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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 11th Jan 2023 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

SFG Club and Birdies co-founder planning to expand Rooftop Film Club in UK and US, using London to test new concepts: Nick Frow, co-founder of immersive experience team SFG Club and crazy golf concept Birdies, is planning to expand Rooftop Film Club in the UK and US. Rooftop Film Club, which combines screenings of recent and iconic films with city views and premium food and drink, currently has two UK locations, both in London, and eight in the US. Frow has ambitions to grow the outdoor cinema concept he founded in 2011. “We had a really good year last year and we’re continuing to expand and grow that brand,” said Frow. “We’re looking for a third UK site plus further expansion in the US, where the weather allows us to screen for ten months rather than five or six here. In the UK, the growth might become capped due to the fact it’s an outdoor experience, but there’s plenty more opportunities in London, Birmingham and Brighton. We’re looking in west London – we’re already in the east and south, so if we can get west and north, then maybe outside London further down the road. We can take it to Europe as it has a great climate for it, but trying to navigate the rules for operating a business there post-Brexit would be quite challenging, so we’re focused on the US and the UK. The third site will hopefully open this year, and we can potentially open one per year until we’ve hit those key cities, but they need to have great views. In the US, we’re looking at Orlando this year, then Phoenix and Vegas the next. I think the high street cinema experience needs to be elevated – some have turned towards premium seating with fewer seats but better quality, so it’s moving in that direction. You’ve now got to have that all-encompassing experience. You can’t just put a film on anymore, you can do that at home.” Under the SFG Club umbrella, Frow also operates the bar and entertainment offering at London’s biggest outdoor competitive socialising venue, Roof East in east London, which he is using as a testing ground for new concepts. “We use it as a bit of an incubator – last year we had archery, baseball cages, lawn bowls and karaoke there,” Frow added. “We try new things, and if we think they perform, we’ll look to potentially put them in the high street as well should we get the opportunity or need to diversify. In Sydney, lawn bowls is popular with a younger demographic, and we’d like to bring that over to the UK with a party atmosphere and good food and drink. The UK is leading the way with experiential leisure, we can have a lot of fun with it here.”

Industry News:

200 Degrees to speak at Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023, open for bookings: Siobhan Lloyd, marketing manager at 200 Degrees Coffee, 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. Lloyd will share her top tips for building brand awareness and visitation for new openings. More than 50 industry and agency leaders will take to the stage over two days representing brands including McDonald’s UK, 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

Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows total sector losses reduced to £3.9bn as industry slowly rebuilds: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector companies have reduced their collective losses to £3.9bn – down from £4.2bn in November, as the industry slowly rebuilds. The next Blue Book, which will be released on Friday (13 January), will feature 692 companies that are turning over a collective £35.4bn. The Blue Book shows 406 companies in profit and 286 reporting losses. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Propel is to add a fifth major database to its Premium service this month. The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be the first time full profiles of the UK’s top 650 food and beverage operators will be available in one place. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database has taken 16 months to pull together, merging Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel's library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before.

Freehold pub prices jumped 41% in 2022: Average trading freehold pub prices jumped 41% in 2022, according to Fleurets’ 2022 survey of pub prices. This compares with a post-pandemic 9.5% rise in 2021, a 34.7% drop during 2020 and a pre-pandemic rise of 19% in 2019. The 2022 figures were driven by a significant increase in transactions in the south, where sale prices soared by 54%, leading to an overall increase in average prices to £874,056. In the north, the increase was not as pronounced, with the average sale price up 24%, but this compares with a 32% decrease in the region in 2021. The average price for bottom-end freeholds was up by 15% to £323,712 – probably due to an increased number of higher value sales for alternative uses – with a 23.7% increase in the north and a 16.2% increase in the south. The average price for leasehold pubs rose 27% to £30,813 – largely as a result of a comparable increase in the quality of pubs being sold – following a drop by 21.3% to £24,214 in 2021. The sale price increased by 34% in the north and 25% in the south. Simon Hall, director head of agency north at Fleurets, said: “Demand for pubs remained strong for most of 2022, in spite of rampant cost inflation, the Ukraine war and regular changes within government. Despite the economic and political turbulence, demand for property remained strong and this applied for the majority of pubs for most of the year. The market characteristics experienced in 2021 continued, with a shortage of supply being the lead factor. Business failures, repossessions, and administrations didn’t increase in any significant numbers in the pub sector, and owners who weren’t being forced to sell were choosing not to. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter, when the reaction to the mini-Budget became apparent, increasing utility costs were taking effect and predictions of a significant number of pub failures in the first half of 2023 increased in volume, that market conditions changed and demand eased. Many buyers took a breath and decided to wait to see if the new year would bring a flurry of new, cheaper opportunities.”

Almost 1,000 sector leaders receive training as part of multi-pronged approach to accelerate race equity throughout industry: Almost 1,000 sector leaders have received training as part of a multi-pronged approach to accelerate race equity throughout the hospitality industry. Be Inclusive Hospitality has released its first Impact Report outlining how the social enterprise’s work has been delivering change in the past two and a half years. This includes free scholarship programmes; education for hospitality leaders around topics on race, allyship, bias and inclusive leadership; and partner collaborations. The Elevate Mentorship Scheme has supported 68 mentees with more than 400 hours of mentorship. A total of 40% of mentees have reported to have accessed promotions, new jobs, and business opportunities while on the scheme. Club Thrive has provided 33 scholarships in food, wine, and spirits, along with mentorship, and forged peer-to-peer networks. Be Inclusive Hospitality has also commissioned industry reports designed to provide insights to inform action – Ethnic Minorities in Hospitality (2020), and Inside Hospitality Report (2021 and 2022). Partnerships have included the Black Business Fund – partnering with UberEats and Enterprise Nation, providing £300,000 of funding and mentorship to entrepreneurs over a two-year period; and the Seat at the Table Fund – partnering with Mars Foods Ben’s Original to devise and deliver a programme providing 15 funded scholarships to black chefs. Be Inclusive Hospitality founder and chief executive, Lorraine Copes, said: “Over the past two and a half years we have built a predominantly UK-wide diverse community of partners, funders, and members who have all been instrumental in our social impact to date. My hope is this report provides insightful transparency and encourages more people and businesses across the sector to join us to accelerate change in 2023 and beyond.”

CGA and GigRealm report reveals high demand for live music in pubs and bars: Live music can help pubs and bars generate extra sales in 2023, according to a new report from research consultancy CGA by NielsenIQ and live music booking platform GigRealm. The “Live Music in Hospitality” report reveals 78% of consumers are more likely to visit a pub, bar or similar venue if it offers live music. Nearly as many (73%) said they are likely to stay in a venue longer if there is live music, and 76% are likely to buy more drinks. The report also suggests people will prioritise live music when going out, with two thirds (68%) saying it provides a great experience on a low budget, while 47% said they would be likely to continue visiting venues with live music even if they were short on cash. Other findings include two thirds (67%) of consumers saying they typically watch live music in pubs, making them much more popular than large concert venues (31%), festivals (25%) and stadiums (22%). Half (50%) of consumers said they would like to see more live music events midweek, rather than waiting for the weekend, while more than four in five (85%) find the idea of combining live sport with live music appealing. Tom Brady, chief and co-founder of GigRealm, said: “Venues have an opportunity to use live music as a way to enhance customer experience, diversify their offering and providing customers with the one thing that cannot be replicated at home.”

Hospitality gift card market records strongest year to date with sales up 20%: The market for hospitality gift cards recorded its strongest year to date in 2022 with sales up 20%. The figures, from industry commerce platform Toggle, also showed the average order value increased last year from £57 to £60, and Toggle itself experienced a 71% increase in sales throughout 2022 compared with 2021. Key dates such as Mother’s Day, Black Friday and Christmas proved most popular for hospitality gifting, with Toggle experiencing a sales increase of £10m during the festive period in 2022 compared with the previous year. Dan Brookman, chief executive of Toggle, said: “These results clearly show more and more consumers are seeing the benefits of giving the gift of hospitality and gift cards are fast becoming a vital additional revenue source for the hospitality industry.”

Greene King to launch cask pins: Brewer and retailer Greene King will be the first major cask brewer to launch cask pins, a 4.5-gallon unit container, to market this summer following a seven-figure investment. Greene King believes the introduction of pins containing 36 pints per unit (half the size of the industry standard container) will reinvigorate the sector by helping licensees deliver a range of cask-fresh beer to customers every time, while at the same time minimising wastage. The company will be rolling out the cask pins to all managed, lease and tenanted and free-trade customers this summer with its seasonal cask beer calendar, Fresh Cask Releases, which is a rolling portfolio of cask styles and flavours tailored to specific points in the year. Greene King said the introduction of pins will give customers the ability to manage a lower throughput at quieter times of the week, meaning less waste or risk of serving beer past its best quality. It added during busier times, cask pins offer the customer the opportunity to provide a seasonal cask ale, providing a wider choice on the bar. Last year the brewer also launched Cask Iron Guarantee, a pledge that entitles all free-trade customers a full refund for un-broached volume and a credit for remaining volume on broached Greene King casks that go out of date ahead of them being sold through.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a hospitality concept that is looking to expand and is seeking a chief financial officer. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The business has multiple concepts that it is looking to roll out both in the UK and globally. It has the funds, strategy and drive to do it, and needs a chief financial officer with ‘founder mentality’ who can come in and help. As well as the normal finance functions, a lot of this role is about the deals/M&A activity that will happen over the next few years. Global experience is a nice to have, but not essential – it is more about drive, determination and industry knowledge to do the best deals with the best partners and make the company a success.” The salary is up to £220,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News: 

Byron to halve in size in latest restructure: Almost half of Byron's restaurants are to close in the burger chain's latest restructure. Sky News reported close to ten of Byron’s 21 remaining sites will shut permanently as part of a pre-pack administration engineered by Calveton, its owner. It is unclear how many jobs would be lost. Propel revealed last week the backers of Byron were gearing up to put the better burger business through a pre-pack administration process. Calveton, the backer of Byron’s parent company Famously Proper, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators to the business earlier this month and it is understood a pre-pack deal will be completed this week. Propel understands Calveton co-founder Sandeep Vyas, who was formerly director of international operations at Yum! Brands, has recently set up new companies aimed at operating restaurants called Tristar Foods, Tristar Foods Holdco and Calveton Tristar Holdco. A spokesperson for Famously Proper told Propel last week: “We’ve been working with our advisors at Interpath to explore options to secure new investment for the future of our business. We have recently filed court documents that will help us in progressing a transaction, which we’re confident we will be able to deliver and will support the business in the long-term.” Propel reported in November that Famously Proper had appointed advisors at Interpath to help it review its options for the better burger business.

Former Greene King MD Jonathan Webster to join Wells & Co board: Jonathan Webster, the former Greene King managing director, is to join the board of Bedford brewer and retailer Wells & Co as a non-executive director, Propel has learned. Webster joined Greene King in 2006 following its acquisition of Hardys & Hansons, where he was chief executive. He stepped down from Greene King at the beginning of 2016. He will join the board of Wells & Co on 20 January. Webster will replace Bob Ivell, the current chairman of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), who will step down as a non-executive of Wells & Co after nine years on its board. Wells & Co chief executive Peter Wells said: “Jonathan is the perfect candidate to provide guidance and support to the executive team over the coming years. From senior roles at Greene King and chief executive of Hardy’s & Hansons before that, he has a wealth of experience in running both tenanted and managed pub models both of which are central to our plans for growth.” Paul Wells said: “Wells has been so lucky to have Bob at our side as we have navigated the past few years. His experience was invaluable as we started to transition the company following the sale of the brewing and brands business to Marston’s in 2017 and he has added so much value as we have started to develop our managed house credentials.” Webster added: "I have always had a strong respect for the Wells family business. They have often proved to do things you might not normally expect from a regional family brewing pub company. They are the only British business with a growing chain of pubs in France and the creation of their new craft brewery, Brewpoint, is a clear indication of their progressive intent.”

Hard Rock Cafe UK aiming to return to pre-pandemic levels of revenue by 2024: Hard Rock Cafe UK has said it is aiming to return to pre-pandemic levels of revenue by 2024. Accounts for the UK arm of the business show that in the year ending 31 December 2021, turnover rose from £8,287,000 in 2020 to £12,733,000 but is still some way off the last full pre-pandemic figure of £30,762,000 in 2019. Pre-tax losses grew from £10,409,000 in 2020 to £18,249,000 (2019: loss of £1,154,000). The company received £1.3m from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (2020: £2.7m). In his report accompanying the accounts, director David Pellow said: “During 2021, the company recorded impairment expenses of £13.6m (2020: £1.4m), which was partially offset by an increase in operations during the year. Due to the pandemic, all our locations were forced to close at the beginning of 2021 and most of 2020 and began returning to pre-pandemic levels throughout the year. As a result, year over year, the company saw restaurant transactions increase by 56% and retail transactions increased by 5% while operating expenses decreased by 5%. Our focus is to continue to grow revenues to pre-pandemic levels within the next two years.” The company’s gross margin (after labour costs) rose from 24.5% in 2020 to 41.7%, with restaurant transactions of £327,727 (2020: £209,477) and retail transactions of £84,212 (2020: £80,294). Average restaurant spend rose from £28.64 in 2020 to £31.12, while average retail spend increased slightly from £33.11 to £33.85. Pellow added: “Changes to the UK immigration system mean a significant blow for the hospitality sector, relying on non-UK workers to fill entry-level jobs. With businesses facing unemployment issues due to covid-19, it threatens to worsen in the long term. The hospitality industry, which has always struggled with staff retention, needs to find new ways to attract and retain UK talent. Food prices are predicted to rise, which will have a significant impact on the profit margin. On a more positive note, there is a reported upturn in ‘staycations’ driven by covid-19, and higher European holiday prices as a result of Brexit might help increase this trend. Plus, in a post-covid world, US and EU holidaymakers will likely take advantage of lower prices in the UK due to better exchange rates, causing a spike in tourism, which will benefit the hospitality industry.” Hard Rock Cafe UK has sites in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh and is also set to open in York.

Vegan fast-food concept The Vurger Co reviews its options: Vegan fast-food concept The Vurger Co has appointed advisors to help review its options, which could include a sale of the four-strong business. Propel understands that the company, which was founded in 2016 by Rachel Hugh and Neil Potts, is working with advisors at FRP Advisory on its funding options going forward. The company currently operates sites in Brighton, Canary Wharf, Manchester and Shoreditch. Its products are also stocked with a number of retailers, including Planet Organic, Selfridges. Ocado and the Co-op. Last year, the company was backed by former Manchester United and England footballer Chris Smalling in its latest investment round. Smalling invested through his venture capitalist consultancy ForGood, adding to his portfolio of plant-friendly investments. The Vurger Co said the funding, including Smalling’s investment, would enable it to expand both in the UK and abroad.

Chestnut Group appoints new CFO and strengthens finance team as it prepares for further growth: East Anglian pub and restaurant company The Chestnut Group has strengthened its finance team as the business prepares for further growth in 2023. Garrath Fulford, who has joined the business as chief financial officer, has worked within the banking, finance, and accountancy sectors for more than 30 years, holding a range of roles with UBS, JP Morgan and RBS. His most recent role was chief operating officer of NatWest Markets, where he led large scale business change and controlled transformation for the organisation. Ted Child will join at the end of January as head of finance and has spent the last 13 years working in the pub industry. His previous experience includes finance positions at Greene King and Punch Pubs & Co, where his roles included heading up evaluation and assessments of potential joint ventures and acquisitions, design and management of capex models and transforming internal operational systems and processes. Chestnut said the appointments are seen as key additions to the business ahead of delivering a strategy for growth over the next 24-months, through acquisitions and investment in new technology. Founder and chief executive Philip Turner said: “Over the last five years our business has really grown-up, moving from a handful of local inns and pubs to a strong collection of properties across the eastern region. During the last 18 months we have been building a team capable of sustaining and accelerating that growth, and the corporate finance and industry experience Garrath and Ted bring will be an invaluable addition.” Chestnut has also acquired a business in Wells-Next-The-Sea, with ten bedrooms and a self-contained cottage, to expand its accommodation offering at The Globe Inn.

Giggling Squid co-founder closes remaining Lime Squeezy Thai Kitchen site: Pranee Laurillard, the co-founder of Giggling Squid, has closed the debut and remaining site under her Thai fast-casual concept, Lime Squeezy Thai Kitchen, in Chichester. Laurillard, who founded Giggling Squid with her husband Andy in 2009, launched the concept in 2021 on the former Wahaca restaurant in Chichester, West Sussex. Last November, the second site under the concept, which opened on the ex-PizzaExpress site in Jubilee Street, earlier in the same year, closed. Propel understands that the Brighton site is set to return to being a PizzaExpress later this quarter. A post from Lime Squeezy on Instagram announced the closure of the Chichester site but hinted of a possible return for the brand in the future. It said: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the closure of our Lime Squeezy restaurant in Chichester as of 9 January. We hope this is not a goodbye…we’ve got a few plans bubbling!”

KFC UK & Ireland CPO Neil Piper to leave the business: Neil Piper, who last year had a stint as interim managing director of KFC UK & Ireland, is to leave the fast-food chain after more than 14 years with the business. Piper joined KFC in June 2008 as an area coach after almost four years at Mitchells & Butlers. During his time at KFC, he had stints as head of talent and director of human resources for its global business and was appointed chief people officer for the UK & Ireland in June 2017. In March last year, he was appointed interim managing director of KFC UK & Ireland following the departure of Paula MacKenzie, who subsequently joined PizzaExpress as its new chief executive. Piper stepped back into his former role, after the appointment of Meghan Farren as KFC UK & Ireland’s new managing director last autumn. It is thought Piper is leaving to take up a role outside the sector and that his replacement will come from inside KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands.

Largest bakery and cafe chain in Israel to make UK debut this month with world’s first ‘Donutelier’ concept: Roladin, the largest bakery and cafe chain in Israel, will make its UK debut at the end of this month. The brand, which operates circa 95 sites in Israel, will open a boutique bakery concept, Donutelier by Roladin, in the former Patisserie Valerie site on the corner of Charing Cross Road and Great Newport Street in London. Described as the world’s first ‘Donutelier’ concept, it is inspired by the “intricate craftsmanship of the world’s greatest fashion ateliers and will showcase each step of the intricate doughnut making and designing process”. Each doughnut will be handmade and will include the Pistachio – filled with Chantilly cream and marbled pistachio, topped with an almond sable, pistachio nibs and dried raspberries; and the Dulcey Peanut Caramel with Dulcey fleur de sel ganache, peanuts, caramelised peanuts and caramel Chantilly. Customers will also be able to a selection of fine coffee blends and, in time, order pastries to enjoy in-store or takeaway. The concept, which is famous for its gourmet doughnuts, was founded in 1989 by brothers Kobi and Avi Hakak. Arik Waiss, founder of The Urban Concepts, is overseeing the launch of the business in the UK. Raven Rose acted on the deal.

Cooplands makes a loss but turnover exceeds pre-pandemic levels, EG Group buyout to ‘accelerate growth’: South Yorkshire-based bakery and cafe chain Cooplands saw a pre-tax profit of £1,351,034 in 2021 turn into a loss of £770,726 in the year ending 31 March 2022, but turnover exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The company, which was taken over by EG Group in October 2021, reported revenue of £68,112,442, a 30% increase on 2021’s figure of £52,199,350 and a significant increase on the last full year before the pandemic (ending 31 March 2020), which was £53,400,337. The company received £82,083 in government grants compared to £2,702,507 in 2021. In his statement accompanying the accounts, director Zuber Issa said: “During the reporting period, the group was acquired by EG Foodservice, which will allow the group to utilise the wider EG Group store network and accelerate growth in the coming years. Going forward, the outlook for the economy remains uncertain. Like many businesses in our sector which have been impacted by raw material inflation, in particular cooking oils and flour, as well electricity costs, margins will continue to be challenged. Record levels of inflation in the UK economy will impact consumer spending. We will continue to look for innovative solutions to offset these pressures, while also maintaining levels of product quality and great customer service. With the acquisition by EG Foodservice, the company will look to utilise the wider EG Group network and benefit from efficiencies resulting from the economies of scale the acquisition presents.” At the time of the takeover, EG Group commercial director Ilyas Munshi said it would explore opportunities to roll out Cooplands nationally, which remains a key focus. Issa added: “The company believes the acquisition by EG Foodservice presents an opportunity to grow the brand across the country, away from its heartlands in the north east, while also benefitting from synergies as new store openings mature over the coming years.” Cooplands also made the decision during the period to pay above the minimum National Living Wage rate across all retail outlets “to attract and retain our teams”.

Coffee#1 to launch first site inside M25 as part of trio of openings: Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, is to open its first site inside the M25 as part of a trio of new stores. A new outlet has opened in Leek and will be followed by launches in Macclesfield and Epsom, both of which are already in the build phase. Founded in 2001 and traditionally operating in Wales and the south west, the Epsom store will be the furthest east Coffee#1 has opened, while the Leek and Macclesfield stores follow the opening of the Buxton store in Derbyshire at the end of 2022. The newly opened Leek store is the 108th store Coffee#1 owns, with the new shop situated in the centre of the city. Both the Leek and Macclesfield stores will be able to accommodate more than 100 customers each while the Epsom site boasts 96 covers. A total of 30 jobs will be created across the three sites. The expansion marks an acceleration in the rate of opening by Coffee#1, with the openings increasing the total number made by the retailer since the pandemic to ten and taking the total store count to 110. Coffee#1 managing director, Bruce Newman, said: “Expanding our presence in the Midlands is a logical next step for us and we have felt for some time that Coffee#1 would be well received in Leek and Macclesfield. While we will continue to expand within our more traditional geographical areas, we also see significant potential for the brand in the south east, and Epsom gives us the opportunity to build brand awareness beyond the south west and Wales.” Despite the impact of cost inflation upon the business, Coffee#1 said it continues to trade well, with Christmas trading helping the brand reach 120% of pre-pandemic levels.

Mission Mars to open third Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana in Leeds: Mission Mars is to open a third site in Leeds under its Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana brand. The new site will open in Otley Road, Headingley, joining pizzerias in Chapel Allerton and Leeds city centre. Neal Bates, managing director of Rudy’s, said: “We are delighted to announce that our next Rudy’s site will be located on Headingley’s bustling Otley Road. Leeds has been incredibly welcoming to the Rudy’s famiglia since we first opened here in 2020, and we can’t wait to expand our sites in this city. Headingley is a great location for Rudy’s, and we can’t wait to open our doors this spring.” The company currently has 15 Rudy’s sites open, with a second site in Birmingham, in Brindleyplace set to come online next. Earlier this week, Mission Mars, the Albert’s Schloss operator, reported that group like-for-like sales were up 26% in the five weeks to 1 January 2023 versus the same period in the prior year, driven by record sales in both of its brands. It said it had four new Rudy’s sites in legals. 

Lesley Mcilroy joins The Light as its new sales and marketing director: Lesley Mcilroy, formerly of Bill’s, State of Play Hospitality and Comptoir Group, has joined cinema and leisure operator The Light as its new sales and marketing director. Mcilroy stepped down as marketing director of the Toby Harris-led State of Play Hospitality last October after two years with the Bounce and Hijingo operator. She was previously marketing director at Bill’s and has also had stints at Comptoir Group, gastro-pub operator Peach Pub Company and brewer and retailer Greene King. Most recently, she has been supporting the planning, advertising and creative launch of the Hospitality Rising campaign. Last year, The Light said it was eyeing further expansion after launching its latest venue, in Banbury. The company is anchoring phase two of the Castle Quay Waterfront development in the Oxfordshire town. The 55,000 square-foot venue was the brand’s 12th site, with the company actively seeking further development opportunities across UK towns and cities. It appointed KLM Real Estate to help expand its portfolio. Of the group’s 12 cinema venues, six have a standalone F&B offering and three have a leisure offer.

Pret to launch a ‘coffee savings calculator’: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed business, is to launch a ‘coffee savings calculator’, which it said has been designed to help customers see how much they could save by signing up to the brand’s coffee subscription scheme. The company said: “To assess whether Pret’s subscription is good value for money for them, customers can use the calculator and simply enter how many lattes, flat whites or other barista made drinks they typically have a day, week or month to see how much they would save if they were to sign up to the Pret Coffee Subscription.”

Haysmacintyre promotes Emma Bernardez to head of hospitality as Andrew Ball becomes senior hospitality partner: Hospitality specialist accountants and tax advisors Haysmacintyre has appointed Emma Bernardez as head of hospitality. She takes over the position from Andrew Ball who, after more than 15 years, moves to senior hospitality partner. During that time, Ball has built a team of some 60 people and developed a range of sector specific services that are now delivered to more than 140 clients. Having first joined the firm as a trainee before becoming a partner, Bernandez has developed specialist expertise across a broad range of topical issues and established a strong client base within the hospitality sector. Ball said: “Emma has been instrumental in driving our hospitality sector’s growth and I look forward to seeing her excel in her new role. In my new role as senior hospitality partner, I will continue working closely with my clients, attend industry events and work with Emma on the strategic direction of the hospitality team.” Bernardez added: “As the hospitality industry moves from challenge to challenge, it has been a pleasure to work alongside our clients and dedicated team to seize new opportunities and adapt to changing circumstances as they evolve. I’d like to thank Andrew for all his support to this point and I’m looking forward to continuing to build on the hospitality team’s fantastic work as we continue working with and adding value to businesses across the sector.”

Kaleido Rolls closes crowdfunding campaign after raising almost £700,000: Healthy food concept Kaleido, which specialises in salad rolls and rice paper rolls, has closed its crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs after raising almost £700,000. The business, which was launched five years ago by wife and husband team Laura Mimoun and Denis Dahan, was initially aiming to raise £400,000, offering 6.68% of equity, with a pre-money valuation of £6m. The campaign has now closed with £679,239 raised from 306 investors. It plans to grow its estate to 25 sites by 2025. The company plans to allocate 60% of funds to opening new stores and sites, 20% to wider marketing opportunities and a bespoke new packaging, and 20% to helping strengthen its head office function. The business said it is backed by key investors from the industry including Marcel Khan, formerly of Five Guys, Nando’s and Thunderbird Fried Chicken, who is a non-executive director. It is projecting opening one shop every two months. Last week, Propel revealed that Kaleido is in talks to make its debut overseas. The six-strong, London business is in discussions on a franchise deal with a “very large foodservice player in the Netherlands”, alongside “working on several exciting opportunities in the UK and abroad”. 

Crudo to open new site for relocated restaurant later this month, fourth venue to follow in February: London ceviche-focused concept Crudo will open the new site for its relocated Fitzrovia restaurant later this month, with a fourth venue following next month. The Fitzrovia site will make the short journey from 35 Riding House Street to nearby 21 Foley Street, with the new space opening on Monday, 30 January. As well as more dining-in space, the new site will have a small wine shop on the site, with suppliers including Wanderlust and Pure Wines, who specialise in organic and natural wines. Much like the old site, it will offer signature and customisable ceviche bowls such as fresh raw sea bass with homemade leche de tigre; a Nikkei bowl with sushi rice, nori and a ponzu leche de tigre; and vegano with chickpeas, quinoa, avocado and rocoto pepper leche de tigre. In addition to those and other small plates, Crudo is adding a small menu of South American cocktails to the offering. Founders Maria Yanez and Carlos Socorro, both from Venezuela, created Crudo in 2019 after noticing a gap in the market for their beloved ceviche. The original Fitzrovia site opened in September 2019, followed by Old Street in 2021 and Mare Street, Hackney, in November 2022. A fourth site, in Seven Dials, will open in February. 

Slim’s Healthy Kitchen secures £500,000 Northern Ireland retail deal: Slim’s Healthy Kitchen, which was founded by Gary McIldowney in 2013 and operates two sites in Belfast, plus a franchised site in Magherafelt, has secured a £500,000 retail deal. The company, which makes a range of prepared meals alongside operating its restaurants, is seeing its products rolled out across the Musgrave network in Northern Ireland, with more 50 stores currently carrying the lines. Its new retail range has 12 different meal varieties including soy and ginger chicken noodles, chicken arrabbiata, chilli chicken penne and chilli beef wedges, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Gary McIldowney, Slim’s Healthy Kitchen owner, said: “Our retail meals are perfect for busy individuals who want to enjoy healthy, delicious meals without spending hours in the kitchen. Our partnership with Musgrave NI will make healthy eating convenient and accessible to even more people across Northern Ireland.” Slim’s Healthy Kitchen is operated by McIldowney’s Follow Leisure group, which also includes cafes Canteen, Output and Morning Martha, and which last year acquired the four-strong Belfast coffee chain, District.

Bentley’s Coffee Shop opens fourth site: Bentley’s Coffee Shop, which operates sites across the north east and Yorkshire, has opened its fourth site. The company, founded by Martin Smith, has launched at the Northshore One office development in Stockton, Teesside. Bentley’s was launched in 2019 when Smith left his job as a supermarket manager and used his redundancy pay to start the first cafe in Coulby Newham. In September last year, he opened Bentley’s Coffee Shop in Boho One in Middlesbrough, adding to its other venue at Middlesbrough Sports Village. Dodds Brown acted on the Northshore One deal.

Pizza Pilgrims to open ‘Nutelleria’ in London’s Carnaby: Pizza Pilgrims, the London pizzeria brand, will launch a ‘Nutelleria’ outside of its Kingly Court pizzeria in the heart of Carnaby, London. It will serve a menu of Italian desserts, coffee and appetisers from morning until evening, seven days a week, with the aim of bringing “Neapolitan cafe culture into the heart of London's West End”. The company said: “During morning service, guests can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of espresso for just £1. Those with a sweet-tooth can opt for nocciolatte – a shot of espresso with a spoon of Nutella stirred in – for £2. In the afternoon, the kiosk will offer a Nutelleria menu featuring Nutella pizza rings filled with a choice of chocolate bar. Confectionery options to fill the rings include Mars, Bounty, and Kinder Bueno bars, Reese’s Cups, or Nutella spread. Priced at £6.95, guests can add ice cream for an additional £1.50 or buy any three pizza rings for £19.” In the evening, it will transform into a takeaway bar, serving a selection of drinks including Aperol Spritz, Ferrero Rocher Espresso Martini and Camden Town Brewery beers. Pizza Pilgrims’ Kingly Kiosk will open on Monday, 30 January, with morning service commencing from 9am each day. The takeaway bar will be open until 9pm Monday to Thursday, 10pm Friday to Saturday and 6pm on Sundays.

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