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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 20th Dec 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Crussh placed on the market: London-based healthy food and juice brand Crussh has been placed on the market after appointing advisors to assess its options, Propel has learned. The business, which operates 12 sites across London and the south east as well as having a range of its products stocked in the likes of WHSmith and Sainsbury’s, is understood to be working with FRP Advisory on its options. Propel understands that first round bids for the business are being sought by 23 December, with “a view to completing a transaction as soon as possible thereafter”. The company is on track to report revenue for the year to the end of March 2022 of £9.2m (2021: £3m), made up of £6.1m from its wholesale division and £3.1m from its retail outlets. Its projected full-year revenue for its current financial year is £7.3m, with £4.5m from its wholesale division and £2.8m from its retail sites. The company is understood to have made a recent significant investment in its central kitchen and also has a fleet of vans enabling in-house fresh delivery on day of production across England. Crussh, which is led by Simon Foster, has been backed by Hattington Capital since the start of 2015, although a connected company, KG Investco, ceased to be a “person with significant control” of the business earlier this month. At the same time, and as previously revealed by Propel, Jonathan Hart, the former UK managing director of Caffe Nero and chief executive of Thorntons, has stepped down as chairman of Crussh. Hart, who was also previously chairman of Bagel Nash and 200 Degrees, joined Crussh in November 2015. Last August, Crussh permanently closed 13 of its circa 30-strong estate due to the impact of the pandemic. In the spring, Propel reported Crussh had refinanced a £1.45m bank loan during its last financial year, with shareholders and management taking on the debt, while non-executives were still waiving some or all of their salary. The company also closed its head office. Crussh and FRP declined to comment.
 

Industry News:

Kaleido CFO to speak at Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023, open for bookings: Denis Dahan, chief financial officer at healthy food concept Kaleido, will speak 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. Dahan will share how the concept has developed and scaled to six locations and aims to change the way you see salad. More than 50 industry and agency leaders will take to the stage over two days representing brands including Burger King UK, Cornish Bakery, Gail’s Bakery, The Alchemist, Hawksmoor, Searcys, Press Up Hospitality Group, Vapiano, Popeyes UK, Inception Group, Oakman Group, New World Trading Company, Peggy Porschen Cakes, Krispy Kreme, KellyDeli, Red Engine, East Coast Concepts, Coco di Mama, The Cocktail Club, Tattu Restaurants, Hilton, Elior, MJMK, Lollipop, Chotto Matte, Ping Pong, Nobu, Gusto Italian, BrewDog, Darjeeling Express, Flat Earth Pizzas and Six by Nico. For the full speaker schedule for day one click here and for day two click here. 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.

Just Eat – health food and vegan sales up in 2022 but chips and pizza continue to dominate delivery market, coffee fastest-growing category: Just Eat has revealed that health food and vegan sales rose in 2022 but chips and pizza continue to dominate the delivery market. The company also noted that coffee orders are its fastest-growing category and breakfast is fastest growing depart in its 2022 End of Year Wrap. The data showed the search volume for smoothies and soups increased by 83%, sushi by 50% and salads by 49% this year as Brits sought out healthier options. Continuing the trend, Just Eat for Business also found vegan and vegetarian orders tripled in 2022, meaning almost a quarter of total orders on the platform are now vegan and vegetarian. However, chips led the way as the most popular takeaway side order of 2022, while pizza brands top the highest number of restaurants charts, with 19,000 across the 108 cities and towns Just Eat operates in. More customers than ever are also using the platform to order coffee, making it the number one growing category in terms of orders. London, Edinburgh and Glasgow are the biggest coffee lovers, with lattes being the most ordered breakfast item. Breakfast is also the fastest growing time of day for ordering food from the platform in 2022, while Mexican, Greek and African food are also up from last year. Grocery deliveries on the platform are increasing too, with eggs, bread and milk the most popular items. Meanwhile, restaurant technology platform OpenTable has released data showing the number of seated diners has increased by 50% since 2021 and is up 19% on pre-pandemic levels. It also named Sheffield (up 210% seated diners since 2019) and Southampton (up 156%) as the UK’s top emerging dining destinations, followed by Edinburgh (up 136%), Windsor (up 134%) and Bolton (up 133%). The study looked at seated diners from online, phone and walk-in reservations from 1 January to 31 October 2022 and compared it with the same range in 2019 and 2021.
 
NTIA – sector businesses see more than 50% downturn in trade as busiest weekend of year ‘decimated’ by strike action: The busiest weekend of the year was “decimated” by rail strike action, with businesses seeing more than a 50% downturn in trade, according to the Night Time Industries Association. Chief executive Michael Kill said: “Feedback from members across the UK has suggested strike action has had a deeper impact than expected. With an estimated £2bn in lost revenue, and costs due to increase in the new year, the current trading environment is untenable for businesses. The government must extend the energy relief scheme, and consider further support for the night-time economy and hospitality sectors to avoid a huge swathe of businesses going into insolvency in January.” Further rail strikes are planned on 24, 26 and 27 December as well as 3, 4, 6 and 7 January.
 
One in six plan to eat Christmas meal in pub or restaurant: One in six people in the UK are planning to have their Christmas meal in a pub or restaurant this year, according to new data from music licensing company PPL PRS. The top reasons are to try something new (24%), having no desire to cook (23%) and having no desire to host (16%). Other reasons include having no space to host (10%), saving their home energy (8%) and feeling hospitality venues have a better atmosphere (7%). The survey was of 2,000 UK respondents.
 
Michelin adds 25 restaurants to its 2023 Great Britain & Ireland guide: A further 25 restaurants have been added to Michelin’s 2023 Great Britain & Ireland guide ahead of its annual launch ceremony. Among them are London venues Honey & Co, Cord, Planque, Amethyst, Cavita and Ochre, while Newcastle has three listings – Rebel, Nest and Solstice by Kenny Atkinson. Elsewhere in England, Chef’s Table in Bristol, The Silver Cup in Harpenden, Forde in Horsforth, The Fox in Lower Oddington, La Popote in Marton, EightyEight in Ripon, The Star Inn in Sparsholt, Little Seeds in Stone, Quince in Westgate-on-Sea, White Hart Inn in Mersea, The Rose Inn in Wickhambreuax and The White Bull in Oswaldtwistle have been included. Two new Welsh entries are Sheep and Leeks in Caernarfon and Sorting Room in Cardiff, while in Scotland, Nairn’s Garden Cafe is included, and in Ireland, The Old Bank in Dungarvan has made the cut. Sean Forshaw and Erika Kuti, tenants at The White Bull, a Thwaites gastropub, said: “To be included in the Michelin Guide alongside some of the best restaurants in the country makes us feel very proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time.” Andrew Buchanan, director of pubs and brewing at Daniel Thwaites, added: “This is an outstanding achievement and a testament to all their hard work, continued efforts and dedication to the pub.”
 
Manchester BID secures new five-year term: Businesses across Manchester city centre have voted in support of continuing the city's Business Improvement District (BID) for another five-year term. Manchester BID's new term, alongside the recently announced Manchester Accommodation BID, will mean an additional £6m a year invested into the city centre from 2023. Some 42% of the total electorate voted with a majority of the existing membership voting positively. In recent years, Manchester BID has played an instrumental role in the city's recovery post-covid. It brings city centre businesses together with key authorities. In its next term, which will commence in April 2023, the BID will continue to support businesses through its operational and lobbying services. It will also attract visitors, shoppers, and workers into the city centre through its annual events calendar, and continue to deliver regional, national, and international promotional campaigns. Vaughan Allen, chief executive of CityCo and Manchester BID, said: “It shows the commitment of the private sector to ensuring Manchester remains the most vibrant, interesting, and compelling destination in the country. We're delighted to have played our part in developing and delivering all of this for Manchester city centre.”
 
Date announced for Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase 2023: The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase (HAS) will return for a seventh year in 2023, taking place on Wednesday, 8 February, in the House of Commons. The HAS aims to showcase the diverse range of roles within the sector and reiterate the importance of cross-party support for hospitality. For the past six years, more than 1,000 apprentices from the industry have displayed their skills at the event. This year’s – which will include Beds and Bars, Fuller’s, Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Stonegate Group and UKHospitality – will be hosted by Alun Cairns, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. He said: “It is now more important than ever we promote hospitality as a rewarding, stable career prospect for both young people, and indeed, people of all ages. As we navigate the current economic and social challenges, I am certain hospitality will prosper as it rebuilds with first-class learning and development programmes, investing in lasting careers.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a mixed collection of brands and concepts that is looking for a head of sales. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The ideal candidate will have experience in the food and beverage industry. You will need to have multi-site senior sales experience as well as have managed a team.” The salary is up to £90,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email gemma@corecruitment.com
 

Company News: 

Hub Box FD – energy usage will have as much attention paid to it as wage costs and margins going forward: Chris Hugo, finance director of south west-based burger and barbecue concept Hub Box, has said energy usage will have as much attention paid to it as wage costs and margins going forward. Hugo also said any expansion moves it makes will be “measured and cautious”, as it looks to move on from a tough 2022. Hub Box operates across sites in St Ives, Truro, Pentewan, Falmouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Bristol and Portsmouth. Speaking to Insider Media, Hugo said Hub Box's focus for the next 12 months would be “on consolidating the performance of our existing sites”. He added: “We actually set ourselves relatively prudent budgets and didn't plan for a continuation of the growth we'd seen in 2021, but we still underestimated the effect the wider economic conditions would have on everyone's trading. We've been outperforming our sector all year, but have been under our budget, which is always a disappointing place to be. We have always had a focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but now the financial reasons for using less power are also in sharp focus as it's one of the key drivers of our overall profitability. Energy usage will have as much attention paid to it as wage costs and margins and, using good business disciplines, we intend to stay on top of all the inflationary pressures in 2023. We are also having a revamp of our whole people strategy and we will work very hard on improving our staff retention rates and internal development processes.” On what the company as learned from 2022, Hugo said: “The main lesson is to make sure you can adapt your plans to the realities of the wider world. There are still good opportunities out there for businesses that are light on their feet and agile enough to get through trickier times. Shape your business to work with whatever top line you're able to achieve and learn to be patient. Focus on your teams, as if the business is feeling some stress you can be sure this will disseminate down through to everyone, and keeping your people informed and supported provides the stability required in challenging times.”
 
Lane7 secures new flagship Birmingham site, close to agreeing three further venues: Boutique bowling company Lane7 is to open a new flagship site in Birmingham, Propel has learned. The company has agreed a deal with Hammerson for a 28,000 square-foot space in Link Street, which is part of the Bullring Estate and connects Bullring and Grand Central. The venue will be Lane7’s biggest investment to date and will use the size of the location to introduce its widest range of games yet, and, in a first for the brand, a rooftop terrace bar. The site is set to open in the summer and Propel understands Lane7 is close to securing a further three venues. Founder Tim Wilks said: “Birmingham has been a strong city for Lane7 since we opened our first site. Our sustained success meant we needed something bigger in Birmingham, but, keen to evolve the Lane7 concept, we also wanted something special. This is where the Bullring Estate came in. We have worked together to create the ideal space and I am confident we will deliver a new standard for experiential leisure in the city.” Toby Tait, director asset management, Hammerson, added: “The Bullring Estate plays host to the very best retail brands, but we need to go further to provide consumers with an even greater range of reasons to visit. Lane7 is reflective of this approach and the brand has embraced our ethos to create a concept at the Bullring Estate that will define the future of its business.” Bruce Gillingham Pollard represented Hammerson and Torridon acted for Lane7.
 
German doughnut brand makes UK debut, in Cardiff, plans more locations in city: German doughnut brand Royal Donuts has made its UK debut with an opening in Cardiff and is planning further locations in the city. The company, founded by Turkish-German entrepreneur Enes Şeker in 2018, has opened more than 200 stores in Germany over the past four years. It has now launched in the UK with an opening in Clare Road, in the Grangetown area of the Welsh capital, with Stephen Ibrahim having taken on the franchise. “On a visit to Germany, the brand caught my eyes immediately with its eye-catching doughnuts and variety it provided,” he told Wales Online. “We first got in touch with it about just over a year ago, and after many post-Brexit obstacles that we had to deal with, we were finally able to bring the brand here to the UK. When I visited the franchise headquarters in Germany to sort the contracts, it suggested we should open our first branch in London, but I wanted our first branch to be in the Welsh capital, being from here, and believed Cardiff would be a great first choice. We chose Clare Road as we wanted to be close to the centre of Cardiff and this was the closest thing we got. However, we are planning on opening more locations in Cardiff – watch this space!”
 
The Dice Box opens first franchise site, set to launch three more by April 2023: Board game cafe concept The Dice Box has opened its first franchise site and plans to launch three more by April 2023. The concept was launched by husband-and-wife team Trevor and Stephanie Davies in Leamington Spa in 2018, and a franchise offer was launched last year. As previously reported, the former Lightbox cafe site in Bridge Street, Peterborough, and The Shambles in Worcester were slated for the first franchise openings. The Peterborough venue has now opened, the company’s second site overall, and with four new franchisees signed up, it plans three more in the first quarter of next year. A Dice Box spokesman said: “Our business model has proven to be profitable even in difficult times. This is because we have a unique business model with multiple revenue streams, great systems, great suppliers and a very high level of repeat business. Our thanks to the Franchise UK team for all its support, delivering extremely high-quality enquiries that have enabled us to sign four quality franchisees, with many more in the pipeline.”
 
James Brown promoted to CEO of BrewDog Bars: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has promoted James Brown from managing director of BrewDog Bars to its chief executive. Brown, who is also the co-founder of cashless tipping platform Tipjar, has been with BrewDog for seven years. “JB has been instrumental to the growth of our bar business since he joined us, and as well as running our bar business overall, he has been key to the epic new locations in Vegas and Waterloo,” said BrewDog co-founder James Watt. “I am excited to work closely with JB to further develop our retail business in 2023 and beyond.” Brown’s is one of three new promotions at BrewDog, with former special projects director Lauren Carroll becoming chief marketing officer and former group digital director Tom Reding becoming chief digital officer. Watt added: “Lauren has been outstanding in all the roles she has worked in across our business and contributed massively to everything we have done over the last few years. As our new chief marketing officer, she has huge potential to positively impact our growth as well as play a very important role in our senior leadership team. In more than three years at BrewDog, Tom has excelled in leadership roles across content, e-commerce and all things digital. Our digital strategy is vital to our overall ambitions, and I am delighted to have Tom lead this part of our business along with his brilliant team.” Watt said the trio's progression is testament to both The BrewDog salary cap and philosophy of developing its next generation of senior leaders from within. He added: “At BrewDog, we are committed to developing our own leaders and offering ample progression opportunities for our amazing team members. This helps us build a new type of business, one that rejects the status quo and turns normal business assumptions on their head.”
 
Burger & Sauce founder’s brother takes on second franchise site with brand: Talha Masood, brother of Burger & Sauce founder Saad Masood, has taken on his second site with the burger franchise concept. Talha, who already operates the Kings Heath site in Birmingham, has now opened a restaurant in Bull Street, West Bromwich, creating 20 jobs. Originally working in civil engineering and project management, Talha moved into the quick service restaurant industry a decade ago and is now a franchisee for several food brands, including German Doner Kebab. “I looked at the numbers of the existing stores and could see how, with the help of strong relationships with platforms like UberEats, the simple, fresh burger experience had caught on rapidly,” he said. “I own the Kings Heath franchise, which is managed by my team, and now I’ve invested in West Bromwich, which is an up-and-coming area. We will occupy the ground floor of a new build. It’s a big space originally designed for three stores, but I decided to take the whole 2,500 square feet to offer 50 covers, plus delivery to the local area once established. These days I’m more of an investor, overseeing the operation from a higher level while my team manages the day-to-day running of restaurants. It is clear Burger & Sauce offers many opportunities, and I look forward to more openings soon. How quickly will depend on availability of locations and suitable sites, but I’m excited to be part of the expansion and to support my brother in his venture.” The West Bromwich site is Burger & Sauce’s eighth since launching in 2020, with a Leicester site also in the pipeline. Ten-year franchise licences, starting at £15,000, are now available, alongside multi-site development licences.

Lionhearth Group appoints Lucy Craig as people, culture and operations director: Lionhearth Group, the new pub venture backed by property developer Sir Tony Gallagher and businessman Chris Palmer, has appointed Lucy Craig, formerly of Grind and Bill’s, as its people, culture and operations director, Propel understands. Craig, also formerly of Orchid Group, spent three years as people and culture director at Grind, and previous to that, she spent three years at Bill’s as its head of people development. Propel revealed in July that Scott Macdonald, the former managing director of Bill’s and Polpo, was to oversee the Lionhearth Group, a new brand that replaces Country Creatures, the three-strong Oxfordshire-based venture which specialises in “creating restaurants, inns and hotels that focus on great British hospitality”. The move saw Lionhearth take on The Swan at Ascott-Under-Wychwood and The Chequers near Chipping Norton, which are owned by Gallagher and Palmer. A third site, the Double Red Duke near Bampton, remained under the Country Creatures brand, although it is thought it may eventually become part of the Cubitt House business. At the same time, the business had also acquired The Salford Inn, Chipping Norton, and The Cock in Coombe, Blenheim. It is also thought to be in talks to take on The Bell Inn at Charlbury, which is currently closed. 
 
Tian Tian Market secures seventh London site: Asian food grocery store Tian Tian Market has secured a site at The Arc mixed use development in east London. The company has agreed a deal with landlord Ghelamco for a 3,647 square-foot unit on the scheme’s ground floor. It will become the brand’s seventh London location when it opens in 2023. Founded in 2016, Tian Tian Market offers in excess of 10,000 products from more than 25 Asian countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Customers can also experience traditional street food and food-tasting events such as bubble tea and gyoza tasting. Situated close to Old Street station, The Arc is a new development comprising 340,000 square-foot of mixed use space, including 100 residential apartments, 150,000 square-foot of office space and 10,000 square-foot of retail and leisure space. Savills acted on the deal.
 
Boutique London hotel secures £9.8m loan to refinance debt and support future growth: Boutique London hotel, the Eccleston Square Hotel, has secured a £9.8m loan from OakNorth Bank. The capital will be used to refinance existing debt and support the hotel’s future growth strategy. Previously known as Elizabeth Hotel, the five-storey, grade-II listed site was converted from a B&B in 2010, is managed by Olivia Byrne, and comprises 39 double en-suite bedrooms, a 25-cover restaurant, a bar, and conference room. Byrne said: “Since launch, Eccleston Square Hotel has prided itself on offering a friendly and personalised experience for all its guests. We continue to be recognised as one of the best boutique hotels in London, as each detail in our family-run property has been carefully designed with well-being and comfort in mind.”
 
Searcys brings in former Ivy Collection head of recruitment: British restaurateur and events caterer Searcys has brought in Laura Maddams as head of recruitment from The Ivy Collection, where she held the same role for eight months after being promoted from senior recruitment manager. Maddams spent five years in all with the Richard Caring-backed business, having previously been head of talent acquisition for contract caterer The Good Eating Company. She is one of three new appointments at Searcys, with Jean-Christophe Roumignac coming in as operations director and Nico Prinsloo joining as commercial director. Roumignac has worked in the sector for more than two decades and held similar roles at Restaurant Associates Venues, The Genuine Dining Co and Ampersand Catering. Prinsloo has also worked in the sector for more than two decades, including 13 years with catering company CH&Co, and joins from his own food and beverage consultancy Lets-Confab. Searcys managing director Paul Jackson said: “This has been a transformational 175th year for Searcys and next year is shaping up to be an equally exciting one. I am looking forward to working closely with Laura, Nico and Jean-Christophe and am confident their experience and skills, along with those of the rest of the leadership team, will support our growth plans. In 2023, we will focus on delivering impeccable events and dining experiences, with an emphasis on quality, attention to detail and finesse with a human touch.”
 
Papa John’s to launch pop-up store at Leicester Tigers: Papa John’s is launching a pop-up store at rugby union side Leicester Tigers. Opening in time for the next home game against Gloucester on Christmas Eve, the Papa John’s kiosk will be situated on the upper concourse in the Yodel stand at the Welford Road stadium. Papa John’s has been a commercial partner with 2021-22 Premiership champions Leicester Tigers for the past year, with the pizza firm’s logo appearing on the team’s kit. Amit Pancholi, UK director of business development at Papa John’s, said: “The brand partnership has continued to develop and with the addition of the pop-up store we’ve created a winning combination! The new store adds to the five existing Papa John’s already operating in Leicester.” Mark Davies, chief revenue officer, Leicester Tigers, added: “Pizza really is the perfect sports food. It will add to the enjoyment of a day out and pizza appeals to every audience.”
 
Itsu opens in Milton Keynes: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain, has opened a new site in Milton Keynes. The brand has launched the 2,600 square-foot site in Midsummer Arcade in centre:mk, where it serves Itsu’s signature fresh, Asian-inspired menu. The restaurant has 69 covers internally and 24 external. The majority of the meals on the menu are less than 500 calories and a third of the dishes are plant-based. Any unsold meals are sold half-price every evening in an efforts to avoid food waste. Vishal Talreja, chief development officer at Itsu, said: “We are delighted to have launched Itsu centre:mk, just in time for the Christmas trading period. Strategically, Milton Keynes is a vital city for us with its significant year-on-year growth predications and desirable catchment.” MMX Retail and CBRE acted for centre:mk while KLM represented Itsu. In October, Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe said the brand dwarfs Pret’s historic potential and he plans to float the business in four-and-a-half years.
 
KFC to return to Wolverhampton city centre after franchisee agrees deal: KFC is making a return to Wolverhampton city centre. Franchisee FT Foods has agreed a deal for a site at 65 Queen Street with landlord Hortons’ Estate. The restaurant will seat 28 people and create up to 30 jobs. The letting marks KFC’s return to the city centre after it closed its Mander Centre outlet in 2019. FT Foods is part of a wider grouping of companies created by London property development and investor, Tahir Group. Its KFC business includes more than 25 restaurants. Richard Walker, commercial surveyor of Hortons’ Estate, said the company was in talks with two other established fast food operators for the remaining units on the Queen Street parade. He said: “FT Foods is an established, growing franchise operator and we are delighted to see this unit brought back to life with such an established brand.”

Former Flor head baker launches £15,000 crowdfund to open her own London bakery: Helen Evans, former head baker at Flor, has launched a £15,000 crowdfunding campaign to help open her own London bakery. Evans plans to open Eric’s at 20 Upland Road in East Dulwich in March next year and has so far raised £10,525 from 140 supporters on Crowdfunder, with three weeks left, towards the necessary kit. Any extra funding will go towards turning the annex into a seating area for dine-in and workshop guests. Rewards for supporters include a croissant and coffee at Eric’s, loaves of Old Kent wholemeal, limited edition cotton bags and t-shirts, and baklava, pudding and pie-making workshops. Evans headed up Flor, the restaurant-turned-bakery and wine shop in London’s Borough Market from Lyle’s James Lowe and John Ogier, before it closed in February. She went on to oversee the Flor Bakery at Spa Terminus in Bermondsey before that closed too, in November. Evans said: “My goal is a small neighbourhood bakery committed to championing UK-grown wheat, and perhaps more importantly, only wheat that is a product of low to no-input and organic farming systems. I’ll offer sourdough breads and breakfast pastries alongside topped focacce, doughnuts, other sweet and savoury treats and coffee. Eric's will offer classes in bread, laminated pastry, pizza and pasta-making. Eric's will also provide a space for collaboration via specialist masterclasses hosted by fellow bakers and pastry chefs.”
 
Luxury hotel in Lincolnshire sold out of administration for third time: A luxury hotel in Lincolnshire that faced being wound up by HM Revenue & Customs has been rescued by an unnamed buyer, with all of its employees keeping their jobs. The Olde Barn Hotel, near Grantham, was issued with a winding up order in October before falling into administration for the third time. Shepherd Cox had bought the hotel out of administration in 2020 after its previous owner New Barn Hotel called in RSM in August 2019. The hotel in Toll Bar Road in Marston has more than 100 bedrooms, a leisure club, a restaurant and function facilities. It previously slipped into administration in 2011 and was put up for sale for £3.5m before being bought by Leena Group, which paid around £2m for the property in 2013. The hotel has now been handed a new lease of life and will continue to trade as normal. Nicholas Barnett, of Libertas Insolvency Practitioners, who was appointed administrator, told The Business Desk: “The purchaser is honouring all pre-paid future bookings, so the hotel continues to trade and customers will not be affected.” Shepherd Cox operates around 20 hotels across the UK. In June 2020 it was forced to place hotels in Chesterfield, Hartlepool, Darlington, Manchester, Sedgefield and Bicester into administration after investors became concerned about their returns
 
Concept coffee shop joins line-up at Sunderland leisure and events venue: A concept coffee shop has been revealed as the third occupier of the Sheepfolds leisure and events venue in Sunderland. Resinn will provide locally sourced food and drink as well as homeware, gardenware and gifts. Established by partners Erik Öhrström and Kate Blower, the cafe will also feature a workshop space to host coffee brewing classes and floristry workshops. Blower said: “The deep-rooted history and heritage associated with the stables buildings will provide the perfect platform to deliver our concept to our local area. Fused with Swedish and Victorian English influences, Resinn will introduce a unique, interior-inspired venue to the north east.” The Sheepfolds development, which will bring back the grade II-listed former stables into use, was granted planning permission in May and will house eight individual operators within the site, with large outdoor spaces. Zinc has already been confirmed as its first occupier, which is a new restaurant from the team behind Route, a Michelin Guide restaurant in Newcastle. TV chef Si King has also confirmed plans to move into the development, which is expected to open by the end of 2023.

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