant group Brindisa Kitchens is to open a new bar concept in London’s Soho, next month. The business will open Bar Kroketa on the former Bread Ahead site in Beak Street, just off Kingly Court. Brindisa Kitchens said the postage stamp-sized space will “embody the spirit of Spanish bar culture, with a nod to the Basque region”. It has singled out the croqueta – or in Basque, kroketa – and made it its signature dish of which a frequently changing selection will be available each day. The company said: “A continental bar with Spain front and centre, this new space will be reminiscent of the pintxo bars that line the streets of Bilbao and San Sebastian, showcasing the finest Spanish ingredients that are allowed to flourish in an unfussy menu with simplicity at its heart. Transporting guests to a noisy yet welcoming corner of Spain, Bar Kroketa will be an informal affair. As well as its signature plate, Bar Kroketa’s open kitchen will serve a daily changing menu of small dishes, with a host of countertop snacks also available.” Brindisa Kitchens also operates restaurants in Battersea, London Bridge, Richmond, Soho and South Kensington. Etai Page, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Beak Street deal.

Inn Collection Group acquires Lake District hotel for seventh deal of 2022: The Inn Collection Group has acquired The Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere, in the Lake District, for its seventh deal of the year. The 38-room venue dates more than 150 years and counts one-time US President Woodrow Wilson among its former guests. It also represents a further investment in the Grasmere area for The Inn Collection Group , joining The Swan in Keswick Road and its new staff accommodation facilities currently under construction. Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are delighted to bring The Wordsworth into The Inn Collection Group. It is a prime site. Grasmere is a beautiful village that enjoys a rich history through its connections with Wordsworth and the Heaton Cooper family, and this acquisition lets us put down further roots in the community. We appreciate the history and esteem The Wordsworth is held in and we’re looking forward to welcoming guests in such a honeypot location.” The Wordsworth Hotel is the 34th property to come under The Inn Collection Group’s banner. 
 
The Hummingbird Bakery to launch fifth London site later this month, plans further openings in 2023: US-style cupcake concept The Hummingbird Bakery is set to open its fifth London site at the end of November, and is planning further openings in 2023. It will offer a range of cakes and sweet treats, to enjoy in store or have delivered, from 39 St John’s Wood High Street in St John’s Wood, north west London. The 750 square-foot site comes hot on the heels of the bakery the company launched in Buckingham Palace Road, in London’s Victoria, last month. New additions exclusive to St John’s Wood include zoo themed brownies, a cookie pop and a “Fab Four” cupcake gift box, a nod to the Beatles who recorded their iconic Abbey Road album nearby. Guests can also customise their desserts and cakes and order a new red velvet ice cream at the personalisation station. Marie-Aline Joly, branch manager at The Hummingbird Bakery St Johns Wood, said: “We are excited to continue our expansion with a move into the St Johns Wood neighbourhood. We have some exciting new products to wow our guests, along with some classic favourites and our renowned celebration centrepieces.” Earlier this year, The Hummingbird Bakery reopened its refurbished Old Brompton Road bakery and launched its first nationwide at-home cupcake decorating kits.

Bancone plans fundraise to kickstart growth plans: Bancone, the all-day fresh pasta concept led by Will Ellner and backed by David Ramsey, is planning a fundraise on Crowdcube to kickstart its growth plans. The company says its Covent Garden and Soho restaurants are “packed out, often with long queues” and it has a pipeline of prime London sites it wishes to open, which any capital raised will go towards. Ellner said: “We are a profitable business, still in organic growth, and we are loved across the board. Due to covid, however, we’ve not been able to build up our cash reserves, and we have ambitious growth plans. Through the Crowdcube venture, we have a chance to kickstart our growth plans.” Bancone launched in Covent Garden’s William IV Street in 2018 and opened its second site, in Soho’s Lower James Street, the following year.
 
State of Play Hospitality set to open largest US Flight Club to date in Las Vegas: State of Play Hospitality, the Toby Harris-led group, is to open the largest US Flight Cub to date, in Las Vegas, next Monday (28 November). The site, complete with 20 oches, will open at the Grande Canal Shoppes, The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas. State of Play currently operates Flight Club venues in Chicago, Boston and Houston and is set to open a fifth US venue in Atlanta by the end of this year. It also owns and operates the Bounce and Hijingo brands, both of which the group is seeking to expand in the UK and internationally. It will open a third Bounce in London in the newly renovated Battersea Power Station in early 2023. In July, the business announced plans to accelerate the expansion of the Flight Club brand in North America after securing $10m (£8.3m) of new investment from the dart concept’s owner, Red Engine. The new funding built upon State of Play’s initial raise of more than $35m from existing investors and Bregal Partners in March. Harris said: “We are excited to be bringing Flight Club to Las Vegas, and with it adding an entirely new dimension to the city’s legendary entertainment landscape. As our fourth, and largest, Flight Club in the US, we have made every effort to create a unique entertainment environment, which does full justice to both the brand and the venue’s unrivalled location looking directly over the Las Vegas strip.” Steve Moore, founder and chief executive of Red Engine, added: “To have a Flight Club opening in Las Vegas is a huge moment for the brand.”
 
Manorview increases staff wages and freezes prices: Scottish independent hotel and restaurant group Manorview is increasing staff wages as well as freezing the cost of food and drink in its venues. The Real Living Wage rose by 10% this year, moving from £9.90 to £10.90 per hour – which is between £1.40 and £6.09 more per hour than the government’s national minimum wages. Being an accredited employer, Manorview will increase everyone’s wages to the new rate by Monday, 28 November. Those on a higher hourly rate will also receive a raise and salaried team members will also receive a wage increase at the same time. In January, the business will also share 10% of its net profits from the previous financial year with everyone who has been in the team for more than 12 months. David Tracey, managing director of Manorview, said: “In these situations, it can be challenging to identify the ways that you can make a difference. The reality is we can’t influence rising energy costs, and we can’t lower fuel costs, but what we can do is look after our team and ensure our customers can continue to enjoy our venues without costs rising there too. Not only are our customers the lifeblood of our business, socialising is such a key part of people’s well-being. So, we wanted to play our part by freezing the prices so that we weren’t making it more expensive for customers to enjoy our restaurants and bars.” The price freeze will apply to all nine of the restaurants and bars the group operates throughout central Scotland, and Manorview has committed to freezing prices for as long as it can afford to. Manorview is also looking into other ways it can support its team, with plans being discussed to set up a pot of money that staff could access if they had a personal crisis they needed financial support with. 
 
Caffè Nero strengthens delivery offer with Deliveroo partnership: Caffè Nero has strengthened its delivery offer by partnering with Deliveroo. More than 400 stores will be available on the platform by the end of November. Customers will be able to choose from hot drinks as well as the full food menu, including the recently launched festive offer. The launch comes as Caffè Nero continues to drive forward its delivery sales, which grew by more than 10% between June and September ­– the first four months of its financial year. Will Stratton-Morris, chief executive of Caffè Nero UK, said: “We’ve seen consistent and continued growth in our delivery service since it launched, which demonstrates the huge demand for Caffè Nero among our customers. The popularity and reach of Deliveroo will continue to strengthen the delivery service we offer.”
 
Paris Baguette opens second UK store: Paris Baguette, the South Korean bakery cafe chain, has opened its second outlet in the UK amid plans to operate 20 locations across the country within three years. As revealed by Propel earlier this year, the business has opened a site in Kensington High Street. The company made its UK debut last month with a site located at the renovated Battersea Power Station in London. It represented brand owner SPC’s second European and ninth international market, following France, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. The company plans to reach 20 franchised UK outlets by 2025. Earlier this year, SPC appointed Jack Moran, formerly chief executive of Le Pain Quotidien, the all-day bakery and cafe concept, to oversee its move into the UK, France and, subsequently, all of Europe. Moran has almost 30 years’ experience in the hospitality sector and has held roles including managing director of Le Pain Quotidien UK, global chief executive of Paris Baguette North America, and director of restaurant and retail operations at Hard Rock International. At the time, he told Propel: “This is a significant push. Our vision is to re-establish the neighbourhood bakery cafe as the heart of the local community. To that end, we will engage in significant franchising as we want the owner/operator to be from the local community. Our initial hope is to launch 250 units in the UK.”
 
Bowland Inns & Hotels promotes Mike Auld to MD: Lancashire hotel, pub and restaurant operator Bowland Inns & Hotels has promoted Mike Auld from group operations director to managing director. Auld, who takes over the position from owner James Warburton, had been group operations director for the business since 2020. Previous to that, he had been hotel director at Boutique Hotel Group in Cheshire and general manager at both Hotel Du Vin in Winchester and Peckforton Castle in Cheshire. Auld said: “Having navigated one of the most challenging 18 months for the hospitality industry, I am committed to steering the company forward as we continue to grow our brand and announce new acquisitions into the group.” Warburton steps down having spent the last 25 years growing the business from a single venue, The Emporium in Clitheroe, turning over £250,000 per year, to one with eight sites and an annual turnover of £23m. Earlier this year, the company secured a £26m finance package with Barclays to support its ambitious growth plans and integrated Bowland Brewery into its portfolio.
 
Benugo to roll out science-based carbon labelling following successful pilot: Benugo, the operator of deli cafes and catering in high-profile venues, is set to roll out its science-based carbon labelling following a successful pilot. Benugo introduced the system in partnership with the Natural History Museum in September and will now extend it to cakes and chilled food in its cafes and restaurants across the UK, then expand it to its cafe and restaurant menus in the new year. Developed and administered by Foodprint from Nutritics, the system sees labels score levels of carbon impact from A-E, with A being the most climate-friendly choice. Shane Kavanagh, commercial director at Benugo, said: “We want to give our customers the option of making informed choices to reduce the carbon emissions associated with food purchased from our sites across the UK. Using the Nutritics Foodprint solution enables us to use software we already successfully deploy for our nutritional calculations.” Stephen Nolan, Nutritics’ managing director, added: “Recent consumer sentiment research shows nearly half of the population is trying to make eco-conscious choices when eating out-of-home. We look forward to playing our part in nudging society towards a more sustainable food future.”
 
Blank Street Coffee to open 11th London site this week: US coffee chain Blank Street Coffee will open its 11th London site on Thursday (24 November). The company, which made its debut in Britain in July, will open at Unit 1 in Gloucester Road station in Gloucester Road, South Kensington. It will be introducing some seasonal specials, available in the UK for the first time. These include the Candy Cane Hot and Cold Brews, which are both flavoured with peppermint and come with a candy cane. Last month, Blank Street acquired Over Under, the coffee brand founded by Ed Barry in 2017, in a deal that saw it take on Over Under’s eight sites across the capital.
 
EL&N confirms it will make regional debut in Edinburgh: High-class cafe brand EL&N has confirmed it will make its UK regional debut in Scotland, in Edinburgh. As revealed by Propel in April, the business will open a site in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, before the end of the year. Founded in 2017, EL&N currently operates 23 stores across Europe and the Middle East, including ten in London, seven in Saudi Arabia and two in Kuwait. It also has stores in Paris, Milan, Doha, and Dubai. Alexandra Miller, who founded the business in 2017, said: “After five years of brand building in London, we are thrilled to be opening our first cafe in Edinburgh just in time for the festive season. St James Quarter is the perfect location for us, located in the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, we’ve created a unique concept that we think will resonate with our brand-new demographic in Scotland.” 
 
Burger & Beyond partners with UberEats: Burger & Beyond, the London concept founded by Tom Stock and Craig Povoas in 2015, has partnered with UberEats for an exclusive delivery deal. The company, which opened its debut restaurant in Shoreditch in 2018 and has since grown to six sites across the capital, is now available to order exclusively via the app. Customers can now order dishes such as the Bacon Butter Burger and Korean Chick ‘n’ Dip, from its Shoreditch, Borough Yards, Soho, Vauxhall and Camden locations. Selected burgers are also available on a two-for-one offer.
 
Pip Lacey launches Islington pub venture: Pip Lacey, former head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Murano and previous winner of television series Great British Menu, has launched a new pub venture in London’s Islington. Alongside business partner Gordy McIntyre, Lacey, who until it recently closed was leading the kitchen at Jeremy Clarkson's farm restaurant Diddly Squat, has opened Hicce Hart on the former Day & Night site in Penton Street. The pub is split across two levels with the 52-cover open-plan kitchen and bar area on the ground floor and a 32-cover dining room upstairs. The offer at Hicce Hart includes a selection of small plate-style bar snacks alongside a full dining menu of sharing starters, mains and desserts. There is also a Sunday roast option. The drinks list includes local beer alongside a selection of wine and spirits. Lacey and McIntyre also operate restaurant Hicce in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. 
 
Nightcap opens flagship Barrio site in London’s Covent Garden: Nightcap – the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars – has opened a new flagship for the Barrio brand in London’s Covent Garden. It has transformed the former Tropicana Beach Club site into a venue offering Latin-inspired cocktails and Mexican street food alongside samba dancers, bongo players and topless wrestlers. It is the third new opening for the Barrio Familia group since it was acquired by Nightcap in November 2021, following last month’s launch in Watford, and a sixth site for Barrio Bars. Jim Robertson, managing director of Barrio Familia, said: “This is an incredibly well-known group of venues in London and we are determined to build on that and make Barrio Covent Garden bigger and better than ever.” Sarah Willingham, chief executive officer of Nightcap, added: “This is our 12th cocktail bar in London, and we are delighted to have secured such a landmark venue.” Nightcap earlier this month said that due to uncertainty in the economic climate, it will slow down its expansion plans of new site openings during its current financial year and continue it as market conditions improve.
 
Roxy Leisure opens in Edinburgh for Scottish debut: Roxy Leisure, the operator of the Roxy Lanes and Roxy Ballroom concepts, has opened in Edinburgh for its first Scottish site. Located in Rose Street, the 300-capacity venue is its 13th altogether and includes eight full-sized bowling lanes. It also brings batting cages to Roxy Lanes for the first time, and features Edinburgh’s first ice-free curling lanes. It also offers an extensive food list, a cocktail menu, 16 lines of beer and a wide selection of spirits and wines. Roxy Leisure’s commercial manager, Joel Mitchell, said: “We are pleased to be bringing Roxy Lanes to Scotland for the first time. Our Edinburgh site is a real day-to-night destination, and we believe our exciting range of games and the atmosphere inside Roxy Lanes will be well received.”

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