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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 21st Dec 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Esquires Coffee co-founder set to launch Korean cuisine concept in UK, aiming for 100 sites here by 2032: Doug Williamson, who co-founded Cooks Global Foods-owned Esquires Coffee in 1993, is set to launch Korean cuisine concept StickBug in the UK, with a target of 100 sites here by 2032. Like Esquires, which expanded to the UK in 2000 and is now Britain’s fourth-largest coffee shop chain, StickBug was founded in the Canadian west coast city of Vancouver. It projects more than a third of its 100 targeted UK sites will be in Greater London but plans to expand to all areas of Britain through a franchise model. For StickBug, Williamson has partnered with Jung Moon, who in 2016 founded Pokerrito, Vancouver's largest poké brand with 15 outlets. The pair have been expanding Pokerrito in Canada before setting their sights on the UK. “We looked at the UK as a possible expansion market for Pokerrito but decided there was a much broader market opportunity for Korea's version of poké: bibimbap (bibim meaning ‘mixed’ and bap meaning ‘rice’),” Williamson told Propel. “When the weather turns cold, people tend to prefer hot food, which isn’t part of an authentic poké offer. We see this with Pokerrito in Vancouver, where summer sales are fantastic but drop significantly during the colder months. If you’re trying to rapidly scale a concept, the last thing you want is to have your revenue limited by something you have no control over, so we are launching StickBug as a sister brand. With bibimbap, we can serve both the poké and the pan-Asian rice and noodle bowl demand 12 months of the year.” The company is welcoming franchise enquiries. “We currently have two talented multi-unit franchise developers in place, are speaking to two other groups and have several single store franchise investors in various stages of discussions,” Williamson said. “The demand is there, not just in London, but in the Midlands and north west too, but we’ve been very selective about who we partner with to launch StickBug. The future is definitely bright. It might not feel that way to some, but the temporary economic challenges are eclipsed by the quality and cost savings within the property market, which will deliver a far longer-term benefit.”
 

Industry News:

The Food People to speak at Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023, open for bookings: Charles Banks, co-founder of The Food People, 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. Banks will talk about food trends, foresight and global inspiration. 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, Kaleido, 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.

Hourly pay for chefs jumps up to 20% amid staff shortages: Average hourly pay for temporary chefs has risen by as much as 20% in parts of the UK over the past year, according to new research. The findings by Indeed Flex, the online staffing platform for temporary work, has revealed hourly pay for temporary chefs has risen by 11% across the UK on average, compared with 5% for other restaurant roles. Chef job postings on Indeed Flex are up 97% on average across the UK compared with last year. More than half (57%) of chefs taking shifts through the platform are choosing to work more sociable hours, such as a conventional 9-5 schedule, compared with the 43% who work late nights. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed the hospitality industry currently has 146,000 vacancies, though this is down on the record-high 173,000 vacancies seen this summer. Novo Constare, chief executive and co-founder of Indeed Flex, said: “Intense competition among employers for skilled staff has driven up hourly pay rates for temp workers across the board. Chefs are especially sought after, and can reap big rewards with their expertise.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a company that provides hospitality businesses with research, media content and marketing plans and is seeking an account executive. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The company helps businesses understand their customers better and therefore grow revenue and their brand. It already works with some of the industry’s leading businesses, and the successful account executive will add to this portfolio and also manage existing accounts.” The salary is up to £85,000 and the position can be based remotely. For more information, email hayley@corecruitment.com
 

Company News: 

Drake & Morgan seeing ‘strong’ Christmas trading as it reports return to Ebitda profitability: Drake & Morgan, the London bar and restaurant group, has said Christmas trading has been “strong” despite the cost-of-living crisis and rail strikes as it reported a return to Ebitda profitability. Turnover for the year ending 27 March 2022 increased to £35.9m compared with £5.2m the previous year when the business was severely impacted by covid restrictions. However, revenue remained below the £50.2m reported for the year ending 29 March 2020 when the last month of trading was impacted by the start of the pandemic. In June 2021, the business received approval for a company voluntary arrangement, which led to the closure of three sites – the Allegory and The Listing, both in London, and The Refinery in Spinningfields in Manchester. Adjusted Ebitda for the year ending 27 March 2022 stood at a profit of £5.0m, compared with a £10.3m loss the year before. Adjusted pre-tax losses narrowed to £1.4m from £19.0m the previous year (2020: loss of £2.1m). The group, which operates 17 sites in London and one in Manchester, said investment in its terraces, over what was an unseasonably long and warm summer, helped drive revenue over the period. It made further investment in developing and retaining its teams through the launch of the Drake & Morgan Training Academy “to ensure delivery of the best possible guest experience”. Chief financial officer David King said: “We have been extremely pleased by the resilience of the business as it emerged from the impact of the pandemic. This is despite the ongoing challenges the hospitality industry faced in the period, from restricted trading at the start of the financial year through to ‘Plan B’ impacting the Christmas trading period. Our commitment to creating exceptional experiences though exciting collaborations and events continues to attract new customers, deliver increased sales and has enabled our performance to continue to improve in the current financial year.” Last month, Propel revealed Drake & Morgan, which is backed by Bowmark Capital, is to assess its strategic options, which could result in a sale of the business next year.
 
Wingstop UK expects weekly sales revenue to reach £1m by end of 2022, delivering ‘strong’ like-for-likes sales, full-year turnover up 182% to £21.3m: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out Wingstop across the UK, has said it expects weekly sales revenue to reach £1m by the end of 2022. In the second half of 2022, the business said it has delivered “strong” like-for-like sales and healthy site level profitability including record performance across several London and regional locations. Lemon Pepper Holdings said it has several new sites secured for the new year. As of December 2022, the company owned and operated 29 locations across the UK and has a presence in several key cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and London. It comes as the business reported turnover increased 182% to £21.3m for the year ending March 2022. Group Ebitda was up to £0.8m. Tom Grogan, director of Lemon Pepper Holdings, said “We have continued to outperform the sector according to relevant industry benchmarks and have managed to maintain robust performance through what has been a challenging time for the industry. Throughout the period we have invested heavily in central support to capitalise on our commitment to further growth of the Wingstop brand over the coming years.” Lemon Pepper Holdings said it anticipates aggressive development throughout 2023. In October, the business told Propel it plans to open at least ten sites in 2023.

Manchester coffee concept set to open fourth site in city: Manchester coffee concept Foundation Coffee House is set to open a fourth site in the city. The company has taken a 2,100 square-foot site, due to open in the spring, on the ground floor of the Stile building in the £200m MeadowSide scheme, part of Manchester’s Victoria North regeneration project. The business also has venues in Lever Street, Whitworth Street and Portland Street. Dominic Beardwell, co-founder of Foundation Coffee House, said: “We’re excited to now bring Foundation to this part of the city centre and look forward to becoming a genuine neighbourhood hub, where we can help develop the local community within our space and through our events.”

Cake Box and Bubble CiTea open in Doncaster: Cake Box, the specialist retailer of fresh cream cakes, and bubble tea brand Bubble CiTea have opened new sites at Doncaster’s Frenchgate shopping centre. Cake Box passed the 200-store milestone in September when it opened a site in Sneinton, Nottingham, while Bubble CiTea has 37 UK locations. Ian Leech, marketing manager for Frenchgate, said: “2022 has been fantastic for Frenchgate, topped off with some excellent new openings in the last part of the year in both retail and leisure. Not to mention we’re also off to a good start for the new year with more exciting names lined up.”

Ninja Warrior UK opens venue in Bristol, Guildford site to follow in February: A new Ninja Warrior UK has opened in Bristol, with another set to follow early next year in Guildford, Surrey. The Bristol site, at Unit A in Cribbs Causeway, is the 16th Ninja Warrior UK and a fourth for Leisure TV Rights (LTR), which also operates the sites in Leeds, Liverpool and Walsall. Spread over 43,000 square feet, the adventure park features obstacles, an inflatable course, battle towers and the new Mount Sasuke climb – as well as a cafe. An LTR spokesman said: “We’re excited to be bringing a slice of brilliant, wholesome family entertainment to Bristol with the Ninja Warrior UK brand, which is loved by all age groups.” The Guildford site, based at 2 Thornberry Way and opening in February, will, at 24,000 square feet, be a smaller site but share many of the same features. It will be a third Ninja Warrior UK site for Prime Leisure Group, which also operates the sites in Chatham and Watford. Tim Morrison, co-founder of Prime Leisure Group, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing the Ninja Warrior UK brand to life for people in Guildford and the surrounding areas. It’s a fantastic destination for the whole family to come and enjoy some adrenalin fuelled entertainment in a safe environment.”

The Breakfast Club site to go fully vegan and veggie in January: One of all-day dining concept The Breakfast Club’s sites is set to go fully vegan and vegetarian next month to support the Veganuary movement. The ‘No Meat On Berwick Street’ campaign will run at its Berwick Street site from 2-31 January following two new partnerships with plant-based brands, La Vie and Redefine Meat, which will be rolled out across all its 13 UK cafes in January. Dishes will include a veggie and vegan fry-up called The Works, and a Posh Sausage Sandwich with Redefine Meat sausages, vegan smoked applewood cheese and a tomato chutney. Tom Williams, marketing manager at The Breakfast Club, said: “Partnering with two of the most respected and award-winning vegan brands in the country is about to change the game for us massively, and we feel very lucky and proud to be entering the new year on such a high.” In September, Propel revealed that Charlie McVeigh, the founder of Draft House, had stepped down as chairman of The Breakfast Club to concentrate on other projects, but said he remained “an enthusiastic shareholder and cheerleader”. 

West African street food concept secures second site as it partners with The Night Owl: West African street food concept Plantain Kitchen has secured its second site. Founded by Toby Oladokun in 2019, Plantain Kitchen started life at market stalls in Hackney and East Dulwich as well as signing a deal with Deliveroo covering the Surrey Quays area. Following a pop-up at the Ground and Grapes pub in Honor Oak Park, Plantain Kitchen opened its debut bricks and mortar site, at Peckham Levels, in May 2021. It has now taken over the food offering at The Night Owl nightclub in Finsbury Park for an initial six months but hopes to make it a long-term arrangement. Although primarily a takeaway format, it has some seating available. Arith Liyange, chief executive and founder of The Night Owl, said: “Toby and his team have cooked up a storm with their winning mix of western African fayre. This new dining option brings something different to the area and slots in seamlessly around our current drinking and dancing offering.”

Beckford Group confirms January opening for new Bath restaurant: South west operator Beckford Group has confirmed it will open its new restaurant in Bath next month. The Beckford Canteen, which will be the second restaurant for the group – run by co-founders Dan Brod, Charlie Luxton and Matt Greenlees – will open in Bartlett Street on 6 January. The team already operates Beckford Bottle Shop in the city along with four country inns across Wiltshire and Somerset. Menu items will include monkfish with cauliflower and curried butter; confit pork belly with pumpkin and quince; and Sussex wagyu wing rib and sides. Diners will also be able to choose from a curated drinks list of canned cocktails, local ales and wines, or bring along a bottle from Beckford Bottle Shop, which they can open for a corkage charge of £15. The kitchen will be headed by George Barson, previously of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage in Devon, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. “A lot of my dishes are underpinned by nostalgia but also have a contemporary, technique driven style,” he said. “But for me, what is most important for The Beckford Canteen is just to cook some super tasty food using the best produce the south west has to offer.”

Loungers opens in Cwmbran and lines up new Cheltenham venue: Cafe bar operator Loungers has opened its new venue, in Cwmbran, and lined up a site in Cheltenham next year. The company has opened a Carro Lounge at 47-49 Gwent Square, Cwmbran, its 178th Lounge and 213th site overall. It will next year open Fioro Lounge at 252 Bath Road, Cheltenham, with the opening date yet to be confirmed. Loungers, which operates the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, last month secured the first purpose-built site, and fourth altogether, for its new roadside concept Brightside.

Mediterranean restaurant concept confirms autumn 2023 opening for UK debut: Mediterranean restaurant concept Nammos has confirmed it will make its UK debut in the autumn of 2023. Propel reported in September that the concept, which started in Mykonos and has expanded to Cannes and Dubai, had secured a site at 13-17 Montpelier Street in Knightsbridge. Nammos London will now open in the third or fourth quarter of next year, in partnership with multinational private equity holding company Monterock International. The kitchen, led by “a world class culinary team”, will serve “humble, seasonal ingredients, sourced from the finest purveyors from the local area, with specialist produce hand-picked and imported from trusted Nammos suppliers further afield”. The menu will offer an authentic taste of the Mediterranean, with signature Nammos dishes served alongside centrepiece whole fish and specialist cuts of meat. There will be a private dining room on the lower level and a bar space on the ground floor. 
 
UK bubble tea brand Cupp opens two new sites: UK bubble tea brand Cupp has opened two new sites, in Worcester and Winchester, to take its portfolio to 23. The Winchester site, at 98 High Street, is a second Cupp venue for franchisees Roberta Herridge and Keith Mabuto, the former NHS workers having opened their first in Salisbury in October 2021. “We knew we wanted to launch a bubble tea business and fell in love with Cupp at first sight,” Herridge told the Hampshire Chronicle. “It was really rewarding working for the NHS, but it was time to do something different and manage our own business.” The Worcester site, at 58 High Street, meanwhile, is a first for new franchisee Zubair Hafeji. Earlier this month, Cupp made its Scottish debut with a site in Byres Road, Glasgow, with plans to open 30 sites in the country by 2027.

Tom Sellers confirms May opening for new restaurant at 1 Hotel Mayfair: Two-Michelin starred chef Tom Sellers has confirmed a May 2023 opening for his restaurant at the new 1 Hotel Mayfair in London. As previously reported, Sellers will be opening a venue in the 181-bedroom hotel, which will be global hotel group 1 Hotels’ debut European property. Called Dovetale, the restaurant will be “rooted in a deep respect for seasonal produce, with an à la carte menu bolstered by a dedicated offering from the grill, a raw bar and expansive wine programme”. It will also have a knickerbocker glory trolley and an adjacent cocktail bar. The nine-story hotel will house a café and a bespoke fitness and wellness centre too.

Nando’s lodges plans for new Edinburgh restaurant: Nando’s has lodged plans for a new restaurant in Edinburgh. The company has applied to the city council to convert the former Clarks shoe store premises at Craigleith retail park. The 114-cover restaurant would have an outdoor seating area to the front, reports the Edinburgh Evening News. Nando’s already has several outlets in Edinburgh, with branches in Chambers Street, Omni Centre, Lothian Road, Fountain Park, Fort Kinnaird, Ocean Terminal and Straiton Park.

Wok to Walk permanently closes Leicester site: Asian health food concept Wok to Walk has permanently shut its site in Leicester. The restaurant opened in Granby Street in May last year, serving what it described as “simple, sizzling Asian food in a flash”. The venue has been closed for a number of weeks, with a sign on the door saying it was undergoing a refurbishment. However, a spokesperson for Wok to Walk told Leicestershire Live the branch has closed its good. They added the company was looking for a new location and hopes to be back soon. Wok to Walk opened its first restaurant in Amsterdam in 2004 and has more than 100 outlets globally, including 16 in the UK.

Better burger brand Boo opens first franchise site: Better burger brand Boo has opened its first franchise site, at 3-4 Cheapside in Preston. The 55-cover venue is Boo’s fifth altogether, with two Leicester branches and one each in Loughborough and Nottingham. “We believe Cheapside is the perfect location for serving burger fans and foodies alike who want great food on demand,” Boo Preston owner Ismaeel Waseem told BlogPreston. “Whether you’re craving a burger and shake late at night or a fast, fresh and tasty breakfast in the morning, we’ve got you covered. Each item on Boo’s menu explodes with flavour, thanks to our unique take on American burger joint classics, and all the food is fresh and sourced from British and Irish suppliers.” Founded in 2017, Boo also has openings in Manchester, Derby, Birmingham and a further Leicester branch in the pipeline, as well as a first international site, in Abu Dhabi.

The Alchemist to open in Glasgow this week for second Scottish site: Bar and restaurant concept The Alchemist will open its second site in Scotland on Friday (23 December), in Glasgow. The Simon Potts-led group will launch the 5,594 square-foot venue in the city’s George Square. The 20-strong business has invested £1.6m in the site, which will feature 220 covers internally and a further 40 external covers. It will also create 80 jobs and include a raft of new green initiatives as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. Brand director Jenny McPhee told the Glasgowist: “The opening of our celestial George Square bar and restaurant marks a wondrous new leap for The Alchemist in Scotland. A cosmopolitan city with an unmistakable edge, we think Glaswegians will feel right at home in our bar that adds a new frontier to the city’s cocktail scene.” The Alchemist’s other Scottish site is in Edinburgh where it will double up next year,with an opening at 51 George Street.

Moroccan street food business The Hungry Bedouin opens first site outside London for third venue: Moroccan street food business The Hungry Bedouin has opened its first site outside London for its third venue. The company has opened the outlet in Frinton-on-Sea in Essex, reports Essex Live. The Hungry Bedouin serves food sourced directly from Morocco, Spain, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries as well as a range of wine, cakes and deli products. There are also Moroccan drinks such as traditional mint tea. The Hungry Bedouin operates sites in Westfield Stratford and Goulston Street, the latter of which is temporarily closed, according to its website.

Taco Bell opens site in Clacton-on-Sea: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has opened a new site in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. The opening, at 21 Station Road, comes hot on the heels of another Essex launch for the brand, which last week opened at 84 High Street in Southend. Lucy Dee, head of marketing at Taco Bell, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring Taco Bell to Clacton. Essex has been crying out for more Taco Bells and we’re very pleased to be able to deliver, creating jobs despite challenging circumstances.”

Tuk Tuk opens third site with second Edinburgh restaurant: Tuk Tuk, the Scottish Indian street food restaurant, has opened its third site and second in Edinburgh. The venue in Drummond Street adds to its outlets in Tollcross in Edinburgh and Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. The new 90-cover Edinburgh restaurant features a 35-cover group dining space. Owner Rizvi Khaleque said: “I’m so proud to be opening a third Tuk Tuk. The last few years have been a rollercoaster in the hospitality industry, so this feels like a particularly special achievement.” Named after the three-wheeled motorised rickshaws, Tuk Tuk’s dishes are inspired by the fresh, rustic food served at the roadside and railway stations across India to travellers, schoolchildren, rickshaw-wallahs and busy office workers.

Luxury hotel group to open £25m resort in Devon: Luxury hotel group L+R Hotels is to open a new £25m resort in Devon next year. The company – which has a portfolio of high-end properties across Europe, the US and the Caribbean – will fully refurbish the Highbullen Hotel Golf and Country Club in Chittlehamholt in the north of the county. The site will also be expanded with 58 “luxury lodges” as part of the investment into the site, which sits in 125 acres of countryside around 20 miles inland from the north Devon coast. All the lodges will be fitted with a large deck with outdoor dining, hot tubs, and fully equipped kitchens. Adrian Bradley, who is leading the project for L+R Hotels, told Business Live: “Not only will our guests be able to relax in their lodges surrounded by spectacular countryside views, but there’s plenty for them to do, both within the resort and with ready access to world-class beaches and outstanding countryside.” L+R said the work was scheduled for completion in May.

Italian chef makes permanent London restaurant debut: Italian chef Arcangelo Dandini has made his permanent London restaurant debut by opening Garum at 68 Queensway. Dandini, who operates three restaurants in Rome, including L’Arcangelo, first came to the capital in 2017 as a pop-up at a Young & Foodish Spaghetti Wednesday event from Daniel Young. The 60-cover restaurant serves up dishes such as Roman-style artichokes cooked in garlic with mint, white wine and Evo oil, and roasted octopus with cauliflower salsa, hazelnuts and mortadella. There is also a cocktail list and wine list from general manager, and former The Ivy Collection assistant general manager, Francesco Fantinel, reports Hot Dinners.

Bristol operator doubles up: Bristol operator Matt Hampshire, who operates 20-cover restaurant Tare from a converted shipping container in Wapping Wharf, has opened a second site in the city. He has acquired the site of the former Woky Ko Rooftop Bao Bar, also in Wapping Wharf, to open Picole, which offers sustainably produced food, natural and low-intervention wine. With more of a drinks focus than its sister restaurant, guests are able to choose from a selection of snacks and small plates to accompany their wine. “We’ve been hoping to do something more wine-focused alongside Tare for the last couple of years,” Hampshire told Bristol World. “As we expanded our wine offering, built relationships with suppliers and shared our passion for wine with our guests, Picole started to take shape. When a beautiful unit in Cargo 2 became available, we jumped at the opportunity.”

London deli and restaurant concept opens in Clapham: London deli and restaurant concept Willows has opened in Clapham, south London. Located at 11 The Paragon and inspired by Scandinavian “smörgåsbords”, it offers brunch boards all day followed by cheese and charcuterie in the evening, reports Hot Dinners. Brunch boards options include banana bread, cherry Bakewell granola, scrambled eggs, streaky bacon and mushroom pate, while among the charcuterie board options are Keen’s cheddar, Islington saucisson, peppercorn salami and nocellara olives. There is also a short wine list and cocktails including a hazelnut espresso martini.

Former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant launches debut restaurant: Former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Matt Clayton has launched his debut restaurant. Clayton, who appeared on the BBC show in 2016, has opened fine-dining gastro-style venue Leddy’s in the Derbyshire town of Melbourne. The High Street venue is a joint venture alongside his wife Evie, and her dad Nick Carter is also a director. The 300-year-old building was previously occupied by Melbourne Carpets, his father-in-law’s old carpet shop, and has been in the Carter family for decades. Clayton has worked in various rosette and Michelin star establishments restaurants across the county, including Melbourne’s own Amalfi White. He told Business Live: “It was a joke between Nick and I a couple of years ago that we could turn the carpet shop into a restaurant and have a glass floor looking down the cellar stairs – it’s actually happened now.”

Monterey Jack’s makes franchise debut: Scotland-based, American-style restaurant Monterey Jack’s has opened its first franchise site. The brand – which specialises in American classics such as burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken – has opened at the XSite entertainment hub in Braehead for its tenth site overall. Housed within a ground floor unit, the restaurant has around 150 covers for all-day casual dining and is managed and run by experienced Scottish restauranteur Dal Deol. He said: “I am delighted to be part of Monterey Jack’s new offering at XSite Braehead. It is an amazing leisure location and perfect for this type of bar and restaurant.” The new opening, the brand’s first in three years, has created around 30 jobs. It also has sites in Airdrie, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Glasgow (two), Hamilton, Perth, Falkirk and Stirling.

Little Dessert Shop lines up second Leicester site: West Midlands dessert franchise Little Dessert Shop is lining up its second Leicester site. It looks set to open in the former Cafe Conexion site in Belgrave Gate, which closed last year after three years of business, reports Leicestershire Live. Leicester’s first Little Dessert Shop branch opened in Wigston earlier this year. The company, which launched in 2015, has circa 40 stores around the UK, offering handcrafted artisanal waffles, crepes, coffee, cheesecake, cookie dough and gelato.

Independent south London restaurant set to open deli and wine bar next door: Independent south London restaurant Llewelyn’s is set to open a new deli and wine bar next door. Headed up by Warren Fleet, a former chef at Jamie Oliver restaurant Fifteen, Llewelyn’s opened at 293-295 Railton Road in Herne Hill in 2017. Its “little sister” Lulu’s, which will be a deli by day and a wine bar by night, is now set to open at number 291. It will be led by Lasse Petersen, a former chef of the Amass restaurant in Copenhagen and head chef at Llewelyn’s since mid-2020, reports London Eater. Petersen said: “We’ve always wanted to open a fun little sister to complement what we do at Llewelyn’s. Opening in the current climate is, of course, something we’ve had to navigate and adapt to, but we’re seeing it as an opportunity to provide simple, top-quality food to the local area that guests can pop in for on a more informal basis.”

Birmingham coffee shop to double up with second site: Birmingham coffee shop Quarter Horse is to double up with second site in the city. Husband-and-wife team, Nathan and Ameeta Retzer, opened their first store, in Bridge Street, in 2015, and are now set to expand to Kenyon Street, in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. “We’ve outgrown our current space,” Nathan told Birmingham Live. “The cafe is great, it does what it does, but we’ve been roasting in the corner of the shop for seven years, it’s now at the point where that corner is just a bit too small for us. There’s lots of new and exciting projects that we want to do, but we are limited by space. The cafe will stay and do its thing, but we needed to move on to a bigger space, and we have exciting things planned for the next year or two.”

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